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Old September 14, 1999, 07:42 PM   #1
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What do yu consider must haves for a deer hunt (other than a rifle with lots of practice).

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Old September 14, 1999, 08:23 PM   #2
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Since you should plan for success -

A GOOD drop point skinning knife with about a 4" blade and razor sharp.

A drag rope, about 4 feet long with a loop in one end for the deer and a handle of some sort for comfort on the hunter end.

A recipe book for various venison dishes.

A pre-arranged cooler location to hang and age the carcass.

Good insulated underwear - good camo - DAMN GOOD boots!

A good hunting buddy - just in case something goes wrong...

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Old September 14, 1999, 08:40 PM   #3
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Steve, These are some of the items i carry in my pack when I'm out in the field hunting deer.

2 Knives
Drag rope
Field glasses
Grunt call
2 Flashlight
Extra pair of gloves
Paper towels
Pencil and paper

Somethings may seem like over kill like matches, extra gloves or two flashlights. I hunt and area that is 20,000 acres in size. It is possible for something to happen and you might end up spending the night out there. It's always better to be prepared for such a situation.

I'm sure there are other things that have slipped my mind but this is a good start. This does not include food and water. Remember to take a good supply of water with you.

This does not include the type of clothing to wear in different weather conditions. That is a whole other discussion.
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Old September 14, 1999, 08:53 PM   #4
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I'm glad you mentioned the paper towels - I forgot!

Not only should you keep them in your backpack but also in your truck, coat pocket, pants pocket and anywhere else you can to make sure you ALWAYS have them with you. To wipe the deer blood off your hands??? Well...that too!

I remember the time I was 3 miles from the truck and we had camp stew the night before and all of a sudden...never mind!

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Old September 14, 1999, 08:53 PM   #5
Long Path
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Not enough info.

What location? Terrain? Distance from "civilization"? Time of year? Expected weather? Amount of cover? Technique of hunting?

Recognize that I use diferent equipment when stand hunting in S. Texas, two miles from town, than I do in Colorado, 30 miles from town, in the fall.

But in general, you MUST have:
--An arm to kill your game with. Rifle, pistol, shotgun, musket, bow, crossbow, footbow, pike, knife, or sling.
--You must have a knife. You cannot clean your game without a knife, and a person who does not field dress his own deer is a rube sport, rather than a hunter. To that end, you'll need a quart of water. If you puncture the gut, you'll need something to clean quickly with. (It's also good to clean your hands. I like Purell or baby wipes in a ziplock in my pack, too, but then my hands are too large for Playtex gloves, which many hunters use.)
--You'll want a length of strong line, for possible hanging of the game, or making a travois to get it out, or to tie it to the fender of your 4X4 or whatever; 50 ft. of parachute cord is invaluable, and takes up no space or weight.
--Have we forgotten our hunting license and written permission by the landowner? Don't forget this. The latter is not even required by law in many states or counties, but eliminates a BUNCH of stress at times, and puts you on a firm footing should YOU have to call the game warden. (Keep his number handy, and the sheriff's office #, too.)
--The means of getting the game out. Pickup, 4-wheeler, travois, wheelbarro, canoe, strong back, whatever. Think this stuff through. If you can't get the ENTIRE deer out, then don't take the shot.
--A small flashlight that you can hold in your mouth (I am so not kidding!), and extra batteries. More than once, I've found the deer by the blood trail I found with that flashlight, and then had to field dress by myself with my flashlight in my mouth. If you use a Mini-Mag light, make sure you've got tape or a rubber "coozy" on the grip-- your teeth will thank you for it. Some guys use a headlamp, but I like a more intense beam. You can get out to your stand/hunting area before daylight.

That's all you need. The rest is useful, or even required in some instances, but this is all that's absolutely needed.

--The one other item that I would definitely say to take that is (to me) an almost-necessity is a pair of binoculars. DON'T make the mistake of believing that your rifle scope will funtion even half as well as a mediocre set of binoculars. They have wide field and good light gathering ability, and you don't have to swing your entire rifle back and forth to scan for game. I have passed shots on very possibly legal game many times because I couldn't I.D. sex with their head occluded by brush, because I had forgotten my binoculars! They also alow you to focus beyond brush, allowing you to see the game much further away as it approaches, so binoculars are useful even in the thick woods.

[This message has been edited by Long Path (edited September 14, 1999).]
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Old September 15, 1999, 12:59 PM   #6
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I am quite surprised that nobody mentioned even a basic first aid kit. I take 2. One large one (mil surp box approx 8x6x3 refilled with fresh commercial supplies) that always stays in the truck, and a small belt pack (compass case) filled with several sizes of bandaids, guaze, tape, moleskin, aspirin, and a couple of stronger rx painkillers in case of worse boo-boos.
The other guys gave a pretty good list otherwise. I carry my stuff in a g.i.buttpack on a belt along with surplus canteen and my first aid kit. Surplus gear is great for huntin equipment. Oh, I also sometimes take along a little folding stove that burns fuel bars to heat some water. It is a little bigger than a pack of smokes and those trioxane bars will heat a cup of water fast.
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Old September 15, 1999, 02:49 PM   #7
Join Date: August 5, 1999
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Two more must haves:

1. A basic understanding of deer anatomy. For example, some hunters attempt neck shots and have *no* idea where the spinal column is and end up taking out the trachea. Taking out the trachea is very uncool. Personally, I recommend a heart/lung shot unless there is some really good reason to shoot elsewhere.

2. If you have never field-dressed a deer, try to have someone around who can step you through it. If that is not an option, then find someone who can at least explain the process to you so that you have a thorough understanding of what to do.

And, of course, I must add some unsolicited advice Bullet construction is by far the most important thing (aside from bullet placement) in achieving a clean kill. Chose a reputable big-game hunting bullet (Nosler, Barnes, Combined Technologies, Jensen, Hawk, HT, Swift, etc.).

David Curry
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Old September 15, 1999, 08:21 PM   #8
Long Path
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If camping, or really well-away from civilization, than I absolutely agree with you. Shoot, you ought to see how I over-pack. But, when I review the initial question, I see only the question of must-have for deer hunt. Some places, you can hunt deer within a quarter mile of your house. I've shot a deer that was within 100 yards of car and cell phone, and 2 miles from town. Do you carry a first aid kit everytime you get 1/4 mile from your car? I don't, and I was the world's biggest Boy Scout. It's absolutely suggested, but not absolutely required.

David-- no doubt on the knowledge of anatomy! Many aim wayyyy too far back for a quick kill, or do not realize that the spine runs under about 3"+ of backstrap, or do not take into account the size of the guarenteed kill-zone before they shoot at a given distance. While it's true that a head or neck shot yeilds spectacular kills, one needs to consider their rest, ability, local cover, and orientation of the game, and decide whether a 2" target with an instant drop when hit but a terrible wound when missed is necessarily more desirable than a 10" target with a guarenteed kill and a stop within 100 yards. These decisions are made after knowing what's going on within the confines of that deer hide. This is a good reason to ALWAYS do a complete post-mortum on every deer you shoot or see shot. Figure out what happened, and whether it should ideally have happened differently. The knowledge that I've picked up over the last 15 years of deer hunting has subtley changed my aiming points on deer, and I'm a better hunter for the knowledge I bring into the woods with me.

Again I agree with David-- all bullets are not created equal. Although you may be deadly accurate with a varminter bullet in a .243 or .25-06, they're inappropriate for deer. Really, we are blessed with a fine selection of good hunting bullets these days, and even the man who doesn't reload can shoot the best. If I didn't reload, I'd seriously be checking at Winchester's Fail Safe or Supreme line, or Hornady's Light Magnum line, but there's a BUNCH of other good ones.

[This message has been edited by Long Path (edited September 15, 1999).]
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Old September 16, 1999, 11:46 AM   #9
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What I carry...

(granted this is THIRD SEASON in Colorado and that means early november)

Rifle (stainless) and 8 rounds
Pistol (STAINLESS) and 18 rounds (for signalling not for shoot-outs)
Wyoming knife
Cold Steel 5 inch Tanto


Keys for the truck
Ballpoint pen

Map (TOPO)
Compass (SILVA)

emergency candle
emergency space blanket
extra batteries

Waterproof matches, lighter, metal match
Calcium carbonate (a small amount in a rubber film cannister) mixed with water it generates acetlyne gas.. so you can light a fire when its cold and WET

a meat saw (small hacksaw that weighs a few ounces)
GI Sewing kit
Mole Skin
Band Aids
2 bandannas (otherwise known as a triangluar bandage)
carnation Breakfast Bars 3 or so (high energy carbos and 180 calories each)
GORP (or other such trail mix) and a hunk of beef jerky.
100 feet of parachute cord
DRY WOOL SOCKS extra wool gloves
Toilet paper
surgical gloves
sierra cup (you can cook in it)

Now almost all that stores in my fanny pack or in my pockets. I haven't been FORCED to spend a night in the woods... but I sure as hell could if i HAD to. The food isn't for snacking.. its survival rations.

I was a boyscout too.. and the motto was BE PREPARED.

Now you might not wanna lug ALL this stuff.. depending on when and where you hunt but those are my "essentials"

Not to mention wool pants wool and poly propelene long johns a wool sweater fleece vest and or jacket and stocking cap, scarf and sorel pac boots.

MAN I CARRY A LOT OF STUFF. (but with practice you don't even need a fanny pack to carry it)

Stay Safe,


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Old September 17, 1999, 02:16 PM   #10
Join Date: September 15, 1999
Location: Michigan
Posts: 66
Since other responses have covered most of the necessities, I'll throw a couple of "good ideas" at you. Power Bars, unwrapped before you enter the field to eliminate noise. I put em in zip locks, because they're sticky. There are few better sources of compact energy. Camelback hydration system. Silent. The "packteen" version is small enough for the fanny pack I wear. 4" piece of thread hanging from the forestock of my gun---wind indicator. 3M 33+ electrical tape wrapped around the handle of my mini-mag lite, to put over the muzzle in case of rain/snow. The pinky finger cut from a surgical glove also works well for this. And even though it's been said before, I'll say it again: a damn good knife. At least one. Good hunting to you.
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Old September 17, 1999, 04:07 PM   #11
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Long Path,
I almost always have my little belt first aid kit with me when hunting. Of course the rest of the stuff will vary depending on weather (in NE it can vary from sunny and 70 to near 0 blizzard, and I have hunted in it all) and specific plan for the day, but I am generally out for the whole day. We hunt approximately 20 miles from town, and camp near the 8 sections that are the main area we hunt. The area is split in half lengthwise by a creek in a 80-100' deep steep valley with many rough breaks, side draws and ravines (some are over 1 1/2 miles long)choked with burr oak and cedar in a hilly area (over 300' elevation change) not the Rockies by any stretch , but still some darn rough walkin. Unless you know exactly where you are going, you might have to walk an extra 1/2 mile to avoid a climb down and then back up a 30' vertical clay bank to cross a ravine. I will drive part way in, hike 1/2 mile to my selected stand for the morning, sit for 3-4 hours, then stillhunt along one of the sidehills for 3-4 hours, then set up in another stand till dark. I may never get more than 2 miles from my truck, but in that terrain just plain hiking 2 miles may take 45min. to an hour, injured it may take MUCH longer.
Of course, sometimes I get a shot within the first 15 minutes of the first day, and don't need hardly any of the stuff I have toted along.

[This message has been edited by bergie (edited September 17, 1999).]
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Old September 19, 1999, 08:29 AM   #12
Long Path
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ptpalpah-- good ideas, all.

Bergie. Agreed that it's completely required, but my (admittedly nit-picking) point was that it doesn't fall under the category of absolute necessity to bring home venison.

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