It’s that time of year, when all your equipment, skills and practice shots get put to the test during your first hunting trip.
If you’re preparing for your first hunt, don’t forget to make your packing checklist before you leave!
When you have a lot of gear to carry with you, it’s easy to forget something, even for the most experienced hunters.
Don’t forget to include these 9 must-haves to ensure your trip is safe and successful:
The Right Clothing
The first thing you’ll want to consider is your clothing and gear. Everything you wear will need to be weatherproof and practical for your hunting trip.
Make sure you’ve purchased a warm jacket, overalls, extra gloves and socks, a hat, waterproof boots and rain gear.
You’ll need most, if not all of your clothing to be camouflage.
Some states require hunters to wear blaze orange as well, if you’re hunting animals that can’t distinguish color, like deer.
This ensures safety, as your fellow hunters can spot you, while the deer can’t.
Food and Water
You’ll need to stay energized and hydrated while out in the woods.
Pack plenty of water and when it comes to food, stick to dried goods that are packed with protein, such as trail mix, energy bars, granola, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
To avoid scaring off your prey, avoid making loud noises with wrappers by pre-opening your food and storing it in ziploc bags.
Pro Tip: Be aware of the scents your food may give off, such as beef jerky. It can scare prey and lure other predators.
Speaking of food, if you’re backpacking and setting up camp during a multi-day trip, you’ll also need to have a few sources of heat.
Pack firestarters (empty toilet paper rolls stuffed with laundry machine lint work great) and matches so you can cook over a warm fire.
Pro Tip: Consider a backpacking stove for faster, easier cooking while out on the hunt.
Flashlights and extra batteries should also be on your list of gear to pack for your first hunting trip.
Whether or not you plan to hunt after sundown, having a flashlight or a headlamp is about planning and prevention.
The last thing you want is to be caught in an emergency situation in the woods with a limited amount of daylight.
As a beginner, you’ll want to invest in a decent pair of binoculars so you can spot your game from a distance.
This is what’s referred to as “glassing”.
In addition to wild game, you’ll also be able to spot other hunters. There are plenty of options on the market, depending on your unique needs.
Pro Tip: When selecting a pair for your first trip, consider the distance you’ll need to cover, and whether you need to see in the dark or not.
Weapons and Ammunition
Obviously, when you’re hunting, you’ll need a weapon and ammo.
You may be using a rifle, or you may be trying your hand at bowhunting.
Either way, make sure you have all the ammo and accessories you need, including sights, scopes, rope and arrows.
Pro Tip: You may also want to look into a gutting knife or skinning knife as well, depending on what you’ll be hunting.
First Aid Kit
Finally, add a small first aid kit to your list. Being prepared for any situation can provide peace of mind as you make your way out for your first hunting trip.
You likely won’t need to deal with anything life threatening, but it’s still a good idea to have a small kit of bandages, gauze and antiseptic to manage minor scrapes and bruises you may get along the way.
Pro Tip: If you’ll be out on the trail for multiple days, don’t forget a toothbrush and toothpaste!
A small, but powerful thing you won’t be sorry to pack is a multi-tool.
You never know when you’ll need a pocket knife, pliers, small scissors or a wire cutter on a hunting journey.
You may need to cut small branches for kindling a fire, cut some rope for anything you catch or open packages for food.
A multi-tool is absolutely essential for your first hunting trip, no matter how small it may seem.
No one wants to be lost in the woods with limited daylight, dwindling rations and a weak cell phone signal.
For this reason, every hunter should pack a map and a compass at the minimum.
You can also invest in a GPS system, but physical supplies will ensure you have access to your path, even if your signal is spotty.
Some of these devices can even signal others with your exact location, in case you need a rescue team.
Packing for your first hunting trip doesn’t have to be intimidating. With a good checklist and a little preparation, you can focus on sharpening your skills and enjoying your time in nature. And depending on how good your shot is, you may even be able to sell some of your freshly earned meat for a little extra money.
Author Bio: Derek Edwards is a budding adventurist and outdoorsman. Having lived in western PA for six years, where the first day of hunting season was treated like a bank holiday, he’s no stranger to the thrill of the hunt. If you liked this post you can follow along his adventure over on his blog.