Thanks to our weekly turkey hunts, it seems that April has slipped into May with hardly any of us noticing. The only thing hinting that we are edging closer to summer is the melting snow and showers causing Idaho to become one giant mud puddle. We refuse to let that damper our moods however; particularly since turkey season here goes until the end of this month. However, even though it isn’t summer time here yet, we’ve already begun to think forward into fall. Why you ask? Well, 1. because during a few of our turkey hunts we’ve run across some pretty awesome sheds, and 2. because we (like many of you) like to get any new hunting equipment by May or June so that we have loads of time to break it in before the fall deer season begins. Therefore, we decided to examine what we feel are necessary items to help make sure you have a safe and happy hunt.
Making Your List
Now, there are several ways you can prepare for a hunt. You can use a list from a previous year (most seasoned hunters at this point have this down pat), you can ask a friend for advice if your newer to the hunting world, you can look to the internet for other people’s preferences (like this sweet list your reading now), or you can go online and find a pre-made check list like this one by Gander Mountain. We prefer not to use pre-made lists, because we found that often times the list includes too much and ends up forcing us to haul around unnecessary equipment that only bogs us down. Regardless of where you get your information though, we found most lists (ours included) have these items: A fully charged cell phone, flashlight, lighter, wooden matches, batteries, energy bars, water, a pee bottle, a compass, hunting knife, binoculars, gloves, rain gear, gloves, a hat, and rope. These items should be in every hunters pack along with their hunting license and tags. We aren’t going to explain why you need these items, because they are fairly self explanatory. Rather, we are going to focus on the other items we like to carry in our packs.
Tree Stands and Scent Eliminators
Whether you prefer to hunt using a tree stand, or hunt using ground cover, a scent eliminator is a necessity. There are hundreds of scent eliminators on the market, and picking the wrong one could cause you your hunt. We love recommendations from other hunters, but as of this moment we like the Scent-A-Way Max spray, though there are tons of ways to eliminate or mask your scent without having to buy a scent eliminator. Since most of us here like tree stands, we also always bring a small collapsible saw. There is nothing more infuriating that seeing a perfect spot, but being unable to set up the way you’d like due to branches. Also infuriating? Falling out of your tree stand because you either failed to bring a tree belt, or failed to put it on properly before you finish setting up in the tree; so don’t be that person: remember the belt. One of our good friends Jim Sullivan forgot his belt one year and fell out of his tree stand causing paralysis. Jim is now in a wheelchair, but still loves to hunt. So if you, or anyone you know, is disabled and still likes to hunt make sure to stop by Jim’s site Accessible Outdoors for tips, tricks and reviews for disabled hunters.
Calls and Lures
Once you’ve got the check-list for the tree stand done, you now get to move on to the fun stuff: calls, lures, and scents. Scents, we feel, are more of a personal preference. Some of us like using mass market scents, like HooDu Deer Attractant, some prefer to use urine, and some of us like using quirky (yet effective) home-made scents like vanilla extract, maple syrup, or peanut butter. No matter your preference, remembering to bring your attractant is key in ensuring a successful hunt. The importance of a good call is also something you never want to overlook; just make sure the call your using suits what you’re looking for. One of our staff swears by the Primos Hunting Speak Easy, while another one prefers the more traditional Extinguisher Deer Call. Regardless of your preference, we recommend you always bring two that way you have not only more options for calls, but a back-up in case one of your calls runs out of batteries or breaks.
Finally, the last few things we recommend are just personal preferences. We almost always make sure to take along some toasty toes and hot hands. Idaho whether can be fickle, and we dislike chilly extremities when it can be easily avoided. We also like to bring along surveyors tape because you never know when you might need to mark a path. Last, but not least, we bring our Pro-Tracker, ultimate tracking and recovery system. We know a lot of you might wonder why bringing a Pro-Tracker is necessary, but we can quickly and easily explain. We like bringing the system so on the off-chance our shot goes awry and isn’t a kill shot, we know we are very likely to find the wounded animal. We (of course) will try to follow the blood trail, but we’ve been on far too many hunts where the blood trail run cold or is lost due to inclement weather and we just hate the idea of not only losing a trophy, but leaving an animal wandering around with an injury that is our fault. By bringing the Pro-Tracker system, we can do our best to make sure that if our own personal tracking skills fail, that we still have a good chance of recovery. We hope you guys like our recommendations, and please leave us some recommendations of your own. What items do you swear by or rely on during your hunts?