Here in Montana, rifle season is upon us. Many other states have already opened or will be opening soon. When packing for what may be your first trip out of the season, it can be easy to forget the little things - which are oftentimes the things you need the most. After each hunting trip, I find myself adding to the mental list of what to do next time. Here are some tips so that you can focus on the hunt and less on preparation & packing!
I always like to add another coat of waterproofing spray on my boots before heading out. This helps your feet stay dry & warm, plus it extends the lifespan of your boots! The Crispi Waterproofing Spray is a great addition on top of any leather, suede, or synthetic boot.
Once you have a good idea of the area you will be hunting, be sure to download offline versions of the maps. This is one of my favorite onX features and has saved me many times. I like to download my immediate hunting area in high resolution and the surrounding areas in medium or low resolution.
Make sure all necessary devices are charged and ready - headlamps, GPS, phones, flashlights, etc. I always like to bring extra batteries and power banks too. Pale Blue Earth batteries are a great option for hunting since you can recharge them from a power bank!
Hopefully this has been done in the weeks prior, but make sure your rifle is set to go. I always like to check that my scope is dialed back to 0, any attachments I need are secured, and I have enough ammo stowed away in my stock pack. When driving to my hunting spot, I keep my rifle secured in a hard-sided case to ensure that everything stays as accurate as possible.
Stretch! This is probably not a common tip, but I find it really helps. Whether it is a yoga class or an online video, getting your muscles and joints prepared is crucial to injury prevention and post-packout recovery. Especially while backpack hunting, I like to stretch nightly at camp.
Check your tags and check them again! Make sure you have all the right tags, they are in an accessible spot in your pack, and they are signed (if needed). I always like to bring some electrical tape & plastic bags to secure them to the animal post-harvest.
Prepare your kill kit to ensure you have everything you need once you have an animal down. I keep mine simple & practical - latex gloves, plastic bags (for bloody gloves!), game bags, a knife, and extra blades.
Pack your orange if your state requires it and make sure it will be visible with your set-up. Even if your state does not require orange, it adds a measure of safety. Tossing in an orange beanie is never a bad idea. Here’s a great list of requirements by state from one of our brand partners, DSG.
Review the weather forecast. Even if it says no chance of rain, a rain jacket is something you will always be thankful to have when you need it. First Lite makes some durable yet packable rain gear.
Toilet paper, wipes, and plastic bags. Never want to forget these!
Post-packout pajamas. I learned this lesson the hard way after having to sit in a truck in bloody clothes, while dreaming about sweatpants. Leave a set of fresh socks, sweatpants, a sweatshirt, and some slip-on shoes in the truck for after. Changing out of sweaty and bloody clothes into fresh cozy clothes is the BEST feeling. Bonus tip: keep baby wipes in the truck for a field shower too!
If you have room for a cooler in the truck, stock it with ice, some Gatorades, and your favorite snacks. Gatorade has never tasted better than after a long pack out!