Carry a couple good knives along with a bone saw and sharpener for your knives. Carry plenty of game bags to pack meat out of the field and to store in a cool place. Bring 50 feet of good cord or rope in case you need to hang the meat up. A couple a heavy-duty garbage bags can be used to line your pack and keep it clean. If staying in a hotel or RV of some kind think about taking a vacuum sealer to cut up and package meat if time allows. This will make transporting it home much easier. Plus, you can fit more packaged meat in a cooler then you can whole quarters.
Your hunt will dictate any type of clothing you plan on taking. Cold weather hunts will require much different clothing than a mid-to-late September elk hunt. Be sure to pack light for remote trips. For example: A set of warm weather pants, light-weight long-sleeve t-shirt and a light jacket. One set of base layers, three pair of under garments and socks can work well for 7 to 10 days.
A rut-style whitetail hunt will typically be cooler, meaning you will need a little heavier gear. If hunting remote then about the same list as far as number of garments, will work. Just be sure they are heavy enough to cover the needs. You may want to through in a down style vest and cooler weather gloves along with a beanie of some kind. If you’re staying in a hotel or in a place you have facilities, I would pack anything you think you may need, simply because you have more room and weight isn’t an issue.
Scent Elimination and Cover Scents
Code Blue has a D/Code Hunter’s Travel Kit that includes 4-ounce bottles of scent elimination spray, shampoo and body wash, antiperspirant, 16 ounces of laundry detergent and dryer sheets. If hunting remote, simply rinse clothing in a creek, hand wash with D/Code, hang and dry. Always carry scent-eliminating wipes, regardless. Not only does this help with getting rid of odors on your body, but they work great for cleaning your hands quickly, too.
You’ll need a tent, sleeping bag, pad, along with food items and hydration. Your tent needs will depend on whether you are by yourself or with a hunting buddy. Regardless, get a tent just big enough for you or a couple of you and your gear. If there are 3 or 4 people two tents would most likely be required. A light-weight sleeping bag is the best way to go. You’ll want something rated to keep you warm in the type of weather you may be faced with. Keep in mind, its always better to go a little warmer than needed. If purchasing new camping gear, get out in the backyard and set everything up until you’re completely familiar with it. The back country is no place to be learning on the fly or to find out your new tent has pieces missing.
Never forget your safety harness and stand accessories if hunting from a treestand. You’ll also want a comprehensive first-aid kit to treat wounds both big and small. If in remote country, you’ll want a substantial first-aid kit to take care of anything that might happen far from a vehicle. Don’t forget several sets of batteries for all of your electronic devices. A GPS doesn’t do any good when out of juice. Also, a portable charger for your cell phone is a good idea in case of an emergency situation.
Make sure to inform you family or someone you know of your plans. Leave them detailed contact information and a map of where you’ll be parked, staying, camping and areas you’ll be hunting. If cell service is available, plan a check-in time so that if you don’t call in, family or friends can notify local law enforcement of your last-known location. You might consider renting or purchasing a satellite phone for a backcountry trip where cell phone service won’t exist.
Regardless of the hunt you are going on or planning, prep early. If you are planning a DIY elk hunt for September 15th, have most of your equipment and needs packed by early to mid-July. Make a list of each item and mark it off as you pack, and keep it double-checked as time grows near. Go back just before you plan to head out and check one more time. If you follow this advice, then you’ll be well on your way to an enjoyable DIY hunt this fall — and hopefully a successful one, too!
About the Author: Chris Parrish has won turkey calling contests at the highest level and has hunted up and down this continent. He has a well-honed knowledge of the habits and patterns of mature whitetails — having recorded 22 bucks in the Pope & Young and Boone & Crockett record books. He’s been an ambassador for PRADCO Outdoor Brands as well as many more. Chris has a passion for sharing his knowledge with others, so look for more of his articles here and at Moultrie Products and Summit Stands.