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Hook & Barrel
A Lifestyle Magazine for Modern Outdoorsmen

A question I often receive is, “What should I bring with me on a big game hunt?” My first and somewhat sarcastic response generally entails something along the lines of “Bring a good attitude, a sense of adventure and desire to learn”. I know this is not the answer they are looking for but, still a very valid response.
The real answer is a bit more complicated and part of the fun in my opinion. I treat it almost like a game. The challenge is overcoming wilderness by preparing the best you can before you leave home. The test of this effort is the comfort, efficiency / effectiveness of your gear, and frankly, (a test I use for anything I pack), “Did I actually use this and was it worth the added weight?” How do you win? You guessed it, a safe and successful big game hunt.
First, I always advise folks to research the climate and terrain by simply using Google.  Hunting is an away game – you are in their territory and their world. Know the basics of where you competing. The hunt will already be difficult enough. Why place self-inflicted obstacles in front of you by being ill-prepared? Is it a mountainous terrain? Is it wet or extremely humid? What is the average high / low temperature during the time of your hunt? Is wind a common factor to be concerned about? The answers to these questions determine the materials you should be wearing and the type of boots you should bring.
*Pro-tip, bring extra socks – wet socks lead to discomfort and blisters.
Next, is the efficiency and effectiveness of what you bring. Is there dense vegetation or is it open country? What is the general look of the destination and what camouflage pattern is most appropriate? Generally, when selecting the clothing to bring, I take 2 things into account: the pattern and the temperature range. I try to bring a system I can layer so that in the mornings when it is cooler, I have a warmer top layer but, as the day warms up, I have a lighter layer of the same pattern underneath to stay cool. This is where comfort comes into play. I hate being cold and at the same time, I hate being hot and sweaty while hunting – outfit in reasonable layers and this will not be a factor. As for the pattern, rely on your research. Simply look at Google images and the landscape that is returned when you search the destination. A simple search phrase for example would be, “Central Texas Landscape”.
Hunting Equipment
I always bring my daypack. With in it, are the basics I take on every big game hunt domestic and abroad:

  • Binoculars (MavenBuilt)
  • Canteen
  • Collapsible field saw (Gerber)
  • Headlamp (Black Diamond)
  • Flashlight
  • Trauma / Basic Med Kit (RoeTactical)
  • Protein bars
  • Emergency Blanket
  • Life Straw for filtering water (Life Straw)
  • Spork to eat with
  • Lighter
  • Small amount of rope
  • Insect Repellant
  • Permanent Marker
  • Multi-tool
  • Hex key set
  • Gun Oil
  • Skinning Knife (CRKT)
  • Knife sharpener
  • Solar charger for electronics

Some of these items hopefully will never be used but are a good idea to have with you if you ever get injured or lost. The rest are the tools to be successful and prepared for whatever else nature throws at you.
I try to be efficient with my gear. I look for items that serve dual purposes. For example, my skinning knife by CRKT. With it, I have protection, all the benefits of a knife, and the added benefit of a gut hook. Also my canteen – great to carry water with, but I chose a metal option so that I could cook with it (boil water) over a fire if ever put in that position. Having multipurpose items will reduce weight and clutter. The other benefit of a good pack is the storage of the layers you will either strip off or replace as the day goes on.
* If your hunt is abroad, your guide will have most of what you will need and is generally well versed in the necessities of the hunt. Rely on the PH, but also be prepared yourself.
For early to mid-season in Texas, I would choose comfortable and breathable layers. Choose your layers based upon the time of your hunt. I personally recommend Sitka’s Sub-Alpine Optifade pattern. I would bring the Apex Pant, Apex Hoodie, Ascent Shirt, Core Lightweight Crew SS, and one of Sitka’s caps of your personal preference. As for the bag, the Sitka Apex and the Bino Bivy are a must in my books.
Remember the old saying: “Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.” You never know how the hunt will go, so if you follow my suggestions and add a few of your own, you should be well on your way to a safe and successful hunt.

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