With the calendar already flipped to fall, another successful hunting season is likely on your radar. You’ve decided on your location, which game you plan to hunt and who’s joining you on your outdoor expedition.
But to ensure your carefully-planned hunting trip is a success, it’s time to focus on your equipment. Even if this isn’t your first rodeo â€” err, hunting trip â€” it’s important to double check your supplies to make sure you’ve accounted for everything. Of course, if anything is missing or showing its age, you can purchase something new or replace it before you head out.
With that in mind, check out these five essential pieces of equipment you’ll want to pack to enjoy your hunting trip.
1. Solid Pair of Boots
Whether you’re walking in the woods hunting for deer or duck hunting in a marshy swamp, hunting boots can make or break your day. If your pair showing signs of wear, definitely replace them before you head out. Pro tip: Always look for waterproof boots no matter what type of game you’re hunting. Insulated boots can also ensure your feet stay dry, warm and protected during your hunting trip.
2. Proper Clothing
As Cross Bow Critic notes, wearing the right clothing on your hunting expedition will make a huge difference, both for your comfort and safety. Additionally, wearing the proper gear means you’ll have the energy to focus on your hunt and stay out longer, as opposed to worrying about the weather.Â
Traveling to areas where camouflage is recommended? Then you should definitely invest in a jacket and pants that conceal your appearance and movement and which are designed for a range of outside temperatures. Locate a popular outdoor retailer, like Cabela’s or REI, in your area to find some great hunting gear at reasonably low prices.
3. Sturdy Truck and Accessories
Of course, getting to and from your hunting site safely is the name of the game. And, if you’re fortunate to haul some big game back home, a solid and dependable vehicle is a must. While you likely own a trusty pickup truck that’s provided countless hunting trip memories, you’ll want to make sure it’s ready to handle your next big journey.
First things first: Check your tires. After all, your vehicle should be ready to travel on a number of different surfaces and terrain, including paved highways and muddy side roads with ease. If your tires look worn and are showing signs of rot, consider replacing them altogether from a reputable tire shop or online retailer like TireBuyer.com.
4. A Headlamp
As Tracks and Wings notes, investing in a headlamp is even more important than a flashlight while hunting. Of course, with a headlamp, both of your hands will be free to carry a gun or dress an elk or deer after sunset. A headlamp with a red/green light is ideal, as animals tend not to be scared off by this type of color.
5. Pair of Binoculars
Binoculars are a must-have for any hunting trip; after all, they can certainly help you spot deer from a long distance or see a group of ducklings by a marsh dozens of yards away. If you’re at a high vantage point, like the top of a mountain, use your pair of binoculars to scope out the areas below and/or choose your next nearby hunting spot.
When SHTF, you will be on constant surveillance, keeping your eyes open where ever you go. Whether you’re scouting for animals, defending your set perimeter, looking for water or other natural landmarks, or navigating through particularly hairy terrain with essential items like cooking gear or heavy bags filled with equipment, all of these actions require visual observation or guidance of some sort, making optics a very vital piece of your preparation plan.
The beauty of hand held optics verses drones or certain trail cams is that optics require only batteries, not electricity, to function. To be prepared for the long term all you need to do is stock up on the correct battery sizes for each optic accessory in your bag and you’ll be set. There are other considerations to caring for your optics, from cleaning kits to general maintenance if an item takes a particularly nasty fall, but first you must identify the most important optics to have on hand as part of your SHTF plan.
Binoculars and Monoculars
Binoculars and monoculars are truly vital pieces of equipment for anyone prepping for when SHTF. Binoculars don’t require any electricity to operate and are generally 100 percent weather proof and small enough to wear on your body. When you’re hunting and you don’t have time to set up a spotting scope for long range magnification, binoculars are an easy way to pull up quickly, get a closer look at what’s ahead of you and make smarter split second decisions from navigating the terrain ahead of you or to identifying if that’s an antler tip or just a stick.
Monoculars are another really great option for various reasons. They are smaller, thus even more lightweight than a set of binoculars, but they also get the job done a tad bit quicker as you aren’t going to need to drop whatever you’re holding in order to hold the optic with two hands. Monoculars are also great for younger kids who don’t want as much weight on them if they are trekking around with you and don’t cost as much as a set of binoculars, they also save on space and cut down on overall weight when added to emergency packs or supply bags.
Spotting scopes by nature require some very high quality parts from the powerful interior lenses to the weather resistant exterior of the optic. Spotting scope users require durable, long lasting quality that can preform in every imaginable circumstances from frigid temperatures to the sweltering heat. With a wide range of uses from surveillance, checking a marksman’s accuracy, surveying landscape for natural travel routes and even to spot bedded down game for hunting purposes.
Because a spotting scope offers significantly more magnification than your standard binocular you’ll find it beneficial to invest in a lightweight tripod of some sort so you can use the long range scope without any optical shake or losing your place when using it in a group setting. Spotting scopes tend to be considered a necessity for any prepper because there are so many instances where the important details you’re looking can’t be scoped out with binoculars alone. The spotting scope is the essential optical tool when you’re out in the field.
Range finders have gradually been incorporated into spotting scopes more and more over the years, but the hand held range finder still has its place in your prepper plans. The optics and laser sight technology on range finders today are quite impressive and offer the user an fast and accurate reading of objects long distances away. Knowing the range of something is great to improve accuracy, if you hit your intended target with the first shot you won’t need to use more ammunition on a second shot, thus saving money and resources.
Range finders clearly have their place in the hunting industry, but also when it comes to mapping out regions you’re traveling through and knowing the distance or reach of specific objects several draws over. It also helps users make more accurate assumptions about anticipated travel time if they know the exact distance they have yet to go. Preppers should keep in mind that range finder technology is advancing at a rapid rate and the industry has seen growth in the direction of adding GPS capability to high end devices.
Scopes and Sights
If hunting or surveillance is your aim, then having high end scopes on your weapons will benefit you for years to come. Most scopes do not require a battery or electricity as they are essentially long lenses, but some products boast added technology to the scopes that require some battery power.
A good scope, like many of your other optics, should be fully weather proof and of high quality. The lifetime and accuracy of a scope mounted to your weapon will be well worth the initial cost, even if it is a little steep. Many scopes can be modified and sighted in to work on multiple weapons, not just one. Their versatility and overall quality of such an optic should be of great importance to anyone prepping for when SHTF.
Night and Thermal Vision
An intriguing and useful optical tool that is often over looked could be the most important item of all. Having the ability to see in very low light conditions give you the upper hand in almost any situation. Imagine a scenario when you’re traveling by night and staying down during the daylight hours. We all know it’s not easy to travel at night comfortably or easily, but night vision brings a whole new aspect to these scenarios. You can pick out trails ahead of you without having to group around in the dark and have the upper hand in any scenario where you’re up against man or beast in the night hours.
Thermal vision, or infrared vision, is a great optical tool that allows the user to detect infrared radiation from bodies that are emitting more heat than surrounding objects. The beauty of these optical tools is the power it gives you concerning surveillance. They can be used both day and night because the technology is meant to detect objects based on their temperature not visual presentation.
Chances are the avid outdoorsmen reading this right now already live and die by a checklist that they abide by before heading into the woods. But that trusty checklist may be missing a few critical items.
Whether you’re new to the outdoors or a seasoned hunter, take a look at this essential checklist. You may be surprised to find items that you’ve overlooked.
Bring a Fire Starter
A fire starter is a man’s best friend in the woods. Basic and reliable fire starting tools, like the Rothco Aurora Fire Starter, should be in every woodsmen’s pack. Waterproof matches are also essential.
Pack a Day’s Worth of Food
When it comes to food and water, always pack more than you think you’ll need; you never know when those hunger pangs will kick in. That’s why it’s wise to have an emergency supply of snacky items and drinks packed in your vehicle. And, when you’re away from your vehicle, remember to include a day’s worth of food in your pack. Cheese, nuts, chocolate and seeds can keep you sustained.
Include an Emergency Shelter in Your Pack
The weather can turn. The sun can set. You can get lost. A lot can happen in the woods. Don’t set yourself up to fail. Be sure to pack in an emergency shelter for unexpected situations. In most cases, an ultralight shelter can keep you protected from the elements in undesirable situations.
Remember Sun Protection
In severe cases, a sunburn can lead to itching, blistering and welting. Worse yet, it can even cause fatigue, headaches and chills — and no one wants to experience that in unfamiliar terrain. Thus, keep your skin protected by wearing a hunter-friendly sunscreen. You can also opt to wear sunglasses, a sun-shading hat and SPH clothing, the shirts and pants sold by sportswear retailer Columbia.
Always Carry a Cellphone or Satellite Phone
A trip to the backcountry means your chances of finding a strong cell phone signal will be slim. Avoid a potential emergency by packing a satellite phone, along with your cellphone, just to be cautious on your next trip to the woods.
Check Your Tires
A quick inspection of your vehicle is always wise before heading out on your excursion. Check your tire tread and look for any signs of dry rot. If you need new tires, look for a brand that offers optimal traction and braking, like Cooper CS5 Grand Touring Tires.
Pack Headlamps, Flashlights and Extra Batteries
Night can creep over you in an instant, so don’t be left in the dark. It’s not unheard of for an afternoon wood’s trip to turn into an after-dark adventure. Make sure you are prepared for whatever happens when the sun goes down by having flashlights, headlamps and plenty of extra batteries on hand — not only on your person, but in your vehicle, too.
Don’t Forget Your Altimeter and Maps
Altimeters are considered by experts a worthwhile tool. These devices use a barometric sensor to measure air pressure, while also providing an almost perfect estimate of your elevation. And both are valuable pieces of information that not only will help you keep track of your progress, but can also help determine your exact location. Likewise, it’s always a smart idea to include a topographic map in your pack for those sticky situations where an altimeter or GPS device may fail you in the woods.
Everyone is distracted by their phones these days. The incessant beeping and lit screens offer a distraction from any task that you are attempting to avoid. This new era of the smartphone has left us less productive than ever and with distracted and distant dinner dates. It is easy to forget that smartphones were designed as a tool to enhance our everyday lives, not to hinder them. Reconnecting with the useful functions, rather than the distracting features (i.e., games and social media sites), we can use them to enrich our experiences away from the screen. Next time that you head out on a big game hunt, make sure to pack your phone — not to play Candy Crush, but to help you bag that tag.
Using your phone to its full potential while out in the field doesn’t mean that you need to bog down your phone with a ton of new apps. Your phone comes standard being GPS enabled to help you navigate your way through your favorite hunting grounds during the day or night. The satellite maps will allow you to see where territory boundaries lie, elevation gains and losses, as well as wind directions. You can drop pins in areas that you want to remember to visit again where you had seen your game eating or nesting but couldn’t get the shot right at that exact moment. The stock weather app will also give you the information you need about sunrise and sunset times.
If you were to use some apps that could help you track and locate your harvest, you will have plenty of room on the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, which can expand up to 255 GB of storage. With apps like iHunt Journal ($5 on Google Play), you can use that large amount of memory storage to upload photos, record weather conditions, GPS locations and more information that will help you in next year’s hunt. For the bird hunters out there, download a Ducks Unlimited app that will allow you to see real time migratory bird migrations.
Accessorize to Optimize
As useful of a tool that your phone can be, it is not going to do anything for you if it gets submerged in water or is broken by dropping out of your pocket. Consider getting a camouflage Otterbox Preserver case for your smartphone to protect it against the elements. It will protect your phone from hard impacts and keep it dry in its waterproof case. To make sure that your phone always has a charge, pack along the ammunition shell shaped Reload charger by Brakerton. It is lightweight and fits in your pocket, but just make sure to not confuse it with your actual ammo and load it in your gun! If you don’t want to feel tethered to a phone charger, equip yourself with a phone that has an available wireless charger so that you’re not having to worried about tangled wires while taking aim.
Sunjack – SunJack 14W+8000mAh Battery is an extremely useful charger if you go away and are off the grid! Ideal for hunting, hiking, camping, and all sorts of other outdoor activities. Described as the “world’s most powerful solar charger”, the SunJack Portable Solar Charger provides USB power where ever you need it. With this portable charger you can charge your phone, tablet, camera, or really any USB device on while on the go.
On May 15th, 2014 Sunjack was successfully funded on Kickstarter thanks to these backers. They have been based out of California since then, they have also developed several other products that have been proven as incredibly hi-quality products that deliver results.
Using the Sunjack to charge an iPhone is super fast – it actually seemed like it charged a smartphone about 30% faster than plugged normally into the wall. SunJack is compatible with most mobile phones, iPad/tablets, USB lights, digital cameras, MP3 players, and portable gaming devices.
According to their website:
Every SunJack provides wall outlet charging speeds in direct sun, and can charge a smartphone in just 90 minutes.
14W + 8000mAh Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 Battery – Ideal for the typical phone or tablet user. Fully charges SunJack battery in five hours of direct sun and holds enough juice for 4 smartphones or 1 tablet.
What Do You Get?
– SUNJACK 14 Watt Portable Solar Charger with dual 2 Amp USB output ports
– SUNJACK Qualcomm 2.0 Quickcharge Battery Pack
– SUNJACK Fast-Charge Cable
– SUNJACK Carabiners
– Quickstart Guide
– 1 Year Manufacturer Warranty
Solar panels: 14 watts of high efficiency mono-crystalline
Max output voltage/current: One 5V/1.5A USB port
Battery: 8,000mAh lithium-polymer battery ~ 5 hours
Unit Size folded: 9″ x 6.5″ x 1.75″ (23cm x 16.5cm x 4.5cm) – similar to an iPad.
Unit Size unfolded: 9″ x 31″ x 1″ (23cm x 79cm x 2.5cm)
Unit Weight: 1.75 / 0.8 (lbs/kg)
Packaging Dimension: 10.5″ x 8.5′ x 2″ (27cm x 22cm x 5.1cm)
With the holiday season right around the corner, we thought we would share our thoughts on a few unique gifts for the hunters, shooters, and outdoors lovers on your gift list. NOTE: There will be another list dedicated just to guns coming soon!
Half Life Knives
Made by Michael J Cleveland from Mustang OK. Half Life Knives has been featured in Blade Magazine recently 3 different times. Visit our Knife Pro Shop and check them out! If you have any questions about these, or any other knives, speak with Michael McKee our Knife Pro Shop Manager.
Handgun Hangers are an innovative way to store your handguns and utilize the least used space in your safe-under the shelves. Vinyl coated finish protects barrels. Best of all, now you will have quick access to your handguns and save space in an efficient way.
New Range Bag
A shooter needs something to be able to carry all their gear too and from the range so they need a good range bag. A range bag for a shooter is the place where all things shooting related usually end up some how so it needs to be large and comfortable to carry with plenty of room for everything. This will be the staple of the range for them. This is always a good buy for your special shooter.
The TrailKeg is a dream come true. Back at the campsite at the end of the day the TrailKeg is a great way to unwind with a great beer. The complete TrailKeg pressurized growler system! Just add beer! This package is adventure ready and makes it possible to enjoy great beer in great places.
H&H Range Membership Though we don’t require a membership to use our facility, it will save you a ton if you are going to come in more than a couple times a year.
DULUTH MEN’S FIRE HOSE WORK PANT How can you go wrong with a pair of pants of which the manufacture offers a “We Dare You to Wear ‘Em Out” guarantee? I don’t think you can. These pre-washed, soft, 11.5-oz. fire hose cotton canvas pants with a “Comfortable Crouch Gusset” are perfect to wear afield, in the shop, or just hanging around dreaming about being in the field or at the shop. And again, if you wear them out the company will replace them no questions asked. That sounds like a dare to me.
HOYT CARBON DEFIANT BOWThis is carbon done right.
You are no ordinary bowhunter, and this is no ordinary bow. This is hand-laid, thermoset carbon; a painstaking cross between meticulous engineering and devoted craftsmanship. Mastered only by Hoyt, carbon’s strength, weight and thermal characteristics make it the ideal material for premier bow construction. From vibration reduction and cold-weather comfort, to lethal accuracy and rugged durability, the advantages of carbon are definite. This is next-level bowhunting design that flies in the face of industry norms. This is carbon done right.
Packed with innovative cam, pocket and limb technologies, the sleek Carbon Defiant is designed to deliver unmatched forgiveness, accuracy and efficiency, to help you drop bucks in the clutch. The Hoyt Carbon Defiant series continues to push boundaries as the flagship of the Hoyt line, and the premier series of the bowhunting world. Get Serious. Get Defiant.
Mag Loaders If you’re getting someone special a few magazines, how about a mag loader too? They’ll save their thumbs after a long day of shooting. We’re fans of the Mag Lula pistol loaders.
Merrell’s ARCTIC GRIP Boots
Merrell and Vibram® have joined forces to change the industry—again. The Vibram® Arctic Grip outsole compound is the most advanced cold weather gripping system ever created by Vibram. It is designed to improve grip perform on cold, wet, icy or snowy surfaces compared with existing Vibram soles. It’s like nothing else on the market, and we’re going to keep it that way with exclusive rights to this technology through Fall 2017. Scramble over snow and ice with unparalleled traction thanks to Vibram® Arctic Grip. Breathable, waterproof, and insulated to keep toes toasty without overheating. Buy here;
Stryker Assault Vehicle
Well, just… because. Who said Santa had to be practical? You can ask him for anything.
Many people in modern society have never considered the possibility of hunting for their own food. However, with the negative environmental and welfare implications associated with the agricultural industry and with the current high cost of meat, it is becoming more of a viable option.
Welfare and Environmental Concerns
The EU imports a huge amount of meat every year with approximately 45% of it each year coming from Brazil. This is a major concern for animal welfare, as we have less control over the rearing process. Using the UK as an example, import statistics from AHDB Beef & Lamb demonstrate the sheer financial scale of what is being spent on meat every year in the UK. However, as can be seen during the last 12 months, the actual amounts are on the decline. This seems to be driven in part by the ability of fewer people to afford the cost of meat, and by environmental and welfare concerns. A report by The Guardian in 2010 highlighted that 25% of meat imported into the UK comes from countries which have weaker welfare controls than we do. As people’s awareness of this rises, so their willingness to buy meat from sources they are not sure of decreases.
Furthermore the USA has recently reached a draft agreement with the UK whereby it will once again accept red meat from the UK, 20 years after it was banned due to the ‘mad cow disease’ scandal. There is concern about the food miles travelled by meat, both imports and exports. This could potentially further increase meat costs in the UK and it means that the meat itself will have a high carbon footprint. Food miles are the distance food travels to reach your plate and the less distance travelled, the lower the environmental impact. It is also important to eat foods which are in season, especially ones which can be sourced locally. Hence, traditional game shooting is driven by the seasons. For example, game and deer are protected at some points in the year to allow the population to flourish. Rabbit and woodpigeon do not have a closed season, in most locations, and can be hunted throughout the year, because their populations are high.
The Benefits of Eating Meat You Have Hunted Yourself
Many people will shy away from eating meat they hunt themselves however, when you weigh up the benefits, it can be seen to be one of the most ethical choices.
Local: If you have access to local country areas then the food you hunt will travel fewer food miles, as it will only need to travel from the field to your plate. Not only this, you will know exactly where your meat came from, and will not feel dissociated from the reality of your meats origin. This is unlike purchasing from a supermarket, where it is hard to visualize the meats origin when received in a packet on a continuous basis.
Welfare: The game will live in its natural habitat, not farmed and therefore not affected by any negative welfare standards. If a good marksman hunts the game it will also experience a pain-free death and not be subject to any of the fear associated with slaughter.
Healthy For You: Wild game is also healthy for the person eating it because it is not intensively farmed and nor is it treated with antibiotics or growth hormones.
Connects You Back to the Source of Your Food: Many people are very detached from the source of their food. They are used to purchasing meat which has been neatly packaged up, and which bears little resemblance to meat found on a butcher’s counter. Getting back in touch with the provenance of food can therefore be a positive thing.
Is Hunting Sustainable?
It may seem very unsustainable for everyone to hunt unregulated, as this would not support such large populations. However, to hunt for your food, you would only be able to do it on your own land, or gain permission to hunt on somebody else’s. So it is regulated at this first level, and furthermore you would need to prove yourself a responsible hunter if on somebody else’s land. A second level of regulation is implemented when a species population show any sign of risk, where laws would be implemented to prevent hunting of that species until numbers replenish. If fact, many farmer’s welcome hunters, as when pest numbers increase, such as rabbits, they can destroy much of their crop. In conclusion, hunting if regulated can be sustainable.
The Practicalities of Hunting
There are several things you will need to consider before you decide whether hunting is right for you.
Location: Are you based close to open countryside where hunting is a possibility or are you willing to travel? For city dwellers this may be more problematic unless they go hunting several times a year and stock up the freezer each time.
Permission: You will need permission to shoot on a farmer’s land. Always stress the benefits when you approach landowners, for example you can highlight the positive outcome of keeping pest numbers down.
Insurance: It’s important to get insurance before you shoot to limit your liability in case of an incident. both include low cost insurance options in their membership, and provide a wealth of other support, so opting to join one of these can be a wise choice.
Equipment: You will also need to purchase either a shotgun, rifle or air rifle. The latter can be the easiest option as there is usually less restrictions on a gun with 12ft lb in power. It is important to research the gun laws for the country you are in. If you are inexperienced with shooting, you may also want to join a gun club to practice. It is important when shooting game to get a clean shot so the animal doesn’t suffer.
Know What It’s Legal to Shoot and When: Different game will have open and closed season and some wildlife will be off limits completely for hunting as they are protected. It is very important to do thorough research on this before you start as breaking the law can lead to a hefty fine. Legislation also differs between the different countries.
Eating Your Quarry
Hunting is only the first step. Once you take your game home, you will need to know how to clean, prepare and cook it. There are several websites which deal with these practicalities as well as providing you with a range of recipes you can use for rabbit, pigeon and other game birds. For the bigger beasts, you can hunt deer when in season for some wild venison. Europe as a whole is not short of wild hogs, and are considered a pest in some areas. A hog roast is a great way to get friends and family together. You may even want to expand your horizons and consider fishing, for example wild trout makes a delicious meal.
One of the biggest benefits of hunting is the cost saving involved. Once you have kitted yourself out and gained a good understanding of where and how to shoot, you have limitless access to fresh game. As long as you have a big enough freezer! Combine this with the fact you will be eating healthy, local and ethically sourced meat and you benefit not only your own pocket but you will take positive steps for the environment too.
The fastest way to turn a hunting trip into a chore is to come unprepared. Whether you’re a hard-working bachelor or dad in serious need of some quiet time, you know how tough it is to get away, so make sure you get the most out of your time. Plan ahead and make sure you don’t leave out these essential, yet all too often overlooked, items:
1. First Aid
Blood clotting powder, emergency blanket, poncho, iodine tablets and bandages all make sure you are ready for the unthinkable. While it’s not likely that something will happen (not everything is like “Naked and Afraid” and “Dual Survival”), it’s better to be prepared. Bring extra first aid and survival gear to ensure you won’t end up having to come home early, injured and empty handed.
2. Sleeping Pad
You want to enjoy your trip just as much as you want to bring home a trophy. Just because you’re out in the great wide open all alone doesn’t mean you have to rough it. In fact, investing in a few luxuries can make all the difference. A supportive sleeping pad is the way to go if you’re staying overnight. The newest versions are lightweight, self-inflating and insulated. This way you’ll be warm and comfy after a long day in the wilderness.
3. Baby Wipes
Yes, baby wipes. These let you clean up and feel like a million bucks for the rest of the day. They are especially useful if there’s not a port-a-potty around for miles.
Make sure you bring sunglasses even if the weather calls for cloudy skies or storms. Even an overcast sky can deliver powerful rays and exhaust your eyes after a long day of tracking. This can greatly effect your accuracy. Invest in a good pair that are comfortable enough to wear all day, have UVA and UVB blocking, and are polarized.
5. Smartphone Apps
Smartphone apps can increase your success rates no matter what you’re hunting, from white tail deer to largemouth bass. Some useful apps include weather prediction, location specific camo guides, knot tying tutorials and recommendations for choosing the right bait for the stream you’re fishing. But remember, you won’t be able to use map or location services unless you invest in a personal hotspot, which still may only give you spotty service. Download maps, videos and tutorials ahead of time or take screenshots of important info you may not be able to access in the bush.
Speaking of spotty Wi-Fi, you need to be able to communicate with your hunting buddies or call for help. Beartooth Radio, for example, is a smartphone case that turns your cellphone into a walkie-talkie, even if you don’t have service. It can call within a 5-mile radius and text within a 10-mile radius. So whether you want to check on others in your group or you need to call for help, this gadget is a good investment.
For the right price, nearly any animal can be hunted – an African lion permit costs most than $50,000; a polar bear permit goes for $30,000. However there are a handful of hunts that make the aforementioned look like hobbyist hunts. Here are the four most expensive and difficult permits to obtain. Anybody who can check off all of these hunts will most likely be the only hunter in the world to ever do so, making this a dream grand slam for the well-off and super dedicated hunter. If you’re headed out on one of these trips, don’t forget pack mosquito repellent, your passport and a good pair of boots.
Antelope Island State Park Mule Deer
Only two mule deer permits are issued each year to hunt in Utah’s Antelope State park, which makes this an elite hunting experience. The hunting is so good that Canadian hunter Troy Lorenz has spent $800,000, at two separate auctions, to be able to hunt the biggest mule deer in North America. In 2015, he bagged a massive 231-inch buck.
If you are lucky enough to get to a permit for this hunt, park officials will guide your stalk in November. Bring along warm clothing — we like SITKA Big Game Systems — since the average temperature hovers between 28 and 50 degrees that time of year.
Namibian Black Rhinoceros
Each year, Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism issues three to five permits to hunt the critically endangered black rhino. It’s part of a very scientific herd management program. Permit holders are allowed to take one of a handful of male black rhinos that have been designated as dangerous and/or non-productive to the health of the black rhino population. Last year, Corey Knowlton, an affluent Texan who lives a Hemingway-esque life, used a permit he won in a Dallas Safari Club for $350,000 (for just the permit). The proceeds from the auction went to anti-poaching efforts, which didn’t stop people from sending death threats to the Texan.
With the help of guides and Namibian officials, Knowlton stalked his 3,000 pound black rhino through dense, thorny brush for hours a day. He donated the rhino’s meat to a local village.
Hunting Pakistani Houbura Bustard with Falcons
This is a status hunt and probably the hardest hunting permit in the world to secure. Unless you are an Arabian Gulf Sheikh, chances are slim you will ever get the opportunity to hunt the endangered Houbara bustard. Since the chicken-sized birds, that many believe are an aphrodisiac, have nearly been hunted to extinction on the Arabian Peninsula, wealthy sheikhs pay Pakistani officials to hunt their houbara population. While permits are good for 10 days and 100 birds, a Saudi Prince killed more than 2,100 of the endangered species over a 21-day hunt in 2014. You see where this is going, right? You need connections, clout and a vault of cash if you want to go on one of these controversial expeditions. If you do manage to go hunting for houbara in Pakistan, you will be one of very few westerners to have completed the hunt.
Montana Big Horn Sheep
While resident permits for Montana bighorn sheep only cost around $200, they are so hard to get that permits are routinely auctioned off for $300,000 at the Wild Sheep Foundation’s annual convention. The owner of Jimmy John’s, James Liautaud, has dropped nearly $600,000 for two separate Montana Bighorn Sheep hunts. While this sounds expensive, Liautaud actually got a bargain. In 2013, an anonymous bidder paid a record-smashing $480,000 for the same tag. After spending that much money on a single hunt, you’ll want to make sure you hire the best possible outfitter to guide you and that your marksmanship skills are well above average. You’ll also need to bundle-up for this chilly fall hunt and bring a high-speed field bag like the American-made, special operations tested OAF -96 Jumpable backpack for stalking.
Going hunting is one of the best ways to leave the technological world behind and get back to nature, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave all your technology at home. A hunting trip might be just the respite you need from Netflix, your flat-screen and your laptop, but bringing your phone and a few accessories with you on the hunt can make your trip less stressful and increase your success rate of bringing home something for the freezer. Here’s your guide to some clever gear for your phone for your next hunting trip.
The Case for a Serious Phone Case
If you’re going to be using your phone on the hunt, it’s time to get serious about your case. Remember, just because a case feels heavy duty or is covered in camo, doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for your personal needs.
Are you often hunting in rainy weather? Many bow and rifle experts are huge proponents of hunting in the rain and for good reason. There are fewer hunters willing to brave inclement weather, and big bucks are driven to move during daylight storms. And while a downpour will have most whitetail hunkered down, they are much more likely to move before and after a big storm.
A waterproof case is a great investment, but the operative word here is investment. While knockoffs are available online for anywhere from $5 to $30, the quality and the warranty comes with a heftier price tag. Otterbox, Pelican and Lifeproof brands offer shock- and rain-resistant options that are under $100. All offer cases in a variety of colors to match the terrain, as well as some pretty cool camo options.
Recording and Connecting
Whether you belong to an online hunting community, have a Facebook hunting group or like flying solo, consider making a video the next time you’re on the hunt.
It’s easier to do than ever before, and it’s amazing the uses you can find for these video recordings. They’re a great way to study your technique, teach young hunters about safety, remember landmarks and honey pots and, of course, maintain your bragging rights. And no, you don’t have to wear a helmet and a GoPro and put up with shaky footage.
Some apps are helpful during the hunt and some are helpful while preparing, but they’re all reasonably priced and worth checking out. For example, Hunt Predictor has received rave reviews, and its detailed five-day forecast predicts the movement of deer, turkey and waterfowl. It also keeps track of your friends’ location during the hunt.
The HeyTell app is another great tool to have in the field or in case of an emergency. It basically turns your phone into a walkie-talkie. You don’t even have to sign up for an account to communicate.
Remember that using apps and taking videos will drain your battery. Be sure to invest in an external charger so you don’t have to worry about conserving battery life.