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.
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.
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.
For any parent, your children’s safety comes first in the case of a crisis or emergency. That’s why, in cases of disaster, it’s imperative to have the essential items for survival like an effective emergency survival bag that includes items for safety, recreation and sustenance. After making sure you have everything you need, prepare a smaller bag for your child.
Although you might have packed everything necessary for survival for the entire family, providing your child with their very own “bug-out bag” can instill a sense of tranquility in a crisis. Depending on your child’s age, you can place various items in the bag, but be sure to also include a source of comfort, no matter the age. In an emergency, comfort items and foods can do a lot to alleviate stress and anxiety.
If you’re not sure what specific items to include, get your child involved and ask them what kind of food, games and comfort items they would want when disaster strikes. This will give them the chance to communicate with you their concerns about such an emergency and will help them be better prepared. Here are some items to include in your child’s bug-out bag.
Safety and Basics
First, choose an emergency survival bag that fits your child well. Keep in mind, depending on your child’s age, they probably won’t be able to carry as heavy a load as you. If their bag is too heavy or bulky, it may be cumbersome for them to carry and slow them down in cases where they must quickly run away.
Include a first-aid kit and teach your child how to properly use the items inside. The more familiar they become with those items, the better they will be able to use them in case of a minor cut or even a more serious injury. In addition to a first-aid kit, include a surgical mask to protect them from breathing in airborne bacteria and viruses, as well as a(n):
Pre-paid cell phone
Hat or beanie
Again, talk to your kids about each item in their bag and discuss the types of situations in which they would need to use them.
Food is crucial in an emergency situation, and while you’ll probably be the one carrying most of the food, it’s important to equip your child with some food as well in case they ever get separated from you. Be sure to include high-energy foods, like granola bars, canned tuna or chicken, a small jar of peanut butter and a small bottle of honey.
Prepare your child by including water purification tablets and a water canteen. Also include hard candy and gum, so they have a small treat on hand. You know your child best, so include a few of their favorite snacks. Having familiar foods during an emergency can calm your child’s nerves and provide comfort.
While food can be a source of comfort for your child, it’s likely they’ll find themselves bored after some time has passed and the urgency of the situation has settled down. That’s why it’s smart to prepare a few recreational items, like games, coloring books with crayons, a ball, deck of cards, puzzles, or a stuffed animal. These items will keep your child occupied and out of trouble. Modify the aforementioned list to your child’s age.
Remember, rotate your supply of food and water every six months to keep your supply fresh. Make sure any clothes you include still fit your child comfortably. Use your best judgement and allow older children to carry a pocket knife or any fire-starting tools. Of course, talk through how to use these items beforehand.
If this emergency survival bag is for an infant, you should prepare a separate diaper bag to carry. And, if you are the type of parent wanting to feel prepared for an emergency, take your family on a hike and camp out with the survival bags to become more familiar with each item and determine what might be missing.
For the avid outdoors enthusiast, the summer season means one thing — a hunting trip. A tradition as old as time, people have looked forward to this magical time when they could head off into the woods with their friends and tune out all of life’s daily responsibilities. Though part of the fun is leaving behind distractions, here are 10 items you need to remember to bring with you.
Though the point of your trip is to relax and unwind away from all of the distractions that tether you to the daily grind, you’re not a savage. The baseball season stops for no one, so your cellphone lets you check scores while you are away, and you can also load it up with helpful apps like a compass, range finder, radio and GPS. So, if you happen to get injured you can call for help, and, if needed, a pizza delivery.
2. Zipper Bags
Sealing baggies have 101 uses, but on a hunting trip they are particularly helpful. For example, you can store scent lures separate from your other belongings, so your favorite sweatshirt doesn’t end up smelling like elk urine.
3. Wet Wipes
Also providing multiple uses, the convenient and disposable wet wipe will serve you well after dinner, after a messy field dressing and after nature calls when you are in the middle of the woods. Wet wipes are more durable and sanitary than standard toilet paper, so they are perfect for your trip.
One goal when packing for a weekend hunting trip is to pack light, so a single item with multiple applications is ideal. For this reason, the tried and true Swiss Army Knife is invaluable. There are so many versions of this baby that you can find one that serves all of your needs. However, you may want to carry a separate hunting knife or a small wood saw or ax.
5. First-Aid Kit
If you have not had to break into yours yet, you will. Carry one with you if for no other reason than to account for Murphy’s Law.
The sun will get to you after awhile. Don’t leave home without a pair of sunglasses and extra lenses, since you will be spending the majority of your time outdoors, sitting, standing and waiting in the sun.
7. Food & Drink
Hunters tend to have mixed feelings about carrying water into the woods. There will always be that one friend who refuses and boasts about his ability to head off into the dark with nothing more than a weapon in hand and a license. This is also the person who refuses to eat anything while on the trail and thinks doing a few squats every few hours will keep him warm in the chilly night air.
There’s nothing wrong with packing a few energy bars for the hike. Even though you don’t want to lug around a gallon of water and have to pee every 45 minutes, you also don’t want to get lost in the woods without it. A canteen or water bottle is fine. And when you return to base camp, nothing beats a cold brew, either as a congratulatory toast to a successful hunt or as a consolation prize for your empty hands.
Your trusty Zippo is great to have on you, but a few additions to your fire-starter kit will save you a massive headache when it comes time to kindle. Bringing waterproof matches, a metal match, Vaseline-coated cotton balls for tinder and a plumber’s candle along with you will ensure that starting a fire will be a snap.
9. Spare Release
Here’s one for bow hunters in particular. If you know the sense of dread and disappointment that washes over you when you take aim on an approaching deer and then hear that god-awful clinking sound that your release makes as it hits the tree stand on its way down, then you know the importance of having a spare release on your person before making your climb up that tree. Check and recheck your pocket or vest to verify.
10. Silk Scarf
Men have been wearing scarves for hundreds of years, so get past your senseless aversion. The cowboys of the Wild West understood that wrapping your neck in a silk scarf protects it from the dreaded neck chafing that comes with wearing a wool shirt. It also can be used to block cold drafts from your skin or as a sling if you’re in a pinch. You can question the manliness of wearing a scarf all you want, but you cannot deny its applicability.
An empty house, car or even cabin can be an easy target for potential burglars. Most cabins are used on the weekends or seasonally, making them an easy score to a thief. Without the proper precautions, you may visit your cabin and find everything from the tool shed to the bedroom stripped of valuables. Prepare yourself and your cabin with these burglar deterrents.
Big-Time Thieves and Amateurs
There are more than 8,000 home burglaries in the United States every day. Fewer than 15 percent of these criminals are caught, which means many repeat offenders are still on the loose and searching for their next targets.
While professional burglars can spot a cabin or house that’s been empty for a long time, you’re more likely to be vandalized by opportunistic amateurs. These thieves aren’t cracking any vaults, but they’ll certainly break a window or force a door open if they know you won’t be around for the next couple months.
That’s why you should either pay or enlist a friend who lives nearby to check up on your cabin periodically. They should check locks, windows and even the mail. And consider installing a home security system with cameras for added peace of mind.
Don’t Lend Cover
A cabin in the woods generally removed from the hustle and bustle of civilization will naturally have more shrubs, trees and bushes around it. While you may enjoy the ruggedness of an overgrown forest on the steps of your cabin, these plants can lend cover to any burglars seeking an easy hit.
Trim back the forest so that burglars can’t use your landscaping as cover as they break in. While this may seem like a waste of time if your cabin is miles from neighbors, amateur burglars get cold feet if they don’t have the cover they want.
Light is a sure sign someone is home. In a burglar’s mind, a dark house translates to an empty house. Give the appearance of an occupied home with timers on your lights and TV. This might not fool a veteran of the burglary trade, but the chance that your cabin will be a target is slim.
With the TV on at typical times of the evening and lights on a realistic time schedule, only the most nuanced burglars will know if you’re actually home or not. If you’re reluctant to have your TV come on, fool burglars by purchasing an inexpensive Fake TV that emits a television’s flickering glow.
Don’t Advertise Your Absence
Not everyone you know needs to know you have a cabin, and unless you plan on sharing it with them, they don’t ever need to know. There’s no reason you should advertise on Facebook or Twitter that there’s a vacant cabin the majority of the year. While part of the fun is sharing your adventures, do so carefully.
You love taking your dog out with you and he increases the success rate of your hunting goals; however, there are some unplanned factors that may disturb your hunting experience when he’s with you, regardless of his impeccable training. Before you go out on your next hunt, make sure your dog is set up with the right tools, so you can have peace of mind while you’re out in the wilderness.
PetSafe Wireless Containment System
This pet containment system is portable and can be set up in one to two hours for dogs eight pounds and up. The system sets perimeters for your dog, so he can’t wander too far from your desired location. His collar reminds him with a tone or static correction if he breaches the pre-set barrier. The system can cover a circular area up to a half acre, but if your hunt covers a vast area, you can expand the containment size with additional wireless transmitters. This is a useful tool when you are in the early stages of training your hunting dog because he can easily learn to not wander too far when you’re out in the wild.
The Garmin Astro system lets you track your dog’s location in the roughest and most remote terrain with its high-sensitivity GPS antenna and GLONASS positioning system. The GPS system can track up to nine miles away and send you the precise location of your hunting hound every five seconds. The device can track up to 10 dogs, and the collars are equipped with LED beacon lights for low-light visibility within 100 yards. The handheld device and collar are manufactured to withstand the rugged outdoors and harsh weather conditions, seeing as the device has a waterproof rating of IPX7 and the collar is rated at 1ATM.
FitBark is an app for your smartphone that monitors your dog’s everyday activity. It helps you keep your dog healthy and in good shape, and it analyzes and explains your dog’s behavior. The more you understand about your dog, the better you can train him to be the ultimate hunting companion. Make sure you have a smartphone that has a long-lasting battery, so you can use the app while on your hunting expedition. The iPhone 6s Plus has up to 24 hours of talk time and up to 16 days of standby time, so it’s the perfect technological companion for when you’re on extended camping and hunting trips.
GoPro Fetch is a dog harness that enables you to mount your GoPro camera to your dog. The camera can then capture your hunting adventure from your dog’s point of view. The camera can attach at two separate mounting locations at either the chest or the back of your dog. The harness is made of water-friendly material and most GoPros come in waterproof housing, so your dog can swim and get dirty without harming your equipment. The harness is also padded for your dog’s comfort, and it fits dogs from 15 pounds to 120 pounds.
Going to the field for a week or three? Quality gear is essential — your life depends on it. While good equipment isn’t cheap, an investment in the following gear will improve your outdoor experience while keeping you safe and comfortable.
You need a high-speed bag if you are going to carry high-speed gear. The OAF-96 was built for people who are serious about what they do — hunters, survivalists, military contractors, etc. Designed and field-tested by combat veterans from the U.S. Special Operations community, this American-made bag comes with all the bells and whistles you need to remain offline for an extended period of time.
The bag boasts the following features, which differentiates it from the typical hiking bag: two side pockets for 100 oz. water reservoirs, a laptop compartment, cut-to-fit RF welded antenna ports built to accommodate various sized VHF/UHF/HF/SATCOM antennas, a detachable waistband that is similar to a repel seat and the strongest silent pull zippers on the market. Remember, you can’t afford to have your gear fail.
Bonus: OAF is owned and operated by a group of young veterans.
Think your iPhone is going to get coverage in the middle of the boonies? Think again. Sat phones, which once cost an arm and a leg to operate, are now affordable enough that anyone can (and should) carry one into the field. There really isn’t any excuse to not have a sat phone on an extended trip into the backcountry as this communication tool could a save your life and will allow you to keep your family and friends updated on your whereabouts and condition.
Like any other phone, prices and plans vary. Subscriptions, rentals and prepaid phones are available. Iridium Communications is a great place to start your search as they carry a large selection of sat phones and satellite access points.
ATN PVS7-3 Generation III Night Vision Goggles
You’ll be ready to conquer the dark (up to 225 yards of it) with a pair of ATN PVS7-3 Generation III night-vision goggles, which are identical to the AN/PVS-7 NVGs U.S. troops use in combat. Features include a sacrificial filter for objective lenses, additional mounts and a run time of 10 to 20 hours on two AA batteries. They are also waterproof to 39 inches for 30 minutes.
AquaLink Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)
From March 1995 to July 2003, the U.S. Government only authorized PLB use in Alaska. It was a test period to gauge the effectiveness and capabilities of the technology. The program saved about 400 lives and there were very few false calls, proving to the government they were worth allowing in the rest of the U.S. Now, you can get them at just about any retailer that sells outdoor gear. While there are several models and manufacturers to choose from, a model like the AquaLink PLB is a solid choice as it is waterproof. It also floats, making it a great piece of gear for your boat, too.
How does it work? The AquaLink PLB should only be used as a last resort since once it is activated it will fix your position within 100 meters and then relay a distress call, via satellite, to the nearest search and rescue unit. Each owner is assigned a personal ID so that rescuers will know whom they are searching for. Features include: a powerful 406 MHz signal to relay your signal and a separate homing signal and integrated LED strobe light that will guide rescuers to your location.
Sylvan Sport Go
Anybody who takes a motorcycle or ATV on extended outings should consider the SylvanSport GO. The lightweight pull-behind camper (it’s more of a tent on wheels) can go just about anywhere your ATV can. It is a few steps up from roughing it, but you won’t feel too much like a “glamper” because of the practicality of this camper. The trailer has room for all of your extras, such as fuel, and will allow you to bring back any bounty you may harvest while in the field. With this, you can find a spot, grab your OAF-96 Backpack and then head out for the day. You’ll be happy knowing you have a comfortable spot to return to at the end of your day.