By Alex Comstock
Hunting packs, I don't know what I'd do without mine. I'm not sure how some folks can go on a hunt without one. My pack is always filled not only with items of necessity, but plenty of things I don't need as well causing quite the heavy weight on my back. You don't necessarily need quite the overkill that I have, but here are 7 things you should always have in your pack, no matter what time of the year it is.
1. Grunt Tube. I am a firm believer of carrying a grunt tube with you no matter what time of the year it is. The rut isn't the only time that a grunt tube can come in handy. Early and late season, I won't do any blind calling, but if there is a buck out of range, using a simple contact grunt could spark the curiosity of a buck, and lead him to check out your area.
2. Zip Ties. You never know when you will need a zip tie, but when you do need one, you'll be glad you have them. I've used them for fastening brush to my stand to camo myself in better, all the way to zip tying my camera to my camera arm because I forgot my bracket that secures the camera to the arm. They can be quite the lifesaver that's for sure.
3. Knife. Maybe I should have said knives. I think I have two or three knives in my pack all year. I always keep my gutting knife in my backpack, along with another one for practical uses such as if I need to cut rope, or who knows what. I always find it surprising the number of ways I can put my knife to use.
4. Rope. Speaking of cutting rope, keeping some extra in your pack can pay huge dividends. I like to keep two different sizes of rope with me at all times. I use smaller sized rope in case I forget my tow rope for my bow/camera, and I like having bigger rope for times when I need to drag out a deer or use it for a reason I might not even know about yet.
5. Hand Clippers. I'm a big advocate of having a pair of small hand clippers with you no matter where you go. I like them for a couple of reasons. First off, they are quiet and in situations where you forget to cut a limb to help clear a shooting lane, opposed to having to use a saw to cut the whole limb down before a hunt, you can use the clippers to snip the end and still leave some cover for you in the stand. I like to have them with me in the summer when checking and hanging trail cameras as well for clipping small twigs and branches around where I am setting a camera.
6. Binoculars. I like to have my binos with me at all times of the year for a variety of reasons. In the summer, I can use them to scout a tree to hang a stand in before walking all the way to the tree. During the hunting season, they allow you to get an eye on a deer before it gets up close and personal with you. And I even use them during shed season, and have picked up a couple sheds with them. You can never underestimate the power of a good pair of binoculars.
7. Compass. Okay, now that you've got your laugh out of the way, bare with me for a second. In a day and age where technology and smart phones rule, you've always got a GPS or aerial map of where you're at right? But, what about the time you get turned around tracking a deer in the dark at 2:00am, and you have zero cell service? That happened to me last year, and I'll tell you that I was quite happy when I pulled my compass out of my pack, knowing I had to head south to get back to the road. I didn't pop out right next to the vehicle, but I was close enough, and had I not had the compass with me, I still don't know how long it would have taken me to get back to the sacred dirt road.
Conclusion. There are more than 7 things to store in your hunting pack that could be of value to you, I realize that. These 7 items are what comes to mind and are at the forefront of importance to keep in that pack, while never taking them out except for when to put them to use.