Much as we love the summertime, every true outdoors person rejoices when autumn arrives. The cooler weather and fall foliage may be nice, but what really makes the season so special is the start of hunting season. If you’re in Mississippi, Alabama, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, South Carolina, or one of the many other states that opens up the fall hunting season in late September or early October, you’ve only got a few more days to wait. Of course, the season opens with archery and then moves on to youth season, and after that those with muzzle-loading rifles and shotguns get to take part in early primitive weapon season, and finally modern guns take the stage. All told, the season dates typically stretch from September to January.
If you’ve got the means and know-how to go after a variety of game, now is the time to start planning. Sit down with a calendar so you can make the most of the various seasons, scheduling hunts for deer, small game, turkey, and migratory birds. Some states have really unique hunting seasons too, such as those dedicated to wild boar, bear, and even alligator, but these usually require entry into a state lottery to even qualify for a hunt, so do your research and prepare early.
The notion of doing a lot of homework before setting out on a hunt may seem overly cautious. After all, many of us have memories of our parents or grandparents strolling out the door in the early hours of the morning, carrying nothing more than a rifle or bow, a buck knife, and a tote rope to tie up whatever got bagged that day. This nostalgia for a simpler time may be glossing over some of the details, however, because you can rest assured that the hunters of yesteryear actually did plenty of preparation before setting out into the wilderness. They carried with them a lifetime of accrued knowledge and backcountry lore, and in addition to the basic gear we remember, they also brought along plenty of equipment in their truck or pack, including a hunting license.
Nowadays, gear is better and lighter than ever before, and as we go farther afield in pursuit of more memorable hunts, we obviously want to ensure that we can return home on time and in one piece, so there is no excuse to skimp on equipment. Whether this hunting season will be your first or your fiftieth, you owe it to yourself to look over the essentials and make sure you aren’t forgetting anything. After all, we don’t get to hunt every day, so we want to make sure every hunt is as safe, productive, and fun as possible.
What to Carry on Your Person
Every hunter carries a daypack, but before we get into the essentials that belong in that bag, there are a number of basic items that you should carry on your person. You may forget your day pack in a hunting blind, lose it when your canoe tips over, or otherwise be separated from it, in which case you will be glad you packed these essentials on your body:
- Cell phone (in a plastic bag or waterproof case)
- Hunting license
- Buck knife and/or Swiss Army knife
- Zippo lighter
- Pocket survival kit
We know your pants and vest have plenty of pockets, so put them to good use!
What to Carry in Your Hunting Daypack
You can obviously fit a lot more gear in your daypack than you can on your person, but you still want to pack as light as possible. After all, the best-case scenario is one where the hunt ends with you bringing home a serious prize, so wherever possible, invest in lightweight equipment. At the same time, you don’t want to leave out any of the following essentials:
- Food and water
- Ammunition for your specific weapon
- A tow rope or line
- A Rangefinder
- Folding saw
- Deer calls
- Skinning knife
- Survival kit (including first aid gear)
- Scents or attractants (in a well-sealed plastic bag)
- Body wipes (something stronger than wet wipes or hand sanitizer)
Why a Full-Body Hygiene Solution is an Essential Field Item
Hunting is an incredibly rewarding sport, but it can undeniably get pretty messy. Spending time in the great outdoors is dirty enough as it is, exposing us to all kinds of bacteria and other contaminants, but hunters are at risk of encountering even more potential pathogens and other threats. Brucellosis, for example, is a bacterium commonly found in deer, elk, moose, bison, wild hogs, and even caribou, and animals infected with brucellosis can easily transmit it to humans. Hunters can pick up these highly infectious bacteria while field dressing a diseased animal, but can also become sick from just handling the carcass or even eating undercooked meat.
Even if an animal is not infected with something dangerous, field dressing and butchering are messy work. Animal blood, flesh, and scraps of fur can get everywhere, and all that animal matter can start to stink before you know it. On top of that, many hunters use scents, attractants, and other strong-smelling sprays and liquids to lure in game, none of which have the sort of pleasant aroma you want to add to your truck’s interior.
This is why it’s crucial to bring along a broad-spectrum hygiene solution. Hunting isn’t just dirty, but can also be smelly and potentially dangerous. You will want to clean up as soon as possible.
Cleaning Up Once the Hunting Day Has Come to an End
Hot, clean water, soap, and towels are everyone’s obvious first choice for cleaning up, but they are in short supply in the wilderness. The second-best thing is the Combat One Tactical Bath, no-rinse outdoor body wipes that have been especially developed for use in the roughest conditions. Wet wipes and hand sanitizers may dry out your skin to the point that micro-tears open up, exposing you to potential infections, but the Combat One Tactical Bath offers hygiene and skin protection. You can safely use this tactical bath solution anywhere on your body, and since they come in at fewer than 10 ounces per package, you can easily add them to your daypack without weighing yourself down.
At the end of the day, hunting is incredibly rewarding, but it does require us getting down and dirty, so make sure you’re taking care of yourself in the backcountry. Your skin is your first line of defense, but little cuts and abrasions are inevitable, so keep them clean with a hygiene solution, and keep them covered until they are fully healed.
For more information about Combat One personal cleaning system products, visit the products page on our website. We offer great prices so you can stock up on Combat One hygiene system supplies for your next backcountry hunting trip. Be careful out there!