Hunting Gear I carry
I recently had a late season Archery hunt in Az, where I had a great time on my first hunt with a guide. I learned a lot about how other parts of the outdoor community operated and I looked at things I carry . Its mostly odd things veterans carry which are different than the mainstream outdoors person has.
That’s mostly my fault as the crew I hunt with are all veterans of different deployments so we pretty much operate with the same mindset and gear. It also creates kind of a bubble new ideas have some difficulty getting into because we are pretty much settled on gear choices after using things successfully for so long.
Veterans from my era learned different ways of living in the woods than vets of the last 10-15 years spent deploying. Not better, just different concepts of training for projected conflicts.
I learned a lot as well so this was definitely not a one way learning experience. Never too late to learn from a different perspective, I highly recommend the experience.
So this post is for those who wonder but are reluctant to ask.
First of all, this is a post about what I take in my truck hunting. There are things here I would not carry on a horseback hunt and definitely not attempt on a back packing hunt.
Some reality here as well. I’m too broken to be carrying a huge pack full of gear into a wilderness area. I don’t like that reality at all, but it truly is a fact.
Also, the hard route is usually not the best route , unless you are sheep hunting. Then you are on your own, Ill watch from down here.
Sleep will make or break a trip. Good sleep is more important than just about anything else in my opinion. With good sleep you can go longer and generally have a much more enjoyable experience.
If you have a new hunter, good sleep with make a trip into something great vs something to never do again.
This trip I used a cot, pads and a poncho rigged overhead because, wanting to use a hammock and finding anything to tie one too in the desert is something else.
Don’t tie to a Saguaro cactus under any circumstances , you will be a mushy mess under it when it falls on you.
I like hammocks. I have literally a bag full of hammocks, tarps and underquilts because I hate being cold, wet and miserable more than necessary.
This one is the DD Frontline hammock. Its made in GB, and for “some” people it constricts them in the hammock around the shoulders. I’m not a small guy and I like the way it wraps around me and the underquilt stays around my shoulders.
It attaches with the bungie cords but I ALWAYS carry a small roll of the same for field repairs and mods.
I use a Klymit pad in my hammock and also on my cot.So far this pad has worked in every hammock I own, the DD Frontline and my Warbonnet Blackbird. It is exactly as advertised and I recommend the pump available from Klymit as well. I used it on my cot last month as you can see in the pictures above.
If you are truck camping, there are literally 100 reasons why you should bring a good camp bed with you. And also I will give credit where it is due this trip because I failed miserably in the pad department and only brought my Klymit pad this trip.
Christina felt sorry for me and loaned me one of her pads she carries in the truck. She knows what she is doing for sure.
I wont be making the mistake of leaving my foam pad at home again.
Some will say that’s not practical for survival. I say if you cant sleep how are you going to survive?
Its about options and a plan B when what you want to do isn’t practical or possible in the terrain or situation you find yourself in.
Another point I make to people in the desert. Everything here will stick you, bite you, sting you or build a house in you. Sleeping up off the ground, either in a hammock or on a cot keeps you separated from the crawlies on the ground.
Tarps come in all shapes and sizes. From 2 ponchos snapped together and run up with the basic bungie cord like the 70’s-90s US Army to a basic cot shelter
Pics by C Boggs who you will hear a bunch about in upcoming posts.
I really like this 10×10 tarp for general use as a rain shelter, and to be honest I probably would have been better off last week with it vs the 2 ponchos I had in my grab bag on top which I set up first. It was really nice out for late December in Arizona, and it was nice to throw back the poncho and look at the meteor showers every night.
The ponchos were a bit short on the ends for the cot setup I used, but no rain so I just wanted a bit of cover to hold the heat in.
Sleeping bags and Poncho Liners
I use Wiggy’s bags. I have a pile of different bags and the one I grab as a first choice is my Wiggys system and a poncho liner with a zipper which acts like a liner. I like using a liner in the bag , it washes easily and adds 10 degrees or so to the bag rating. Nothing major here from my normal uses and they worked as well as I expected.
I like a no surprise trips with my sleeping gear.
Some people cant sharpen a knife… I again take this for granted because I can, after years of practice get an edge on a blade which will cut just fine, and it takes very little time to do it.
Being honest about it, I cant take credit for anything other than using a sharpener I like and is easy to use and carry
I have I think a half dozen of these, both with the clear handles and the older style with the color coded handles. I use the Fine(red) and Course (blue) for everything I have with an edge for the bush.
First Aid gear
I spent a couple hours showing how the gear I carry can save the life of a fellow hunter or more importantly myself. Archery hunting scares me only because I have cut myself with a broadhead and Ive seen up close what one will do to someone else.
I am NOT giving medical advice here.
Yes 2, one in a pocket and 1 in the trauma kit on the outside of my pack. Take them out of the factory wrapper, make sure the Velcro is all good and not frayed or worse sewn on backwards so it works when you need it.
They don’t get too messed up in your pocket and you can wash them if they get filthy.
I get asked why?
A major bleed from an artery will incapacitate an adult in 30 seconds. You have that much time to get your tourniquet out of your pocket or pack, and get it on while you watch your blood spray out all over the surrounding area. You don’t have time to unwrap or read instructions how to put it on.
Broadheads on arrows are designed to cut deep, and open wounds so an animal will bleed out quickly. Here’s a clue for you. They will kill you faster than they will kill an Elk if you have an oops.
Once the bleeding is stopped you need to cover the wound, this bandage is not the only one Ive learned to use but its the easiest I’ve found to put on with 1 hand. That’s important in the bigger picture because your arms get injured too.
These are for closing a penetrating wound to the chest. If there are wounds going in, you need to find the wound or wounds going out
These are for sealing up the wounds and keeping them from becoming worse. Yes that happens
I like these because they peel off the backing and apply just like a big band aid.
If you don’t want to buy things in pieces, you want a “one and done” package this one is pretty good.
Some things in here like the chest decompression needle should not be attempted without serious medical training. I carry it because once Ive done all the self aid I’m capable of I also get on the radio, or cell phone or both and get help rolling, flying or hiking in to get me. If they need the needle its in my kit and since it will be next to me they can get it fast
This kit drops in a BDU cargo pocket easily. Don’t just buy it and hope, learn how everything works with a good trauma class. They are usually a weekend class and some hunter safety classes include them.
During my hunt I made a radio check to a repeater net which I wasn’t sure I could reach because of the area we were in. This is in 2017, in Arizona and there was very poor to spotty cell service.
Looking at a map of the area, and it being mostly flat I had a good idea I could hit the repeater owned by the Eastern Arizona Amateur Radio club with my 2m Ham Radio.
Yes this required a license but with another option to check in or get help available it made a great hunt possible with positive communication.
I carried a Yeasu VX7, which is discontinued and replaced by the VX8DR. It rode in the chest pocket of my hunting shirt, and to be honest I don’t think she ( my Guide) noticed it at all.
In my truck I had another Yeasu mounted with a much larger antenna for another option.
Now, as I explained out in the pucker brush and here before. It does NO good at all to have radios you don’t understand how to use. You need to have them programmed and checked before you get off the pavement at all. You need a call sign which comes with your license and you need to be familiar with the repeater networks in the area you will be in as well as the simplex frequencies to use to reach other operators.
This was something new as I almost always have cell service but I was ready with 2 other options. I explained there might be no other first responders listening but there are almost always operators who will respond willingly and immediately to a Mayday call.
And the Emergency response would in our case be faster than a normal call through dispatch by relaying the GPS coordinates directly to the responders.
This is getting longer than I wanted, so I will add a part 2 later.
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and 2018 is a great year for you all
Hunting Gear I carry