Hunting whitetail in Missouri is an activity that requires a fair amount of gear. Depending on your set up, you may be carrying that gear with you each time you set out into the field or instead you may store it at a hunting camp in the middle of the wilderness. Though we all have our preferred methods, one thing we should remember is that as human beings, there are times when we quite simply are prone to forgetting something.
There are a lot of reasons we may forget an item we desperately need for a hunt. It could be a last minute vehicle swap or decision to ride with a pal. Maybe it is that you ran out of something and forgot to replenish it. Perhaps you left an important item in your other camo. Whatever the case may be, a good way to eliminate forgotten items is by consolidating all your gear into one place such as a hunting pack.
Sure, lots of hunters already carry a pack. After all, it makes good sense to do so. The question that remains, however, is whether or not you are carrying the right pack with the right contents that will ensure you are ready to go at all times. Is that bag whitetail specific or is it the same one you might have used for another game animal? The more appropriate gear you have, the easier your hunt will be, so why not assemble exactly what you need for whitetail season in one convenient, easy to carry location?
Step one in this process is to get a comfortable bag that is easy to carry. Do you prefer one strap or two? Does your bag correspond with your dominant hand? It is important to remember that while the contents of your bag are important, so is the bag itself. What if you are carrying it when the opportunity arises to take a shot? How quickly and quietly can you move it out of the way and get on target? These are questions to ask yourself before you buy a bag in the first place.
Next you want to consider accessibility. Ideally a good bag will have plenty of pockets that are adequately sized to store your items. When shopping for a pack, make a mental list of what you intend to store where so you know if the bag you've selected can accommodate your needs. You also want these compartments to stay dry as opposed to filling with water. Make sure all snaps and zippers work prior to purchase; just because it's new doesn't mean it won't be defective.
Photo: Code Blue Scents
Once you've found a bag that is able to hold your gear, see if it can hold twice as much. Remember that things break and you may not necessarily need two of every item you're carrying, but some backups will be necessary. What if you drop your trusty flashlight into a rushing stream? You're going to want to reach for another, so make sure your bag has room for one and don't forget to put it in there. Extra gloves, socks, etc. are also useful to have.
Although there are a lot of items we would like to have in our bags, sometimes a sacrifice may need to be made. There is always the option to carry a bigger, better bag, but at some point you're going to have to draw the line as it is only reasonable to expect to carry so much at one time. This is where you must decide just how much you can consolidate without compromising your hunt. Put your necessities (and extra, backup necessities) ahead of items you truly don't need but would like to have. Once the important stuff is out of the way, then use remaining room for items you might want to carry but aren't deal breakers to go without.
Having the right bag for the job will make your whitetail hunting season just that much easier. There is a comfort associated with knowing you will be able to carry what you need to stay safe as well as enabling you the greatest success possible. That truly is the greatest gift you can give yourself this hunting season.
What is in your pack this year? What kind of bag do you carry? Let us know in the comments!