What’s in your hunting pack for deer season?

I took my first hunter safety class some time around 1974. One of the things that really stuck with me in that first class was what to take in the woods with me. The only backpack I had at the time was meant for school. The list changed little between 1974 and when I first went hunting thirty-something years later.

The list is long but most everything is small and needs little space. It fits in a Field & Stream Sawtooth Fanny Pack. I hunt only in places I know well. I take the same path in and out when going to stands. I can barely read both a map and compass so as I was once told by a Map & Compass instructor, I “stay on the road,” or path. If you can use them well, add map and compass to this list.

  • License and transportation tag (opens in pdf)
  • Legal time chart (TIP: If you buy your license online, print the time chart (pdf) on the back of your license.)
  • Ammo
  • Scent lure if you use them
  • Calls
  • Cell phone (I’ve called to be picked up twice; once because of a bull moose and once because of a sow and her cubs)
  • Whistle (if I get lost I want to be found quickly)
  • Water
  • Lunch, if I’ll be there all day
  • Meds (my nose never runs more than when I’m sitting in a stand in the cold)
  • First aid kit
  • Knife
  • Kleenex (see nose above)
  • Dry socks
  • Hand warmers
  • Flashlight or head lamp. I have both.
  • Harness
  • Camera
  • Paper and pen, if I’m in a blind rather than tree stand

If there’s a chance you won’t make your way home or to your vehicle and you won’t be found easily, add:

  • Fire starters, waterproof matches, lighter

I leave these items in the Jeep:

  • Thermos of coffee, soup
  • Dry clothes and boots
  • Law book
  • Water
  • First Aid kit

You’ll notice a lack of something to drag my deer out of the woods. First, I’ve never shot a deer. I can’t tell you what I use based on personal experience. Second, Steve has rope and such in his truck and will be coming to help me when I finally shoot my first deer.

Clothing can be tricky at the beginning of the season. I was dressed properly for daybreak on Saturday morning. By 9:30 am I’d shed my coat. I left it at the base of a tree at the bottom of a ridge, and picked it up on my way back. Dress in layers.

What do you put in your pack? Is there something I haven’t listed and should have with me?

Robin Follette

About Robin Follette

Maine Press Association award winner, 2013. Robin's Outdoors, Bangor Daily News, third place in Sports blogs. I grew up with a fishing pole in my hand and have always loved the outdoors. From gardening to hunting and fishing, kayaking, camping, hiking and foraging, most of my time is spent outdoors. I teach outdoor skills as a volunteer instructor for Hooked On Fishing - Not On Drugs and Becoming an Outdoors-Woman. Pro-staff at The Limb Grip. My personal blog is here. I'm currently working on my first book, a collection of short stories based on my outdoors experiences.