Believe it or not, Midwest hunting seasons are already quickly coming and going. In some states, major hunting seasons like deer and elk are fast approaching and scheduled for only a few short days during the holiday season. As you can imagine, it’s especially important that Midwest hunters are ready and adequately prepared to take full advantage of their short and busy seasons. And that’s why, below, you’ll find a number of hunting preparedness tips from Midwest hunters to help hunters all over experience success during their own designated seasons.
For the Hunt
Having the right hunting gear is essential for a successful trip, any hunter knows that. And when your season lasts only a handful of days, it’s particularly imperative — especially since one piece of shoddy or forgotten equipment can ruin an entire trip. As such, here’s all the important hunting gear that should prove to make any season, no matter the duration, a success.
These hunting equipment must-haves are potential “no-brainers” that hopefully no accomplished hunter overlooks:
- Hunting knife. The value of a good hunting knife cannot be overstated.
- Camouflage. Many animals have excellent eyesight, so blending in with your surroundings is crucial.
- First-Aid kit. Unfortunately, accidents happen; you should never be unprepared for one.
- LED headlamp. These simple devices are ingenious — no hands, fixed beam direction, and extremely bright!
- Adequate food, water, fuel. Your essential needs have to be met first before you can expect any success.
- Warm clothing. The winter season brings cold temperatures and inclement weather; don’t underestimate the value of thick socks, long underwear, and warm gloves.
- Game tags. There’s simply no point in leaving home if you’re going to forget these…
- Multi-tool. Just like a hunting knife, you never know when a multi-tool will come in handy — and that’s the point.
- Rubber gutting gloves. Don’t laugh; you’ll be glad you packed these.
- Matches and/or lighter. Even if you’re employing the use of camping appliances with a spark ignition, you just never know when old-fashioned fire will save the day.
- Bone saw. You’ll want one of these for field dressing your game. Keep in mind that some knives and multi-tools come with one included.
- Rope. Sometimes dragging your kill back to camp is going to be easier than shouldering it.
- Wire. This is especially useful for constructing makeshift shelters or other structures as well as bundling up supplies like firewood.
For the Feast
One of the great things about the Midwest hunting seasons (or not so great, depending on how you look at it) is that some span the week of Thanksgiving. As a result, many hunters and their families tend to be away from home during the November holiday. Thankfully, many of the resources you need for a successful hunting season can ensure you have a successful holiday as well.
Since you’re out on the hunt, it’s important to remember everything you’ll need for an admirable Thanksgiving feast, provided you’ve experienced some early success. While you may not have all the necessities around you for a holiday meal in the most traditional sense, there are a number of hunting equipment essentials that can also make your meal a pleasant one. For instance, bringing along some extra hunting knives for carving game, preparing food, and eating will be a definite need. Also, an LED lantern will work excellently for providing ample light by which to prepare, eat, and relax in the winter evening’s early darkness. And, obviously, your camping cooking supplies should suffice for preparing the meal.
Finally, unless you’re confident in your hunting and foraging abilities and plan on eating what you find and/or kill, the last piece of holiday hunting advice is to pack some alternative menu items for the big day. For the most part, you can comprise an entire Thanksgiving meal from easily packable canned foods like green beans, corn, cranberry sauce — even rolls or biscuits come canned. (Just don’t forget the can opener!) You can also pack those tasty instant potatoes…
And with that, the only potentially elusive Thanksgiving course is the meat. Well, the meat, and perhaps the pumpkin pie!
~Richard McNeal, 2009