Getting in shape is the first step. Hunting can be a demanding activity. Would you be ready to pack your gear in for a weeklong hunt or haul field-dressed game back to your truck? Do you have the stamina to hike 10 miles on uneven terrain, then hike it again the next day if you don’t find your target? In any case, you know what needs to be done.

Scout the area with the right maps. Find out where the game beds down, finds food, and drinks water in the area(s) you plan to hunt. Getting in shape for the season can also be achieved through Scouting.

Shooting practice is important. You’ll want to make sure you hit the target after you’ve worked hard to get it in your sights.

Target and hunting ammunition are often on sale. The more practice you get, the better.

You should practice calling. The grunt tubes, cow calls, rattles, and diaphragm calls are all examples of calls. If you plan to use a call, practice sounding like an elk or a deer before you go hunting.

Make sure you have permission from the landowner. Getting permission to hunt on private land in the fall can be a great way to escape the crowds. Spend some time scouting local options and obtaining permission.

Start breaking in your new boots as soon as you get them out of the box. There’s no need to be bothered by blisters or sore feet during your hunt.

If you haven’t already purchased your tag, now is the time. It is necessary to purchase your tag before the first day of the hunt, which may open sooner than you plan on hunting.

Make sure you check the weather forecast. Are there any chances of rain? Is there snow? High temperatures for a record? Don’t forget to prepare for unexpected weather conditions (rain, snow).

Make sure your GPS, flashlights, headlamps, and two-way radios have fresh batteries. Make sure you have spares on hand.

Make sure your knives are sharp. When a knife is dull, swearing is more likely to occur. With a dull knife, you’re more likely to cut yourself. The swearing continues.

Last-minute trips to sporting goods stores are necessary. There always seems to be one more thing you need, no matter how much gear you have.

Describe your trip, where you plan to camp, the route you will take there and back, the length of your trip, when you plan to return, and how and when you will be able to check in (ex. will you be within cell phone range). This way if an emergency comes up at home, S&R will need to know how to find you.

Hunting day

  • Inform someone of your absence and let them know when you should be back.
  • While you’re on the ride, charge your phone.
  • Your mother was right-eat a good breakfast!

Taking part in fieldwork

It’s important to prepare for minor injuries, getting lost, and unexpected changes in the weather whenever you’re in the backcountry. Besides tools for field dressing and carrying, you will also need equipment for harvesting.

Take the following checklist as a guide, but customize it based on your needs.


Rules and such

  • License/ tags/ hunter education card (if under age 18)
  • Hunting regulations
  • Blaze orange clothing (encouraged for all; required if under 18)


Laws and regulations

  • Hunting license, tags, and hunter’s education card.
  • Regulations for hunting.
  • Clothing in orange is encouraged for everyone but required for those under 18 years old.

Begin in August

  • Tools for field dressing and other tasks
  • A sharpening stone and two knives
  • An affordable hand saw
  • Bags for game
  • Gloves made of nitrile or similar material (keeps hands clean and, in a pinch, your cell phone dry)
  • A 50-foot length of 550 paracord or similar rope
  • An all-purpose tool
  • A roll of duct tape
  • Several large garbage bags
  • Rubber bands
  • Different sizes of zip ties

Hunting equipment, weapons, and ammunition

  • Ammunition, firearm, and scope
  • Arrows/bows
  • A game call
  • To mark the location of the kill and the trail, orange flagging ribbons are used
  • Cameras and binoculars

Nutrition and hydration

  • Two quarts of water at a minimum
  • A minimum of one day’s worth of food
  • Tablets and/or filters for water purification

Getting around

  • A map
  • The compass
  • Global Positioning System


  • Whistling/whistle
  • Mirror in small size
  • A mobile phone


In an emergency

  • An emergency first aid kit
  • A minimum of $20 in cash
  • A roll of toilet paper

A night in the field that wasn’t planned

  • An emergency blanket
  • Matches, lighters, candles that are waterproof
  • Batteries, flashlight, and headlamp

An evening in the field, also known as camping

  • Tarps or tents for shelter
  • Comfortable and lightweight sleeping bag
  • Clothing that keeps you warm
  • An outdoor stove
  • An extra supply of food and water

Have a great hunt and stay safe!