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Gear Up for Fall Hunting

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Brenda Valentine

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When the heat and humidity of summer offer the first signs of letting up and the air takes on a fresh crispness, a hard to define but very real change goes on inside all hunters. It’s a stirring, a longing, or perhaps the call of the wild. It robs your mind from the present and takes it to the reverie of a deer stand at dawn, the tension of hearing the two-step cadence of a wild turkey not yet in view, or the haunting chill of an elk bugle echoing through a canyon.

Perhaps this is the year you book a hunt of a lifetime and venture into unchartered territory. You’ve decided to go beyond the borders of familiar and chase new game in a new place. But with every new experience comes the unexpected, which can either add excitement or frustration to the adventure.

Often it is the tiny details that make the difference between a comfortable hunt and simply enduring it. Living the nomadic life of a TV show host, there are a few things that make me a happier hunter, whether I’m staying in a luxurious lodge or living out of a backpack and sleeping under the stars. And when I’m happy and comfortable, I hunt harder, which leads to increased success and more wonderful memories.

The best advice I can offer to those planning a trip to a new a destination is to be prepared for everything and never assume anything. But here are a few more tips I found that work no matter where my journeys take me:

  1. Find out beforehand if essentials such as bedding, towels, food, field care and transportation are provided. They may sound insignificant when you’re only dreaming of a trophy on your wall, but they’ll soon become major issues once you are in camp.

  2. Whenever possible, buy all necessary permits and licenses in advance. It alleviates stress and gets you in the field quicker.

  3. Keep a small, reliable flashlight on your person during the day and under your pillow at night. Power failures happen even in the plushest places and sometimes even the best pitched tents fall.

  4. No matter if I’m going to Alabama or Africa, I like to have a few of my own snacks in camp. I stuff items like peanut butter, apples and string cheese in my hunting boots for protection during travel.

  5. After hunting in cold, wet weather all day, nothing is as inviting as a warm bed. If I’m in a camp equipped with electricity, I carry my old, electric lap throw, which is small enough to pack, yet makes all the difference for a cozy night’s sleep.

  6. A 6-foot-long power cord is another standard item in my bag, because there is never enough plug-ins where you need them.

  7. A couple of heavy-duty garbage bags require almost no room but are handy for the trip home. Use them to pack muddy boots, dirty clothes or, if you’re lucky, maybe even the meat or cape of your animal.

  8. I pack an old towel for dozens of uses, then donate it to the camp or trash it when I leave.

  9. Most folks’ cell phones double for a watch and/or alarm clock. I take both just in case charging the phone becomes an issue in a more primitive camp. I don’t want to oversleep and miss a prime hunting opportunity.

  10. A small battery powered makeup mirror is great for getting ready in the dark or when there’s a line to use the bathroom. It puts out enough light to read by in a wall tent or to get a campfire started in the dark.

  11. Even if you’re sharing a room with your best friend, loud snoring and sleep deprivation can drive you crazy. Pack earplugs for your own sanity and the welfare of the friendship.

  12. Carry a stash of envelopes for a more private way of giving tips to deserving guides and cooks who helped make your hunt an experience of a lifetime.

Brenda Valentine




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