So you’re going night hunting? You’ve picked a spot, you’ve got your licenses and tags, and you’ve taken a few days off work. You’re nearly ready to go. Of course, you need to make sure that you’re bringing the right materials with you when you head out into the bush. The following will explore some of the things you need to have handy if you want to be prepared for night hunting.
Temperature Appropriate Clothing And Footwear
It’s going to be colder than a normal hunting trip. It’s going to be harder to see where you’re placing your feet, meaning sprained ankles, rolled ankles, stepping in previously invisible puddles, and stubbed toes are much more likely. Dress appropriately, and make sure your footwear is going to keep your feet protected from moisture and the rougher walk.
Your Hunting Weapon Of Choice
For most of us, this means a rifle (and more ammunition than we think we need, just in case), but there are some champions out there that bow hunt, and that’s a fine option too. Make sure the weapon you bring is well cared for and maintained and that you have the things you need with you to keep caring for it. A well-cleaned rifle is safer to use than a dirty one. You know it, we know it, your uncle Jerry knows it (and he’ll point it out in a much more annoying way than we will).
Even if you’re not planning on doing any skinning on-site, there always seems to be something that leaves you in need of a knife. The blade you choose needs to be sharp and have a safe carry case either in your bag or sheathed to your hip (or boot or whatever you choose, just make sure you’re not accidentally going to stab yourself when you roll over).
Yes, you need a compass. Even if you know the area well, you still need a compass. They’re not expensive, they’re not heavy, and they might just save your life (or, you know, six hours of wandering). It’s so easy to get caught up in the hunt and pay attention only to the animal you’re tracking or hoping to run into that you wander off the beaten path. If you’re new to using a compass, spend half an hour on the internet and learn how to read one. We still don’t know why this skill isn’t taught in schools.
A Light Source
Obviously, you’re not going to want to use the light source, as more than likely, it’s going to give away your position and unsettle any animals that are chilling calmly for the night, but a light source is something that you’ll be grateful for if you need it. In the event of an injury or setting down something important beside you while you wait and being unable to find it again, you’ll be happy you have the light with you. A small flashlight should be able to clip onto your belt or fit in your back without altering the weight at all.
Something To Start A Fire With
Again, you’re not going to want to start a fire in most night-hunting scenarios. But fire means warmth, cooked food, and sometimes even a smoke signal. If you’re on a several-day hunting trip, you’re going to need a fire at some point. Plenty of matches or a trustworthy lighter (keyword being trustworthy, not an old one that’s about to run out) should be enough to get you through the trip. Of course, if you want to give another fire-starting method a go, that’s fine too. Just make sure you’ve practiced a little before you head out—some of these methods take a few hours to get right the first time you try them.
Emergency First Aid Kit
We’ve all heard of a hunting accident or two. Most of them are lighthearted tales about uncle Jerry getting so drunk he walked into a tree, but occasionally, hunting accidents can cause some serious harm. A first aid kit including all the basics, along with an emergency blanket and maybe some type of bear spray if you’re somewhere you could run into one, are great things to have handy. Also, keep your eyes open for a case or container that’s waterproof. Soggy bandages aren’t going to help anyone. You most likely won’t need them, but if you do, they’ll be there.
Night Vision Scope
This one should seem like a no-brainer, and it is, once you’ve been on a night hunting trip, that is. Even if it’s the full moon, things are going to be darker than your eyes are used to; a scope that helps you out with that is going to greatly increase your chances of a successful hunting trip. When shopping for a scope, take your time and read through extensive reviews written by both experts and everyday folk. A good review will break down all the stats and features of the scope but also point out when and where a particular scope is the perfect choice. If you’re not sure what that looks like, have a read-through of this review for the ATN X-Sight 4K Pro 5-20x Smart Digital Night Vision Scope. When looking at customer reviews, a good rule of thumb is to be skeptical of any abundantly glowing reviews or truly horrific reviews. Click on the reviewer’s name and look at other product reviews they have—you’ll get an idea of whether they’re balanced or comically positive or painfully negative this way.
The Cleaning Stuff
This one won’t apply to every hunter, but most of us need some degree of sanitation in our lives. If you’re going to be hunting for food, you’ll want to bring with you the necessary items you need to keep things clean and sanitary. This will majorly depend on your comfort levels with dirt and germs (it’s a spectrum, and we’re all somewhere along it), but this could mean bringing gloves or plastic tarps or wrapping that meets your cleanliness standards.
With the above supplies and a little bit of luck, you should be prepared for your night hunting. Make sure someone knows where you’re going and that you have enough food and water for the duration of your stay. Look up the weather ahead of time and know when things are getting too rough for your own safety.