Packed & Prepped

big game hunting montana

A checklist for hunting season.

Though it’s not even close to Christmas yet, there are plenty of folks around here who would deem this the “most wonderful time of the year.” Indeed, we say, with leaves turning, elk bugling, and opening day just around the corner, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Rifle season is upon us. Enter early mornings, backcountry pushes, and long days afield, all in the hopes of filling the freezer for the winter (and hanging a rack on the wall). Efforts are rewarded for hard work, but preparation and proper gear have as much to do with success as the hunt itself. Before leaving the truck, make sure you’re equipped to handle all the eventualities you could possibly encounter. In addition to proper licenses, here’s a sample of what to carry this season.

On Your Body
Base layer, something moisture-wicking (merino wool or synthetic)
Mid layer
Long underwear
Puffy or down parka (weather-dependent)
Rain shell and pants (weather-depedent)
Socks (moisture-wicking)

Gloves (light and heavy pair)
Blaze orange (400 square inches is the legal requirement)
Cap or beanie

In Your Pack
Maps (topo and land ownership)
GPS device / smartphone
Headlamp (and extra batteries)
Lunch & snacks (high in calories)
Water bottle or bladder
First-aid kit
Lighter (or two)
Spare socks
Portable saw
Game bags
Toilet paper (and baggie to pack it out)

At the Ready
Shooting sticks or bipod
Bear spray

Kill Kit
Knife (make sure she’s sharp)
Extra knife (two is better than one)
Knife sharpener
Rubber/latex gloves
Rope/cord (at least 30 feet)
Electrical tape

big game hunting gear, montana