As I said in a previous article, Hunting Season is HERE! This means that a lot of us are going to be in the woods every chance we get, chasing after whatever elusive critter is on the menu. As in any other activity, there are certain pieces of gear that make a pursuit (pun intended!) easier. Here are 5 pieces of gear that will make your stalk more enjoyable.
There’s an App for that!
The first piece of kit I want to discuss isn’t really a gear at all… it’s an app. Yes, there’s and app for hunting… well, quite a few, actually! Cellular phones have come a long way in a short time, and pretty much all of them can connect with GPS apps like Huntstand, HUNT, Scoutlook, and others. These apps have a plethora of features that let you know where you are, where you’ve been, and even what you saw there. You can drop waypoints and annotate what game you saw there, what the terrain and vegetation was like, and other data. Some apps will tell you where the property boundaries are, and even who owns a particular plot. These apps are a great way to manage the data of a hunt and store it. This makes it easier to refer to it during NEXT year’s season so you can plan on how to get that buck who got away this year.
The Hunting Knife
The venerable hunting knife simply must have a place on your equipment list. It should be obvious that there are a million and one uses for a good, sturdy knife in the woods. There are a lot of different styles, and about as many makers as there are stars in the sky. That being said, the GOOD ones always have certain things in common. A good hunting knife will be made from a tough, resilient steel that can take and hold a hard edge that isn’t too brittle. It will be between four to six inches long in the blade. It will be a full tang design, and the scales will fill your hand and provide a good grip. Around here we’re partial to the WOOX Rock 62, of course! It fits all the criteria of a good knife at a good price point, and gives you value for the dollars spent.
The hunting Axe
Just as the uses for a knife in the woods are many, it goes the same for a good axe. From splitting wood in camp to cutting shooting lanes, an axe is a versatile and useful tool to have. I talked about the qualities of a good axe, as well as axe types in a previous column, so I won’t go into detail here. Just make sure that whatever axe you choose has a securely hung head, made from a good quality, properly heat-treated steel. If wood, the handle should be hickory or ash, and it should be straight grained, without any grain run off. It should be well balanced, and the handle should fit your hand. I like the 22” WOOX Fortefor this, but if you’re looking for something smaller the Volante will serve you well.
Few things promise to make you more miserable than feet that are stuck in cold, wet, ill-fitting boots. That’s why a good pair of waterproof boots are on this list. I like to use a pair that come well above the ankle, preferably almost to the knee. Good insulation is a must. Yes, I wear a couple pairs of wool socks when it’s very cold, but good insulation in the boots themselves really help to keep frigid toes at bay. You want waterproof boots because wet feet loose heat quickly, and for much of the country hunting season generally has wet weather. You want tall boots so stepping in an unexpectedly deep patch of muck doesn’t result in a boot full of frigid goop.
Picking the right way to haul your gear can result in a comfortable experience in the woods. Picking the wrong pack, however, can lead to a miserable time… or worse yet, a failed hunt. Your hunting pack should be sturdy and tough. It should be big enough to hold the gear you’ll need on the hunt, plus some emergency gear if you should have to spend the night in the field. It should be in a camouflage pattern (or at least muted earth tones) so it doesn’t reveal your presence. Speaking of which, make sure that it doesn’t creak or make excessive noise.
Make sure to try shooting your rifle/shotgun WITH THE PACK ON before you head out. The placement of the straps could affect your sight picture, since the extra bulk will change your length of pull.
Hunting Aftermarket Stock
Speaking of length of pull, that leads us into a bonus entry to round out this list. Yep, I’m talking about your rifle’s stock. Many rifles come from the factory with a serviceable but unspectacular stock. A lot of them these days are made from molded plastic and lack sufficient rigidity. They aren’t properly bedded, and adjustability isn’t exactly great.
You can eliminate these issues by installing a good aftermarket stock. You can find a stock that combines durability and beauty, light weight and strength, and gives you customization options to make sure it fits your needs.
Of course, we would recommend our line of WOOX chassis. The Furiosa is infinitely adjustable and just plain sexy, while on the other end of the spectrum the Wild Man is a superior lightweight, strong drop in upgrade for your factory rifle.
As I said, Hunting Season is here! So, make sure you have the right gear and get out there! Make ethical kills, follow the local laws and hunting regulations, but above all, have fun making memories.
Is there a piece of gear that you just can’t live without? If so, let me know in the comments below!