Into The Woods: What To Pack For An All-Day Sit
For most people, fall means apple-picking, pumpkin spice lattes and Halloween candy. For bowhunters, the season signals cooler weather, active deer and all-day hunting.
Fall is a magical time to be a bowhunter, but it’s usually gone too soon. One way to maximize your time is to hunt from first light until last light.
All-day sits are particularly advantageous during the breeding season, or rut. At that time of year, deer – especially bucks – are active throughout the day. Bucks cover a lot of ground searching for a mate and often forgo their phantom habits. Hunters have a small window where there’s a chance to arrow a buck in the middle of the day! (According to whitetail expert Charlie Alsheimer, the rut will occur Nov. 7-15 for states above the 35th parallel.)
To make it through a full day of hunting, you’ll need to bring extra gear to make your hunt more comfortable.
First, the Essentials
Your pack is an essential piece of gear that should keep you organized and provide easy access to equipment.
Packs come in a variety of volumes, which is measured in cubic inches or liters. For a full day of gear, most people use a pack between 1,000 ci and 3,000 ci. These measurements are hard to visualize and don’t mean much without prior experience.
It’s hard to judge a pack’s size by viewing it online, and it’s best to take a trip to the archery store to check them out. When looking at the packs, check out their pockets and features. Make sure the pack fits comfortably, and don’t be afraid to ask the staff plenty of questions.
Best Gear Choices
Let’s face it: The fun part of having a great pack is filling it with cool hunting gear. You’ll always have a pack full of critical accessories: hunting license, binoculars, rangefinder, field dressing kit, flashlight and toiletries (for when nature calls). These hunting staples should have a special place in your pack. Choose specific pockets or parts of your pack for your important gear so these items are easy to find and quickly accessible. You can hunt all day with just these essentials, but you’ll enjoy the experience if you pack a few extra creature comforts.
Many hunters are thrilled to spend all day bowhunting, but the day can have lulls. During downtime, a good book or tablet is worth the added weight in your pack – especially if they can keep your mind sharp and ready for action.
Another option: Take up an activity like birding to keep yourself occupied and scanning your surroundings. Just remember that deer have a way of popping out when you least expect it, so stay alert.
If it’s going to be cold during your all-day sit, staying warm can be a real challenge. Hand warmers and plenty of layers are must-haves in your pack. Having a hat, warm gloves, down jacket and extra socks can help keep you in your stand.
Hand warmers are another great item to have in your pack. Put the hand warmers in your boots and pockets to keep your extremities toasty. Isometric exercises or doing a little midday stalking can keep your blood flowing on those chilly days.
Food and Water
Don’t let hunger distract you from hunting. Bring a filling lunch and snacks. This might be a cold sandwich, or you can bring a portable backpacking stove to prepare a hot meal. Unfortunately, we’re not talking about grilling steaks. For a hot lunch, pack a freeze-dried or dehydrated meal that just needs hot water to cook.
Cooking a meal isn’t likely an option if you’re 20 feet up in a treestand. But if you’re in a ground blind or stalking, it’s a nice way to lift your spirits – not to mention you can boil some hot coffee using your stove.
Dehydration is a factor even in cold weather. Bring at least two liters of water with you and don’t forget to drink it! You can pack your water in a hydration bag or in several large water bottles.
The best way to hunt all day is to bring the comforts of home into the woods. These essentials will keep you hunting hard through the afternoon and well into evening. Stop into an archery store, where the experts will help you find a great pack and fill it with the essentials.
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