Top 7 Survival Tips for Long Hunts
The majority of deer hunters who prep for a huge expedition sometimes forgets about one thing: Preparing for survival. You can never be fully prepared for a hunt without taking the proper steps to pack and organize what’s needed. And it isn’t just about what to pack, but physically and mentally preparing yourself for the outdoors as well. But how can you do that?
I’ll be showing you the essential steps to help you get started when preparing for a hunting expedition.
Top Survival Tips for Long Hunts
1. Study the Fields
You shouldn’t only study the fields during the hunting expedition itself! Before anything else, you should take the proper steps into choosing the best area for hunting, based on the size and animal population.
Once you have chosen the place to hunt in, study the area if you have the chance. This will give you the opportunity to create effective strategies and prepare your hunting blinds or set up tree harnesses. Also, it gives you time to find your way around the fields, so you avoid getting lost.
Take advantage of the off-peak seasons to acquaint yourself with the area, learning the turf and knowing what to expect regarding trails, animals, and weather.
2. Physical and Mental Preparation
You’re going to have to ready your body for the long hunting expedition. It isn’t just a walk in the park! Start training and polishing up your shooting skills, learning about stealth and increasing your endurance. I recommend you to start trail-walking or hiking with a heavy pack, as you will be doing the same when hunting. If you need to lose weight to build strength and endurance, then start an effective meal plan and diet that still fills you with energy.
Also, keep in mind that hunting isn’t a comfortable luxury vacation. Mentally prepare yourself to get down and dirty, with inclement weathers and discomfort along the way.
3. Getting Your License and Registration
One thing many beginner hunters forget to research on would be how to acquire a license and to study the rules of both the state and hunting area. Red tape may ruin your hunt, and if you have no license, you waste time preparing and traveling for the expedition. Even weeks before you go hunting, get a hunting license. If you plan on going to different states, research on how to acquire the license and how long processing would take (since handling may be different).
Check the regulations in the hunting area as well, as it can vary from season and state. They may have bag limits or weapon restrictions. You won’t want to unload or not be able to use certain guns while on the field because you didn’t study the rules thoroughly.
4. Training With Your Weapons
Like mentioned, you must be physically prepared as well. No matter how reliable your guns are, it won’t make up your lack of skills. That’s why it’s best to polish them up and start target practicing. Act as if you were in the hunt itself, wearing the heavy pack and doing your best to load, target, and shoot for the kill.
You should also start stealth exercises with your gun, try to be as quiet and with no sudden movements that can mess with your aim. If you plan on hunting from longer distances, I recommend you to invest in a scope and scope mount, which will help magnify the game and make targeting more accurate.
5. Prepping Your Weapons Before the Hunt
Prep your weapons before the hunt, unloading it during the travels and loading it before entering the fields. Sharpen knives and polish off your weapons before leaving, doing a test run to ensure that everything is in tiptop shape and ready to be used for the expedition.
When hunting with a firearm, zero-in the gun from the distances you usually do. Usually, hunters would zero-in at 100 yards and during the weather similar to the conditions of the hunting area for better accuracy. Also, always check loose screws and to stock up on ammo to avoid having to go home earlier because of no weapon to use.
If hunting with a bow, check its strings and cables. You may need to replace it. Sight-in the bow with field points as well. And just like using your weapons, give it a test run and take a few shots, testing its accuracy and ensuring that the bows and cables are intact.
6. Assembling a Survival Kit (And knowing how to use it!)
Like what I said earlier, a survival kit is an absolute must, may you be merely camping or on a legit hunting expedition. Prepare for the worst and pack the essential items you’ll need for survival, which includes:
• Fully-charged phone or communication device
• Lighter or matches
• Flashlights with extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Emergency food supplies
• Water purifier
• Map and compass
• Emergency blanket
• Signaling devices, like flares
Have a concrete plan of what may happen in case you come across a dangerous situation. To prevent this from happening, study the fields, plan your hunt on good weather, and be aware of your surroundings.
Every few hours, update someone with your location and coordinates, may it be a family member or fellow hunter. Also, acquaint yourself with self-defense skills in case you come across animals who may attack you unexpectedly. Again, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and there is the possibility of not being able to use the gun in times of trouble.
7. Getting Your Gear and Gathering Supplies
Besides your survival kit, you should have the proper hunting gear and supplies to keep you energized and ready for the hunt.
Clothing and food is a priority. Prepare clothes that coordinate with the predicted weather to either stay warm or cool. Opt for camouflage patterns made of breathable material that has you move around freely and with comfort. You should also prepare the clothing you will be wearing before the hunt, spraying non-odor sprays to remain undetected.
As for food, pack canned goods or instant foods that you can quickly open and consume immediately. Pack sweets and other satiating foods that give you energy, such as chocolates, trail mix, or anything with sugar and carbs.
I recommend you to have a meal plan as well, so you can properly ration your food and avoid running out of it too early. Packing in advance also assures that you do not forget anything before the hunt.
Make a checklist of all essential items and pack it correctly. Use ziplock bags for fire starting materials, medicine, and other devices that may get damaged if ever it gets wet. When organizing the things in your backpack, start off with the heaviest items and work your way up to the lightest and essential items you’ll be using immediately on the top.
Wrapping It Up
Hunting isn’t just about investing in the best hunting blind or spending oodles of money on material tools and equipment. Though the quality of your equipment helps, it all boils down to preparedness in your skills and utilizing them when on the fields.
Hopefully, these tips and preparation and survival will help you out. Remember to pack smart and make wise choices when outdoors.
Mitchell Wood is an avid hunter and freelance writer. He loves spending time in the field with his rifle more than almost anything else, and occupies his off-time discussing deer and their habits online. He is a founder of muskethunting.com