By Zach Lazzari | Photos by Ryan McSparran
Our hunting trips can involve anywhere from a few hours to a full day in the field. On these hunts, you can leave behind the tent and backpacking gear. No point in carrying along the extra weight. That leaves the day pack for carrying everything you need to hunt a variety of big game species.
From bare-bones, to high volume options, there are multiple approaches to the day pack. Here are a few things to consider in a daypack for your next big game hunt.
When selecting a pack, the first order of business is determining how far you’ll be hunting away from the vehicle or a road and the amount of weight you may need to carry.
When hunting smaller game like Coues deer or antelope, I love hunting with a small waist pack that holds a bottle of water and just the essentials. This is perfet for short stalks and hitting glassing points close to the road.
But when pursuing mule deer or elk further from the road, this small pack would be a burden. It basically means an extra trip is required for packing meat. Any hunt that pulls me deeper into the woods requires a full-sized pack. I’m still only carrying the essentials. But the extra space is available to pack out a quarter or two in the event of a harvest.
I keep it minimal here with the bulk of my gear focused on glass. Binos, a spotting scope, rangefinder and a lightweight tripod are the heaviest items in the pack. Additionally, game bags, two knives and any relevant calls also come along. Throw in the required ammo, and you are ready to hunt.
A basic first aid kit is worth bringing along. Working with knives, sharp broadheds and difficult terrain comes with plenty of risk. Still keep it light with some tape, antiseptic and bandages to stop bleeding in an emergency.
Paracord, a headlamp, a few layers of clothing, snacks and water covers your needs for the day. If I’m planning on glassing in cold weather for long periods of time, I might throw in an ultralight sleeping bag. It makes a day of wind and cold much more bearable and weighs less than two pounds. A lighter and firestarter serves for emergency fire starting, and a map and compass or GPS for navigation is a good idea for most hunts. I personally use my smartphone for a camera and navigation on day hunts. It’s light and works great with the OnX mapping app.
Antler Canyon Outfitters Offers guided hunting adventures in Arizona for Coues deer, mule deer, elk, antelope and more. For details and availability, please contact us or call Toby directly at (928) 205-8911.