If your deer hunting pack has the space available, why not take advantage by tossing in a few additional essential items and backup gear? Hunt long enough and one day you’ll be glad you were prepared.

Before your next hunt, take a few minutes to make sure you have the following items tucked away in your deer pack.  Yes, there are a lot of items listed, but it’s always better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it; time in the deer woods is precious – don’t waste it.

If you forget something, please ask before we leave the lodge, we just might have an extra you can borrow.

  • Quality safety vest: A blaze orange vest is required by law for all gun hunters in Illinois.
  • Wind checker: Though the weatherman told you the wind was going to be out of a certain direction, don’t fully trust his forecast. Occasionally checking wind direction is critical when hunting an educated buck.
  • Face mask and gloves: Use camo for elevated hunting and black for ground-blinds. Also a good idea to pack different weights for those days with big temperature swings.
  • Extra bow release (bowhunters): Spring falls out, strap/buckle breaks, lose or forget your main release; this is one item that can absolutely ruin a bowhunter’s day. Just like the second-string quarterback, make sure the backup gets some practice time.
  • Rangefinder with extra battery: Remember, a rangefinder is just for ranging deer. Once settled into your stand, start ranging trees, rocks or whatever is around to get a feel for the different distances. If you get surprised with a monster buck standing by a rock you know is at 28 yards, grab your bow, not the rangefinder.
  • Binoculars: Many hunters pack overkill binos. There’s nothing wrong with a set of quality, compact 8×42 binos. Pack binos you can easily handle and gets the job done.
  • Treestand utility rope: You probably already have one hanging from the treestand but take a backup just in case.
  • Toilet Paper and plastic urine bottle: Pack the toilet paper in a plastic sealable bag, also make sure your chosen urine bottle has a good, leak-proof cap.
  • Scent-elimination spray and field wipes: If sitting all day, it’s a good idea to spray and wipe down once in a while, especially on warm days and after a snack.
  • Flashlight with extra batteries: LED lights with multiple modes are good options. Both handheld and headlamp styles are helpful in different ways.
  • Rattling and grunt calls: Pack the ones you have practiced with, nothing new just pulled from the package.
  • Water and a snack: Water in plastic bottles is fine but they are noisy. Protein bars, candy bars and packages of nuts make great snacks.
  • Sharp knife: Two knives are better than one and having a sharpening device sometimes comes in handy.
  • Field-dressing gloves: Let other hunters in deer camp say what they want; at least your hands will be clean.
  • Lightweight packable rain suit or poncho: These are small and do not take up much room in a pack; they are good to have, even if you are wear waterproof hunting clothes.
  • Soft lens cloth and glass cleaner: Keep together in a small sealable plastic bag for cleaning lenses on binoculars, scopes, glasses and sunglasses.
  • Mobile phone power: Smartphone apps have become important tools for hunters. Maps, peak hunting time calendars, camera for photos and videos, and text messages to hunting buddies are all part of the hunt for many. An external battery pack and/or a solar power source are good items to have. Don’t forget to pack a charging cord.

Article by By: Travis Faulkner, OutdoorChannel.com (Jeff Phillips photo)