By Pete Rogers
Continued from Planning An Out Of State Hunt – Part 1.
Plan each meal and how it will be prepared
The first year a group of us went out west, we brought home more food than we take now. The learning curve was expensive and vast. Now, we sit and detail each meal of the day and only purchase what is needed for that specific meal. For example, each person is responsible for his own breakfast and lunch. I usually carry oatmeal for breakfast and some dehydrated food for lunch along with some energy bars. Supper is split up so that each person has one night, or if it’s only two or three of us, we rotate. The person cooking the night’s meal gives the menu to the chief purchaser of food, and all the food is bought and packaged. If someone is cooking spaghetti, then he needs a detailed list of what ingredients are needed, and they are bought and packed together for whomever is cooking that night.
Another way is to simply let every man fend for himself. This seldom works well, because someone will forget, or under prepare, and others will be sharing their rations just to keep that poor soul alive. We have found that the one big meal a day that has shared responsibility is the best for our group.
Get a gear list and stick to it
When there is a group of us, we have fought the gear scenario to the point that we now have a system to keep it under control. Each hunter can bring a cot, sleeping bag, one big tub of gear along with their weapon and one “travel” bag. Our tub is around ten cubic feet of space and is plenty of room for all your gear and some extras.
Your gear list needs to contain everything necessary for the conditions you will be sleeping and camping in. I hate to see people travel to the Rockies and pull out a summer sleeping bag with Dora the Explorer printed on it. I know they will freeze the entire time they are there. Some of the best money you can spend for hunting is on a good sleeping bag. Buy the best you can afford. You will never regret it!
Study your list carefully. Any items that can be shared – share them. For example, there is no need for more than one person to bring a coffee pot or pans for cooking. A backup stove is a good idea, but keep it small and portable. Most of the items you would take on a solo trip are the same items you would take on a group trip, except for the shared items.Your gear list should also include your daily hunting supplies, including a first-aid kit and other survival needs.
Some basics to put into your gear list include insulated clothing, headlamp, extra batteries (including for your rangefinder and headlamp), extra ammunition, camera, hand warmers, GPS and paper maps. Don’t forget rain gear and camp clothes. I do not like being in my hunting clothes all day and evening. Having some clothes to change into can perk up your spirits. (Pictured below, the Sitka Stormfront Jacket is a premium option for waterproof hunting gear).
How will you get there? Driving or flying?
I have done both, and sometimes flying is necessary due to distance and time constraints. But when I can drive, I drive. Driving allows me to carry more gear, change locations, and alter plans at the last minute. Flying handcuffs you by what you can carry and what you can and cannot do. On a few occasions, my hunting group members have done both – some of us drive out to carry the gear and others fly, and we pick them up. This can really work when group members live in different parts of the country.
How will you get your trophy and meat home?
A burden I discovered when I killed a moose in Alaska several years ago on a DIY hunt was how in the world was I going to get all this meat home? Not to mention the skull and antlers. Figuring out how to get 600 pounds of meat home was not easy. Thankfully, there are many people in Alaska who do that kind of thing, and I was able to ship most of the meat home. I flew the head and antlers home with me.
Here is one trick I learned several years ago that I use when flying or driving. If I see that I have a lot of meat and antlers to get home, and there is just not enough room for them, I will box up most of my dirty clothes and mail them home. If flying, this is far less expensive than checking extra baggage. A large parcel mailed home is $15 while the extra baggage fee is $35. By doing this, it gives me a lot of room for the trophy and meat. I also pack some of my gear in coolers for the drive out, and this gives me cooler space for the return trip home.
Planning an out-of-state hunt can be a daunting task for the first timers, but it doesn’t have to be. By following these tips, your hunt will be a memorable one. Keep your focus on the adventure rather than the harvest, and you will enjoy it a lot more.