WHAT TO PACK ON YOUR HUNTING TRIP
BIG GAME HUNTING GEAR CHECKLIST
This hunting checklist should be reviewed and please feel free to call for more details.Weather here in northwest Montana during November can be mild or cold and snowy. Generally speaking it’s best to layer well and plan to have several options for clothing each day. Regardless, good quality gear sure makes a hunt more comfortable. Be especially prepared with a good, quiet jacket and pair of pants, and separate totally waterproof set of rain gear. Everything else is pretty standard.
- Firearms: .270, .280, 7mm, .30-06, .300 are all perfectly good calibers for the game we pursue. Make sure the rifle has an appropriate sling.
- Ammunition of your choice.
- Two pairs of boots are a must, in the event that one fails or becomes soaked. Make sure that they are WELL BROKEN-IN before arrival. Air-bob soles are recommended, or something with a similarly aggressive tread. Look at lace-up, waterproof, mountain style boots that provide plenty of support. Gaiters are fine but not required.
- Plenty of socks of variable weight, ideally wool or synthetic blend
- Poly-pro or technical wool long underwear or any high-quality moisture wicking product. Look at base layers from Sitka, UnderArmour, Cabelas, Patagonia, Smartwool, etc.
- Good quality camo patterned hunting pants and jacket. Look for something quiet, either fleece or a fabric with a brushed finish. Consider brands such as Sitka, First Lite, Kuiu, Cabelas. We are hunting largely dark timber and a mix of hardwood and softwood, so choose colors appropriately.
- Warm hat in wool or fleece (at least one in blaze orange), and several pairs of gloves (light pair to shoot in). We like wool, fleece, or other synthetics, as shearling or leather can become soaked.
- Day pack that is comfortable for all-day wear with a suitable suspension system. GPS, water bottles, knife, compass, and quality binoculars. A phone is great for photos, but we have no cell reception in much of our area so any online mapping system such as OnX must be used in offline mode.
- Rain gear. Ideally something fully waterproof but breathable, such as a Gore-tex product. Ideally this too is in a camo pattern. The above-mentioned brands have numerous offerings.
- Gun oil and accessories to clean both gun and optics.
- Orange vest of a quiet material like fleece. This is required by law and must provide minimum coverage for a legal hunt. Many options are available at sporting goods stores or online.
- Compact flashlight with extra batteries and/or headlamp. Headlamps are generally easier to use. If you bring a rechargeable headlamp, make sure to pack your charging cable.
- Moleskin, duct tape, and any preferred dressing for blisters (this item is very important).
- Hand warmers for stand hunting. Disposable pouches are fine, but bring more than you think you will need.
- Buck grunt and rattle bag if desired.
UPLAND HUNTING GEAR CHECKLIST
The weather here in Yaak, Montana in late September and October is generally still stable. Daytime temperatures are likely to be in the 60’s with nights in the low 40s. Frost or at least dew is very common in the mornings and usually it’s best to start the day by layering your clothing. Chamois shirt and fleece coat or vest is often the standard morning wear. Throughout the day, just a chamois shirt (or comparable item) usually suffices. Nights are cool and long sleeve shirts and fleece jackets work well. Unfortunately, sometimes it rains.
- A good and broken-in pair of lace-up leather hunting boots is a must. We will cover the miles in occasionally steep country, and you will want good support. We recommend ankle-high upland hunting boots or similar hiking boots with a decent tread. Optimally, hunting boots should be Gore-tex or similarly waterproof. Non-waterproof leather boots that are greased or waxed to keep from getting soaked rarely work well over the course of a trip.
- Shotgun, ideally a break-action over/under or side-by-side. 12, 20, 16, and 28 gauge guns are all appropriate.
- Shotgun shells of your choosing. These can be supplied if requested. We recommend shot sizes 6 - 7 ½ for our forest grouse, though 8’s can work if desired.
- Hunting pants. We will bust some brush in some of our grouse covers, so pants with reinforced, water-repellent front panels are best. Orvis has several synthetic options that work very well, and several of the big game companies like First Lite and Sitka have mountain pants that are great. In a pinch, though, Carhartts work fine too.
- Fleece or softshell jacket.
- Good quality Gore-tex raingear (jacket and pants). Waxed cotton and traditional PVC raingear tends to pose a challenge due to its lack of breathability.
- Blaze orange bird hunting vest with game pouch and shell pockets.
- Blaze orange brimmed cap or other blaze orange headgear.
- Shooting gloves (any variety will do).
- Shotgun cleaning kit.