Everyone knows hunters should scout, but what gear do they need to carry while doing so?
One of the most important pre-season preparation rituals is scouting. Finding rubs, scrapes, trails, and other deer sign is a great way to know if you’re hunting the right area when the season opens. However, it isn’t enough to just throw on some camouflage and head out. For effective scouting, there are a few pieces of important gear you need to carry on every scouting trip.
Scouting is hard work. You will work up a sweat if you’re doing it right. Since most scouting trips are done in remote areas, it is a good idea to carry in a few necessary supplies, just in case. Packing in a few or all of the following items is a good idea when scouting a remote area because you never know when a typical scouting trip may suddenly turn into something else.
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Anytime you take off into a remote area by yourself, you should pack in a bottle or canteen of water. It is a good idea to carry in your own water just in case you get lost or exert yourself more than you initially expected. Dehydration can be a dangerous adversary in certain situations, so carrying a bottle of water in with you works in your favor in more ways than one.
Carrying a small digital camera on your next scouting trip is a great way to capture images of scrapes, rubs, trails, and of overall shots of the area you want to overlook from your stand. By documenting the things you see on your scouting trip with a camera, you can go back later and review everything you’ve seen on your trip from the comfort of your living room. These images allow you the opportunity to plan a route to and from your stand and can give you a visual documentary of the amount of overall sign you are dealing with in that area.
Snake Bite Kit
One of the biggest fears of any hunter is to get bitten by a snake while hunting alone in a remote area. The same can be said for scouting. No one wants to be in a life or death situation caused by an encounter with a poisonous snake. For that reason, it is a good idea to pick up a snake bite kit and throw it in your scouting pack. These kits work just well enough to buy time for real treatment and that small amount of time often makes all the difference.
It almost goes without saying that you should carry your cellphone on scouting trips. This is especially true if you’re scouting alone. Cellphones can double as cameras and are critical in emergency situations. Even if you don’t have service in all areas of your scouting spot, that’s okay. A clock can help with time management, and a compass will typically work with the least bit of service available. If you get in real trouble, a cellphone can save your life faster than anything else.
GPS / Map
Throw a GPS into your pack and grab a topographical map of the area before you start out on your scouting trip. A GPS can give you and anyone else who needs to know your location an exact reading as to where you are. A map of the area can help you visualize the layout of the land you’re on and help you plan stand set ups and more.
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What good is a scouting trip if you can’t see farther than your sight distance allows? Make sure you don’t forget glasses so you’re able to see goo distances, and determine the best sight lines and
Scouting trips aren’t meant to be overnight excursions, but sometimes things happen. Don’t be caught unaware. Instead, throw a few emergency supplies in your pack. Things like a fire starter, hunting knife, emergency blanket, and length of paracord are all supplies that can help you get through a sticky situation with relative ease and comfort.
If you can, find a way to scout with a buddy or take your dog with you. Scouting alone is tricky and works a lot better if you have a companion along for the trip. In addition to safety matters, taking another person or dog along gives you an extra set of eyes and ears to pick up sign you may have missed otherwise.
What other suggestions would you make when it comes to scouting gear?