Hunting backpack

Hunting Backpack: A list of essentials to bring along

Also available in: French

Going hunting takes a lot of preparation, but that’s one of the many pleasures this activity brings! Every time you drop an item in your backpack, you get one step closer to good times spent in the woods. To help you get ready without the stress of forgetting something important, refer to the essential list provided by the FédéCP.


Before you leave home, make sure your backpack is roomy enough so that you can carry all the main items you need to bring on your next hunting trip:

  • Basic items (for small and big game hunting)
  • Health and safety items (for small and big game hunting)
  • Additional items (for big game hunting only)

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Basic items to drop into your hunting backpack (for small and big game hunting)

  • Your hunting licence. Double-check the species, area, your signature, etc. Everything on this precious piece of paper should not be forgotten!
  • The keys to your fiream’s trigger lock. Easy to forget, keys are essential in using your shotgun. A combination trigger lock can be a good solution if you tend to misplace your keys frequently. 
  • Ammunition. Bring more than not enough, as you will surely want to do a few practice shots, you might miss a partridge on the fly, etc. Plan well! 
  • A sharp hunting knife. Evisceration is a crucial step that can sometimes be difficult if you are not experienced enough, but even more so when your knife is not cooperating. Make sure you bring the right tools.
  • Marking tape. The blue tape is the most visible in the forest, but the fluorescent colored tapes work very well too. The tape will be useful on several occasions, as you will need to mark a landmark in order to find your way back or to jot down clues of animal passing. 
  • Gloves and zippered plastic bags. The gloves will allow you to minimize the risk of contamination and soiling and the bags will be used to immediately secure the meat pieces in a clean, hermetic bag. 


Health and safety items useful in the forest (for small and big game hunting)

  • A first aid kit.
  • A bottle of water and snacks. This is essential even if you only go to the end of the trail to observe, even if there is a river flowing right next to your hunting location and even if you have just eaten lunch.
  • A map, a compass and/or a GPS. Even if you are in an area with clearly-marked trails, it can be easy to get lost in the woods when you come off the trail to retrieve your game.
  • A headlamp, flashlight or chest flashlight. 
  • A good mosquito repellent, a net and a tweezer to remove ticks. An essential combo to protect you from the only beasts that will attack you. 
  • Extra clothes. Always pack extra socks and gloves as well as extra layers. Practical in case of bad weather or a drop in temperature.


Additional items (for big game hunting only)

  • Odour eliminators. Choose a spray formula and use odourless soap, because animals have a more developed sense of smell than you might think.
  • A hunting cushion. This will allow you to stay stationary and wait for your game without feeling uncomfortable. 
  • Plastic ties. They will be used to attach your licence to your game.
  • The phone number of a blood dog handler. This type of dog sniffs out the injured animal and will help you find an animal you thought was lost after an imprecise shot. Improve your chances of finding a lost game by being prepared to contact a blood dog handler, if necessary.
  • Binoculars. The scope on your firearm is not made for observing nature. See something moving out there? Use binoculars!
  • A rangefinder. This tool will allow you to gauge your distances and help you take accurate shots at any distance.


Efficient organization of your gear

Have you packed all of these items in your old hunting, one-zipper backpack? If so, you might regret it when you have to get your hands on something at the bottom of the bag like your binoculars rolled up in a sweater under the ammo box wide open right next to the spilled mosquito repellent. Carefully choose a hunting backpack that contains all the necessary pockets to properly categorize your gear and facilitates access to it without making too much movement or noise.

Also, try to maximize the space in your hunting backpack by following the advice detailed in this article.

Finally, remember that a hunting backpack cannot be worn over your orange vest, unless your backpack is neon orange. You will therefore need to have an additional orange vest that you can hang on your bag so that it is clearly visible from all sides.


Article written in collaboration with FedeCP.

Also available in: French