Hunting is popular throughout North America. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said that 40 percent of the population of the United States ages 16 and older participated in wildlife-related activities in 2016, the most recent year for data. Hunting also is popular in Canada, where it’s difficult to paint a picture of that popularity because hunting is regulated at the provincial level. However, Wild Alberta reports that, in 2020, there were 151,724 resident hunters in Alberta alone.
As is the case with many hobbies and pastimes, hunting requires some unique gear. Hunters need to bring some essential gear along on each trip to ensure their safety, while other gear and gadgets are all about convenience.
• Proper clothing: Hunting clothing comes in two main varieties: camouflage and blaze orange. Camo patterns mimic real-life foliage or use a digital pattern of natural colors to trick the animals’ eyes, preventing them from detecting the hunters’ outlines. Blaze orange hunting gear, from coats to hats to coveralls, is designed to make hunters visible to other hunters. Some game, like whitetail deer, cannot detect the orange color spectrum, so hunters need not worry that they will be compromising their hunting efforts. Depending on the hunting area and its specific regulations, camo or orange clothing will be required. Hunting clothing also should be comfortable for the weather and the conditions. Waterproof or water-resistant clothing can protect hunters from the elements as well. In cold climates, layer up and wear insulated materials.
• Weapon and ammo: Hunters should always look for ammunition details for the animals they will be hunting so they choose the correct weapon and ammunition type. Weapons should be maintained and cleaned for safety, and all hunters should consider taking a course in the proper handling of weapons.
• Knife: Knives are a staple for every hunting trip and can be used for multiple purposes. Most hunters prefer a dedicated knife for field dressing the animal, which includes gutting, boning, skinning, and butchering. Some knives fold and others are fixed blades.
• Legal documents: Hunters should always carry their hunting licenses and have game tags on hand to mark their kills appropriately. Depending on where one lives and hunts, licenses may need to be visible on the person.
• Calls and scents: It may be possible to lure game closer with special calls or scents. In addition, hunters may want to utilize scent killers, which are sprays and washes that remove human scents from clothing and gear so game are unaware that hunters are present.
• Binoculars: While one may be able to use the scope on a weapon to spot game, binoculars are more efficient.
• First aid kit and other safety gear: Hunters should stock a first aid kit, emergency phone, water and snacks to stay hydrated and fed, and a foldable paper map in the event cell phone signals fade or prove unreliable.
Hunting requires patience, dedication and essential gear. With the right supplies, a hunting venture is that much more enjoyable.