Not every hunter will be hiking the hills of the west or climbing Alaskan mountains this hunting season. In fact, most hunters will be hunting within a half mile of their vehicles. If you are one of them, here are three things that you should have in your pockets.
If you have not heard of Havalon knives, you have been in a coma the last two years. These new knives are screaming off the shelves of sporting goods stores and for good reason. They are actually not knives at all, but rather, they are a scalpel and handle system that offers disposable razor-sharp blades. What does this really mean to you? No more knife sharpening. Ever. Plus, they are lightweight, come with extra blades and their own carrying case. You can field dress elk or case-skin a fox with them, and they are so versatile that once you try one, you will be sold.
There are many good rangefinders on the market. There are the mega-expensive Leica’s and Swarovski’s that will reach out to over a thousand yards, and then there are the other rangefinders that people can actually afford. Most hunters will never even see animals at 1000 yards, so forget about those and go with the models and brands that will help you reach your shooting potential. Two words; Bushnell and Leupold.
The two best options available now are two models that not only calculate distances, but they also perform instant geometry and tell you what actual distance to shoot for in cases of extreme downhill or uphill shooting. In other words, they take all the guess work out of ranging. The Bushnell Yardage Pro Scout with ARC (Angle Range Compensation) and the Leupold RX1000 with TBR (True Ballistic Ranging) are the best buys out there, and they will tell you where to aim.
You need a GPS. Don’t just think that a global positioning system is exclusive to finding your way around. I think their most important role is to mark positions. I have marked trails, downed animals, and blood spots. I once found a dead body on a hunting trip, so you never know what you will want to mark. I have had the chance to test a few GPS units and I have to say that the Garmin eTrex 20 is the cheapest and easiest unit I have ever used. It has full topographic mapping or satellite imagery. The two AA batteries last forever and it is small enough for any pocket.