By Alan Clemons, Managing Editor
Here in the Southeast where I live, bowhunters I know are just about ready to gnaw on their arrows like beavers to get into the woods. They’ve been ready for weeks and despite warm autumn temperatures hitting the mid-80s during the afternoon, they’re ready to go.
I can’t recall exactly when I started using a backpack, although it likely was more than a dozen years ago when I got tired of cramming stuff in pants and jacket pockets. My father used an old army bag with a shoulder strap to tote our lunch when I started hunting with him. Heck, it didn’t even have a flap over the top. But it worked. I wish I still had it.
About eight or nine years ago on a hunting trip I picked up a Badlands Superday pack. Man, this thing is tough. It’s designed well, has great space with 1,950 inches, great internal and external pockets and obviously was engineered by someone who hunts. Zippers have big, textured tabs you can grasp with gloves. There’s no clanging metal anywhere. Mine is older; newer versions have been spruced up with a few things including a handgun pocket and the ability to tote a rifle or bow.
I can spray my Superday with ScentKiller or Dead Down Wind, inside and out, and it doesn’t fade or stink. And I can load it up because it has great suspension on my back, or go minimal depending on what I want to do or need. A good pack is an investment and well worth buying one that will last for years. If you’re not a backpack guy, a waist pack like this Badlands Ambush also gets the job done efficiently but with less weight.
Three things I’ll have in my pack this season for certain, among other things, and I recommend for hunters to consider:
Gerber Exchange-A-Blade Hand Saw
Trimming limbs and small saplings up to the size of my wrist were a breeze with this thoughtfully-designed saw. They’re lightweight, hold up well and cut through limbs easily. The blade locks securely so there’s no slippage or give when you’re sawing.
Earlier this spring on some property I hunt I worked up a sweat trimming limbs here and there, small saplings and anything I thought might interfere with a shot. When I was done, we had clear openings in three directions from a blind. This saw will be in my pack all season.
Smokey’s Preorbital Gland Lure
You may have read some of our previous accounts of using Smokey’s and they’re no bull. This stuff, and the Smokey’s Interdigital Gland Lure, are the real deal. They’re extracted from the glands of real deer and provide a powerful scent for licking branches and scrapes. Just a few drops of the Preorbital on the licking branch over a scrape and a few drops of the Interdigital in the scape can get your bucks fired up. Last season I freshened up a couple of existing scrapes and made a couple of mock ones nearby. In less than 48 hours a buck had visited and obviously was none too happy with an interloper.
I’ll have those with me in my pack this season to freshen up any scrapes, real or mock, and try to get at least one or more bucks fired up. One great way to make mock scrapes is to hang a Wildlife Research Magnum Scrape Dripper with Golden Scrape juice in it. The dripper works during daylight hours but not at night, extending the amount of time it drips into the mock scrape. Add some Smokey’s to the licking branch and on the edge of the scrape, and you’ll be set.
Getting a buck’s attention is critical sometimes to bringing him in closer for a good shot, so it’s important to have realistic sounds coming from your call. Whether you’re making gentle, contented grunts like he’s just chilling out, aggressive “Hey, I’m here in your territory!” grunts to challenge a buck, or tending grunts during the rut, they’re all part of the whitetail’s vocalization routine throughout the season. The Stretchback Grunt Call from Duel Game Calls has a dual chamber system and flexible tube that makes realistic sounds. Stretch or compress the tube to change the pitch, too. Get it as part of this super kit with information about deer vocalizations.
Tink’s Power Scrape Starter
On the property I hunt, I’ve found a couple of good scrape lines in different areas and also have created some mock scrapes for camera surveys. One or two of the mock scrapes are within one of my stands, too, so I can get an idea of whether a buck is hitting it. Tink’s Power Scrape Starter is one way to get these mock scrapes rockin’ and rollin’ with just a few shots needed. It’s an easy way to fire up a buck and keep your mock scrapes going throughout the season.
Ma-Mah and Lost Fawn Calls
Deer are curious and it’s not a surprise that does are protective of fawns, so a fawn bleat is one great way to get a nanny’s attention. Bucks are curious, of course, and want to know if a fawn or doe is in trouble or simply what’s going on with them if he hears something. Having a Super Hot Ma-Mah call and Lost Fawn call in your pack is one way to make sure you’re getting a message out to the deer. They’re realistic. Easy to use. And they work.
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