When you’re deer hunting and have a problem, it’s great to plan ahead and have a magic box with tools, extra hunting accessories and other “might need this” items to handle the situation.
In November 2015 I had the chance to go to Kansas, one of the nation’s best states for deer hunting, to spend a few days with John Vaca of Vista Outdoors and fellow outdoor writer Jace Bauserman. We were bowhunting on private land south of Great Bend, which is about in the middle of the state, and this property was typical Midwest land: rolling, gentle hills, waves of broomsedge, blocks of gnarly hardwoods, overgrown fencerows studded with cedars and willows, and perfect habitat for deer.
We stayed at a hotel in Great Bend, which was awesomely convenient and the staff there was fantastic. They know hunting is a big deal and welcome us. They even have a cleaning station for upland bird and waterfowl hunters, which is cool. I never worried at all during the week about my bow or gear and, fortunately, had packed well for the trip.
Had I needed anything, though, for my PSE Carbon Air bow or other accessories, Vaca had it covered with what I tabbed his magic box. It’s a large Primos box, similar to some older tackleboxes I used to have. I still have some smaller versions but Vaca’s was pretty cool, with compartments and trays and space for just about anything.
“I have everything I possibly ever have needed on a hunting trip, from pliers to duck tape to extra broadheads, nocks, releases or whatever,” he said. “I’ve had times when I needed something and didn’t have it, which is a pain. So I put it in the box and then I have it with me.”
I do the same, but Vaca’s experience as a longtime hunter and guide now make me want to update mine. He had batteries (different sizes), a limb saw, SD cards for his Bushnell cameras, duct tape, screws, nuts, bolts, tools, Allen wrenches for his Mathews bow, different broadheads and more.
If you don’t have one of these, make one and put it in your truck. Build on it. You don’t have to have $15 screwdrivers or $22 pliers. Get the inexpensive ones; they work. Don’t forget wire snips, needle-nose and blunt-nose pliers, electrical tape, zip ties of different sizes, scent wicks or drags for your favorite buck or doe urine, scent spray wipes to clean up, doe or buck deer calls, and whatever else you think of. You might even stick an extra game camera or two in there to pop up in a surprise spot.
Just consider the box a work in progress, an evolving hunting tool that will help you in a pinch.
“I started as a waterfowl guide 30 years ago,” Vaca said. “I knew I could keep extra calls, snacks and drinks in the box and also use it as a bench in the blind. Then I started using it for turkey hunting, then deer, then elk, and now I have just general hunting stuff for any possibility. It could be archery, turkey, duck, whatever, and with the box if I need something to make a repair or lend then I have it.”
Get your box, think about what you need and start building. Then you’ll be ready this season.