Although hunting has traditionally been a men's sport, modern women are jumping on that particular bandwagon in droves. Hunting provides an excellent way for women of all ages to enjoy the great outdoors as well as put some top quality food on the table. Wild game not only tastes better than its farm-raised counterparts, it's generally healthier because it's free of the hormones and antibiotics used to raise most meat animals. However, it's important to be safe while spending time in the wilderness, and that means having the proper items in your pack in the event that something goes wrong and you become injured or lost. Following are eight things that you should never be without on a hunt.
New hunters often fail to pack raingear, particularly if they're just going out for a few hours and the forecast doesn't call for precipitation. However, weather forecasts for wilderness areas can be notoriously fickle, and you need to be prepared in case you become injured or lost while on your hunt. A lightweight, full-length rain jacket with long sleeves and a hood that folds into a small pouch takes up very little room in your pack and can be invaluable if you're hit with an unexpected downpour. In a pinch, all-purpose raingear may even be able to pull double duty as an impromptu tent when stretched over the branches of trees.
GPS units and cell phones may have their place, but they can't beat an old-fashioned compass when the object is to find your way out of the wilderness. GPS units work best in populated areas, and cell coverage often doesn't exist in wilderness areas.
Few things are more dismal than being unable to start a fire when you're lost in the wilderness because your matches have gotten soggy. Carrying waterproof matches ensures that you'll be able to light a fire if necessary.
A Waterproof Flashlight
Even if you're only intending on hunting during the day, you'll be glad for a waterproof flashlight if you should be prevented from returning on schedule. This will let you see to set up camp, find firewood, and access the contents of your pack.
A Small Supply of Your Prescription Medication
Always carry an airtight, waterproof container holding a small supply of your prescription medication when going into the wilderness. This will prevent you from having to go without your medication if you become lost. For example, if you are a Type II diabetic, missing your medication may cause you to become forgetful and lightheaded, which could put you in danger in a wilderness situation -- you'll need to be able to think clearly at all times when you're out hunting.
Always carry pepper spray if you're going to be hunting in an area known to be frequented by bears, coyotes, or wolves. It can also come in handy in case you come across two-legged predators. Pepper spray specifically designed for repelling bears and other wildlife is available in lightweight canisters that can be carried on a holster on your hip for fast and easy access.
A good pair of binoculars can help you locate waterways, trails, and even roads that can help you navigate your way back to civilization. Keep in mind that although the best practice when you're lost in the woods is to remain where you are, following a river, creek, or stream usually leads to a road.
Emergency flares make it easier for anyone who is searching for you to find you. Other distress signals include whistles, flags, and personal locator beacons. Even a simple handheld mirror reflects a beam of light for as far as 10 miles.
Please feel free to contact your local hunting gear retailer for more information on staying safe in the wilderness.