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Welcome to the 3Rivers Archer's Den

Archer's Den

Welcome to the Archer's Den. Here you will find a gathering of traditional archery stories, tips and techniques, trophy animals taken with traditional bows, and plenty more. Stay a while and learn something. We hope you enjoy and even submit a trophy of your own, or leave a comment on a post.

Tag Archives: hunting pack

Finding the Right Hunting Pack

Badlands 2200 and Badlands Monster

Like many people, I own more than a few pairs of shoes. Dress shoes, tennis shoes, hunting boots… The list goes on. There is not one shoe that works for all occasions. The same goes with hunting packs.

From chasing elk in Colorado, whitetails in Indiana, or hogs in Florida the hunting pack you need can vary greatly. I have been very slow to realize this myself, and often force a pack to fit for a situation that it’s not ideal for. The best example of this is when I take an oversized hunting pack for an evening treestand sit in the deer woods.

When I have shopped for packs I have been like many folks and look at getting the max volume size for a pack. Hunting packs are not cheap, so my thought has always been to go bigger than what I believe I need, and just not fill the space. Problem with this is I find myself with more than half a backpack empty, and then I talk myself into putting more in as, “I have the space, so why not.”

Now, the dedicated person may have the mental strength to avoid doing this, but I’m betting I am not the only hunter sitting in the woods carrying the “kitchen sink” worth of gear. What I have done over the past few years to limit the over packing when I get ready for a hunt is first writing down a list of all items I truly ‘need’ for a hunt, then start expanding out from there. I don’t even look at a pack till I have my list in hand, and the items laid out in front of me.

Hunting Gear Laid Out

What to pack in your hunting pack

When writing your own list, think about how long you plan to be out, how far away from your vehicle or home/camp (where I keep non-essential gear),  and on every item you are about to write down ask yourself, “If I didn’t have this on me,  what would it hurt?”

Now, this may seem like a silly question, but it can really shed some gear from a pack. I no longer carry a folding saw with me when I head to treestand. I have hand shears for smaller branches, but I’ll make sure any large branches or logs are removed when I first set up the tree stand, and I’ve gotten better with my knife to not need a bone saw when I’m field dressing.

For an example on writing a list, here is what I take for an evening sit in my tree stand in Indiana. What I take into consideration is I’m never really that far from my truck and even with leaving work a bit early, I’m only out for a few hours.

  1. License and transport tag (put in license holder with small pencil)
  2. Bow and arrows (4-5 with broadheads, 1-2 with hammer blunts)
  3. Shooting glove and armguard
  4. Headlamp
  5. Safety harness and tree strap
  6. Phone / Camera
  7. Pull up rope (doubles as drag rope)
  8. Seat cushion
  9. Whisper dust
  10. Bow, 2nd arrow, and gear holders
  11. Field dressing kit – Knife, latex gloves, and wash cloth
  12. Back-up shooting glove and bow string
  13. Camo gloves
  14. Ratchet shears
  15. Bottle of water
  16. Medic kit (small one)
  17. Face paint
  18. CC-sharpener
  19. Toilet paper

Now, some of this is carried on my person (numbers 1 – 6 mainly), so always keep that in mind. As I keep the, “cannot afford to lose” items always within grasp. This is an early season list. Which will grow as the weather dictates. Add a rain coat, grunt tube, insect repellent, etc. All going off what I expect to happen that day.

When I first started writing a list two things happened immediately for me. First, I start cutting the unneeded items before I even finish writing. This example list is 19 items long. That “feels” like a lot, but you should have seen the first lists I made. Secondly, I stopped forgetting gear I needed when I went on my hunts.

Now with your list done lay all of the items out. I set up a card table in my garage and organize items best I can. So have your broadhead sharpening gear next to each other, and your clothing in order from base layer to outer layer. Being able to visualize my gear I try to imagine each piece being used on the hunt, and how likely that is. If I could do without it, I put it aside as a secondary item. If there is space I’ll take it, but most likely it stays in the truck.

Early Season Gear in Haversack

Now that I can see what I need, I pull my hunting packs out. I have a Badlands 2200, an old Keyes hunting pack, and a 3Rivers Haversack. For long hours moving about I like the Badlands packs as they have a waist belt and tons of space. So I can comfortably wear it all day and I can carry some meat if I’m lucky enough to put something on the ground. The Keyes pack has tons of space, and I have used it for many years as I have hunted from treestands here in Indiana. The added space lets me pack extra clothing with ease. So great as the weather gets colder. For early season the 3Rivers Haversack is the perfect size. I have the least amount of gear I need to take with me, and the smaller bag makes it easier to move around. I have recently started hunting with a ghillie suit, and having the smaller pack makes it easier to balance a bulkier item like the ghillie suit. Nice thing with the 3Rivers Haversack and the Badlands 2200 pack is the bedroll straps. As strapping a ghillie suit to the bottom of the pack is a breeze.

The only item that always makes it is my med kit. I have it stripped down, but in case of emergency it will save my life.

I hope all of us get more time in the woods to get the experience of “doing stuff.” Learn what you can from others, but never let the hands on fun get away from you. Straight Shooting!

By: Johnathan Karch

How to Layer Hunting Clothes for All-Day Comfort

When you layer hunting clothes you control your core temperature in any weather

This story has been re-published with the permission of Core4Element. The link to the original story is no longer available.

One of the most important things a hunter must consider before going out into the field is choosing the best hunting clothing for the conditions. But even the best gear is useless without knowing the best way to wear it. The Core4Element line of hunting clothes is designed to be used as a system of three layers: a base layer, a mid-layer, and an outer layer. Dressing in layers like this allows you to control your core temperature in any weather, which helps you stay focused on the hunt instead of your clothes.

Layering allows you to prepare for all weather extremes, but there is a right way to do it. The first thing you need to keep in mind when creating your layering system is to abandon the thought of wearing cotton on your hunt. Cotton is a light fabric, yes, but it also traps moisture and chafes after wearing it for a long time. These are not ideal conditions for anyone, especially hunters competing with the elements for long periods of time.

Merino Wool Base Layers

Begin your layering system with a base layer. This layer will have direct contact with your skin, so you’ll want to choose something relatively lightweight, breathable and comfortable against your skin. At Core4, we create our base layers with 100% Merino wool, which is soft to the touch, anti-microbial, and has moisture wicking capabilities. Base layers should fit snuggly to make the most use of the wicking technology and allow for other layers to be put on top without bunching up. Depending on the climate of your preferred hunting area, you may want to consider heavier (thicker) or lighter base layers. Since base layers are pretty much impossible to remove once you’re out in the field, do your best to anticipate the weather conditions of your hunting grounds so you can choose the appropriate weight.

Versatile Mid-Layers

Mid-layer hunting clothes allow for a little more versatility than base layers because you can either wear one or several, depending on your comfort level. Mid-layers tend to be looser than base layers, but they do not need to be baggy by any means. The mid-layers are where you really control the body temperature. Adding multiple mid-weight layers for colder temperatures will better protect your from the cold than a heavy, bulky outer layer. Core4Element hunting apparel is tailored to an “athletic fit” to maintain contact with the base layer in order to optimize wicking capabilities. This will keep you warm while still being moisture and odor free. Mid-layers typically have special features to provide maximum comfort and breathability. Core4Element mid-layers often have underarm zippered vents and extra long front zippers for superior ventilation on all-day hunts. Layer the Mid Mountain Vest over the Selway Zip for extra warmth or use the Pivot Shirt as your mid-layer on warmer hunting days.

Protective Outer Layers

The outer layer of a system is going to be the most important layer in terms of protecting against the elements. Whether hunting in rain, wind or snow, Core4 has the high-performance, high-quality gear you need for creating the best final layer to your system. The key to the most effective outer layer is durability. Your pants and jacket need to be able to stand up against tree branches, rocks and whatever else you may encounter in the woods or backcountry. All of our pants and jackets are treated with Durable Water Repellent (DWR) to provide maximum protection against the elements. This is exactly what you want in an outer layer. Pay attention to the weights of the pants and jackets, as some are made for colder conditions than others. Pay close attention to the moisture in the weather. An outer layer protected by a DWR treatment will keep the rain and snow out for a while but if heavy rain or wet snow is in your future you’ll want a fully waterproof outer layer like the C4E Torrent jacket and pants. Torrent is waterproof, breathable, and just as important on the hunt, quiet.

When building your layering system, be sure not to neglect your head, hands and feet. Core4 offers Merino wool or synthetic options to keep you as comfortable as possible on your hunt. Be sure to keep your head covered on bitter hunts, as heat leaves most quickly through the head. Keep extra pairs of wool socks in your pack in case your boots do not protect your feet from water, as they should. Nothing ruins a hunt faster than suffering from soggy socks. Choose a pair of gloves that provides warmth, grip and mobility.

Layering is one of the smartest choices you can make on a hunt. Using the right method, you won’t have to worry about your clothing and comfort for the rest of your hunt, and that’s how it should be. Stay dry, warm and odor free when hunting with the Core4Element layering system. Ready to turn your hunting clothing into a system of specialized gear? Build your system now.

What to Pack into Your Tree Stand

What to Pack when Bowhunting from a tree stand
What to bring with when hunting from your tree stand

By: Dean VanderHorst

Let’s face it, if you’re tree stand hunting whitetails in the Midwest you’re most likely just a short hike from your vehicle or house. Most of us are. If you forget a flashlight or heaven forbid your knife it is just a short walk away. I grew up in southern Michigan bowhunting whitetails at an early age just a ten minute walk out my back door to my stand and most of the time I would have only my knife and bow. Every time I trudged back to the house however for a flashlight left an impression on me to be prepared and think ahead.

Every hunt begins with optimism and being armed with a few items in a prepared fanny pack or backpack is a great way to begin any hunt weather you are in the back 40 acres, down the road, or packing your stand into a dark cedar swamp for an evening bow hunt. Having the items prepared a head of time insures that you have all your gear and that you can be focused on your hunt and not be thinking of what you might have forgotten or should have taken. I find myself thinking of heading to a tree stand at every chance through October and November and by having all of my gear in one place ensures confidence that if I take off and climb up my stand I’ll be prepared for the hunt.

First I use a fanny pack primarily for one reason, it is small. Less space forces me to plan smart and keeps my pack lightweight. I’ve seen a lot of guys over the year use large backpacks or monster fanny packs just for tree stand hunting and put more stuff in there than is necessary just because they have the room. I prefer to keep it small, light and simple. My list includes necessities and some items of convenience developed over time so you have to weigh what is important to you and space constraints.

Here is my List:

  1. License. Don’t leave home without it.
  2. Fanny Pack or small backpack. I like Badlands for their durability, quietness, and comfort.
  3. Knife. Your favorite will do. I have had a Kershaw Alaskan blade trader for years. It has a saw blade as well as a knife blade so it is versatile and compact.
  4. Compass or GPS. Always good to keep your bearings even when you “know” where you are. The GPS has the advantage of marking way points during tracking also.
  5. Headlight. I prefer headlights over flashlights because if you have to track or dress a deer after dark it is much easier to do if you’re not holding a light too.
  6. Wind dust. Always know which way the wind is blowing.
  7. Knife sharpener. A small 3Rivers CC sharpener is great to have handy.
  8. Camo mask or paint. Staying concealed requires head to toe coverage.
  9. Bow hook, pull up rope, and 2nd chance arrow clip. Small items but when you have several stands they can easily be forgotten to be placed ahead of time so it is convenient to have a spare or if you grab your climber tree stand to head to a new spot for a night.
  10. Chemical hand warmer and toe warmer. One pack of each. Clearly not a necessity but I put them in my pack early in the season so they will be there so later in the season and often use them on a morning I was not expecting.
  11. Camera and camera clip. I never used to carry one but when I started hunting with my kids it has been a must to record the moments. Small is the key. I have a small point and shoot digital camera with a clip mount that will hold anywhere for a great picture to save the memories.
  12. Binoculars. A small pocket set of binos for stand hunting are invaluable.
  13. Phone. Think that is a given anymore.
  14. Small baggy of wet wipes. A one quart freezer bag with a couple wet wipes in it is convenient for clean up after dressing a deer.
  15. Armguard and glove/tab. Sounds so simple but I keep them in my fanny pack for a reason; and yes I’ve made it to my tree stand without them before so now I keep them in my pack so not to be forgotten.
  16. Hand pruners. Trim those little branches that pop up in lanes, walking into stand sets or trimming out for taking photos.
  17. Brunton Inspire™ battery pack. This is not a necessity either but I won’t be caught without one in my pack. They are about the size of your cell phone and can recharge your phone, headlamp, and camera. Very simple and eliminates the need to carry extra batteries.
  18. Game calls. Not necessities but if you’re taking them, get them in there.
  19. Marking tape. A roll of about 10’ to use when tracking a blood trail. Be sure to take it down after being used.

All of these items kept ready in one spot will help anytime you get time to sneak off to your hunting stand this season. I keep mine in my truck all season with my safety harness so all I have to remember is my bow and quiver and I’m ready to go. Any successful hunt starts with good planning. Stay safe, shoot straight and make some memories in the wood this fall.

Author with a fine Whitetailed Doe
Author with a beautiful doe whitetail deer

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