Planning a hunting trip


The following (non-exhaustive) checklist will help you remember what you need for your next hunting expedition.

  • Licence
  • Passport (if travelling outside of the country)
  • Drivers licence and other pieces of identification
  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Bottled water
  • Water purification tablets
  • Snacks
  • Energy bars
  • Jerky
  • Compass
  • Maps
  • Surveyor tape
  • Rifle sling
  • Handsaw
  • Set of socket wrenches
  • Safety goggles
  • Mosquito repellent and/or ThermaCell type bug repellent
  • Waterproof bags
  • Repair kits
  • Trigger
  • Flashlight and headlight
  • Binoculars, rangefinder
  • Lighter, matches
  • Decoy, pallet for rattling
  • Hunting knife
  • Skinning knife
  • Gutting knife
  • Swiss army knife
  • Handsaw, folding saw
  • Canne or rifle bipod
  • Tags
  • Laser sight
  • Flares
  • Radio transmitter/receiver
  • Personal GPS tracker
  • Personal flotation device (in your size)
  • Whistle
  • Headlamp
  • Change of clothes
  • Change of hat, socks, gloves
  • Chemical hand and foot warmers
  • Different types of ropes
  • Tree strap
  • Safety belt and harness
  • Elbow length plastic gloves
  • Lures and baits
  • Scent eliminator (scent control)
  • High quality cooler
  • Tent
  • Sleeping pad
  • Sleeping bag
  • Pillow
  • Folding chair
  • Set of cutlery and dishes for camping
  • Survival blanket
  • Chemical hand warmers
  • Rustproof spray or oil
  • Hooks and supports
  • Toilet tissue
  • Étiquettes
  • Prescription medication, if required
  • Portable generator, battery
  • Camouflage makeup
  • Raincoat, rain gear
  • Bow and arrows
  • Tylenol or Motrin
  • Antibacterial soap
  • Elastic bandages
  • Eye drops (Visine)
  • Perfume/odour free shampoo, soap, and deodorant
  • Wet wipes
  • Earplugs
  • Tweezers
  • Extra batteries
  • Candles
  • Fuel lantern and/or LED light


We use the term Sport Hunting, but to what extent is hunting a sporting activity? It is estimated that hunters burn 6,000 to 10,000 calories during one day of sport hunting, making it an excellent way to stay in shape! Nutrition is therefore an important element to consider before heading out on an expedition. Hunters should also keep in mind one of the inevitable parts of most hunting trips: mosquitoes! What’s more, mosquitoes enjoy lots of the same foods as we do.

Foods to Avoid:

  • 1. Beer
    Studies have found that beer drinkers are very attractive to mosquitoes, even if they haven’t had any beer. Why? Researchers can’t explain it because beer doesn’t seem to increase the level of ethanol in the blood nor one’s body temperature. Perhaps it’s simply a matter of taste!
  • 2. Chips and other salty snacks
    Our bodies secrete lactic acid, which attracts mosquitoes. When eating salty foods, our bodies secrete more lactic acid. Chips, salted nuts, and crackers therefore make us excellent bait for insects that we’d probably rather keep away.
  • 3. Potassium-rich foods
    Foods rich in potassium (e.g. bananas, potatoes, plums, avocadoes, lima beans, spinach) also increase the amount of lactic acid released through the skin. It’s best to avoid these foods if you anticipate spending a day in mosquito territory.
  • 4. LCandy and other sweets
    The smell of candy and other sweet foods is very attractive to animals, including humans, dogs, and… mosquitoes! Take care not to become a magnet for stinging insects

Foods to eat:

  • 1. Garlic
    Just like vampires, mosquitoes hate the smell and taste of garlic. How do you feel about a nice plate of garlic escargots before going hunting? It may not be as effective as chemical repellents, but it’s worth a try. Beware however, if garlic keeps undesirable bugs away, it might also keep desirable humans away! You could also try a garlic supplement if you don’t find the taste of garlic too strong. as.
  • 2. Cider vinegar
    Though its numerous health benefits have long been known, cider vinegar might also keep mosquitoes away if consumed regularly.

General information


Before planning a hunting trip, you need to acquire the necessary licences, including permits for the firearms you’ll be using. Other information you’ll want to obtain includes territories for specific types of game, hunting season dates, bag limits, etc. If you choose to book with an outfitter, most of the trip will probably be organized for you.


If you plan on hunting with a bow, start training far ahead of your trip. Because in reality you’ll probably be shooting in positions that are very different from classic target practice positions, learn to shoot in a variety of positions. Don’t forget to bring an extra bowstring as well as all of the tools you’ll need. Bring training arrows to continue practicing at base camp. If you prefer hunting with a firearm, spend enough time at the shooting range to be able to hit your target. Get as good as you can and acknowledge your limits. Here again, it’s also important to train using your firearm in a variety of positions.


Many outfitters deplore the fact that their clients aren’t aware of the importance of being fit for a hunting trip. Of course, there’s no need to be a top tier athlete, but hunters need to be in shape and have some degree of endurance. Training for several months before your departure will make your adventure much more enjoyable. To improve your fitness level, start by walking at your own pace and then accelerating the pace and distance until you can comfortably walk several kilometres.


If you’re dealing with an outfitter or a guide, ask them to provide you with the most precise coordinates of the area where you’ll be based. You can then familiarize yourself in advance with the type of terrain using topography maps that you can obtain from various government agencies, such as the US Forest Service. You can also use aerial or satellite images, or gather information from wildlife conservation organizations that publish maps and brochures with information about public hunting areas. The Internet and Google Earth can also be very useful. And if you plan on hunting alone (without a guide), having all of this information with you will make your outing much easier. Don’t forget your GPS or compass, and be sure to know how to use them correctly!


Safely transport your firearms or bow in cases that are approved by the air carrier. Bring a sufficient quantity of ammunitions. Be sure to have everything you need, especially when travelling to a remote region where it will likely be difficult to find anything you might have forgotten!

It isn’t unusual to see hunters with backpacks weighing up to 7 kg (approximately 15 lb.) or more. Pack only what you need and prioritize. For example: your hunting licence, GPS and maps, digital camera, binoculars, hunting knife, flashlight or headlight, lighter, water bottles or sports drinks, energy bars, mixed fruits and nuts (trail mix), a small first aid kit, mosquito repellent, rope, wire fasteners, plastic gloves, plastic bags, extra ammunition, wet wipes, toilet paper, rain gear, and batteries.

Before leaving, train to be able to walk a certain distance with your bag on your back to get used to the extra weight. However, limit yourself to the objects you really need as excess weight could create a problem with the air carrier (or for travel by horseback). Ask your outfitter and verify with the airline carrier to prevent any unpleasant surprises.


What types of apparel should you bring? When packing your bags, think safety first: bring orange clothing, for example a mesh bib and hat. Your outfitter can advise you on the type of camouflage and how many sets of clothes you’ll need. Plan to purchase new clothing in advance so you’ll have time to wash and wear them several times before your trip. Wear new hunting boots as soon as you buy them to break them in. Bring extra warm clothing if your destination is in a northern zone, or for nights when the temperature drops. Wool keeps you warm even when it’s damp. Plan enough clean clothes to be able to change often to minimize odours. Ask your outfitter if a washing machine is available on-site, allowing you to reduce the number of bags necessary.


The following is a (non-exhaustive) checklist of what you might need on a longer hunting trip. Of course, you may personalize it according to your needs and the type of hunting trip you’re planning. This list is mostly designed as a starting point for purchases at your outdoor hunting store. Prioritize basic equipment and items suggested by your outfitter. Some items might be provided by the outfitter: find out ahead of time.


You’ve now achieved your ultimate goal: harvesting an animal. Congratulations! And now the real work begins. If you’re using the services of an outfitter, they will cut the animal into 4 pieces to transport to the camp or cottage. If you’re not using a guide, you’ll have to figure it out on your own. Bring very sharp knives and a sharpening stone. Bring plastic bags – or a portable vacuum packing machine if you have access to electricity or a generator. Depending on the type of camp, you’ll need a bear-proof cooler to preserve the meat. Dry ice is a good choice, but be sure you have a suitable cooler. Though more expensive, Yeti or Frigid Rigid brands provide quality and durability.


You’re investing time and money in preparing your trip, it would be a shame not to have lasting souvenirs. Don’t forget your camera; you’ll regret it. Bring enough memory cards and batteries. If you’re using a digital camera, you can take as many photos as you want cheaply. So don’t hesitate to take lots of pictures. The more you take, the more you’ll have that you like without being a professional photographer. Think of the fun you’ll have sharing your memories with your family and friends afterwards!

If new technologies interest you, you might want to take a look at iKam Xtreme Video & Audio Eyewear. These glasses have an integrated camera that allows you to film your adventure. Fully charged, their 4 GB of internal memory provides up to 3 hours of video, plus you can add memory with a micro SD card. For an additional cost, you can even order prescription lenses adjusted to your eyesight.

Safety tips

Don’t let an unfortunate accident ruin your hunting excursion. Always follow the FOUR BASIC SAFETY RULES when hunting with a firearm:

  • The barrel of a firearm must always point in a safe direction. This is one of the most important rules to learn and master before even considering heading out to hunt.
  • Never put your finger on the trigger, except when you’re ready to shoot. Inexperienced hunters often make the significant mistake of putting their finger on the trigger while holding their firearm. This bad habit must be corrected BEFORE going hunting.
  • Every firearm must be treated as if it’s loaded at all times, even if you know it’s not. Therefore, whenever you’re handed a firearm on the field always assume it’s loaded even if someone tells you it’s not.
  • Always know what’s in front of and behind your target. If you don’t have a clear view, DON’T SHOOT!

Hunting accidents have four main causes:


Errors in judgement are the primary cause of hunting accidents: confusing a person with an animal, not checking what’s in front of or beyond a target, or getting caught up in the excitement and neglecting to take safety precautions. To prevent this type of potentially fatal error, remain calm and prioritize safety at all times.


Hunting accidents are also frequently caused by not following the four basic rules for using a firearm (see above). Be sure to familiarize yourself with and master them well BEFORE heading out to hunt.


Some hunters aren’t aware of their abilities and limitations when it comes to firearms. This lack of awareness comes from insufficient shooting practice and can sadly lead to accidents such as accidental discharges or isolated shot.


Unfortunately, mechanical failures can occur anytime with serious consequences. When using a firearm, or when in the presence of someone using one, always be on guard.

The following safety points must also always be kept in mind:


The zone of fire is a critical safety point when hunting with a firearm. NEVER SHOOT OUTSIDE OF YOUR ZONE OF FIRE. This zone spans 45 degrees directly in front of the hunter. Everything beyond this zone cannot be seen reliably and should be considered as out of your field of vision. Furthermore, remember that your zone of fire changes with every step you take and that you must always be aware of where your hunting partners are around you.


Calm and self-control are two aspects that a hunter must absolutely develop to hunt safely. If you get caught up in the excitement of the hunt, you risk making a mistake or being negligent. Know how to control your emotions and if you feel yourself becoming anxious, stressed, or excited, force yourself to slow down, or if necessary stop hunting until you’ve calmed down. Be prudent above all. No hunting expedition is worth taking unnecessary risks.


Shooting accuracy is critical not only to hit your target, but also to hunt safely. If you are unable to hit your target consistently, don’t go hunting. You’ll be putting everyone at risk, yourself included.


If you aren’t absolutely sure what you’re aiming at, DON’T SHOOT. Before shooting, you must identify your target with absolute certainty and have it entirely in your zone of fire.


To prevent getting wet and cold, bring apparel that’s appropriate for the season, weather, and terrain. Imagine how disappointed you’ll be if the opportunity to shoot a beautiful game animal presents itself and you can’t shoot because your fingers are frozen! Choose apparel that will keep you warm and dry, allow your skin to breathe, and control odours.

Remember that wearing appropriate hunting gear will also protect you against accidents. Be sure to understand the safety requirements for the area where you’ll be hunting. Most hunters wear camouflage attire and the mandatory fluorescent orange mesh vest, but some types of hunting require additional attention to colours. For example, if you’re hunting wild turkey, it’s important not to wear red, white, blue or black clothing to avoid being confused with a male turkey.