Summertime. Also known as the “doldrums” for hunters. However, as tags are drawn, scouting becomes more and more of a necessity. Hitting the backcountry with some glass is a great way to pass the time until the season opener. That said, caution should be taken any time you hit the remote reaches of the wilderness.
No one plans for a scouting emergency, but emergencies can happen. I personally pack a survival kit for the off-season that is far less comprehensive but still vital.
I always pack a smaller knife for scouting. The uses of a good knife are endless, but packing one in the off-season can make all the difference if you find yourself having to remain in the backcountry overnight due to injury or becoming lost. Gutting fish, building shelter, and generating pieces of firewood are all necessary and much easier to accomplish with a knife.
I keep nylon cord in all of my packs whether I am scouting or hunting. Cording is useful for building shelter, emergency tourniquets, replacing laces, or building splints. And it is virtually weightless.
Again, no one ever intends to have to remain in the backcountry, but it unfortunately happens. Fire is a necessity. I keep a lighter and a small fire starter product in my pack. They take virtually no space but could mean the difference between life and death.
Hypothermia doesn’t just happen in the winter. Cold summer nights or submersion in cold run-off water can quickly result in a hypothermic situation. Additionally, a fire can be used so rescue agencies might find you should you be lost or incapacitated.
Fishing Line and Hooks
Yep. Seriously. Not only can you catch fish for food, but you can also pinch the barb and use the hook/line for emergency sutures. Not optimal, but then again neither is bleeding to death.
Not a big one by any means. But a very small, lightweight flashlight can be quite convenient in a pinch.
I don’t like to carry unnecessary weight, so I don’t like to carry water. But I don’t mind taking a LifeStraw in my pack. I can drink out of the stream and eliminate 99.99% of the impurities. And that’s it! All told, this kit weighs in at about 10 oz and that, my friends is worth its weight in gold.
So go on… scout like crazy. And be safe out there!