Proper hunt pack?
Good evening to the forum!
I'll be hunting plains game in Namibia this May and I was wondering what(if any) pack I should consider wearing when hunting. I'm used to wearing a 1500 cu in. pack but I'm also not used to hunting with guide or trackers. I'm leaning towards some sort of small hydration pack with just enough room for camera, snack and the ability to tie on my jacket. On my belt I'd wear extra ammo, multitool and my GPS. I'm a rookie when it comes to African hunting and would appreciate any and all tips, advice or reccomendations. Thanks!
Ask your PH what he expects you to carry first.
There were a couple of other threads not so long ago that will help, here are the links:
1. Never go into the hunting area without...
2. What's the hunting gear you can't live without?
Lots of varied opinions in the past. In my experience on guided hunts in Australia, Zimabawe and South Africa, I would say carry as little as possible. In Africa, you will be hunting with a team which will consist of a PH and skinner/tracker as a minimum. The important things you really must have are your rifle and enough ammo, your camera with enough power and memory to get you through the day, and sufficient water.
Guns and ammo goes without saying. Big camera stays in the bakkie, compact in your pocket, water hopefully with the skinner - if you ask nicely he'll look after you. I usually have guys jumping to carry my rifle and ammo and I almost have to argue to carry them myself!
A knife is great if you want to get involved in the skinning. I have only used a knife when the skinner cut himself badly and I insisted he take a break - I skinned full body bushpig and bushbuck. Great to do, but when in Africa, if you have had some success, grab a beer, hang out with the boys working on your trophies and enjoy the chatter and the excitement.
If you're in a remote region where you will be gone from dawn till dusk on foot, then it's likely that you will have a big breakfast and a big dinner, so you may want to carry a snack in this scenario. If you are doing this type of all day on foot serious hunt, probably buffalo or elephant, or mountain zebra in Namibia, then you are likely to have a few more people on the team: PH, two trackers, a local guide, and on big 5, quite often a second PH to cover the situation if it goes bad - so plenty of pockets to carry a bottle for you!
I'd keep any "bag" to nothing more than a fanny pack/bum bag. I have never carried any form of bag in Africa. No doubt many will disagree...
Less is more. Just the basic essentials. Even if you forget something back at the truck, they will send someone to retrieve it for you.
I agree with Tom. Just take the essential stuff.
What to take with you while hunting?
Too much stuff might be in the way while hunting! You can take whatever you want but leave them on the truck when walking.
- Extra ammunition and wear them on your belt.
- Your rifle
- Camera that will fit on your belt.
Your PH should take care of the rest like, water, Shooting sticks, knifes and a GPS if the area is unknown to him. If there is other stuff you realy want to take with you make sure you give them to the tracker to keep it for you while hunting.
You have already gotten some great advice, so I'll only chime in this:
It's a good idea to take small, but good quality gifts for the members of your hunting team. You'll certainly find something to "celebrate" to hand them out.
Also, a great gift for your skinner: a kevlar cut-proof glove. I sent one to the skinner (via mail) after the hunt because he cut himself working on one of my animals. Next trip, I'll plan to take one as a gift. (Practical, small, light and easy to pack.)
Less is definitely best. Forget a GPS unit. The most important tools you'll need are your scoped rifle, ammo, and binoculars. A hydration pack isn't necessary either. Grab a couple of bottles of water and throw them in your day pack. If it gets too heavy, your tracker will be more than happy to carry it for you.
I take a small fanny pack when off the truck and on the stalk/track.
Its a synthetic wool type blend,not cordura which is noisy.It holds one .5 L water bottle.Also just a few things...a small ultrapod for my camera,a pocket camera,a very simple first aid kit;1/2 role of electrical tape,some non stick pads,tweezers,and a single edge razor blade.It's just enough to pull a thorn and keep on hunting,with out having something stupid blow a shot or can a hard stalk.(My PH on one occassion need it).A simple lite leatherman type tool,you don't need a million tools in it.I take a pair of lite leather gloves in case of a long crawl,leather palms/elastic mesh backs.Outside pocket holds 10 rounds in 2 leather cartridge holders,so they don't rattle.A small roll of toilet paper cause you never know when nature can call!Couple of AA's for my small camera.
Frankly the whole thing weighs as much as the bottle of water,and you don't even know its there.
Not big on back packs/hydration packs because it screws up a quick shot if the shoulder strap is in the way.Maybe on something like a Elephant hunt where you have to cover very long distances,and you could drop it when getting close.
I also carry a SLR but that stays in a bag in the truck,along with any coat, sweater etc.I take LOTS of pics,recovery,scenery,where the shot was from if practicle.
I like the fanny pack cause everything to actually go and hunt is all in one spot.You don't have to search around,and I don't wear a belt,nor like things in my pockets while walking and bending/crawling.I like having my own bottle of water cause I can take a sip without asking or stopping.
Depending who you hunt with,alot of Namibia I have hunted it is often just me and the PH,occasional tracker/driver depending on the quarry.So i like having what I want with me.
You're mileage may vary....