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Fishing & Hunting The Fishing & Hunting forum is for discussion (on-site content) that directly relates to wilderness fishing and hunting with an emphasis on engaging in these activities while on backpacking trips. Lightweight/packable gear, personal experience/technique, and trip reports are of central focus. [Reminder: PBF is for actual content, not links/reference to offsite content.]


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  #1  
Old 01-02-2010, 08:40 PM
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MoondogFiftyfive MoondogFiftyfive is offline
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Survival packing for hunting

I'm starting a new thread in this section because when I hunt I tend to carry more survival kit than when walking or skiing.
I work on the premise that I will get stuck sooner or later so for me, it is more like a planned bivouac than an outright emergency.

The best Sambar hunting is in our Autumn so I have several months to plan.

Here in Victoria Australia open season is 11 months long, but the summer is too hot to walk 5o miles in a week-end so cold wet and windy weather is the norm for my hunting.

Sambar is the imported and naturalized Asiatic deer from Ceylon ( Sri Lanka ) and India, big tough and lean.
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  #2  
Old 01-03-2010, 12:39 AM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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I, too, pack more for a planned field bivouac than as a true emergency kit, but it's a very lean and stripped down bivouac. basically my standard emergency kit plus food and a proper cooking vessel. camp is a rough, fast affair, which varies depending on expected weather. food is pretty basic, protein, starches, carbs. the kit, is, by necessity a very light thing, to allow me a large range. my sustainable pace is three miles per hour, all day. i can do four miles an hour for a good six hours, but i feel it in the morning. it's the closest i come to ultralighting, but if i'm under these conditions for more than two days, i'm going to have to forage.

rifle hunting kit is a bit more involved, as it's prepared to meet a much more challenging set of conditions on the edge of winter.
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  #3  
Old 01-03-2010, 07:35 AM
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tonto tonto is offline
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Bivouac Mentality

I'm not a hunter, unless prowling for bargains could be considered, but it would be interesting to know what you guys are packing in order to bivouac.
I would think this depends on if the intent was a day hunt or several days out and by necessity tend towards ultralight with less gear the trade off being greater impact due to the use of natural materials or deliberate discomfort if it didn't jeopardize one's safety or chance of survival.
Reading some of the old camping literature it's evident that the old time "sports" (getting their enjoyment through hunting & fishing unlike us moderns, mere pack toting tourists following Thoreau's romantic lead), though not carrying light by our standards, were most definitely carrying "light" for their times using wood for warmth, eating game they bagged or caught and where more bushcraft oriented.
Though I'm aware that times have changed and one should have less impact when one enters the wilderness, sometimes I think I would be packing much lighter using a "bivouac" mentality.
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:55 AM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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well, for me, my preparations consist of shelter, groundcloth, and blanket, as far as that goes. the convertible military poncho does well here. depending on the weather, it can function as all of those(but not all at once) with the poncho liner. i also tend to carry around some form of tarp, especially during rifle season, as the weather is more variable.

while i do carry a portable 'stove', my primary source of light and heat is wood-fuel, either in a fire-hole, or run through a hobo stove. bedding is often on a browse bed for comfort and insulation.

food, like i said, is pretty basic, protein and carbs, really. stuff that doesn't need to be cooked to be eaten. water is what i can carry, with some ability to replenish that as i go via boiling. generally i pack for only a couple days unless i think the weather could hold me in place for more than an overnight in the field.

comfort rations are likewise minimal, a small container of loose tea leaves, some sugar. broth cubes.

tools include field knife, 'hawk, an entrenching tool(depending on terrain/weather), and most of my standard kit tools(pocketknife, etc). first aid kit comes along as well.


the real intent is a single day's hunt, as it's far more comfortable to work from basecamp, where all the food is(and the bed, my book, etc), but as i'm likely to range widely while hunting, i need to be prepared to sit out the night, or a storm. or two nights, or a very long period of foul weather. i have a lot of stamina, and use that to cover a very large amount of ground some hunts. if i'm hunting in the islands north of here, i can't range all that far, but the woods cover on the islands is pretty primeval, so a few miles can take a very long time to cover, even in a hurry(which i rarely am while hunting). i'm also prepared to have to track down a shot animal(though i haven't had to in years).

you're right, tonto, in that the old timers carried light. kephart talks about hunters going abroad with little more than their rifle, an axe and knife, some pork and maybe some rock hominy, and enough for a bit of tea, and a fire-starting kit. light weight indeed. most of these guys were perfectly capable of overnights even in snowstorms with this very minimal loadout. having made lopped tree shelters as well as emergency A-frames and wigwams, i can attest that if you know the woods, that's about as basic as it can get.

i pack the way i do from experience in alaska, where things shift fast enough that sometimes the best you can do is throw the tarp out, toss some rocks on the edges, and crawl under it. most of the time there's enough warning to set a hasty camp.
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  #5  
Old 01-03-2010, 11:58 AM
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richwads richwads is offline
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I have bivied without sleeping bag a few times, but never unexpectedly, and with the tools and time to be fairly comfortable, i.e, camp axe and blanket (sometimes). On some occasions (let me think - I remember five), I didn't have a ground cloth but used a browse bed, on one I had a small warming fire, on two I had a wool blanket, on one I had no blanket or clothing other than a pendleton shirt, jeans, and base layer, on another I had fleece jacket and pants over a base layer. The most comfortable was without a blanket, because they consisted of a HUGE pile of leaves and/or pine needles, with branches thrown over the top to keep them from blowing away, and which I crawled into very slowly, feet first, wiggling like a worm to keep from creating any air space between myself and the browse. I highly recommend this as a shelter- one was in May in the Sierras when a freak late storm dumped some snow and the measured low was 20 deg, the other was New Year's Eve in my back yard, which my wife thought was a little wacko .

Anyway, I recommend experimenting with bivouaking before having to. When deer hunting, I hunted with a pack anyway to carry out meat, and inside was only an emergency blanket and a backpacking nylon pancho (which I have slept under many times in rain and even the occasional accidental snow), but I hunted in my base layer and included a fleece jacket in my pack. Together with my trail mix, hunting knife, waterproof match container, I figured I could burrow in somewhere and be fine for overnight, even without a fire.

So my bivy kit basically only added an emergency blanket and hunting knife to what I usually carry on me anyway, even on a day hike to fish.

I haven't hunted for a few years, but 5-10 years ago while bowhunt/backpacking with buddies in the eastern Sierras, we would set up a base camp and occasionally "spike camp" overnight away from there with only sleeping bag, pancho, snacks and hunting gear. I don't recall having to pack more than about five extra pounds to do that. One can easily carry more than that just in tools to create more elaborate camps.

With the ultralight gear available today, it makes more sense to me to carry the shelter and clothing required for warmth rather than the tools to let you make one. These shelters I talked about making were quite time-consuming and would only be worth doing to spend several nights in. That being said, most of my shelters were made without an axe, but granted, there was a lot of easy-to-break deadfall.
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  #6  
Old 01-03-2010, 12:52 PM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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good point, that bushcraft shelters are time consuming. they're very much so.

i myself, if i expect only one night, will not bother. the couple of times i've been stranded by heavy weather, i used breaks in the weather to construct something more durable than my poncho shelter, which really consisted of picking a bushy fir tree and dropping it (cutting about four feet off the ground), then taking the topside branches off, and cutting a tunnel out of the lower-side branches these cut off branches are then laid over the felled section of trunk to increase the density of the cover. lopped tree shelters are surprisingly warm, by the by.

one thing i've seen a lot of folks do, is construct browse beds/shelters from dead materials.

this is a major no-no. not only do all sorts of wiggly things live in those dead materials, but if you try for a fire for cooking/warmth... you're inside a tinder pile.

it's worth noting that dead materials will soak up water/moisture VERY fast. and a dead materials debris shelter takes about ten times longer to build than cutting green branches and using those(legally speaking, in emergencies only on federal lands), as you have to gather huge masses of leaves, and further branches to hold those down.

BUT; there are fewer legal questions when it comes to using fallen materials. which is kind of sad. ultimately it's up to the individual's judgement.

while going through the mountains, hunting, i've from time to time come across the remains of so called 'slab camps' or 'slab shelters', which were made from logs, generally in lean-to format, that were split, slightly hollowed, and then laid in a fashion similar to spanish tile roofing. kephart talks about them in his writing. when made right, they can last for years, even decades.

they're even more labor intensive than bush shelters, however. but can be made by one man, equipped with a good axe and a saw(optional but NICE to have). expect one day in late spring/early summer, if you have lots of skill with an axe and good timber and start at sunup.

but back to bivouac! it's a method of overnighting that is very much restrictive, and removes many of the standard comforts that even ultralight hikers have, including sleeping pads and blankets. as i'm considering strongly getting an ENO hammock, i may actually start bivouacing in comfort on future hunts...

Last edited by dsuursoo : 01-03-2010 at 01:12 PM.
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  #7  
Old 01-03-2010, 02:45 PM
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richwads richwads is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsuursoo
. . . . picking a bushy fir tree and dropping it (cutting about four feet off the ground), then taking the topside branches off, and cutting a tunnel out of the lower-side branches these cut off branches are then laid over the felled section of trunk to increase the density of the cover.

I agree on this one - the most bang for the buck for sure. I've experimented with these on some mountain property I have (so I can play in the woods without breaking laws ) near Hayfork, CA, but not slept in any.

Cuddling up to a young standing fir's trunk, first breaking off all the dead stuff under the lowest branches, is a good shelter from light rain and a windbreak as well. You've probably noticed that rain doesn't often penetrate the heavy branches and needles, being diverted out toward the drip line by the downward sloping branches. Supplementing the live branches with some cut from the other side of the tree much improves it. My (then) 12 year old granddaughter spent the night with me in this type of shelter to get away from her dad's snoring in the small cabin we escaped from . Course we had sleeping bags, but it did rain and we stayed dry.

Re: the browse bed shelter - yes it can (will) get itchy, and one does wonder what may be crawling underneath, I can testify. Having to crawl out for a pee break a couple times, and shaking everything out of my clothes, is an amusing memory. OTOH, crawling back in was very pleasant as it was about 20 deg out. I'll confess that I abandoned the experiment before the break of dawn and my sleeping bag was quite welcome . BUT, knowing how to make one and what to expect is comforting when I see those resources and I'm *oops once again* farther from camp than I had planned. and oh - this is instead of a fire - it is quite warm.

Maybe this belongs in the bushcrafting thread?

back on thread -

Equinox makes a bivy sack with 3/4 length zipper, silicone-impregnated bottom and water-repellant breathable top that weighs 6.5 oz and would be a great addition to a survival hunting pack, allowing placement of whatever quality browse insulation is available plus security from water. This would be much better than the emergency blanket I sometimes carry, and might even be useful in my normal kit if my tarp became marginal in extreme weather. hmmm . . . xmas is over .

Last edited by richwads : 01-03-2010 at 04:37 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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  #8  
Old 01-03-2010, 04:46 PM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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well put rich. i was actually organizing a piece on that very topic, brush shelters.

the browse bed DOES in face make a valuable skill for hunters to know, as most hunters travel afield without much in the way of preparations. this is because oftentimes they're hunting from stands, and will get near those via ATV. they figure, they've got a ride, they're set.

complacency, thou art darwin's herald.

most hunting here in the states takes place in the fall to winter. Here in Washington especially, rifle seasons start after the first day of fall(for large game) and run well into Febuary. while we might not have lots of snow here, there is a good bit, especially in central washington, where most of the deer and elk hunting grounds are.

having the equipment to set up a fast bivouac that will keep you warm, as well as food for two-three days, regardless of hunting method, is pretty indispensable in my own opinion. and even if you have the equipment, you should be able to set up expanded/substitute shelters. you never know if your tarp might blow away.

even one of coghlan's emergency tube tents(orange numbers) is better than nothing, and can be set up fast. it's light enough that it's no burden, and can hold up to two people(really it's better that way. shared warmth. with a space blanket draped over the top, it's effective and affordable. if there's nothing suitable to put the ridgeline to, you can use a rifle as a pole, much as many use trekking poles. bows don't work this way, as they're meant to bend...(saw someone try though). it's hardly lasting. but it's better than nothing, and exposure is the leading killer in the outdoors.

my kit fits neatly into an ALICE buttpack, for bowhunting. easy to carry, out of the way, and plenty of items and tools. the 'hawk goes on the belt alongside the quiver. field knife either goes on one of the shoulder straps of the buttpack(handle down) or on the other side of the belt. camelbak tied into the shoulder straps of the pack. pouches with poncho(rolled tight), line, food, and some field dressing tools on the side opposite the quiver along with E-tool. poncho liner(blanket) rolled tight and strapped to bottom of buttpack. the total rig weighs in at about ten pounds or so with the camelback empty, arrows in quiver.

it's water for a day, food for three, shelter and essential supplies.
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  #9  
Old 01-03-2010, 05:27 PM
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MoondogFiftyfive MoondogFiftyfive is offline
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I usually carry my Khukri, I assume by 'hawk you mean tomahawk, and having just found my old M-55 bumbag
( Vietnam era ) I was indeed thinking of organizing a belt-order kit based around a padded pistol belt type set-up, maybe with lightweight suspenders

Whoops i'm goint into the bush loaded to hunt "'Cong'

I can use the new setup to experiment with gear, and I just bought a new day-pack specifically designed to fit with
belt-order, so I will have the option of extra gear as well
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  #10  
Old 01-03-2010, 06:08 PM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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the suspenders really do make it quite bearable to carry the load a bivouac kit would represent. it takes it all off your belt, where it could slide off, slide around, and generally be annoying, and load to your shoulders more, with the belt acting to hold it in.

a daypack is also a really good option, depending on the pack. my buttpack has about the same capacity as some of the smaller daypacks i've seen at REI, but not nearly so glamorous looking. it is, however, capable of taking bulkier objects, which is a very good thing. daypacks often have built in spaces for hydration, which is something that my bowhunting setup doesn't have. rifle hunting is another thing, as i'm wearing a load vest, which does have a pocket(as well as the ability to carry more items, which gives me the ability to better plan for bad weather).

khukri knives are one of those 'do it all' sort of items. they've got the chopping ability to serve in place of a short hatchet(though performance won't be equivalent it'll get the job done well), and it can even do a number of field knife jobs. they're not quite a hatchet or a knife, but can sing the song and dance the steps for either. paired with a light companion knife(as they traditionally are), it's a very effective tool to have.
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