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By CJ Rena Johnson

Getting Ready for the First Hunt of the Year or of a Lifetime

Continued from page 1...

Can you see the turkey?
Can you see the turkey?
Most of the hunters I spoke with actually go so far as to wash their clothes in unscented detergent and shower in unscented soaps and shampoos before going hunting. You can usually find these products readily available anywhere you buy your hunting supplies.

You also need to make every effort to cover up any other smells by using such products as Scentlok®, which is reported as one of the high-end camouflage clothing product lines. They claim to keep your perspiration and body scents away from deer or other wildlife and everyone I talked to had only good things to say about them and other such products.

Furthermore, since most deer hunting is done during the winter months, remember to bundle up, but be aware cotton is not recommended. It absorbs moisture, and you are more likely to get cold and clammy. Synthetics are typically the better way to go. For really cold areas you might also want to check into some other items like battery-operated socks and products such as Hothands®, which heat up when you activate them and then stay warm for hours. They make them as shoe inserts and for your hands. You can use them anywhere you feel the need for a little extra warmth.

Now on to my favorite piece of equipment; this is, of course, the ATV. There are all kinds of ATVs available on the market today. You can choose your favorite to get you into remote areas that you just could not access with your vehicle and that walking into would take too long. An ATV is one of the best ways to haul out your kill as well. Any kind of ATV always beats no ATV at all, but be sure to check out the new RUVs, such as one of my personal favorites, the Teryx NRA model that is designed specifically with hunting in mind. You can check these and others out at www.kawasaki.com/Products/detail.aspx?id=355. This is just one of many such ATVs & RUVs available on the market today.

There are all kinds of accessories to use to equip any ATV you choose for all aspects of hunting as well. Some of those include winches, gun mounts, camouflage seat covers, windshield covers and boots in which to carry guns and ammo. To get your fields and food plots ready there are all kinds of disks, sprayers, and spreaders. Deer sleds and skids are available to pull your kill back out of the woods. Camouflaged covers for your ATVs can be used to hide them in the woods while you are hunting. The list can go on as you explore your personal interests. One of my favorite places to shop for these and other accessories is online at www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templ ... ATV*092408. I also love an afternoon out at such places as Big Bass Pro Shop® or Gander Mountain®. Such places as Wal-Mart® usually carry a large selection of hunting items as well, so enjoy looking around for the best available suppliers in your area.

You will also want to look into getting a good handheld GPS system. There is nothing worse than having a great trophy strapped to the back of your ATV and be headed full speed back to camp to show off to your friends and realize you keep passing the same tree.

Camo ATV with Gun Rack.
Camo ATV with Gun Rack. 
Most GPS units allow you to mark several locations in memory so you can get back to it easily, such as camp, your truck and your new favorite hunting spot so you can hunt there again next time.

Other miscellaneous items that you might need out there in the field include a good knife, a first aid kit, a whistle, snacks, a bottle of water, and a good flashlight with extra batteries.

Safety Considerations:

Please keep safety in mind and always use some aspect of the buddy system. Either take someone with you that knows exactly where you are going to be hunting, or let others know where you are going and when you plan to return. I know everyone has a favorite spot he or she wants to keep secret, but always let someone know where you will be, even if you have to pick a non-hunter.

Radios are great to have with you if you are hunting in low areas, but you will need a backup source of communication such as a phone on vibrate mode especially if you are hunting in mountainous areas. Often, the signal of a 2-way radio will be blocked if you are on one side of a hill and your buddy is on the other.

Other things to keep in mind, where safety is concerned (and safety is ALWAYS a concern!) is the blaze orange clothing! Unfortunately, some hunters out there still practice movement hunting! They are so desperate for a kill; they will just shoot into movement in tall grass, etc., hoping for a lucky shot. Please always wear an orange vest or something to make yourself seen on your way into your hunting area. Any game that is going to see you coming wearing blaze orange is going to see you coming without it too, so you might as well protect yourself from the ones with guns! In some states you might be able to take it off and stick it in your pocket when you are settled down. However, be sure to check the game laws in your state for their particular regulations, but do not leave the safety of your vehicle without it. Getting to and from your vehicle alive could depend on it.

Some of the Blinds used by different hunters.
Some of the Blinds used by different hunters.
When I asked seasoned hunters what their opinion of the most important piece of equipment was in hunting and ATVing, almost unanimously, I heard helmets, helmets, helmets, and safety harnesses!
Even though in some states helmets are not required for ATV use when hunting, they are always a good idea. Accidents can still happen even when going slow. Because of this, you need to be protected.

One thing I was surprised to learn was that a majority of all hunting accidents occur at the tree stands as a result of falling. A safety harness can prevent most of the more common ones. So please invest in a good one and wear it every time you climb into your stand!

Whether you are new to hunting or not, please remember what one expert told me, “Always take time to read the rules and regulations each year, as they change often; and above all, use common sense and be careful!”

On a last note, again always remember to prepare for the unexpected. As I always preach in ATVing, enjoy the hunt/ride but prepare for the accident.

As always, I hope you have an awesome day!

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