Every summer, someone on the more popular hunting forums asks,” Do trekking poles really work?” Yes, they do, I am not sure why some many people don’t believe they do, maybe out of fear that their buddies will make fun of them and call them “old” or something. When I first starting using walking sticks or trekking poles or whatever you want to them I wasn’t using anything special, it was basically a long-walking cane. After a few years of that I figured that there had to be something light and more importantly something adjustable. Being the cheap-skate that I am I purchased a set from Good-Will. I later saw that the set that I had purchased for $5 retailed for about $75. I figured that I saved some hard earned cash. That set lasted about a 2 years until they got bent beyond repair under an ice chest in the back of my truck. After a quick Google search for a new set it became painfully obvious that mid-range set of poles could easily push $150.00. So this time I went to a local store that sells recycled sporting equipment, I scored again and I found another set for $10. These poles had to be better because they were twice as much as my first set and they same had all the same functionality. When I got home I once again did a quick Google search, to bask in the glory knowing that once again I saved a ton of cash. Well, it didn’t turn out as I expected, my new “sticks” were from a local big box store and retailed for $17. These days I am much more meticulous when I make my purchased but when I first started, it was all about the economics. Undeniably, if you were to line up 20 different trekking poles it quickly becomes obvious that the only real difference is weight and cost. At the end of the day, an additional point of contact to the ground is an additional point of contact, it doesn’t matter what trekking poles you use, just make sure you get yourself a set.
Last year I was fortunate enough to draw a pretty good elk tag in NM, after a summer of scouting I had found a nice pocket of elk about 4 miles from the road. Not too bad but it was just a little too far to be able to hunt from the comfort of my travel trailer and I was forced to setup a spike camp. I had been in my spike camp for 3 days and I had just topped a ridge and began glassing when I smelled the rutty, foul smell of a bull elk. I immediately went into stealth mode, because of the potency of the smell I knew that the elk where close, danger close. The stand-off last for about 5 minutes until the wind hit the nape of my neck; I was expecting the elk to blow out at any moment. Then I realized that rutty smell wasn’t the elk it was me, after a few days of spike camp living, I had become pretty ripe. Nothing can ruin a hunt or a date faster than smelling like a rutting elk. Fortunately, I buy scent killing field wipes by the case, I will admit that there are a lot of products out there that are smoke and mirrors and often rely on faith, but modern scent killers including field wipes are scientifically proven. They will kill the funk. While some field wipes claim to have live organisms that eat odor smelling bacteria, I like field wipes that are a mixture of peroxide and baking soda. In addition, if you really want to save some money you can find a DIY version of Scent Killer on-line. Just ask the Google Machine, it basically uses the same formula as the brand name versions, but it is just a lot cheaper.
Regardless of where you are in your journey as a hunter you might want to seriously consider taking a look at these six items. They might not be as sexy as a pair of high-end binos or even as nice as a new backpack, but they will be every bit as useful.
Jason Amaro is lifelong resident of the Mountains of New Mexico. He currently lives in Silver City, with his wife Candace and her son Brock. He runs a website called www.TheNewMexicoSportsman.com, which focuses on all-things outdoors in New Mexico. If you would like to reach him, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org