By Jason Amaro – TheNewMexicanSportsman.com
Hunters are like most hobbyists, we go thru stages. When we first start hunting we are pretty much vultures, we don’t have much gear and all the gear we do have, we have pilfered from someone else. Then if you decided that hunting is a hobby you want to get serious about you started buying things, all kinds of things, things that promise to make you more stealthy, more accurate, faster, strong, bigger and better looking. The last stage is what I call the “Come to Jesus Stage”, this is when you look in the mirror and realize that instead of becoming the ultimate predator, you have become more like a ultimate one-man band, complete with snare drum and tambourine. At that point you have two choices, break the mirror or turn into Ben Lilly. For those of you that are not familiar with the Ben Lilly, he and his dogs wandered the desert south-west looking for bears and lions; he carried little more than a jug of water, some crusty bread and is rumored to have slept in the trees like turkeys.
While I haven’t gone “Ben Lilly” yet, I have been thru all the stages at least four times; it isn’t something that I am proud of it but is what it is. Each time I go thru the stages I find a few items that I consider “Low- Budget, High Value”, these are items that make it in my pack on in my camp regardless of stage I’m in. The goal of this article is to define what some of those items are, and hopefully get some feedback from the Western Hunter Community on things that they consider essential.
Regardless of what type of hunting you do, it all starts with getting out of your rig. If don’t take care of your feet, you could be in for a miserable experience. A nice set of Merino wool blend socks that are properly fitted to your foot size and the proper season will keep your feet dry, warm, blister free and relatively stink free. One common mistake people make is to equate sock thickness with quality, in realty socks that are too thick can lead to problems you like wet feet, blisters and poor circulation. So where do you find these magical socks? You might find them in some of the big-box outdoor catalogs or even in an army surplus store but there are a few on-line discount stores that regularly carry socks on sale; these store include www.camofire.com and www.steepandcheap.com.
Hunting GPS Maps
If you have ever hunted in the West where land can be a patch work of public and private land you know how important it is to always know exactly where you are. Things can get ugly real, real quick, in years past I would always back down to a landowner, or another hunter questioning my right to be on a certain piece of land. Some things are just not worth the trouble. A few years ago I added Hunting GPS Maps to my GPS, it is basically software package that you can either download onto your GPS or add to your GPS via a chip. The software will tell you exactly what the land ownership status is of any piece of property.. The software also includes Game Management Units and is update relatively frequently to reflect current land ownership status. The best part Hunting GPS Maps is that many law enforcement agencies are using it as the “go-to” tool in the field to resolve trespass and access issues. For a complete list of which local, state and federal agencies that are using Hunting GPS Maps visit their website at www.HuntingGPSMaps.com.