Preparing a hunting vehicle can save headache later

WORTHINGTON -- Tomorrow is the waterfowl opener in Minnesota, and a week later is the pheasant opener. When it rains it pours. You wait all year for the fall months and now they are here. Now is the time to get all of your gear ready for the fall...

WORTHINGTON -- Tomorrow is the waterfowl opener in Minnesota, and a week later is the pheasant opener.

When it rains it pours.

You wait all year for the fall months and now they are here. Now is the time to get all of your gear ready for the fall hunting season.

I have told many people, "If you got stranded in my dog truck that you would have everything that you would need to survive for several days."

I am one of those folks that just has to have everything where it belongs in order to make the best of every situation, even if you run into a little trouble.


Every hunting vehicle needs the following gear in order to be considered ready to go. This list is by no means everything, but this short list will go a long way to salvaging your hunting trip most of the time if you run into trouble.

The very first thing on the list is a complete change of clothes, including socks and shoes and even underwear. Even if it's only for a day trip, this can be put in a plastic shopping bag and stuffed under the seat.

You hope that it will stay there the whole season, but nothing feels better than a fresh change of clothes if you happen to slip or fall into any sort of water. This complete change of clothes will eliminate the need to head for the house, cutting your day short if the unexpected happens. Shoes can come in handy even if you only need shoes that are not covered in mud to visit the local watering hole without tracking in a bunch of mud.

The second item on the list is a first aid kit. Any kit is better than nothing, but mine has everything short of a defibrillator machine. I can stitch up a dog, wrap a cut, alleviate allergies, flush eyes, and even apply a Band-Aid, aspirin or sooth chapped lips. About four different kinds of tape are included to handle any sort of potential problem.

I have used this kit countless times, and most of those times were for other hunters that skipped this part of the pre-trip packing. Most of these episodes were not serious but several were and a good first aid kit really saved the day.

The next items seem so simple, but you would be surprised just how few hunting vehicles have them. A long (did I mention long) tow rope, long high quality jumper cables and a battery charger.

I have had more than a chuckle or two watching someone try to hook up a ten-foot towrope to a car or truck in the ditch. The rope doesn't even make it to the shoulder and even with a pulling vehicle everyone just stands around and looks at each other, because the two can't reach one another. The battery charger is for those foggy days that the headlights get left on, and you can plug the charger into the outlet at the motel and get back to full charge. When your hunting partner leaves the dome light on at the campground they will not remember doing, and even if they did, they wouldn't admit to it.

Five gallons of water to rinse you birds, water the dog or even drink yourself is also nice to have. I also carry three gallons of gas in a tightly sealed container.


When traveling on weekends in South Dakota, I have had several opportunities to need fuel and the small town Co-ops only had their own after hours card fills. It can save the day every once in a while. A quart of transmission fluid, engine oil, and power steering fluid make it in the same storage box along with a good flashlight and spare batteries are necessities. If these help you fix the problem great, but if not, you can stand there and shine the light on it and say, "There is no way that we can fix that."

The last item on my short list is the hardest thing on the list to keep in the truck. I don't loose it or use it up and not replace it. It is usually a friend that comes over on a weekend and desperately needs, it but forgets to replace it, and that item is skunk off for dogs. This is another item that you hope that you will never need but too often do. Skunks and dogs occasionally dance together, and this stuff is hard to find on short notice.

I knew a guy who tried to give his skunked dog a bath in a bathtub inside a Holiday Inn and the experience did not go very well. Plan ahead and buy several bottles and hope that you get to keep at least one. A box of heavy-duty rubber gloves helps with both bird cleaning and dog cleaning, and I am never without them. Add enough zip-lock bags, garbage bags, paper towels and duck tape and you should be almost ready to go.

I carry more vital stuff but these items will give you pretty good coverage on the average hunting outing. I like to be prepared, and now is the time to get that way. One other benefit of early preparation is that I find the cost is much lower than the short notice trip at 10 p.m. to the only convenience store in 40 miles.

Scott Rall is the Daily Globe's outdoors columnist. His column can also be read weekly at by clicking on Northland Outdoors.

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