Maintaining a “kill kit” in my pack for big game hunting has become a priority for me as a hunter. It took me some time to learn this tip, so it is something I feel is important to pass on to anyone who cares to read!
By “kill kit”, I mean the essentials I need on hand to field dress and tag any big game animal. Maintaining an efficient Kill Kit is simple and will save you a lot of time and frustration in the field. Here are my own personal recommendations.
- Game Bags. I am a huge fan of Caribou Game Bags. Their Muley or Wapiti kits are perfect. They can be compact and I push them to the very bottom of my pack. I love that they are washable and are designed to keep flies out. I also especially love the small bag for loins/backstraps. My meat has stayed much cleaner since I started using this product. I also suggest throwing in one extra bag for the cape/horns. You won’t be sorry. I have packed out capes and skulls that were difficult to condense and pack due to their slippery nature. Using a game bag contains it and makes it easier to get on a pack or on a pack saddle. It also reduces the wear and tear on the cape on long pack outs.
- Knives. Notice that is plural. After one particular outing where I forgot my knife and all we had was a box cutter…I shall never, ever remove my 2 big game knives from my pack. One knife is sufficient, but having two can never hurt!
- Knife Sharpener. I keep a very small knife sharpener in my Kill Kit as well. It definitely is a must and will help you get through that animal much faster. We typically debone in the field, so anything that can help us get through it faster before we pack out is a must.
- Nylon Cord. This is so very essential. If you are packing out on your back, cording helps keep your load tight and condensed. It also allows you to attach smaller, non-essential items to be tied on if space is an issue. If you are packing out on horseback, you are typically covered with your lash rope, but additional support is always helpful.
- Zip Ties. I keep a small set of zip ties rubber banded together in my Kill Kit. This is how I attach my license to the carcass. But let’s face it…zip ties have an endless list of uses from functioning as zipper pulls to hanging light sources. If you have them, you will use them.
- Ink Pen. Yep, I include this in my Kill Kit. I always want every kill to be 100% in line with the laws of the state. Ensuring my tag is signed is vital to that.
- Baby Wipes. I keep a small pack of baby wipes in my kill kit to clean my hands and knives when we are done field dressing the animal. I don’t always want to pack water, and if I do, I don’t want to waste it on my hands. Baby wipes work great and are much lighter to pack. If we are heading back to camp, the dirty wipes that are drier are good fire starter.
- Flash Light. I actually keep a small, square flashlight that can hang in my kit. Often, we kill at last light and getting the job done that same night is much preferred than returning in the morning. Waiting can result in meat destruction from predators.
And that’s it! Simple, light weight and efficient. I recommend updating, cleaning and checking flashlight batteries after each hunt. I keep my kit in my one backpack that I always use for hunting. This reduces any guess work. On a side note, I do keep a separate Kill Kit for bird hunting, but we will use that as a topic for another day!