Blind Bag Essentials
Every year on Opening Day’s Eve, I spend countless hours preparing for the morning’s adventure and despite all checklists, double checking and excitement, I still manage to leave a few things behind-- hey, it happens. As a result, I wanted to put together a list of a few key things to keep in your blind bag (year round) so you don’t have to worry about packing your kit the night before.
- Gun Dog First Aid
No accident is ever planned so you should always be ready for a little chaos during a hunt with your dog. Some guys like to have all sorts of medicines and fancy bandages in their pack but I prefer to keep it smart and keep it simple. That said, be sure to adjust your kit based on where you are.
Here’s a few things I always have on hand:
- Hydrogen Peroxide: If you dog ingests something they shouldn’t, use this to make them vomit. Use 1 tsp per 10 lbs of weight. Warning: this gets messy.
- Tweezers or forceps: Feel free to raid the medicine cabinet and snag a pair of these in case your dog comes in contact with a nasty thorn, something stuck in their nose, or (God forbid) a porcupine.
- Ace Bandage: These can be real handy for you and for your dog. If you happen to run into some barbed wire while hunting a field, you’ll want to close up the wound, wrap it and visit your vet immediately.
- Duct Tape: This solves most problems in life, so keep it on hand.
- Saline Solution: Definitely keep this on hand. Often times when we’re field hunting, our dogs are running through dense brush and can get all sorts of things in their face and potentially, their eyes. Flush their eyes with saline for a quick cleaning to keep their sight right.
- Want to find more? Check out the awesome video we did with Ira McCauley on our Youtube channel.
2. Gun Cleaning & Repair Kit
Roughly once a season, one of my buddies usually dunks their muzzle in the mud in the middle of a hunt so it’s handy to have a cleaning kit in your bag. I typically carry around a multi tool for in-field repairs, a collapsible cleaning rod, a few patches and an old rag for wiping down the gun. Trust me, one of these days you’ll be the one dunking your gun and you’ll be pleased you had an answer for that problem!
Yup, pantyhose. A good friend of mine is a fantastic taxidermist and said that slipping a bird into a tight pair of pantyhose is the best way to keep feathers from getting ruffled in transport, if you’re looking to mount a bird. Pro tip: it’s best to have the bird taken to the Taxidermist within a year of being harvested.
4. Training Bumper
We get it, you fill the strap on every single hunt and never have dull moments...yeah, sure. Well when the sky isn’t blackened with birds, reward your hunting partner with a mark or two they understand if I wait and be patient, I get retrieves. This is a great little trick for young dogs.
5. Dog Treats
Speaking of young dogs and rewarding proper behavior… Don’t be afraid to reward your dog with a quick snack. I mean hey, if you get a sleeve of gas station donuts, the dog should have something tasty, too.
6. Water bottle
High quality H2O. If you’re not properly hydrating your dog, they will get sick or die. Just like you have to keep your dog warm during an icy hunt, you need your dog cool during a hot one and clean water is the way to go. Yes, some people say a diluted sports drink can help but nothing beats clean water. If you’re hunting in a mucky, rank swamp, then fill ‘er up beforehand so the dog doesn’t ingest something from the stagnant water in the swamp.
The bottom line is you need to be prepared for not only yourself, but your dog-- no matter what. They work hard to take care of you and you need to return the favor.