After watching the Fish & Game videos and learning that a snare trap can kill my dogs if I can’t get the cable off, I decided I now need to carry a pair of short-nose cable cutters along with all the other crap in my vest. Aside from the fact that they’re ridiculously expensive ($65 on Amazon; Harbor Freight didn’t have anything similar, and I found a pair of knock-offs that were made of aluminum), my pack is starting to get heavier than I’d like. So I thought I’d weigh out everything and see what others have in theirs in case I’m carrying too much, or – gulp! – not enough.
Here’s what I’m working with:
- Badlands Vest: 2 lbs., 14 oz.
- 100 oz. hydration bladder & hose, with sleeve: 5 lbs., 10 oz.
- Garmin Alpha GPS handheld with belt clip: 9.2 oz.
- Garmin Delta transmitter (for Peat’s collar): 3.9 oz.
- 1 box 12g shells (2-3/4″ Rio 7-1/2 shot,1-1/8 oz lead): 2 lbs., 5 oz.
- Leatherman “Wingman”: 6.8 oz.
- First aid kit: 14.3 oz.
- Baby aspirin (for Angus): .5 oz.
- Vaseline in a container (cheatgrass deterrent for dog ears): 1.1 oz.
- Panasonic Lumix camera: 7 oz.
- Smart phone: 6 oz.
- Wallet: 3.9 oz.
- Spot Gen3 emergency beacon: 4.1 oz.
- 6′ dog leash: 6 oz.
- Snacks for me & dogs: 10 oz.
- Felco C7 cable cutter: 12 oz.
Total weight: a little over 16 pounds. The above doesn’t include extra clothes or gloves or hat. When I pulled everything out of my vest I was surprised to find that I had a total of 31 shells in it, extras – including 6 steel #6 shells – stashed in various places. Better to have too many than not enough, but out of the above items I think I might pare down the number of shells I bring with me. I think the most I’ve ever shot was 19 times in one hunt (and that was an epic day: 0 for 19).
Items I should think about adding? Headlamp? Fire starter? Lighter? More food? Most of my hunts last between 2.5 and 5 hours. I like my vest but have often wished it had larger pockets so I could carry more clothing and maybe a little more food, but this setup has worked well for me the past several years. I’d love to hear from anyone about something I’m a total idiot for not bringing along… As I’ve already established, I am an idiot when it comes to these birds.