Gear Breakdown: What’s in my kill kit?
The kill kit. Something that is packed around all season waiting to be used or, if you're lucky, on the season opener. There are many different styles of kits from minimalist to everything but the butchers block. Over the last few years, I have slowly started to nail down what items I liked, what I disliked, what is essential, and what is very handy when processing game for a pack ride when away from the truck. Now, I’m not telling you this is the holy grail of kill kits, but, instead, a way to give you ideas to help perfect your kit when getting ready to travel into the field in hopes of getting those nice white bags colored red. Here's a breakdown of what's included in my personal kit.
When I first moved to Montana I was using the cotton bags; they did the job, but the problems I found with them is that they tore easily, stretched a lot and didn’t clean as well as I liked when going to reuse them. Over the last few years, I’ve been using game bags that are a synthetic blend, allowing them to breathe well along with being far more durable and easier to wash up than the cotton bags. Having the meat cool down is imperative to avoiding bone sour.
This area is one I've seen needs a change. Over the past decade or so, I have used a replacement blade knife. Now, the replacement options are nice for the fact that they are light and you can swap the blades in the field. The main issue I have with them is when it comes to the blade coming off (which some companies have addressed with recent models), but that doesn’t change the fact that they are susceptible to breaking. I have had enough break inside an animal and, personally, I'm not a huge fan of playing the game “find the surgical blade in an elk quarter.” So, in the upcoming season(s), I will be converting to strictly two fixed blade knives. This assures me that I won't break a blade in half or have to worry about being too delicate when working around the joints. Also, I will add a small sharpener to keep them razor sharp for many years of abuse.
This is a must when working alone, especially on larger boned animals. Being able to lash some paracord around a leg and tie it off to a tree or rock is very handy. In the case of last year's bear hunting as an example, I could've used some paracord to hold the animal upon the steep slope while also securing a leg to a tree to aid me in breaking the animal down. I'm also a fan of bringing items that can be used for multiple purposes. The reflective paracord is my go-to when having to secure meat in a tree to cool, tying up a personal food bag in bear country or using it as a simple guy line on my shelters so I don’t trip on them in the night. Paracord is a jack of all trades which is why it's always in my pack.
I keep one or two of these in my kit, depending on the hunt. The large contractor bags are another go-to when slicing and dicing some organic protein. Simply spread them out for a clean surface to lay your quarters or deboned meat onto for cooling or cut them open for even more surface area. These can also double as a rain collection device, rain gear (if you forgot yours!) and, even, a sleeping pad footprint for extra pad protection.
Latex gloves/band aids/alcohol wipes
Keeping a few pairs of latex gloves, a couple of Band Aids and disinfecting wipes is also a good practice. They weigh very little and serve a great purpose for keeping you protected. I’ve personally heard of people cutting themselves while working and ended up in the hospital fighting off a staph infection due to blood to blood contact. So, do yourself a favor and slap some gloves on. In the event you do cut yourself; clean it as fast as possible, wrap a Band Aid on, throw a new glove on and get back to work!
Another item with 100+ uses! But, in this case, it's great for easily securing your tag to the animal or carcass when transporting.
Simple use: cleaning up when you’re finished working. As far as other uses, I'll leave that up to your interpretation.
Lastly, I throw my tags in the kill bag. This is just a personal preference. I figure that whenever I'm heading out hunting, I'm going to need a kill kit in case I am successful, so by keeping both together it ensures me I always have my tags. Just be sure that you have the tags required for the species you’re hunting — it's always a good practice to double check!
In the end, you will see what you like to keep in your kit or if you don’t want to pick and choose items you can simply buy the goHUNT Kill Kit, which includes most of these items and comes in a handy sack ready to be thrown in your pack for your next hunting adventure!