Airgun Kit Bag Essentials
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- Last updated: 15/12/2016
By law you’ll need a suitable gunbag to carry your rifle in a public place and you’ll most likely also add a rucksack for holding the gear you will take. But let’s look at what any airgun hunter should class as ‘kit bag essentials.’
Firstly observation, such as binoculars or a monocular, as scanning around using a scoped rifle isn’t the best way of looking for quarry. With binos choose a pair of 10 X 42 compacts with rubber armour to help protect them from knocks and scrapes. They don’t cost too much and most scope manufacturers offer good quality product. Just as useful is a laser rangefinder and these days they won’t cost the earth. Granted you should be sufficiently skilled in range estimation before even attempting hunting, but they can take a lot of the guess work out of the job.
Next up is a small first aid kit. This doesn’t need to be overly comprehensive but the contents should be kept safe in a watertight container and at least should include wet wipes, antiseptic wipes, small bottle of antiseptic cream or spray, painkillers, selection of plasters, sterile gauze, small roll of bandage, an army field dressing kit is a very useful addition as are tweezers and small scissors etc… - the usual basics. Easy to put together yourself, you can also buy off the shelf, just check the contents first!
Spare ammo - you can tip a few in a jacket pocket (NOT!) or better still use a pellet pouch. I still rate the highly individual Wilkins design, but also look at what Jack Pyke, Bisley or the Garlands pouch with a pocket for spare magazines. Whatever you choose, all mentioned won’t rattle around to make any noise and they will keep your pellets safe and secure.
If you’re a longer session hunter, take a cold drink for warm weather, but avoid sugary drinks and certainly no alcohol, they’ll make you thirstier, the latter also of course impair judgement. A water bottle is simple basic kit. Not only for drinking, but to rinse hands and face. Include a small container of liquid soap and hand towel, along with the obvious uses you might have for tissue and some toilet roll.
Don’t forget thin, disposable rubber gloves for messy tasks such as gutting. If you use these, keep a few zip-lock plastic bags handy to put them in when used and take them home to dispose of in the proper fashion. If out and about in cold weather it’s certainly advisable to carry a hot drink. There are many makes of stainless steel vacuum flask around and you’ll find even cheap ones last a reasonable amount of time.
Next up is a knife. A traditional Swiss Army or Opinel penknife is always useful in the field, especially for paunching or preparing baits. Ideally though have a folding lock knife and a small (3 - 4”) fixed blade skinner. Also, don’t forget the sharpener as knives have an infuriating habit of losing their edge at the least opportune moment. I’ve still yet to find one better than the Blade-Tech, which is idiot-proof!
A multi tool has many uses and there’s an abundance of these from manufacturers such as Gerber or Leatherman, buy quality, as properly looked after it will last many many years. They’re handy for field repairs and all other manner of tasks that can face you as you go about your shoot. Secateurs are handy as is a compact folding wood saw - ideal for trimming hides or cutting foliage to use as cover.
Useful too is a reasonably sized camo net, even if you don’t initially intend to build a full size hide. You need something that packs down small and will still fold out to offer a reasonable amount of screen should you find yourself requiring the use of extra cover. The Backpacker from Garlands is still a great one to use; particularly now it packs down smaller than ever before.
Even if you don’t intend to hunt at night, dusk soon turns to dark and if you haven’t packed away your kit a small torch such as a Mini- Maglite comes in handy. Better still a small headlamp is very handy too. It not only makes the walk back to the car less hazardous but is also very useful for all manner of work.
Always carry a copy of your written permission to shoot and if you have a high power air rifle your Firearms Certificate too. A mobile phone is an instant line of emergency communication if you have an accident, you can always turn it off when not needed. However, it may not work (flat battery or no signal) so take a back up, or a few coins for use if you can reach a public phone. For safety’s sake, an emergency whistle is handy to have. Check out the Gerber Survival range of kit - there’s lots of choice and very useful for any hunter.
There are of course many other accessories such as paracord flip up scope covers, eye piece shades, quarry calls, bipod, shooting sticks etc… but these can be added as and when finances allow and you feel you need them.
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