I’d rather be nerdy than forget something for camp

We’ve all been there. Out in the middle of nowhere, sitting in the tent, getting all the gear lined out for the morning’s hunt.

You’re miles from home. Heck, you’re even miles from the trailhead. You’re sitting in hunting camp, and you’re ready for the hunt that’ll start the next morning. You have your rifle. Your skinning knife’s on your belt. Your license is in your back pocket. Your cartridges are … uh, oh. They’re sitting on the seat of your truck, ten miles away. Or worse yet, they’re at home, still on your reloading bench.

Our lives are more complicated than ever before. With all the important things we have on our minds, sometimes we need a little help remembering the little stuff, like the rifle.

I haven’t forgotten the rifle yet, but I have left other things at home. I actually went on a goose hunt and forgot my shotgun shells. I had three shells in the loops of my coat left over from an earlier hunt, and as luck would have it, we only had one batch of birds come in to the dekes that day. But it was still pretty embarrassing.

So now I make checklists. It might sound kinda’ nerdy, but I’d rather seem a bit geekish than arrive at camp without a necessary piece of equipment.

When you have a chance to sit and think, make a list of everything you need to take with you on any trip. Think about everything you do. Include the tents, the rifles, the bow, knives, cooking gear, sleeping bags, everything. You won’t use everything on every hunt, but if you have one master checklist, you can edit it for specific trips.

On the left side of a piece of graph paper, put down your equipment. Don’t forget the little stuff, like toothpaste, tent pegs, hunting licenses and toilet paper. In the columns to the right, you can note what you’ll need for specific trips. You can use each column for different outings. For trips when you won’t need some items, you can put an X or another symbol in the box. For the things you will need, you can put a number in the box to indicate a quantity.

Yeah, it’s a nerdy system. But it works.