Many firearms enthusiasts, including those of us here at SWFA, share a love for the great outdoors. And now that the heat of the summer has passed, what better time to get outside and soak up all the beauty fall has to offer? While an outdoor firing range isn’t far behind on your list of to-dos this fall, getting outside for day trips and camping is a great way to get the most out of the beautiful fall season.
Fall provides the perfect backdrop for hiking, hunting, and fishing, as you take in the striking seasonal colors and crisp fresh air.
Before you grab your friends and freshen up your gear pack, we’ve outlined a few considerations all gun enthusiasts should keep in mind that can help make your next outdoor adventure go as smoothly as possible.
Choosing a Spot
Whether it’s for self-protection, hunting, target shooting in designated areas, or a combination of all three, you may be wondering if it’s legal to bring your gun to certain recreational areas. The answer, of course, depends on a variety of factors, including your permits and the laws of the jurisdiction in which you plan to visit.
As a fellow gun enthusiast, you know that firearm laws — especially if you’re planning on overnight camping — are extremely nuanced on federal, state, and local levels. For example, certain states or entities may allow firearms to be kept in campers, but not in tents. Federal buildings commonly found on campgrounds and parks, such as ranger stations or visitor centers, prohibit the carry of firearms inside.
If the individual state does allow for guns in its national parks, keep in mind that some parks may span multiple states, each of which have entirely different laws regarding firearm possession. In addition, magazine capacity, firearm type, concealed carry permit requirements, and hunting restrictions are just a few things you should be familiar with before choosing your camping or day trip destination. If you’re considering camping in a national park, check out this firearm safety resource for travelers.
It goes without saying that you may want to reconsider your destination if you cannot legally navigate through or temporarily stay at a recreational area or campground while in possession of a firearm.
To ensure you’re equipped with the right information on your next trip, contact the local authorities in the county where your destination is located.
Choosing What to Pack: Equipment & Supplies
After you’ve researched the perfect spot to, the real fun begins. From fishing to hiking, day trips and camping allow you to enjoy the thrill of countless outdoor activities… including hunting. And if you are planning to camp, packing for a hunting trip can be a challenge when each activity requires you to haul tons of equipment. If you do it right, though, you can minimize what you need to bring to help make your trip a breeze. Below are a few tips to help you do just that.
To lighten your load, you may want to reconsider your usual hunting weapon of choice. This of course depends on what you’ll be hunting for and level of comfort in safely trying something new for a hunt — but across the board, it may be best to opt for something lighter and more compact. That’s why many hunters prefer to use a bow or crossbow.
If you’re hunting large game, you’ll want to go with something traditional — even if it means carrying more on your camping trip. Luckily, you can find a great rifle backpack to make loading, unloading, and transporting firearms more convenient — all while leaving plenty of room for other essentials.
Knives & Multi-Tools
No outdoor adventure is complete without a trusty knife. It’s not just for skinning — a good knife can actually save your life when out in the woods. Depending on your needs for the trip, a tactical multi-tool may be the perfect option. Complete with a can / bottle opener, screwdriver, wire cutter, wood saw and more handy features, a multi-tool seemingly does it all (with less equipment required).
On the other hand, maybe you need a knife specifically for hunting purposes — a necessity for field dressing. From tactical fixed knives to specialized folding knives with countless blade finish, materials, and styles to choose from, your options are seemingly limitless. Keep in mind that while fixed-blade knives are easy to clean and extremely durable, they’re typically bulkier to travel with, which may compromise your safety. That’s why a good sheath is necessary for a fixed-blade knife. If you find yourself hiking through rough country on your trip, a folding knife may be your best option for general-purpose hunting use.
Survival & First Aid Kits
Such items are often overlooked, but essential to your safety. At a bare minimum, first-aid kits should have alcohol swabs, various sized bandages, antibiotic cream, and wet wipes. Wet wipes may seem like a strange addition to your first-aid kit, but they keep hands clean and sanitized for when you need to eat (especially after). Be sure to purchase unscented wet wipes if you’re hunting.
The contents of survival kits will vary depending on the length of your stay and access (or lack thereof) to cooking and other equipment. For example, a five-day emergency survival kit for one person can include everything from water pouches and a stainless steel mug, waterproof matches, and even playing cards. On the lighter side, your survival kit can be limited to a heating blanket with two servings of dehydrated meals.
Durable drinkware, tarps and tents, insect repellent, clothing for unpredictable weather… there’s so much to consider for spending time outdoors during this beautiful time of year, especially when hunting is folded into the equation.
The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all approach for a successful outdoor hunting trip. But, instead of wasting time searching for those pesky extra batteries, it’s better to be prepared than not. You can find everything that you need for your next trip from SWFA’s hunting camping department. Or, feel free to contact fellow outdoor enthusiasts here at SWFA about any unique needs for you trip.
Now, get out there and enjoy all the beauty and majesty nature has to offer this fall!