If you’re like me you have all the gear and tech that is available to the modern day deer hunter. Like me you have more tech than you need and an inverse relationship with time. Between family, career and other adulting that I have going on I find myself sneaking out for short stints of scouting. When I do have a chunk of time it’s not always preplanned. To help me relieve myself of excuses and procrastination I have taken to keeping a Scouting Go Box in my vehicle at all times.
Now, when I find myself with a few extra minutes I can drive to my spots and put boots on the ground without a second thought. I have everything I need to be effective in the woods during the off season scouting times. If I am driving through a new area and see a new possible location, I’m good to go. I don’t have to dig through my gear or even stop home to grab it. I have everything I need to go right this very second. At worst, I stop and grab water and a snack, but normally I keep those in the vehicle as I travel around during the day. Here is a rundown of what’s in the box.
- Plano 56 Quart Small Sportsman’s Trunk - This is the key piece to the entire thing. I use this tote to keep all of the gear in one place. The top stays on and I can drop the lid top down and use it as a changing pad of sorts when I’m switching into my scouting clothes and boots. Plus it’s nondescript to keep the fact that I have about $1,000 worth of gear in it.
- Asolo Hunter Extreme Boots - Let’s face it, in the end for most of us success comes with miles. I keep a good set of boots in my Scouting box because I can put those miles on in any terrain with these. Boots are individual, this pick is about the principle not the actual. I also keep quality Merino Wool hiking socks in the boots, a pair in each boot.
- Prana Zion Pants and Nomad Pursuit Shirt - Both of these garments are light, fast drying and durable enough for my uses. The Zion pans have a one sided draw strap so there is no need for a belt, which is great for warm months and wearing a saddle or lineman's belt. Both of these garments are soaked in Permethrin which I reapply liberally and often. Ticks are a real threat and I address them as such.
- Vortex 10x50 Diamondback Binos - Not sure we need to discuss this choice a bunch. We should all have binos in our vehicles in general and I am sure you do. These are bigger than I need, but they tend to live in my vehicle year round so this is just a natural progression for them.
- Trophyline Mini Climbing Stick and Techcore Rope - I team this combo up with an inexpensive lineman’s belt or one of my saddles to help me elevate trail cams on public land. I also like getting the camera out of the line of sight for the deer. This is the original single step stick because I like having it streamlined for this purpose. I am carrying stuff through full greened out woods during summer scouting and trail cam sets.
- Trail Cameras - Obviously, the crux of the summer scouting box is gathering intel, and there is no better tool for that than Trail Cameras. I also carry a box of SD cards, two card readers for my phone, straps, Lithium Batteries and a few Python Locks. Mentioning all of this in separate sections seems doubly redundant. There is no reason to put a camera out if it’s not going to be there when you get back or stay working while you’re gone. I use multiple styles of camera and both cell cams and standard cams. Location is the key to my choices on which camera goes where. Cell cams are generally reserved for spots that are far away or require a very soft touch to keep travel and pressure down. The less expensive cameras get the brunt of inventory work and high traffic areas on heavily pressured public land.
- Gloves - I carry both a set of Husky work gloves and a pair of heavy rubber gloves. The work gloves are for all the briars I might have to move or any sort of work I might have to do like building a ground blind. I have rubber gloves because I would love to believe that I am minimizing my scent profile when building mock scrapes and doing any intensive deer centered work. I don’t always take them but I always have both pairs in the box.
- Scrape Stuff - A while ago I reached out to the Master of Mountain Whitetails, Troy Pottenger and got some of his blended synthetic scents he uses for making scrapes. These Buck Fever Synthetic scents are legal where I hunt and can stay in my box with no degradation. I keep them in simple spray bottles from the dollar store. I keep a collapsible shovel for assistance in making the scrapes although I often use branches for the same scent principle mentioned earlier. This is why I am using spray bottles too. No contact.
- Incidentals - Headlamp, Stealth Strips, Nite Ize Gear Ties, Hockey Tape, Zip Ties, Trail Tacks, MilkWeed, Thermacell and a Compass. I will say the Trail Tacks haven’t been used in years, but they have their place when I want to be in an exact tree in the dark. Two at eye level will really make that exact tree stick out once you follow Spartan Forge into the area. The other stuff is kinda self explanatory, this box never leaves my vehicle and in a lot of cases this is backup stuff for hunting season. I can also use the zip ties and tape to move a licking branch if needed. I use the Milkweed and Compass often when checking wind in place, even though I love the wind data in the app.
At the end of the day I use this stuff in conjunction with Spartan Forge, fuel and boot leather. I can take time to pre plan using the app at any free point in the day. Having the box loaded and ready to go helps me be efficient and stave off excuses. Another point of interest, I spend a lot of time scouting with my hunting partner, my cousin Brad. Normally we meet up and take his vehicle. I simply move the box over and go. We grab coffee, water and some snacks and hit it hard for the day.
This box also gains and loses some small items like grunt tubes, saws, and bags of milkweed. It serves as a bit of a catch all or just in case box during the heart of hunting season. If I or my hunting partner forgot, lost or needed something there is a good chance it's in this box. I even keep an extra wrist strap release in it during go time, because it might not be the best but it can work for anyone in a pinch.
Remember anything that is brand specific in the description is really there as a placeholder. These things are really more about the idea or principle of the piece of gear. You might be fine scouting in jeans and a T-shirt, but I like to have light weight stuff soaked in permethrin at the ready. You might like scouting in rubber boots, and maybe no scrape stuff. You do you! At the end of the day a lot of us end up with more responsibilities than hours to complete them in. I use this box as a tool for both efficiency of work and putting myself in the right mental space to get my whitetail work done. I try to do one small thing every single day to make my hunting season better. These things can be centered around hunting, work or family but moving the needle on any of them to free up bandwidth for the fall is the goal. I challenge you to do the same.
Article by Justin Hunold