What is in my Deer Hunting Backpack ?

Let us assume your hunt is all day with Rifle up Northern NH in a new hunting area you scouted with a friend. It is about a half mile off main roads. It is vital that someone, wife or friend know exactly where you are hunting and what vehicle you are taking, license plate info and color/make of your vehicle. As I am older now, I would hunt with a friend that is able bodied.

Here is what in my pack that I carry with me.

Medical First Aid Kit

Lets begin with a First Aid Kit that has bandages, large and small, antibiotic ointment, gauze and tape. Ibuprofen for pain. And a supply of one day of any prescriptions.

A note of who I am, phone numbers, medical conditions has been missing from my pack in early hunts – I have added it.

Hand/foot warmers Space blanket to hold heat in your body

Cell Phone or W Talkie if no reception

Map and Compass/GPS if you have one.

Knife (sharp)

matches/lighter and fire starter sticks

Flashlight or headlamp

Hunt Licenses

Pencil/Pen for filling out your tag

Glove kit for cleaning your deer

Water for hydration/Water giardia filter for use in streams.

Matches or lighter and fire starter.

Drag Rope

orange flag tape

Extra Ammo.

Food that has little weight such as protein bars and candy bars and gorp like snacks.

Lunch food such as sandwiches.

Toilet paper. Orange if you can find it.

Bandanna for sweat or to use as a bandage.

Note: If you are with other hunters in a group you may want to shorten this list if you are going to be in a spot for only 2 or 3 hours and your team knows where you are.

Core items:

Medical First aid

Identification and phone numbers


Map and Compass

License & pencil


drag rope

toilet paper

flag tape

extra ammo

phone or talkie






Best Deer Rifle Cartridge for Young and New Hunters

It seems no matter what the rifle and off-the-shelf cartridge is, there are only two basic questions. Question #1 Can it cleanly kill a deer? Question #2 How much does it kick?

Once those questions are answered in the affirmative (Yes) to the first question and “very little” to he second question, then it is logical to want to know what the rifle is, right?

Is the cartridge a;

A. 308 Winchester

B. 30-30 Winchester

C, 243 Winchester

D. .270 Winchester

It has been my experience that children will receive the 30-30 Winchester in a Marlin rifle to deer hunt and it works. The .308 and .270 recoil much more.  But if you have a .243 Winchester like I do in my Ruger American Rifle, then you can have a great deer caliber for less than $400 dollars and it kicks so little that even a young hunter won’t complain a bit. Photo below.

ruger american bench rested

In a previous article I wrote about the 90 grain .243 E-Tip below that mushroomed to twice its size.

243 e tip though fir logs 9 inches shot at 20 yards


With a scope, this rifle can kill deer out to 300 yards with a 90 to 100 grain bullet. On varmints with 55 grain bullets, it is hard to beat. It will be used on my southern deer hunt this fall.

If you look at categories I have listed for articles under rifle and bullet tests you will see lots of my writing on the .243 Winchester and the Ruger American. I just love the cartridge and the rifle. You will too….

If you reload, chances are that  you may never own a .243 because hand loading lighter loads in any cartridge exists. But if you stay on off-the-shelf cartridges then the .243 is it!

Be safe! Good Hunting!

© 2015



Venison Jerky with an African Flavor

When I was hunting in Africa with my son Jason, we were fed delicious meat snacks called Biltong. It is dried meat that has marinated in special seasoning like our American Jerky.  Below is Impala from our hunt being skinned and prepared for both mounts and for our meals. Some of this meat finds its way to becoming Biltong, a prized South African snack food. Here we will use whitetail venison instead of Impala.


It is akin to Jerky but Afrikaner’s would say that Jerky does not come close to the excellent flavor of Biltong. I expect that I will have venison in my freezer this year as I am hunting down south were the deer are very plentiful. So I want to try and make this Biltong recipe that I received from a friend that grew up in South Africa and now lives and works here. You may want to give it a try….


5 lbs  game meat

venison steaks

red wine vinegar

coarse salt (I use Kosher salt)

whole coriander

black pepper

bicarbonate of soda


For this weight of beef or venison use:


2 tablespoons coarse salt

1/2 cup of coriander (if you have a mortar and pestle, you can crush them slightly)

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup brown sugar (I omit this, but I know some people add it)

1 teaspoon bicarb soda (I have made the biltong without this, however it does tend to keep the dried meat a little softer and easier to cut)


Mix the above ingredients thoroughly.


Cut the meat in strips (approx 1 – 1/2 inches thick), diagonally along the grain

place the cut meat in a large glass bowl

sprinkle with the vinegar to wet the meat

sprinkle your made up biltong mix over the meat

thoroughly turn the meat over with this mix, so that all the pieces are properly coated.

cover the dish with clingwrap and place in the refrigerator for approx 24 hours.


At the end of this time, discard any bloody fluid that has leaked out of the meat.


Make a 50/50 mix of the vinegar and water in a bowl.


Rinse the meat in this mixture quickly to get rid of the excess salt.


My friend uses paperclips that I have opened up to hang the meat. A washing stand placed on a shoe tray makes an excellent drying rack. Some folks make a cardboard drying box with a small fan and a 60 watt light bulb. Some hang the meat with string or thread using a large sewing needle. It will take roughly 4 to 6 days to dry hard on the outside and still be somewhat soft on the inside. More or less to your liking. I have a food dehydrator so I am going to use that.

I found a website that goes into great detail for larger quantities of Biltong



Penetration and Mushroom of Nosler 243 Solid Gilding Copper E- Tip after 8.5 inches of Fir

I am a believer in the copper bullet for hunting with high velocity cartridges such as the .243 Winchester with 90 grain E-Tips. The E is for Expanding!  It is as accurate as all get-out!.243 90g e tip entrance to wood


Mushroom at 20 yards 1/2 inch mushroom below.

243 e tip though fir logs 9 inches shot at 20 yards

Weight before: 90 grains

Weight after: 89.9 grains

Weight retention: 99.9%

For contrast there is a 100 grain Speer Hot core boat tail lead bullet with gilding copper jacket shot at left of the all copper e-tip.  The lead bullet exited the wood but was not recovered.

243 e tip center hole enter next 3 inches

A New Hampshire Deer Hunt Memory by Ed Hale

I am all alone but in reality I am really not alone at  all. I am with myself, hunting for deer with my trusty 58 Caliber muzzle loader, on opening day of the  New Hampshire Muzzle Loader deer season many years back perhaps in my mid 30’s. I hunted alone (with myself) often because I like hunting solo. Me, the woods, and the deer!

My soul senses a joy, like a kid opening his first Christmas present, as I ease into the pitch black forest. It is 4:30 AM, I can hear my breathing strong and clear through my nose. My mind momentarily conjures up a predator with teeth standing before me as I approach. A vestige of my childhood fear of the dark.  I forge ahead through that air space with narry a scratch.  Take that!  You toothless imagination. Be gone!  I chuckle to myself. DSC_0002

The fall oak leaves beneath my feet crunch with each step.  I slow down my pace. It is dark. The woods are still… Every step seems to shout as I attempt to become one with the forest rhythm. The air has the pungent smell of oak acorns and leaves, Douglas fir and dew soaked moss covered earth. A sweet but pungent oak flavor with a twist of fir and earth! Thank God for noses to smell, I think. It was so delicious that I could eat it if only it were edible.  Daylight arrives by each passing minute as I work my way toward where, just a week ago, I saw good deer sign of tracks, rubs and scrapes. Finally the leaves on the trees are visible with yellow and orange and deep red colors. The yellow comes from beech trees and orange and red from sugar maples.

As shafts of light arrive, the yellow leaves in front of me fall but just one at a time, a leaf falls hear and a leaf falls there. At my side is my knife, a “Buck” knife, with a Bowie style blade that is keenly sharp. The sheath and handle have been camo’d and are invisible against my camo clothes (I wore an orange camo vest and orange camo hat).  Around my neck is a buck grunt-call and a small pair of rattling antlers. As I approach the area I saw good deer sign. Shooting light finally arrived. The wind was nearly still.  I could not figure which way it was blowing, but I was as clean as I could possibly be with newly washed clothes. And I showered with scent free soap a dash of baking soda under my arms. Seeing a scrape on the ground,  I stood in an area that allowed my observation of two directions and began to grunt softly with the call sparingly…

Suddenly, a deer appeared as it hopped in front of me, a doe at 30 yards. My adrenaline kicked  in like starting ether to a gasoline starved lawnmower.  Heart hammering; I raised my muzzle loader and she was now facing me directly. In one movement she turned, hopped once and walked away occasionally looking at me over her back and I eased the  muzzle loader down. A buck with a rack is what I am after. She was a beautiful sight as she melted away. I took out the grunt call and tried to create a “tending grunt” call with several soft calls as if another buck was walking with her. Then tickled the tines of my small antlers. Minutes passed.

Woah! What was that to my right? An eight point buck was walking fast and straight at me at 25 yards. My heart was now fully soaked in adrenaline hammering as if to leave my chest. I swung the muzzle loader up and cocked the hammer. The shot angle was wrong but for this fighting mad buck to get to me, he had to walk around a thick sapling in his path. Never breaking stride he cleared that sapling at 20 yards and gave me a forward angled shoulder to shoot at. Ka Boom! I shot and the deer jumped left.  The belch of muzzle loader smoke hid the buck from sight. So I got on my knees and looked below the smoke. I was having no luck seeing the buck. Ok!  “Stay put”, I thought,  and mark the spot in my mind  where the deer was when I shot. Soon the smoke dissipated and I walked to the spot where I thought I shot. The nearest tree behind the buck was 4 feet away and covered in rich red blood at its base.

I reloaded, but knew that the buck could not have gotten far. Adrenaline was coursing through my veins. It was just an amazing feeling to be alive. The blood trail was enormous and 30 yards away lay the buck facing away from me. The exit wound was on the far side of the buck just forward of the rear ham. The bullet having skewered the buck from shoulder to its exit hole, about the size of a silver dollar.

I took the cap off the muzzle loader and reached for my deer tag. I gutted the deer, not having any rubber gloves, I proceeded to get messy up to my elbows. The bullet having pierced the gut left the acrid smell of the open gut wafted over me.  I began to get light headed. It was brief, but between the adrenaline and the acrid gut I turned and vomited momentarily. Wiping my face on my sleeve, I turned to the 8 point buck laying before me remembering he wanted a fight and said. Gotcha! Didn’t I !

I found a small branch and attached my drag rope to pull the buck out of the woods. I talked to my buck each time I got exhausted pulling and told him how fine a buck he was!  I would always remember this hunt. Today I share it with you! Memories are fantastic aren’t they! We can  relive them over and over! Good Hunting! © 2015