Bow Hunting Pack Essentials You Don’t Want to Forget

Bow Hunting Pack List | Essentials for Your Opening Day Bow Hunt

Archery hunters generally break deer season down into five phases. These phases consist of the early season, pre-rut, rut, post-rut, and the late season. Successful bow hunters have to understand how deer transition in and out of these phases and also how to adapt their bow hunting gear throughout the long archery season. Your bow hunting pack essentials will change considerably from early season to late season and every part in between. Picking the things to put in your hunting pack for day one is not as hard as you think.

Setting the Stage for The First Day of Archery Season

The first day of archery season is an all-around tough day to hunt. The weather can range from hot, summer-like conditions all the way to cold fronts that make it feel more like the start of gun season. Deer, similar to the weather, are also in a changing pattern of uncertainty.

For instance, in Pennsylvania the first day of archery season is a time when bucks largely transition from their summer routines into their fall patterns. Up until this point, bucks were largely focused on warm season food sources such as soybeans, alfalfa and native vegetation in hardwood forests. Day in and day out one of your most important pieces of archery equipment, the trail camera, has been documenting bucks regularly visiting these areas. Right around opening day, however, many of these food sources have diminished. Bucks now shift their focus on cool season forages like rye, oats, and other food plot forages. They also seek out thicker cover as activity builds in the woods and fall conditions move in. These factors all play into what is considered bow hunting pack essentials for opening day.

Two Opening Day Bow Hunting Pack Mistakes to Avoid

It can be difficult to put together the right hunting pack essentials for opening day. Archery hunters tend to make one of these mistakes. Either everything goes in the pack or the pack gets loaded with the wrong gear.

The first mistake many hunters make is to bring way too much bow hunting gear. Since last season ended, new gear has come out and months of preparation have been spent for this day. The result is you bring every piece of archery equipment and gear you have. The first day does not require everything. In fact, there is no need for grunt calls, rattling antlers or scents. It will be weeks until even pre-rut action starts so those items provide little value in your bow hunting pack.

Hunters commonly make a second mistake when preparing their pack for the first day of archery season. Key bow hunting gear gets left out. Bringing everything, mistake number one, is one strategy for not forgetting something, but not a very good one. You want to strategically build your opening day pack with the right gear. Strategically decide on the right bow hunting pack essentials and do not bring the wrong ones. For instance, early season will require some sort of bug control. Scent control will also be import. Both should be on your bow hunting pack list for day one.

Must Have Bow Hunting Pack Essentials for Opening Day

The opening day pack should not be a goliath sack filled with everything archery you own. Rather, it is a simple, streamlined bow hunting pack that has all the right archery equipment for the conditions the archery opener presents.

Check Out Our Best Hunting Packs

These bow hunting pack essentials are not unique to only the first day of archery. However, they are important and should be on every archer’s bow hunting checklist for day one.

Safety Gear

Always, always have a quality safety harness if you are archery hunting from a tree stand. A safety harness is a must have piece of archery equipment anytime you are hunting from a tree stand. In addition, a small first aid kit is one of those things to put in your hunting pack each time you head to the field. A small waterproof container with a few bandages, superglue, antibacterial cream, and headache relief is really all you need to be prepared.

Scent Control

It’s the name of the game to get an opportunity at a mature buck especially on opening day. Temperatures will most likely be warm and sweat and stink are likely unavoidable. Full scent control clothing is a must. How this plays into your bow hunting pack essentials is that a great tip is to carry in, your scent control clothing instead of wearing it to the stand. You will maximize effectiveness of the clothing this way. Two other important items are odor eliminating spray and a wind checker. A small spray bottle of odor eliminating spray will go a long way in keeping you concealed. Also a simple wind checker will help you hunt the wind and position yourself move effectively in stand.

Insect Repellant

At the top of the bow hunting must haves list is a ThermaCell®. It is one of the best insect repellants on the market, which is certainly required during those first few warm days of archery season. A camo facemask and gloves also help with bug control. These two items keep insects off your face and hands, which reduces movement and keeps you focused on hunting.

Of course every pack will need to have certain essentials regardless of the time of year you are archery hunting. For instance, a knife, bow and gear hanger, flashlight, GPS, extra batteries and drinks and snacks should be in everyone’s pack from opening day to the last day.

The Bow Hunting Pack Essentials List

  1. Safety harness and lineman’s rope 
  2. Small first aid kit 
  3. Scent control and breathable clothing 
  4. Odor eliminating spray or device 
  5. Wind checker 
  6. ThermaCell® insect repeller 
  7. Lightweight camo facemask and gloves 
  8. Bow and gear hanger 
  9. Multi-purpose knife 
  10. Tree saw/pruners for limbs and shooting lanes 
  11. Flashlight or headlamp 
  12. GPS or location sent to family members/friends 
  13. Replenishments (drinks and snacks) 
  14. Pull up rope for pack and bow 
  15. Grunt call and/or deer scents

As you continue down your pre-season bow tuning checklist, remember to also think about your bow hunting pack list. The first day of archery is highly anticipated and exciting, but do not let that overwhelm your pack. Focus on the bow hunting pack essentials that matter for opening day and leave the rest at home.

Kinseys Outdoor Review | Bear Moment Bow Review

Bear Moment Bow Review

By: Brandon Rapp, Kinseys Outdoor Field Staff Member

I’m completely new to Bear Archery and when I was researching to get a new bow for this season their name kept coming up in different searches. Having few expectations prior to trying it may have helped sway my opinion but the Bear Moment is the best, most comfortable shooting bow out of the box I have ever owned.

It’s everything I want out of a hunting bow. It’s light, compact, smooth, fast, accurate, and quiet. I think what impressed me the most was the bow’s accuracy out of the box thanks in large part to the Trophy Ridge sight and rest installed for me by Doug at Kinsey’s Outdoors.

I’ve had more expensive bows with lots of bells and whistles and have really enjoyed them.  But for me, this is a great bow for someone who wants the most value for their money all at a price point that really is attainable for hunters looking to hit the woods with confidence this fall.

 Check out the Bear Moment


Pre-Season Crossbow and Bow Tuning Checklist

Crossbow and Bow Tuning Checklist

Fall is in the morning air, and deer season is closing in. Gun hunting affords the ability to put off preparation and practice, but not for the bow hunter; preparation is critical for success in the field. It’s not only imperative that you practice early and often, but it’s also necessary to make sure your bow or crossbow is in working order. This article will cover a simple checklist to make sure you are ready to hit the range before opening day! If your local or within a reasonable drive to Kinseys Outdoors, be sure to come in and have our experts check your equipment before deer season arrives!

Limbs and Riser Condition

Multiple things can happen during bow season that could damage the your bow, or at least send you into the shop for repairs. Anytime you are busting brush, hauling the bow 20 feet in the air, or just sitting it down—damage can occur. The first place to look is the condition of your limbs and riser.

Things to cause concern and head to the shop:

  1. Deep Gouges 
  2. Cracks 
  3. Splinters coming off your limbs 
  4. Cracking or popping when you come to full draw 
  5. Any physical damage that causes you concern

While not all of these are life-threatening concerns for the health of your bow, it’s a good idea to check and make sure everything is in top shape before the season begins. If your limb does happen to break, you are going to be waiting for new limbs or left discouraged with your bow altogether and wanting something new. It’s best to go ahead and get any of the above issues squared away before hunting season arrives.


You pull your bow out to shoot, and day after day, your shots are inconsistent. You try moving the sights, playing with the rest, but nothing seems to bring consistency to your groupings. If there is one place on your bow that can conceal damage and cause you shooting issues, it’s the cams. There are a few areas of concern here that we’ll briefly touch on and that you should be aware of:

Cam Lean: This is precisely what it sounds like and sometimes can be spotted by visually inspecting your cam by holding it out in front of you and looking to make sure the cams are not “leaning” one direction or another. If they are, that means the load of the string will not be evenly distributed and it will be impossible for you to shoot accurately or consistent.  Sometimes this can be hard to spot, but if you suspect this to be an issue, it’s time to get to the shop.

Timing: A close cousin to cam lean, is timing. This problem is hard to spot on your own if you don’t have a draw board, but you can have someone help or bring out a video camera. To inspect this aspect of the bow, you watch to make sure both cams are coming to a stop at the same time upon your draw. If there is a difference, you have issues that need correction.

Nicks on the cam: This is the easiest to spot, but the most dangerous. If you happen to notice a sharp edge on your cam, made from damage, there is the chance you could cut your string and eventually your string is cut and leaving you with a bad day!

While cam issues are rare, they do happen and if in doubt—go check it out!


If there is one mistake hunters make with the archery equipment, it’s not correctly maintaining or understanding when there might be issues/changes with the string. The first thing we should consider when purchasing a new bow is that not all strings are created equal. Strings, over time, will stretch and when this stretch occurs, shot placement will change. Some strings may not stretch until hundreds of shots have been placed, but one this is for sure: it will stretch.

Before shooting your bow, it’s also imperative to check the string for any spots that might be cut or where fraying is occurring. If your string is broken (even one strand) — you must change it immediately. Fraying is different, and also understand there is a difference between the serving and the string. Your serving is more likely to fray before the string, and if it does you can re-serve the string.

Maintaining your string is simple: use wax, and use it often. You are not going to “over-wax” the string or cause any damage by applying too much. The best schedule is to wax your bow after every hunt or practice session, or if it gets wet. Wax will be your bows number one ally, so don’t hold back using it, but just a small amount will do the trick.

Bow and Crossbow Accessories

One area not to neglect is the accessories on your bow. This is the easiest of all checks, but a lot of us are guilty of not taking the time to make sure everything is in working order. The first, and most straightforward of checks is to feel or listen for any loose parts; then simply take a hex key and make sure all accessories are tight. The main components of concern are your sight and rest. If either of these is off, then you will be making adjustments on the range. If either happens to be loose and you need to make changes, a good starting point is to line up your arrow, and sight pins with the string of your bow. You can do this by holding your bow out in front of you and making sure everything is inline. After that, start taking shots and micro adjustments.

SHOP Bow & Crossbow Accessories 

Hunting Arrows and Bolts

One typical error hunters make, is not shooting a consistent arrow or bolt. Many times, you’ll see hunters shooting different weights, lengths and even brands of arrows through their archery equipment. This is a recipe for inconsistency on the range, or in the field. It’s a great idea to purchase a dozen or more of the same arrows from a certified pro; they will help you make sure that your weights, lengths and even broad-heads are the correct dimensions before the season begins. When those arrows are lost, re-load with something similar for a long lasting fun on the range.

Another area to check with your arrows before the season begins is the health of the spine. After every shot, or before the first shot of your practicing session; give you arrow a slight flex. You are checking to make sure there are no cracks to the spline, if there are, you’ll hear a pop and crack. Those arrows should be discarded immediately for your safety and others around you. An arrow through your bow hand is a quick way to end deer season before it begins.


Final Checks

While many failure points could occur with your archery equipment, it’s unlikely anything drastic will happen with proper maintenance, inspection, and care. Your bow is your ultimate tool in the field, and one where problems could ruin your season. Treat it better than your car and almost as good as family—you will not regret it! Good luck this season and shoot straight.

Remember, local bow shops and experts like the staff at Kinseys Outdoors can make quick work of this checklist and spot potential issues that you might have looked over. They can also offer the latest and greatest bow hunting accessories to upgrade your bow or crossbow.

Tired of your old bow or crossbow? Let Kinsey’s buy your bow! Payment is made instantly in the form of a Kinsey’s Outdoors gift card. Or get more and let Kinsey’s sell your bow for you on Ebay. Payment is in the form of a Kinsey’s Outdoors gift card and will be provided after your bow has sold. Kinsey’s gets 15% of the total amount the bow sold for unless it falls within a “No Consignment Fee” promotional period. If it falls within the “No Consignment Fee” period, you get a gift card for the full amount your bow sold for.