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Feature Article: Left Behind

Left Behind

BY DURWOOD HOLLIS/Special to Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Nov 01, 2019

Leave either one of these two essentials at home and it can have a detrimental effect on your time in hunting camp

Most of us don’t have the luxury of time. We plan the annual trip to hunting camp with just enough added time to allow for travel, camp set up and not a lot more. This means that if something essential to the hunt is left behind, that loss can waste hours (if not days) finding a suitable replacement. And that’s usually days in the field!

Sadly, something left behind happens all too often. Usually what gets left behind can be boiled down to two items: hunting license/tag and ammunition! Any time you put together a group of guys for a trip, a least one person is going to arrive in camp missing something essential to the hunt.

THE ELASTIC AMMO CARRIER attached to the author’s rifle was good insurance that both rifle and shells made it to hunting camp. Photo by Durwood Hollis

Just last season, one of my friends discovered that he had left his deer license at home and home was more than 16 hours distant. Try as we may, it was impossible to locate a game warden to secure a replacement that day. And it wasn’t until late in the following day that he was able to meet up with the warden and obtain a replacement license (at added cost). By the time he was able to start hunting, nearly a day and a half of hunting time had already been lost. He was so taken back by the whole experience that he missed his only shooting opportunity and went home without a deer.

Hunting licenses/tags can be quite expensive, especially those for out-of-state hunters. When you plan for months to save the necessary funds, calculate drawing odds, put in for a specific game management unit and are finally successful, it is the result of research, patience and not a little anxiety. To leave that valuable ticket to potential hunting success behind, is something that shouldn’t happen to anyone — but it does!

Quite frankly, such an occurrence is simply the unseen working of that often-quoted law which states, “If it can, it will.”

A MOOSE HUNT for any Southern Californian necessitates a long trip, so don’t forget your license/tags and ammo. Photo by Outdoor Edge

Another and nearly as frequent occurrence, is forgetting to bring along the right fodder for your favorite smoke pole. If you shoot a rifle chambered in .30-30 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, .7mm Magnum or another commonly used caliber, then finding a replacement usually isn’t a problem. However, if you’ve brought along something a little more exotic, like say 6.5x55 Swede, .9.3x62 mm, or something similar, you might be hard pressed (especially in a small-town gun shop) to find a replacement. The last time I was involved in the search for replacement ammunition took the better part of an entire day and several hours on the road and all because the hunter left his ammunition at home.

Of course, there is a simple solution to both of these problems. The one thing that you’ll never forget is your rifle and therein lies the way to never leave your license/tags or ammunition at home. Several firms make an elastic ammo carrier that slips on the rifle butt stock and holds nine rounds in individual elastic loops. After you place your ammo in the carrier, simply tuck your license/tags into the leading edge of the elastic. In this way, the entire package — rifle, ammunition and license/tags — is sure to make it to hunting camp. Is it possible that you could leave your rifle behind? Of course, anything is possible, but highly unlikely.

This fall don’t get left behind by forgetting to bring something essential to the hunt.

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