What kit do I need to take hunting?
PUBLISHED: 10:43 11 August 2020
What do I need to take with me when I’m out hunting? Tim Finley outlines the importance of taking the right kit, and what he takes when out hunting with his airgun
If you shoot airguns then you need tools specifically for them. All sorts of screwdrivers, Allen keys, Torx keys, sometimes spanners, and even hammers. If you hunt and take game with an airgun then you will need something else – a knife. It’s a fact of life; once you have shot a rabbit it needs to be emptied of urine before you put in in your game bag. Then when you get to the car or house it needs to be gutted to keep the meat useable, before you clean your rifle. Here are a few tips and tricks I have picked up over the years concerning both.
I carry tools with me when I’m hunting. I use a pellet pouch strung around my neck when I am shooting any air rifle, and it’s also a neat place to store a 3mm Allen key – the normal size for the top rings on the majority of scope mounts – although T15 Torx is becoming popular now, which is a good thing because it’s a more robust fastening. I was looking through some of my pellet pouches in preparation for this article and found an old one containing a tiny screwdriver that I carried for adjusting a laser I had on a ratting gun. Allen keys are not the only things besides pellets you can carry in a pellet pouch.
One really useful tip for the Allen keys you carry is to wrap them with a band of bright PVC electrician’s tape around the key – I use white or orange – then if you accidentally drag the key out whilst grabbing a pellet, and it drops into the grass, you will be able to find it.
A compact combination tool can be useful, as well. Make sure it’s the type you need for your rifle; i.e. if it has slotted-head stock screws them don’t carry a Phillips one! I also carry a pellet-seating tool, on a length of 550 paracord that also comes in handy for other things. I’ve used it to fasten a farmer’s gate when the mechanism had broken – I told him about the gate when I got back to the farm. Pellet-seating tools are vital for break-barrel rifles, especially in .25 calibre. I use them in FT and HFT as well, to seat the pellet in the breech of my Steyr.
KEEP IT CLEAN
I also always carry a lens cloth – one made for scopes, of course. They are great for cleaning off moisture, from rain, snow etc. In summer and autumn dust, dirt, and leaf residue gathers on your gun and scope. Don’t laugh now, but a make-up brush is a cheap tool that really works. They are also a much bigger diameter than dedicated lens brushes, so are more useful because you can also use them on the body of the scope, or even the rifle. Don’t try nicking a used one off the women in your life; 1) It’ll have make-up all over it, and 2) She will not be happy – ‘nuff said. Gun tools are made, not for airguns specifically, but they are still useful if you pick the right ones; don’t buy a shotgun multi-tool for a break-barrel air rifle, for example. Leatherman make the MUT, which is a very useful tool and even has a saw for making hides, as well as a blade, but it’s not a skinning blade.
You do not need a Rambo-style, huge knife for rabbiting etc., a 75mm long blade is plenty, and you do have a choice of three types; a fixed blade, a locking folder and a non-locking folder. My preference is a small, fixed blade most of the time. I designed my own, which Stuart Mitchell of Sheffield made up for me, currently it has a bright yellow handle, so I don’t lose it out in the field, of course.
The only time I carry a bigger one is if I am camping for a few days out hunting, I then take a Camp knife, made by Alan Wood. I must mention the UK knife laws here; it is illegal to carry a fixed-blade knife, or a locking knife of any type, unless you have a very good reason. Popping to the shops and just forgetting you have a fixed-blade knife in your pocket is NOT a reason and could get you arrested. I keep my fixed blade knife with my shooting gear. If you are going to and from your shoot/permission with your air rifle, then that is a legitimate reason to be carrying it. Don’t leave fixed or locking blades in your jacket if you wear it on a day-to-day basis. It’s not worth the risk.
Locking folders are popular for hunting, and the Opinel from France is cheap and sharp. I’d also recommend a non-locking folding knife for hunting because you can leave that in your jacket or car. Sheffield still makes superb UK-legal carry knives. My personal choice is either Arthur Wright & Son or the custom maker, Michael May; both have websites and make high quality knives here in the U.K.
So, tools and knives go hand in hand with airguns. The correct choice of both can take your whole shooting experience to another level – and don’t forget to carry a pocket first-aid kit – plasters, antiseptic cream – you never know!
Arthur Wright & Son: www.sheffield-made.com
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Michael May : www.michaelmayknives.com