Plan for success. Pack your blood bag.

Al Cambronne says it’s fine to suffer in the woods—but not on the way home. Pack a blood bag. Or, if you prefer... A Bambi bag.

It’s great that you have a bug-out bag ready for earthquakes, hurricanes, or the coming zombie apocalypse. But if you’re a deer hunter, you’d better be at least as prepared for a successful hunt. So pack your blood bag carefully, and make sure you have it in your vehicle every time you hunt. Blood bag? That’s right. If a bug-out bag is for bugging out, a blood bag is for times when, to borrow from an old movie title, “there will be blood.”

If you shoot your deer when it’s standing at the edge of a hay field, you may be able to drive right up to it. If not... Well, when you’ve finally finished dragging your deer a half-mile or more through the woods, chances are good you’ll be sweating, shivering, or both. You’ll be exhausted, parched, and famished. You’ll be soaked with rain, snow, sweat, deer blood, your own blood after that patch of blackberries you just waded through, or possibly even all of the above. It’s a long drive home. You’d better have a blood bag.

Or, if that sounds a little too harsh, just call it your “Bambi bag.” What goes into it is up to you. But here’s a short list to get you started:

  • Spare knife and any other tools you use when field-dressing.
  • Flashlight and headlamp.
  • Game cart or plastic sled.
  • Tarp to protect your vehicle.
  • Heavy rope and a board you can use as a loading ramp.
  • Snack and something to drink.
  • Jug of water you can use for washing up yourself and/your deer.
  • Paper toweling and instant hand cleaning gel.
  • Spare shoes or boots.
  • Extra warm clothes or rain gear. Or, depending on the weather, both.
  • An additional blood-free change of clothes reserved solely for the trip home.

Al Cambronne is co-author of Gut It. Cut It. Cook It.: The Deer Hunter’s Guide to Processing and Preparing Venison. His most recent book is DEERLAND: America’s Hunt for Ecological Balance and the Essence of Wildness. On Twitter: @AlCambronne.

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