Predictions are that this weekend's opening of the Utah general deer hunt will be wet.

Which, of course, means it will be muddy and cold and more difficult, especially for those trying to get into the high backcountry.

The season will open at first light on Saturday. Roughly 60,000 hunters are expected to be afield.

Typically, about one in three hunters is successful.

The forecast is that hunters can expected to see a few more deer and a few more of the yearling bucks. Survival this past winter and spring was high.

With only two days to go before the opening of the 2007 Utah deer hunt, it's a good time for hunters to make a checklist of the little things he or she will need in the field.


Check the ammunition to make sure it is perfectly matched to the rifle.

It's not uncommon for a hunter to buy the wrong ammunition. Also, it's not unusual for a hunter to forget the caliber of his or her rifle when buying ammunition.

It's also a good idea to make sure the rifle is clean and in good firing order. A dirty barrel can mess up a target.

Scopes. Now, certainly, is not the time to be thinking about scopes. But a simple bump or jar can knock a scope off target, which is why it's important to sight in a rifle before going afield.

A good, sharp knife is one of the most important tools for the successful hunter. A dull knife can be a hunter's worst nightmare. Old knives can be sharpened and should be before each hunt. There are new knives on the market that are made specifically for hunters. One thing a hunter should be sure of is that a folding knife has a locking blade — that works.

A good rule of thumb is to buy a knife with a medium-hard blade rather than a hard blade. It's easier to get a sharp edge on a softer blade. It can be nearly impossible to fine-tune a hard blade in the field.

No-scent clothing. It's also a good idea to wash hunting gear in a detergent that can take the scent out of hunting clothing. The secret, of course, is that once the items are washed, they're kept away from other clothing that can transmit sweet-smelling scents.

Footwear isn't something to be taken lightly. A good pair of Gore-Tex boots is a worthwhile investment, especially with unpredictable weather conditions.

It's also a good idea to put away the cotton socks and look at either wool or new synthetic materials. Cotton socks are hydrophilic, which means they retain moisture and cause friction. This makes for uncomfortable feet and the dreaded blisters.

New gloves on the market feature such things as a combination of mitten and glove, and gloves with places for small heater-packets.

Those chemical warmers are perfect for those cold mornings and evenings. Simply open the package and expose the packet to air. The packet provides comfortable heat for up to 12 hours.

Some hunters also like to take along a pair of plastic gloves to make clean up easier and quicker.

Binoculars are important but often are among the things "forgotten" and left at home.

They needn't be expensive or large. There are inexpensive binoculars on the market that are small and powerful.

GPS. A global positioning system can be fun and also lifesaving, especially for those hunters who sometimes have difficulty making it back to camp. One benefit hunters sometimes overlook is that with a GPS they can easily return to a favorite hunting spot or find an old game trail. New GPS units also come with topographical maps that can be pulled up in seconds and show detailed layouts of the land.

A game bag is something else a hunter should not forget, especially if the weather is warm.

Another handy item is survey flagging. The flagging is biodegradable and will be gone within months. Until then, it marks trails and locations to help hunters find game and their way back to camp.

There are, of course, a number of other items that are important and/or can make a hunt easier and more pleasurable. With only two days to spare, hunters should go down the checklist and then check and double check to make sure it's among the things to be packed.

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