Clothing

Outer Wear

You’ll need a minimum of a hat and vest in Hunter Orange to meet the legal requirements.

You also want to dress in layers. The outer layer should be camo, but the inner layers can be whatever your heart desires. Just remember that barbed wire fences rip clothing, so if you like pink polka-dotted long underwear, be prepared to share that fact with the world.

Footwear

Hiking boots are a must. The Nebraska Sandhills are, quite literally, large hills of sand.  Sneakers won’t protect your feet from the various pokey plants, and the hours of hard hiking.  Get something that goes above your ankle, to protect from sprains.  There is a lot of unsure footing out there.

Your footwear is critical – the fit has to be snug but not tight. This isn’t a place for hand-me-downs, unless they’re a really good fit. Another tip, make sure your toenails are closely trimmed.  I didn’t do that my first year, and after a couple hours it killed walking downhill because your toes push against the front of your boot.  I clipped my nails that night, and it made a world of difference the next day.

Backpack

My first year, I hunted without a backpack, and I won’t do it again. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this site, I was only able to carry a couple bottles of water and ended up drinking out of a cattle trough where I was probably the cleanest customer all day.

Your first concern is water. A camelback is best, a backpack with a built-in water bladder and drinking tube.  You don’t have to take it off to drink! Failing that, make sure you have room to carry 1.5 – 2 liters of water in bottles.  Don’t worry about ice packs, the Nebraska November will keep things cool.

You also want to carry some basic first aid supplies, a 2-way radio, high carb/protein snacks, and the tools you’ll need to field-dress your deer.  If you have room, an extra undershirt isn’t a bad idea. Sometimes I’ve had to take off my outer layers to dry the inner ones, even when it was cold.  Trapped sweat is uncomfortable and can sap your heat.

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