Hunting with a Toddler: Pack Essentials

Jessica Manuell // May 10

In the last two years, our daughter has gone on every hunting trip we've been on. A handful of those days we've had someone in camp to watch her for a morning or evening hunt or nearby when we hunt by home but the majority of the time she's been along with us. 

I feel like we've been taking everything and the kitchen sink with us before we had her so over the last two years I've been able to narrow it down to the necessities for both of us. Aside from the basics to get the job done to fill a tag, the necessities for a toddler aren't all that different.

Hunting with a Toddler: Pack Essentials

The following are a few pack essentials for hunting with a toddler.

Whole pack of baby wipes

I cannot stress enough that a toddler is going to get dirty. Sit in the dirt. Play in the dirt. Eat the dirt. Take the entire package of wet wipes. And a change of clothes. The clothes also apply to the next items. 


If they're not potty trained, take an extra diaper over what they'd normally need in the time frame you plan to be out. Dispose of baggies or zip locks to keep the used ones in. It never fails. They're either anxious enough to go along and they get constipated or have a blowout like in their infant days. 

Bright shoes or hat

Dressing them in camo is absolutely the most adorable thing but they disappear quickly as hide-and-seek and peek-a-boo is fun for them. The panic when you can't find them even a few yards from you is enough to make you think that camo isn't so cute. Bright shoes or boots or a bright hat to go along with their weather-appropriate outfit is a must. If we're sitting and need color concealment, we have a large fleece camo blanket we take along to help hide our daughter. Plus it helps keep her warm on cold day sits. 

Fake call

An inoperable call that looks just like the one mommy or daddy is using. Imitation is flattery. Give them the opportunity to mimic and talk to them about why you're using the call a certain way. Our daughter doesn't care for toys when we're out she wants to do what we're doing. 

Baby carrier or backpack

A good child carrier or backpack that's comfortable and has some storage for their items. This is a lifesaver when they decide that they don't in fact want to walk 30 yards after they demanded you let them walk. 

Snacks… and more snacks

Lots and lots of snacks. Their favorite snacks. They become snack connoisseurs the moment you hit the woods. And I'll never complain about having extra snacks along for when the action just isn't happening. 

No expectations

And finally, and probably the most important thing to take along is no expectations. Expectations lead to disappointment and we're not taking our children into the hunting world to be disappointed. They're going to be loud. They might have a meltdown. They may be the perfect hunting partner. And they may be all of the above on the same day. You may not see any animals or you may get lucky and get to fill the freezer. But all the moments are opportunities we wouldn't get if we left our children at home. 

As hard as it may be and the few extra pounds in my pack are 100 percent worth it to our family. 

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About the Author

Jessica Manuell

Jessica is a hunter from Northern Arizona and currently writes for and promotes ReelCamo Girl, Great American Wildlife, Miss Pursuit, Safari Club International, Prois Hunting gear, and her own blog Outdoors Lady. She volunteers her time teaching others as a Hunter Education Instructor in Arizona and she is acting chair of the National Wild Turkey Federation Women In The Outdoors Northern Arizona Chapter. Besides hunting big game, both archery and rifle and upland birds with their German Shorthairs, Jessica enjoys hiking and outdoor photography. Jessica graduated with a Master's Degree in Crop Science from Oregon State University and currently works as the Operations Manager for Canyon Coolers.