For whatever reason, it seems as though big game hunters are far more likely than small game hunters to hit the road and spend a few nights camping out in the field. That’s too bad, because road trips can be extremely productive for small game hunting, especially when you travel to areas that receive very little hunting pressure.
At various points in our lives, my brothers and I have done annual road trips for cottontail rabbits, quail, ducks, geese, and turkeys, and I count these forays as some of the most memorable small game hunts that I’ve been involved with. Unlike the kind of big game hunts that I enjoy, where I usually end up camping in backcountry locales far away from my vehicle, the best small game hunts are typically located in places where you camp right at your truck or car.
If you’ve got a pickup, you can rig it up with a sheet of reinforced plywood that rests on top of the wheel wells. This gives you plenty of room to sleep, the plywood makes a better bed than the steel floor of the bed, and it gives you a ton of gear storage down under. If you really want to trick out your camping rig, glue a layer of indoor/outdoor carpet to the top side of the plywood surface. You’ll be sleeping in style.
As for packing, keep a simple pre-packed car camping setup in your garage or closet so that hitting the road is as simple as loading a box into the back of your rig. You can think of your car-camping setup as being divided into four categories, sleeping gear, eating gear, field care gear, and odds n’ ends gear. Here’s a packing list that can form the basis for building your own small-game road trip kit.
Odds n’ Ends Gear