Preparedness is essential, both in hunting and in life. Although gun hunters do not need to bring the same kit and equipment as bowhunters, there are several must-have essentials that every hunter should possess and carry at all times, no matter the season or preferred hunting weapon.
1. Hunting Clothes
The right hunting clothes don’t necessarily have to have the latest and greatest realistic camouflage patterns. Depending on your local laws, you may have no choice but to wear a certain quantity of blaze orange for safety. However, your hunting clothes must protect you against the elements. Hypothermia is a genuine threat while hunting. A good set of hunting clothes should include:
- Sweat and moisture-wicking base layers.
- Quality hunting socks made of wool or synthetic fibers.
- Waterproof hunting vest and pants. Your vest should have long sleeves and include a rain hood.
- A high-quality pair of waterproof boots with good ankle support and deep tread for grip.
2. Hunting Knife
One of the most versatile tools in the hunter’s kit is, without a doubt, the survival knife. Cutting, skinning, gutting, de-boning and butchering; there are many roles a hunting knife can fulfill. You will find many debates on the features, advantages and disadvantages of folding blades vs. fixed knives, and there is virtually no right answer on which is best for you. However, both types have pros and cons that you must keep in mind when shopping for a new knife.
In general, fixed-blade knives possess larger blades, are easier to maintain and do not have weak points, but they require more space in your pack and are heavier to carry and handle. Folding knives are lighter and more compact, do not need a sheath and are often available in different blade types. However, the folding mechanism presents a weak point that may limit the type of tasks you can accomplish, and there is a practical limit to the size of their blades.
3. Navigation Tools
Even if you’re hunting in familiar territory, taking a wrong turn and getting lost in the woods happens more frequently than you might think. According to data collected by the National Park Service, there were just under 4,200 search-and-rescue reported incidents in 2017. To avoid becoming a statistic while looking for good places to install your hunting blinds, do not neglect navigational tools.
Top-of-the-line hunting GPS units are durable, feature a very long battery life and are purely dedicated navigational devices that can access multiple satellite systems, including GPS, GLONASS and Galileo. They are a better alternative to smartphones and map applications, as long as you’re willing to carry an extra battery-powered device. If you possess map-reading and orienteering skills, you may get a lot of mileage out of a compass and map combo. Not only is it inexpensive, but it is useful when there is no cell service. Modern relief maps of the regions are waterproof, tear-resistant and extremely lightweight, making a compass and map an excellent option for those who can use them.
An essential piece of gear that every hunter should have is a rugged pair of binoculars or “binos.” A good pair of binos should not only provide you with a clear image of distant objects and animals, but they should also feature the same glass quality and clarity as your rifle scope’s glass. There are two main ways to use binoculars: free-hand and with a tripod. If you mainly intend to use your binos free-hand, don’t go beyond 10x magnification, or you’ll experience some blurring and shakiness. Tripods offer more stability and make high-magnification binos far more comfortable to use, but they will add significant weight to your kit.
5. Scent Control and Attractants
The deer’s nose is akin to a natural early warning system and is, by far, their best survival tool. If the deer can smell you, it can sense your presence and get away long before you can react. There are many ways to defeat a deer’s nose, starting with personal hygiene. No advanced scent control technology will work if you’re emitting body odor. Before your hunt, shower with fragrance-free soap to remove as much body odor as possible. Don’t underestimate brushing your teeth, either; deer can pick up bad breath!
When you’re not hunting, keep your hunting clothes in storage in airtight bags so they don’t absorb the natural scents of your house or your closet. At the beginning of your hunting session, right before dressing, use scent-eliminating sprays on all your clothing before dressing. Another type of scent control is an attractant. Rather than merely masking your odor, attractants are scents intended to make deer come closer to a particular location. There are two main types of attractants: those meant for applying on your clothes or your hunting blind, and those meant for use in automatic feeders, such as certain types of scented deer protein feed. You can use either or both to create excellent ambushing opportunities.
Increase Your Chances of Success with the Essentials
Although these five elements are far from the only adequate pieces of gear you can add to your kit, they can increase your chances of success and let you fill out your deer tags more often.
Shadow Hunter Blinds offers the best selection of top-quality, professional hunting blinds available on the market today. Whether you prefer to use ground blinds or mount them on elevated hunting platforms, all our blinds are designed for total comfort, featuring superior materials, sound and scent control accessories and sufficient room for one or two hunters.