Deer hunting is one of America’s most popular pursuits, with hunters spending billions on hunting gear, trip expenses, tags, licenses, or guide fees each year.
Wading through the abundance of products on the market geared toward hunters of all kinds to find the best hunting gear can be challenging. Keep reading for the most essential deer hunting gear and supplies for your next hunting trip.
Essential Deer Hunting Clothing
The clothing you wear when you’re deer hunting is crucial. What you’re wearing affects every element of the hunt, from keeping you well hidden from your prey to deciding how long you’ll be able to comfortably stay in the fields.
While cold temperatures are more prevalent in deer season throughout most of the country, hunters face risks of both hyperthermia and hypothermia in a single deer hunting season. This is why it’s so important to dress for the weather when you are planning your deer hunting gear.
You’ll need to include a base layer, mid-layer, outer layer, as well as insulated waterproof rain gear.
The first layer you’ll need is a base layer, which is the layer that fits closest to your skin. Your base layer should consist of a breathable, moisture-wicking material so that any moisture or sweat won’t accumulate against your body.
Sweat accumulating against your skin cools your body beyond what it’s capable of reheating in frigid temperatures, so a moisture-wicking base layer is an essential aspect of your deer hunting gear.
When you’re hunting in cold weather, heavyweight, insulating long johns are excellent at keeping you dry and trapping air efficiently. The most popular materials for a base layer include merino wool and synthetic, with each having its own drawbacks and benefits.
Merino wool is known for maintaining insulation and minimizing odor even when wet, while synthetics dry faster and are more durable than wool. Synthetics are also less expensive than wool, but they can melt if they come into close contact with a heat source.
The rule of thumb for a base layer is to start with a light layer and bulk up only when it’s completely necessary, like in extreme cold.
The mid-layer consists of insulation that helps trap body heat and prevents loss of heat, keeping you warm in cold temperatures. Generally, hunters keep this layer in their pack to retrieve it once they get stationary and begin to cool down.
If your mid-layer is too heavy, sweat will build up quickly, but if it’s too light, your body won’t be able to keep up with the cold to keep you warm. Your mid-layer works with your base layer to make sure you stay warm and cozy while deer hunting.
The outer layer of your deer hunting gear protects you from snow, sleet, rain, and wind.
If you’re deer hunting in dry weather, with consistently cold temperatures, consider wool or nylon-blended material for your outer layer. You should also choose an outer layer with a hood to keep your neck, ears, and head warm in cold temperatures.
When hunting in warmer temperatures, you can use thin, breathable gear with a hood and armpit zips that can be opened if you need increased ventilation.
Rain gear is essential deer hunting gear for your next expedition. The best way to protect yourself from hypothermia in the rain is to make sure you have great rain gear.
Quality rain gear will protect your body from moisture building up while trekking through the rainy woods to your tree stand while providing proper ventilation. When you’re looking for rain gear for deer hunting, consider your location and how often you’ll need to use it.
Bright colors are crucial deer hunting gear since these colors distinguish you from other hunters and keep you safe in the field. Deer are colorblind to orange blaze-colored clothing, so you don’t risk scaring them away while you protect yourself from being mistaken for prey by another hunter.
Since deer have so many natural predators, in addition to the swarm of deer hunters who hit the woods every year, their eyesight must be extraordinary for their own protection in the wild. For this reason, camouflage is an essential piece of deer hunting gear.
Camouflage patterns break up your body’s outline, which allows you to blend into the environment better, tricking deer and other animals. More specifically, stick and leaf patterns mimic actual fauna, while digital prints use pixels to trick the eyes of your prey.
A good pair of camouflage gloves will help you keep your hands hidden from view of any deer that may be cruising through the woods, and they’ll also keep your hands warm if you’re hunting in cold weather.
Hunting socks are an essential piece of deer hunting gear. Keeping your feet dry and warm is crucial to the hunt, considering the time that must be spent out in the woods just waiting to spot a deer. Avoid cotton socks for your deer hunting expedition, and instead, reach for socks that wick away moisture while providing protection and warmth.
When it comes to deer hunting gear, rubber boots are extremely popular footwear. This is because they’re waterproof and the rubber traps your human scent inside the boot, preventing it from seeping out and scaring away your prey. The only downside of rubber boots is that the rubber is not as breathable as other materials, which may cause your feet to get sweaty.
Essential Deer Hunting Gear
A hunting blind or tree stand is an important part of your deer hunting gear. A hunting blind is just a shelter or structure that is designed to conceal hunters from their prey, while also protecting them from the elements.
Hunting blinds minimize the visibility of the hunter, and they also hold in a great deal of the hunter’s scent, increasing your chances of success.
From rifles to shotguns, there are so many choices on the market for deer hunting, so it’s essential that you do your research before making a final decision. If you’re planning to hunt using a gun, make sure you take plenty of ammunition.
On the other hand, bow hunting provides hunters with longer seasons and access to restricted hunting areas that gun hunters won’t have access to. Just make sure you choose a bow that fits you and is comfortable for you to use.
Scent blockers are a must when packing your deer hunting gear for your next trip because deer have up to 297 million scent receptors in their nose. These products are engineered to mask human odors, which makes you pretty much invisible to a deer’s nose.
You should apply scent blockers to your clothes, boots, and hunting gear to go completely incognito while you’re in the woods.
A deer call is another essential piece of deer hunting gear to take along with you on your next outing to ensure your success. A deer call is a small device that is used to mimic the sounds of other deer to attract deer’s attention.
A flashlight, headlamp, spotlight, or some other type of light source is an important piece of your deer hunting gear since you’ll be spending time in the woods at dawn and dusk. Deer typically do their own foraging for food around dawn and dusk every day.
Pocket Knife/Skinning Knife
Whether you choose a folding or locking blade pocket knife or a fixed blade in a sheath, it’s important to bring along a reliable, strong knife for your hunt.
Sitting and waiting for long periods of time is one of the biggest parts of deer hunting, so it’s important to make sure you have food and water to make your hunt more pleasant.
Keeping yourself hydrated is the main thing you’ll need to be concerned with on long hunts. However, you probably will get hungry after sitting in your tree stand for a while so make sure you take along some easily-accessible foods like apples, bananas, or beef jerky.
Since deer have lightning-fast reflexes, it’s important to make the least amount of movement possible when eating and drinking.
Miscellaneous Essential Hunting Gear and Equipment
A rangefinder calculates the distance a target is from the hunter. Some of these products simply tell the distance, while others incorporate more complex calculations for the best chance of making your shot. This crucial piece of deer hunting gear improves the accuracy of your shot and tells you how far a deer is away from your tree stand or deer blind.
A GPS is a compact electronic navigation device that can be really helpful when used in conjunction with a compass. It’s essential for you to be able to use a map and a compass as well so that you can always find your way when you’re out in the woods.
A first-aid kit is always essential deer hunting gear, whether you’re heading into the backcountry for an extended hunt or just hitting your favorite trails and setting up some trail cameras.
The contents should change depending on the location of the hunt, the weather, and so on. Basic wound care and antiseptics are a must no matter where you’re going.
A scope is great deer hunting gear if you’re trying to make an accurate shot from a long distance. If you’re hunting in thick woods or over an open plain with the potential for long-range shots, you’ll want to bring along a scope to help you zero in on your target.
Binoculars are an essential part of any deer hunting gear kit, but they’re even more crucial for bowhunters who don’t have a scope to look through when they’re lining up their shots.
Deer are great at hiding in plain sight in fields and in the thick of the woods, so it can be challenging to spot one moving slowly at a distance. Binoculars will give you the edge you need to raise your chances of success on the hunt.
Whether you’re hunting with a compound bow or with a firearm like a shotgun or a rifle, it’s crucial to bring along all of the deer hunting gear you may need for a successful hunt.
You don’t want to need something out in the woods and not have any way of getting it, which is why we’ve created this comprehensive list of all of the most important deer hunting gear for your next expedition.
Check out the Hunting in Minnesota section of our page for more information on useful equipment and gear, as well as tips and tricks for your next hunting expedition.
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Born in Madelia, MN, to a now 5-generation Minnesota family, Ryan’s MN roots go deep.
A painter by day, Ryan founded Life in Minnesota in 2013 with his wife Kelly to chronicle their musings on everything Minnesota. Ryan and Kelly are raising their 7 kiddos in Maple Grove, MN.
When he’s not shuttling his kids around to hockey practice, you might find him in the shop working on his leatherwork. Undoubtedly, there will be a family trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area every summer, and of course weekends at Grandpa’s cabin up north in the summer.