Deer Hunting Must Haves | The Gear You Need to Whitetail Hunt
By: Dylan Hayward
I think it’s easy to go overboard with what gear you need to bring on your deer hunt. I was just talking with some hunting friends about if it’s worth it or not to pack a bunch of extra stuff into your bag that you might not even use. There’s a good balance of what to bring and what is probably okay to leave at home, depending on the time of the year, location and animal you are after. But there are a few key things that I will never go into the stand without. Things that are absolutely crucial on every hunt to ensure that you will be as successful as possible on your end.
Scent Control For Deer Hunting
It’s no secret that a whitetail’s greatest defense is their ability to smell. Mississippi State University did a study that found that a whitetail’s sense of smell can be up to 1,000 times more acute than a humans. That’s not a typo. 1,000 times! Deer use the wind to their advantage with scent, so it’s also important that your hunting set up has an ideal wind, but there are certain products that you can use to help mitigate the risk of getting winded by that buck you are after. I never go into the woods without my Dead Down Wind Field Spray. I like to spray my clothes a day before the hunt and let them dry, and then when I get in the stand, I like to create a sort of cloud around me with the spray, that almost acts like a scent barrier.
Deer Hunting Optics
Whether I am hunting a field edge or in some oak flats, I never get into the stand without bringing my binoculars. When I first started hunting, this was a mistake I made too many times. You see a buck 100 yards away and can’t quite tell whether he is a shooter or not, and don’t know whether to throw a grunt call out, get your bow ready, get your rangefinder out, etc. I have blown hunts by not having my optics. I prefer the Vortex Viper 10X42. But there are hundreds of great binoculars out there, Vortex has just never let me down and comes with one of the best warranties on the market.
Range Finder For Whitetail Hunting
This is an item that I cannot stress enough the importance of bringing with you on every hunt. Especially if you are an archery hunter, but it is still essential when you’re out with a gun. I have hunting friends that claim that they are experienced enough to range a deer with their eyes, but this is a foolish risk. When harvesting an animal, you have a responsibility to do the best you can to make an ethical shot that will kill the animal as quickly as possible. Even being off by a couple of yards can be the difference between a great shot and a poor shot. Know your yardage. I use the Vortex Ranger 1800, but again, there are hundreds of rangefinders on the market that will do the trick, just make sure they come with a good warranty. More recently, there are bow sights on the market that will actually range the deer while you’re aiming, making it that much more convenient and limiting your movement. The most popular and durable being the Garmin Xero which is a fantastic product.
Trail Cameras for Deer Hunting Strategy
This isn’t something I necessarily bring with me on my hunts, however, I think it’s important to mention how essential these are to your hunting strategy. Trail cameras have changed how most people deer hunt. We now have the ability to monitor deer activity remotely, which helps us plan for how we will set up. I personally like to use wireless cameras, due to the fact that I can limit how often I disturb certain areas of my farm and keep my scent out of those areas until it’s time to actually hunt, whereas you can’t do that as much with traditional trail cameras that you have to check the SD cards manually. I started using the Tactacam Reveal X this year and have had amazing luck with it and it couldn’t be more easy to set up.
These are some of the things that I find absolutely crucial to the success of my deer season. Depending on the area that you hunt in, some of these products can vary, however there is a baseline that will stay consistent for all whitetail hunters. Bring these with you for next season and I can assure you, you’ll be grateful you have them.