A Beginner’s Guide to Essential Hunting Gear

A Beginner’s Guide to Essential Hunting Gear

Hunting: it’s not just a sport; it’s a rite of passage, a connection to nature, and a challenge of skill and patience.

Whether you’re gearing up for your first hunting trip or simply looking to refresh your hunting essentials, you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s get you geared up for your type of hunt, whether it’s big game or a serene deer hunt.

Essential Hunting Gear: What Every Hunter Must Have

  • Your Weapon: While this may seem obvious, your biggest hunting gear essential will be your weapon and ammo. Do your research and talk with your hunting community to select the right weapon for the hunt.
  • Tactical Bag: Highland Tactical offers robust options that are perfect for both bow hunters and rifle hunters. This isn’t just a bag—it’s an extension of your mission, a place to stash all your hunting kit essentials. Make sure to include a small pack of miscellaneous essentials too, like a small flashlight, non-perishable snacks, sunscreen, water, etc.
  • Base Layers: Regardless of the season, you want moisture-wicking base layers. They help regulate body temperature and prevent excessive sweating.
  • Hunting Boots: Protect your feet! Get waterproof, insulated boots for those long treks. Your hunting trip will be miserable if your feet are.
  • Camouflage Hunting Clothing: Blend in with your surroundings. Whether you’re in tree stands or on the ground, good camouflage is a hunting necessity and it can change depending on your area or game.
  • Hunting Knife: Essential for field dressing and notching hunting tags. Make sure to choose a quality tool like a Dozier that’s been proven for generations, more on that below.
  • First Aid Kit: Accidents happen. From minor cuts to bigger issues, be prepared with an IFAK or AFAX
  • Hunting Tags: Always, always have the right tags for the game you’re pursuing. Rules are rules and the game wardens can and will ask to see your tags. 
  • Hunting Accessories: Think about binoculars for spotting, rope for dragging game or cutting rope, and scent eliminators.
  • Bug Repellent: Get a Thermacell, spray your clothes down with Permethrin or even just get regular ol’ bug spray. You need something to keep mosquitoes and more importantly ticks away from you during your walk through the woods and hunting expedition.

Specialized Gear for the Type of Hunt

You may need a special weapon or ammo depending on your hunt. A rifle is a top choice for most game hunting, but you may opt for a bow and arrow or other weapon depending on the type of hunting and area you are in. 

Beyond a weapon, your hunting gear list will vary based on the game you’re after:

Big Game:

  • Rangefinder: For determining the distance to your target.
  • Game Calls: Lure your prey closer.
  • Field Dressing Kit: Essential for cleaning your game.

Deer Hunting Gear:

  • Deer Calls and Scents: Essential for attracting these elusive creatures.
  • Safety Harness: If you’re in a tree stand, safety first!

Hunter Essentials as Your Skills Grow

When you gain a deeper understanding of the wild and sharpen your hunting instincts, you’ll realize that your gear needs to evolve with you. As you advance in your hunting journey, the essentials expand beyond the basics.

When you get a little more experienced, these will be hunting’s essential gear options: Advanced optics with night vision capabilities for those dusk and dawn hunts, specialized clothing tailored for extreme conditions, and GPS devices to track both your route and the movement of game. Additionally, trail cameras will become indispensable, giving you a sneak peek into the animal’s routines and patterns, and decoys to help in luring your prey.

The deeper you get into hunting, the more refined and specialized your gear will become, enhancing both your success rate and the overall hunting experience.

Pieces of Hunting Advice (That You May Not Want To Hear, But Should Remember)

  • Know Your Gear: Spend time with your hunting gear before your trip. Familiarity breeds confidence.
  • Safety First: Always let someone know where you’re hunting and when you expect to return.
  • Stay Patient: Hunting is almost meditative. It’s as much about patience as it is about skill in shooting.

A bow hunter drawing back to fire

Do We Even Need to Explain Why You Should Always Carry a Knife!?

A hunting knife isn’t just about cutting rope or field dressing.

It’s a multi-purpose tool.

Need to make a makeshift shelter? Your knife is there. Notching hunting tags? Check.

Even in unforeseen circumstances, a knife can be a lifesaver. We mentioned tried and true brands above like Behring, Randall and Dozier but the choice is up to your style and game. If you aren’t sure what you need, you can get some help choosing a knife from Steve Rinella’s top hunting knife picks – he even likes the replaceable blade knives for a fresh edge when skinning a fresh kill.

Wrapping It Up

Whether it’s your first hunt or your fiftieth, the right gear can make all the difference. Your hunting essentials isn’t just stuff—they’re tools that empower your experience. Ensure your hunting gear list is comprehensive, from base layers to tree stands. And remember, the hunt isn’t just about the catch—it’s about the memories you make, the challenges you overcome, and the bond you forge with nature.

Now gear up, head out, and embrace the wild!

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