deer hunting essentials checklist

Deer Hunting Essentials

So you’ve decided to go deer hunting, but you’re not sure what you need? This deer hunting essentials checklist will make your experience the best it can be:

  • Clothing
  • Flashlight
  • Comfortable footwear
  • Binoculars
  • Hunter orange vest
  • Sighted-in rifle for deer hunting
  • Snacks/water
  • Backpack
  • Comfortable seating
  • First aid/safety gear

Hey you!

Yeah, you!

Don’t bounce, because we dig deep into why each of these is essential to deer hunting and what to look for

deer hunting checklist

1. Clothing

Clothing is definitely a crucial part of the hunting experience. If you’re too hot or cold, it will make for a miserable trip. My best advice is whether it’s a warm or cold climate, you’ll want to dress in layers. Durable pair of pants that are both protective and cooling are a must. Walking through the woods you’re bound to encounter brush or rough branches and you want to make sure your legs are protected. Many hunters swear by hydrophobic brushed pants that are both waterproof and quiet, keeping you dry and incognito.

Depending on the time of year, the weather can change quickly. In warmer climates, it’s best to wear a moisture-wicking shirt and carry a light jacket. If you’re hunting in colder temperatures, take the necessary precautions to keep yourself warm, but not too hot. I recommend regularly checking the weather in the days leading up to the trip.

2. Quality Flashlight

In deer hunting, chances are it will be dark going into the woods and dark coming out. The ground you’re walking on will be unpredictable so you’ll want to be able to see where you’re going. A cheap, dollar store flashlight will not get the job done. You want something that will have a long battery life, cover a wide and long range with light, and is also durable enough to take a beating.

3. Comfortable Footwear

If you’re going deer hunting, you’ll be walking. A LOT. It’s best to be prepared with comfortable footwear. Select footwear that keeps your feet dry and also offers great arch and ankle support. Some of the terrain in the woods can be tricky. You’ll need to be sure you can safely maneuver. Supportive footwear reduces the chance of injury and your feet will thank you at the end of the day.

4. Binoculars

One of the most important tools you have while deer hunting is your eyes. Obviously, you’ll need to see the deer if you want to take it home. Binoculars are a great way to aid your visual ability. Binoculars will help you determine how close or far your game is from you, allowing you to plan your next steps accurately.

5. Hunter Orange Vest

Quite possibly the most important thing on this list is the hunter orange vest. This article of clothing is absolutely crucial to hunting in the woods. The orange will help other hunters identify you as a person. The worst way to end a hunting trip is to be mistaken for a deer and shot.

Alternatively, if you get separated from the rest of your hunting party or if you’re lost on a solo trip, you can use your vest to get help. Use the vest as an overhead signal and the search party can easily locate you.

6. A Properly Sighted-in Weapon (with extra ammo)

No matter the type of weapon you’re hunting with, it is absolutely imperative that it be fitted with a properly sighted-in scope. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to shoot at a target, only to find that your scope is off. This can be the difference between getting that clean shot or missing completely. Remember, a clean shot is the only shot.

Take some time before the trip to make sure your weapon is clean and functioning properly and be sure to pack extra ammo. It’s better to have more than you need than not enough!

7. Snacks/Water

If you’ll be spending most of your day in the woods, you’re bound to get hungry or thirsty. Be sure your pack is loaded with enough water to last you and some small snacks that will keep you fueled. You’ll also need to select snacks that do not attract animals, are easy to transport, and make little to no noise when eating. 

A few ideas for hunting snacks:

  • Beef Jerky
  • Trail mix
  • Energy Bars
  • Fruit
  • Candy Bars

It may also be a good idea to carry along a sports drink or two. Whatever you bring, you want to keep it lightweight and easily accessible. 

8. Quality Hunting Backpack

Spending the day in the woods means there are a lot of things you’ll need to have on hand and limited space to store it. You want to be able to transport your gear comfortably and safely. Choose a waterproof pack that has a lot of room and comfortable straps. The last thing you want is to get caught in a sudden downpour and all of your gear gets soaked. Most backpacks designed specifically for hunting provide straps and spaces to also carry your weapon. This is a great way to keep your hands as free as possible as you make your way to your hunting spot.

9. Comfortable Seating

Whether you’re hunting from the ground or in a blind, you’ll likely be spending several hours in one spot – you want it to be comfortable.

Invest in a quality, comfortable chair, cushion or stool…your ass will thank you!

10. First Aid/Safety Gear

Always expect the unexpected. Make sure you have a fully stocked first aid kit. If you’re deer hunting from a tree stand, make sure you have a properly fitted safety harness. No one expects to fall out of the tree, but it’s better to take precautions and be safe, not sorry.