On this site, we put a lot of emphasis on the idea that you don’t need to have fancy equipment to hunt. With only a few basic items, you can begin your journey to becoming an avid hunter. But what if you aren’t a beginner? We realize that many hunters already have the “basic” gear, and years of casual hunting may have created the urge to take your game to the next level. To cater to the more advanced hunter, we compiled a list of must have hunting gear for anyone looking to have the most advantages possible. Or, if you don’t know what to get for a hunter in your life, many of these items make fantastic gifts that they may not think to buy for themselves. Looking for must have hunting accessories? Here’s what you need to know.
Stand Tall with a Tree Stand
Having the proper vantage point is a key aspect of successful hunting. This is why so much of your time spent hunting is actually spent scouting, glassing, and watching. Of course, you can always hunt from ground level or by using an advantageous hill. However, these options limit your flexibility and can stop you from finding the ideal spot. Thus, pro-level hunters rely heavily on treestands.
Treestands vary widely in size, price, and features. However, at its most basic, a tree stand is a raised platform that attaches to a tree and allows you to comfortably maintain the high ground over your target. That said, there are a plethora of options that can make a ladder stand more comfortable, functional, and easy to use. Having reviewed and tested dozens of treestands, we are consistently impressed by the Game Winner ladder stand options. Whether you choose a basic Game Winner tree stand or a Game Winner deluxe ladder stand, each option is high-quality and nicely appointed.
Tree stands must strike a balance between durability and portability because you will likely have to carry your treestand some distance before hoisting it into your chosen tree. Game Winner treestands do an excellent job of balancing these demands by using a framework of small-diameter tubing to provide both strength and lightweight. Further, many models opt for mesh sheeting instead of the more common foam-and-vinyl. Not only is this lighter, but it is much easier to keep clean, less temperature sensitive, and more comfortable.
Alternatively, if you prefer to not clamber up trees or your area has primarily evergreens without clear trunks, you can also opt for a Game Winner tripod stand or a Game Winner quad pod. These incorporate all of the features and quality of their treestands, but without the pesky need for a tree.
You Can’t Hunt if you Can’t See
As you’ve likely noticed, many of the fundamental aspects of hunting center around the pursuit of sight. Whether you’re tracking a deer in your sights or you’re scouting the land beforehand, there are many tools that can give you more confidence and the capability to know when and how to take your next shot. Here are the sight-related deer hunting gear must haves.
Rangefinder: Know the distance before you go the distance.
Judging distance can be a surprisingly challenging task. You might think you can tell when someone is “about 80 yards away”, but that isn’t always good enough. When using any weapon, knowing the precise distance to your target can have a massive impact on your trajectory and aim. This is doubly true when dealing with crossbows with variable bow strengths. While guessing is sometimes sufficient, even a professional hunter can’t match the accuracy of a proper rangefinder.
Rangefinders are available in a large range of prices and types. While the bells and whistles may vary, the basic capabilities are often similar. The industry standard for rangefinders is generally considered to be a 1,200-yard range and an accuracy of less than a yard. The higher-end models can manage accuracies as little as a single foot. If you want the ultimate confidence in your hunting, you need a rangefinder.
There are basic models available for most budgets, but there are also feature-packed precision options for anyone looking for the best on the market or as a guest for a special someone. For someone looking to go all out, the Leupold RX-Fulldraw 4 is a fantastic option. Featuring 6x magnification, a 1,200-yard range, and a 1.5-foot precision, it is a no-brainer among top-of-the-line units. Better yet, at only 7.5-ounces it manages to pack these features into one of the most compact units on the market as well.
Trail Cams: Be watching whether you’re there or not
Most avid hunters will tell you that one of the most important things you can do to improve your hunting game starts well before you ever pick up a gun. Scouting your local hunting areas is an incredibly effective method to find more deer consistently. By studying their habits and environments, you can predict their paths, habits, and locations and be prepared when the time is right. However, while this is a fantastic concept on paper, it becomes less appealing when your alarm clock starts beeping at three in the morning for you to hit the trail. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get the information without the sleepless effort? Well, you can.
Trail cameras are self-contained units that mount to trees or other posts and take photos when their motion sensors are activated. You can then collect the images and, through studying the animals and timestamps, you can find the best spots to hunt. The best part is the simplicity: just charge it, set it up, and forget it. Collect the images on your own time, not the deers.
The quality of trail cams has increased drastically over the years, and they are quickly becoming must haves for deer hunting. Browning, one of the oldest companies in the hunting industry, makes a fantastic option in the Browning Patriot. This affordably priced unit combines a 24-megapixel camera for high-detail images, a 90-foot detection range, a lightning-fast 0.15-second trigger, and full night-vision capabilities. Even if you catch a few photos of an errant squirrel or a mischievous robin, you’re sure to enjoy reviewing the photos and learn a lot in the process.
The hunting gear industry is an ever-evolving space, and any hunter’s wishlist is sure to be filled with a variety of gear. Yet, even if you are looking to improve your hunting prowess, the hunting must haves list need not be long or even particularly costly. While some of the must have deer hunting gear on this list is certainly an investment, it is all high-quality deer that will provide value and enjoyment for years to come. And besides, having a freezer stocked full of venison makes any small up-front cost worthwhile.
Whether you’re buying gear for yourself or gift shopping for your favorite hunter in your life, consider picking up one of these deer hunting must haves. It will improve the quality of your time in the field and make a great sport even more enjoyable.