Are you starting to take an interest in hunting? It’s not too late to go for it. In fact, a growing number of people – both young and old – are taking up hunting as a hobby and a way to rediscover nature.
Before you try hunting, though, make sure you’ve done your research. Every time you venture into the great outdoors, you should hope for the best but plan for the worst. Even if it’s your first hunting experience and you have seasoned hunters with you, you should never set out on a hunt unprepared.
The following are essential pieces of hunting gear you should never leave home without, regardless of the hunt:
1. Hunting Weapon
There’s an ongoing debate on the ideal hunting weapon for beginners. Some say that compound bows are the way to go, while others argue that firearms are better for newbies.
Choosing a hunting weapon is a decision that ultimately boils down to your skills and preferences. While bow hunting can be very appealing, mastering a bow requires heaps of practice. In comparison, learning to shoot a rifle or shotgun is much simpler and takes less time.
2. Hunting Clothes
Your choice of hunting clothes can make or break your hunting trip. Dress according to the location of your hunt and the weather condition in the area. The proper hunting clothes will keep you comfortable, so you can stay in the woods longer.
The general rule is to not wear cotton on a hunt. Cotton neither wicks sweat away from the skin nor provides insulation in cold temperatures. Also, invest in quality camo gear that complements the season and landscape – grey/white for winter and green/brown for summer. You may also want to purchase an orange vest, so other hunters can easily spot you during your trip.
3. Hunting Boots and Socks
Boots are another piece of hunting gear you shouldn’t skimp on. You’ll be walking for miles and trudging through mud, water, briar, and other nasty terrain during your hunting trip, so make sure to purchase a reliable pair of hunting footwear, preferably with good ankle support.
Also, get yourself a good pair of hunting socks. You’ll be able to walk further and move around more comfortably if your feet are warm, dry, and in good condition. Like clothing, stay away from socks made of cotton.
4. Hunting Backpack
Of course, you’ll need a dependable backpack that can hold your hunting equipment and supplies. You can purchase them online and in stores selling hunting accessories.
Quality hunting backpacks can be expensive, but they are a worthy investment. They’re lightweight, versatile, and the right size should fit you like a glove.
If you want to save money, though, any of your existing neutral-colored backpacks will do.
5. Hunting Knife
Every hunter must carry a knife without fail. A hunting knife is one of the most important pieces of hunting equipment you can take with you. You’ll need it for cutting rope, notching hunting tags, or field dressing your game.
Just about any fixed or folding-blade knife would suffice, but hunters nowadays opt for knives with replaceable blades because they’re lighter and don’t require honing.
6.. First Aid Kit
Safety is the first priority. That being said, a first-aid kit is one of the most important things to pack when going on a hunt.
Hunting expeditions can be unpredictable; accidents can happen while you’re in the woods. Whether you’re an expert hunter or a novice, you should always carry a first-aid kit with you. This way, you can take care of yourself and your fellow hunters immediately if any of you gets injured.
The hunting market is brimming with products that claim to make hunting better, safer, more comfortable – and many of them do. The thing is, with all the advertisements and recommendations by sales people, it can be difficult to distinguish what’s necessary from what the industry wants you to buy.
The items mentioned above are the bare-minimum for beginners who are still testing the waters. Once you get a hang of the basics and have decided on the type of hunting you want to engage in, you can work on upgrading to cooler, fancier hunting gear and gadgets.
About the Author
Maren McReynolds is the Content Marketing Director of Black Mountain Outfitters, a company that offers world-class guided hunts in New Mexico, Arizona, and South Dakota. When not working, she spends time swimming with her two kids and giving back to the community.