Deer Hunting Pack Checklist: Must-Have Gear for Hunters
A detailed, comprehensive look at what gear and equipment every whitetail fanatic should throw in their packs before hitting the deer hunting woods
Before your next hunt for whitetails, take a few minutes to make sure you have the following items tucked away in your deer pack. Yes, there are a lot of items listed, but it’s always better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it; time in the deer woods is precious – don’t waste it.
- Quality safety vest or harness: This is just common sense. If you forget to pack one, don’t even climb up to your stand; hunt from the ground or leave to go get one.
- Wind checker: Though the weatherman told you the wind was going to be out of a certain direction, don’t fully trust his forecast. Occasionally checking wind direction is critical when hunting an educated buck.
- Face mask and gloves: Use camo for elevated hunting and black for ground-blinds, unless you’re required to wear blaze orange. Also a good idea to pack different weights for those days with big temperature swings.
- Extra bow release (bowhunters): Spring falls out, strap/buckle breaks, lose or forget your main release; this is one item that can absolutely ruin a bowhunter’s day. Just like the second-string quarterback, make sure the backup gets some practice time.
- Small set of tools: Allen-wrench set, screwdriver set, small crescent wrench and electrical tape for those you-never-know times. Hunt enough and you’ll be glad those items are in your pack at some point.
- Rangefinder with extra battery: Remember, a rangefinder is just for ranging deer. Once settled into your stand, start ranging trees, rocks or whatever is around to get a feel for the different distances. If you get surprised with a monster buck standing by a rock you know is at 28 yards, grab your bow, not the rangefinder.
- Binoculars: Many hunters pack overkill binos. There’s nothing wrong with a set of quality, compact 8x42 binos. Pack binos you can easily handle and gets the job done.
- Treestand utility rope: You probably already have one hanging from the treestand but take a backup just in case.
- Foldable handsaw and small pruners: There’s always that one limb you missed when setting up the stand location for hunting.
- Toilet Paper and plastic urine bottle: Pack the toilet paper in a plastic sealable bag, also make sure your chosen urine bottle has a good, leak-proof cap.
- Scent-elimination spray and field wipes: If sitting all day, it’s a good idea to spray and wipe down once in a while, especially on warm days and after a snack.
- Flashlight with extra batteries: LED lights with multiple modes are good options. Both handheld and headlamp styles are helpful in different ways.
- Reflective trail-markers and roll of orange marking/flagging tape: Good for adding a few additional markers as needed on entry/exit routes, also good for tracking deer.
- Rattling and grunt calls: Pack the ones you have practiced with, nothing new just pulled from the package.
- Bow and gear hangers: These are cheap but invaluable tools. Good have several in different sizes.
- Water and a snack: Water in plastic bottles is fine but they are noisy. Protein bars, candy bars and packages of nuts make great snacks.
- Sharp knife: Two knives are better than one and having a sharpening device sometimes comes in handy.
- Field-dressing gloves: Let other hunters in deer camp say what they want; at least your hands will be clean.
- Large thick-wall garbage bag: Will help keep your deer pack bone dry during a pop-up shower or rain storm.
- Lightweight packable rain suit or poncho: These are small and do not take up much room in a pack; they are good to have, even if you are wear waterproof hunting clothes.
- Soft lens cloth and glass cleaner: Keep together in a small sealable plastic bag for cleaning lenses on binoculars, scopes, glasses and sunglasses.
- Small medicine and first-aid assortment pack: In a small sealable plastic bag, keep some meds for headache, nausea and allergies, some bug-bite or -sting ointment, and a bandage or two.
- Mobile phone power: Smartphone apps have become important tools for hunters. Maps, peak hunting time calendars, camera for photos and videos, games to pass the time, taking selfies while on stand, checking game-camera photos, listening to football games and text messages to hunting buddies are all part of the hunt for many. An external battery pack and/or a solar power source are good items to have. Don’t forget to pack a charging cord.