Deer season is approaching fast and it’s time for us sportsmen to get properly geared up and ready to fill the freezer. There’s a ton of pivotal equipment, apparel, and technology on the market that can give you a major edge in the field each season –we’ve selected some of our favorites so you can finally seek out and harvest that elusive trophy buck.
Whether you’re a long-time deer hunter or new to the sport, we’ve put together a gear list that’s bound to enhance the way you pursue deer. This is a list to help you consider everything you might need in the field if you don’t already own it, and it offers some pro suggestions for replacing the equipment you need to. No matter how much or how little you have in your gear locker for deer season or where in the world you’re hunting, you’ll find some stuff here that will get you excited to lace up and hit the woods.
Consider your current needs as a deer hunter and also what you would like to change this season concerning the way you chase game. Happy Hunting from all of us here at Heavy!
Easy and organized access to your equipment in the field is underrated. Packing all your essential gear for a deer hunt can be a difficult task — owning a quality hunting backpack that supports you while pursuing game can make a world of difference for your hunting experience. A good fitting backpack that has all the storage you need and that won’t influence the way you move while stalking is a major game changer.
The Pursuit is an affordable, intermediate sized pack by Alps OutdoorZ. This 44 liter bag has a ton of practical features that make it an awesome all around hunting pack, but it’s specifically designed for deer hunting.
There’s a great array of exterior storage pouches and strapping for stowing your quiver or other awkwardly sized gear. The mesh side pockets are both spacious and nice and tight and secure for stashing smaller sized equipment.
The main pocket compartment conveniently folds down to make a little table space for you to set down whatever is in your hands. It’s a simple feature that could prove seriously useful when your hands are tied up and you need to eat a sandwich or set your rangefinder down to reach for your spotting scope.
Deer hunter reviews rave about the Pursuit’s versatility as a hunting pack — it’s meant to really support you while hunting in the field not just carry your gear. There’s also of course a drop down pocket for securing the butt of your rifle or shotgun, or to attach your bow to your pack safely and without annoyance.
The strapping is very well made and there’s furthermore a waist belt and sternum strap included for assistance with heavier loads. This bag is geared towards deer hunting, but you’ll likely put it to use pursuing all sorts of game.
Get a closer look at all the killer features of the Pursuit Hunting Pack in the video below, you’ll be impressed!
If you like the idea of owning a backpack for deer hunting but this isn’t the one for you make sure to check out our list of the best hunting backpacks for some different size and style options.
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Leaving a few different blinds throughout your hunting grounds is something a lot of deer hunters practice. If you know where the deer are moving it can be hugely advantageous to be already set up in wait. Considering how affordable a lot of blinds are, having a few out in the landscape is cost effective even for the strapped for cash deer hunter.
If you’re not familiar with using a blind in the field, consider how and where you might employ one — chances are there’s an effective deer hunting blind application for you. If you’re already an avid ground blind hunter then you’ll be impressed by this affordable and portable two man unit from Ameristep.
One pro tip I always recommend for using a ground blind is to bring along a piece of carpet that has been cut to the floor dimensions if your unit has no floor. This greatly reduces your noise output and also keep your stool or shooting seat from sinking.
Here’s an excellent value ground blind by Ameristep that comes at a great cost without sacrificing quality. The Care Taker Hub Blind in Realtree Xtra camo print is a very standard, straight forward unit. This blind stands 66 inches tall and 69 inches wide so there is a ton of room for the solo hunter and plenty of space for a pair.
The outer durashell plus fabric is super durable and resilient to some solid abuse as well as insects, wind and rain. This blind utilizes shoot-through mesh on 3 of the sides (the door is on the fourth side) so you have 360 degrees of shooting ability. There’s also a shadow guard coating against each window so you wont cast a visible silhouette to the outside landscape.
The frame is both structurally strong and a total breeze to set up and break down — the hub system simply collapses. There’s a carry strap when the blind is disassembled and hunter reviews insist this unit is easy to move and erect on your own.
This is a great all around blind for deer hunting that you can absolutely use for pursuing other game. For a smaller, cheaper ground blind consider the Doghouse Blind also from Ameristep. It’s a highly portable and affordable option that could be perfect for landowners who want to have a series of blinds set up throughout their property.
Check out our list of the best hunting blinds for some other great value options.
Just like using a blind, employing a tree stand for use deer hunting can be a huge game changer. If you don’t own a tree stand you should really consider where you might be able to try using one — it’s a preferred style of deer hunting by a lot of experienced sportsmen. If you are familiar with tree stand hunting then you’re going to want to check this bad boy out.
Summit Treestands has built a highly portable unit for the off the beaten path deer hunters with the Viper SD. Climbing tree stands are super convenient for hunting hard to reach terrain and for hunting one spot one day and another location the next. It’s a different apporach to more permanent or seasonally permanent tree stand options and built to be even more comfortable.
This Viper SD weighs an impressive total of just 20 pounds and has a weight capacity of 300 pounds. It’s about as lightweight as a tree stand can get and even conveniently mounts to your back for simplified trekking to your favorite hunting grounds or for exploring somewhere new in the landscape.
Summit also makes a highly comparable but slightly more robust stand — the Goliath SD, that has a 350 pound weight limit and only weighs one pound extra than the Viper SD.
The full perimeter frame of this tree stand allow for both siting down and standing up while hunting — despite this being a compact and portable unit it’s still a versatile standing platform and seat to hunt from. The front bar allows for easy climbing and also doubles as a gun rest.
Summit has even filled certain parts of the platform with a custom engineered foam for minimizing noise while shifting around on the stand — pretty cool! The silent foam padded seat can be raised for bow hunting and lowered for gun hunting making this unit truly versatile for any style hunter.
Summit also sells a “surround seat” for their climbing tree stands that provides hunters with even more comfort and some added protection from the elements if fighting the cold is a serious battle where you chase deer. Even though this stand is meant to be portable and trekked with, you’ll find it to be very comfortable and will very likely want to use it over other, more permanent tree stands.
The “Quickdraw” cable retention system is likely what makes this climbing stand such a favorite amongst hunters. It’s renowned for being an exceptionally simple, quick and quiet cable system that doesn’t include any additional hardware. You simply size the cable to the tree diameter, insert it into the retention bracket and the Quickdraw trigger locks into place. To remove the stand you just pull the trigger — it’s a really cool system that is both easy to use and safe.
Summit has also equipped this stand with their ergonomically designed “Rapidclimb” climbing stirrups for keeping any size hunting boot secured to the platform during climbing. The tough aluminum construction of this stand is designed to last a lifetime, but Summit Treestands has none the less covered this product with a five year limited warranty.
As a portable climber, Summit has made a reliable and rugged product here that’s compatible with just about any tree stand style of hunting. Roam the wilderness and hunt where you want to with the Viper SD.
Make sure to check out our list of the best tree stands for some alternative style options if you’re considering replacing your current unit or becoming a first time buyer.
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A trophy or trail camera is a seriously impressive piece of technology. Having eyes in the woods at all times really gives you a massive advantage as a hunter. Through setting up an organized array of motion cameras or even just one or two along a promising deer run you can start to learn the movements of the trophy bucks close by. It’s an affordable and very effective way to better familiarize with your woods and gain a valuable edge each and every deer season.
Here’s the series of trail camera that I have used for years for both scientific research and for nature photography. At the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where I studied wildlife conservation the mammal scientists I studied under used this unit for research.
Bushnell has made an easy to use, reliable and high performing game camera with this one. This 16MP unit takes beautiful photos, but there’s also a 12MP version available.
There’s even a 14MP version available that offers some different features! Perhaps the best trail camera offered by Bushnell is this 24MP model with a lightening fast recovery speed for around the same cost.
The trigger speed on this unit is an impressive 0.3 seconds — it can capture even the quickest flicker of motion so you won’t miss any shots of fast moving animals. There’s both photo and video modes with this camera that allows you to take up to 60 seconds of video at once. The interval between photos can be set as low as one second and as high as 60 minutes. The sensitivity of the sensor is adjustable so you won’t get a million photos of surrounding vegetation blowing in the wind.
This camera of course takes night time photos as well.
The PIR sensor is motion activated out to 80 feet, so this trophy cam has some great range. Maybe the best feature of this camera is that the battery life can last up to 12 months — if you like to set it and forget it for a few weeks or months leading up to deer season then this is a great camera for that. The field stamp feature furthermore allows you to view when each photo was taken down to the exact second allowing you to really learn the movements of individual deer.
All in all, the simplicity of the controls and the quality of this camera’s performance make it a solid choice for deer hunting that comes at a very reasonable cost.
Make sure to check out our list of the best trail cameras for some more options!
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Here is an absolutely pivotal survival item EVERY back country hunter should own. There’s nothing more important than clean water in every single survival scenario you can think up. You can go on without food for far longer than fresh water — carrying a device into the field that enables you to stay hydrated is a must for any off the beaten path hunter.
Falling ill from unclean water will likely be the morbid end of any survival scenario and is easily avoided with a LifeStraw. I think we can all be impressed by the performance of this device. This is in my opinion the most practical and important piece of survival gear you could own as an outdoorsman or woman of any kind.
An impressive recent innovation in safe water filtration, the LifeStraw has changed the game for both packing and drinking water while hiking and hunting in situations where clean water is scarce. For around just $20 you can stride through the wilderness knowing you can safely drink from fresh water sources.
Some landscapes are of course better than others for carrying a LifeStraw. Wherever there is relatively abundant water that is suitable for filtration, leave the water canteens behind and save some major pack weight with this device.
The LifeStraw removes a minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria (>LOG 6 reduction) and remarkably exceeds even EPA standards for water filters. Without using any chemical means (chlorine, iodine, etc.) the LifeStraw can filter up to 1000 liters of contaminated water throughout its lifespan. This bad boy can effectively filter some sketchy looking water, so wherever there’s natural wetness you’re more than likely good to go.
I’ve even read some customer reviews that claim the lifespan of a LifeStraw can be more than doubled by attaching a regular coffee filter to the end of the filter with a rubber band — brilliant!
There’s free shipping on this product on orders over $25, so save by purchasing a LifeStraw for your hunting buddies as well!
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Everyone competent outdoorsman knows the absolute importance of a fire when you’re in the hands of mother nature. If you end up out in the elements longer than planned and temperatures drop, you’ll need to get a fire going to get through the night. Furthermore, making a signal fire and sending large amounts of smoke up above the tree line might be your best chance of being discovered by a search party.
This kind of preparation might not be relevant for a lot of the deer hunters out there, but if you trek more than a mile or two from civilization you would be wise to own a fire kit like this. If a nightly campfire is intended to be part of your hunting trip then having some waterproof matches is always wise.
This emergency kit includes a waterproof case, 25 wind and waterproof matches and three match strikers. These are some heavy duty matches that will relight after being submerged and burn up to 15 seconds. When conditions are really moist and you just can’t seem to get the fire going, survival matches like this could save dinner or even your life!
The entire kit is just 1.7 ounces and can fit in the palm of your hand so it doesn’t add much weight to your pack at all. It’s another super easy to pack and potentially life saving piece of gear that’s a “better safe than sorry” sort of bring-along.
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Thermal pants are often underrated and overlooked. Having a warm lower half is just as important as keeping your torso and head warm when you’re trying to remain comfortable in the cold while stalking or when not moving at all.
It’s important to have full coverage when going up against freezing temperatures if you want to focus on the hunt at hand and not your freezing body. The Recon thermal pants by Scent-Lok are the perfect companion for the cold season deer hunter.
The odor containment technology built into these pants are what give it the edge over other comparable hunting pants. A micro tricot outer shell coupled with softshell panels around the knees furthermore make for some seriously stealthy quiet pants. If you’re a stalker rather than a blind or stand hunter then you need to own a pair of pants like this.
The Sherpa inner fleece lining is what effectively insulates these pants and gives them such high warmth stats. The polyester exterior also breaks wind and light rain nicely so a little added wind and wetness to the already freezing temps you are used to hunting in won’t get to you.
The most pivotal feature of these pants (aside from the carbon alloy odor control) is the high rise back that provides coverage over your kidneys. It’s a simple feature that shields your essential organs making all the difference in how your body handles the cold. The 21 inch zippered leg openings are there when you need to offload heat adding even more to the versatility of these hunting pants.
Scent-Lok has also built the Recon Pants with six pockets for stowing all sorts of gear on your person. The inherent quality and ruggedness of these pants will ensure they last through lot of hunting in their lifetime.
Here’s a slightly different approach to the typical deer hunting jacket. The Celsius Jacket by Sitka Gear is a soft to the touch, outer or mid layer. It’s a super quiet and stealthy piece of hunting wear that doubles as an awesome thermal layer or hunting jacket. If concealment, warmth and silence are important to you, definitely consider this piece of apparel as well as some of the other options included in our list of the best hunting jackets.
The Celsius Jacket pairs really well with the Celsius Shacket — it’s essentially the same garment except short sleeved and a bit more low profile and therefore mobile. Both can be worn as an outer layer but if you’re looking to create a really serious defense against the cold then pair these two layers together or with another hunting jacket.
The material used to build the Celsius is not terribly water or wind proof — so although this is a very toasty jacket you’re going to want to pair it with something a bit more water resistant for particularly rainy days. The best feature of this jacket is in my opinion the supremely stealthy materials used for insulation — this is a focus on silence stalking rather than keeping bone dry.
PrimaLoft silver hi loft insulation is built in within the micro-fleece to provide a ton of warmth without incorporating any crinkly fabrics. This is no doubt one of the best hunting garments for sneaking around the woods if you don’t often need a hard shell.
There’s a great array of pockets, but neither the Celsius Jacket or Shacket have a particularly high storage capacity for gear. If you’re looking for something so warm that you’ll need to take it off because of overheating, absolutely look towards the top quality of Sitka Hunting Gear.
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Every hunter needs nice wool socks. Wool is the superior material for insulating in all weather conditions and is preferred by hunters everywhere. There’s nothing worse than cold toes in the field and nothing better than fresh new socks so set yourself up for success this season and take care of your feet.
These scent locked, merino wool socks are made in the USA in Vermont and crafted to last you many seasons of hunting. Hunter reviews rave about the comfort and quality of these socks and claim compatibility with any hunting boot.
No doubt an essential deer hunting item you can’t go without.
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Depending on what style deer hunter you are, you may spend a lot of time on your feet. If you’re in the market for a new pair of hunting boots this deer season you ought to give this highly capable pair a look.
These boots by Irish Setter are totally bad ass. This model is built very much like an athletic shoe while still retaining the toughness and function of a solid pair of hunting boots. For deer hunters that are hiking many miles with a tree stand, frequently checking game cameras or that just cover a lot of ground in gerneral, a pair of boots like this is major game changer.
The RPM technology employed in building the composite sole of this boot makes it much lighter than most other comparable hunting boots. Irish Setter insists the Vaprtreks are around 40% lighter than other big game hunting boots — that’s quite a difference! There is no real insulation with this option because the main goal here is to be as lightweight and sporty as possible.
These will keep you warm enough in colder temperatures with a toasty pair of socks but for real cold weather hunting you’re going to want some better insulated hunting boots. The UltraDry waterproofing system however will no doubt keep your feet dry and happy — deer hunters swear by this boot for beating wetness while in the field.
For a hunting boot that’s suitable for all seasons of hunting no matter the temperature, check out this versatile pair from Lacrosse.
Irish Setter has built the Vaprtreks with their ScentBan technology — the treatment is added to various materials throughout the construction of the boot to kill odor causing bacteria and keep your scent to a minimal. No doubt a huge bonus for avoiding detection in your tree stand or ground blind.
For around $150 I think these boots are a great value — they out-perform a ton of higher priced options. The mobility and performance for deer hunters in particular of the Vaprtreks is tough to top if you’re in the market for a pair of early season boots.
Make sure to check out our list of top hunting boots if you’re considering upgrading this deer season — there’s a ton of great options there for every climate, environment and scenario.
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Owning a hand held GPS unit is applicable to deer hunting for all sorts of reasons. If you don’t currently use one or you’ve never considered owning one, definitely take a moment to think about how a GPS could support you in the field.
Marking waypoints on the landscape is a great way to easily locate your game cameras, hunting blind or tree stand — no more wandering around before sunrise making unnecessary noise on your way to setting up.
Alternatively, a GPS can be a major tool for simplifying your overland routes when back country hunting. If you’re deep in the wilderness moving from A to B having topography layers overlaid onto your map will immensely assist you with energy and time conservation. This is of course of particular importance in landscapes with gnarlier terrain.
Back country deer hunters will also appreciate the fact that a handheld GPS could potentially save your life in an emergency scenario. Things happen out in the wilderness — you better know exactly how to get to safety in the event of a time sensitive emergency. Even the most capable landscape navigators can benefit and learn from a GPS — especially if the focus of the hunt shifts from finding game to getting home safe.
This is Amazon’s choice of handheld GPS unit. It sports a 2.6 inch sunlight readable screen and is powered by either AA batteries or the rechargeable battery. This is a fairly advanced unit that has bluetooth and wireless capabilities as well as compatibility with optional sensors like heart rate monitors and speed/cadence.
If you’re familiar with this type of tech then you’ll be impressed with what this Garmin can do. If you’re new to the world of GPS or you just don’t have a need for anything other than simple navigation, consider buying a slightly simpler unit like the Etrex 20x.
No doubt an awesome investment with all sorts of applications both related and separate from deer hunting.
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If you’re a sportsmen who enjoys trekking off the beaten path in search of deer, you ought to have an emergency radio on hand. You do not have to be days away from civilization to be suddenly caught in a violent storm without warning, and some of these radios pack even smaller than a mess kit so they won’t fill up precious space in your hunting pack.
If you spend time in the great outdoors hunting it’s a wise and responsible choice to own a portable radio that you can receive weather alerts with — it could even save your life. Fortunately, most emergency weather radios can also be used as flash lights and power banks so you get some additional functionality out of them in the field.
Here’s a highly affordable option from Esky that is quite capable as a survival tool for the cost. This model has a 2000mAH rechargeable battery and can also be powered by AAA batteries. The 3W flashlight on this unit is also dam bright and effective for use around the campsite or for early morning tree stand climbs.
The rechargeable battery can power up to 10 hours of light or 8 hours of radio time on just one charge! This radio is furthermore super compact at just two and a half by six inches. Without a doubt a highly portable emergency radio that’s up for anything.
Don’t forget to consider that this radio will provide your other USB compatible devices with unlimited energy. Your GPS, camera, cell phone or whatever else needs some juice can all be sustained by the powerbank as well as both solar and manual hand crank power.
This radio can tune in and listen to AM, FM and NOAA radio channels — but it can also broadcast an SOS alarm as an emergency signal if you find yourself in a sticky situation. This feature in particular could truly save your life in a sudden survival scenario and is perhaps the most important aspect of owning gear like this.
It’s the scenarios you can’t think of that are the most dangerous. For some other compact, emergency radio options check out our top list for 2018.