6 Items That Will Help You Become a Better and More Efficient Hunter
Over 15 million people in the U.S. alone engage in some sort of hunting each year. Not only is hunting a great way to get outdoors and work on your fitness, it also helps control wildlife populations and aids in conservation. Hunting can also be a great way to bond with family or friends and can improve your survival skills.
Most registered hunters in the U.S. target deer, but there are many other animals that are hunted annually including bears, elk, turkey, waterfowl, coyotes, and more. Nearly 40 million hunting licenses, tags, and permits are sold every year in the U.S.
If you’re looking to get into hunting yourself, it can be a bit overwhelming to know where to start. This is especially true when it comes to purchasing hunting gear. Taking a hunter education course will cover many hunting topics including hunting safety, hunting techniques, regulations, and weapon maintenance. Most hunters will choose between a firearm and bow, bow hunting taking much more time to master than a rifle.
In addition to your hunting weapon, there are then countless gadgets that can improve your chances for a successful hunt. To help you better know what should be on your priority list, here are six items that will help you become a better and more efficient hunter more quickly.
A High Tech Sight or Scope
Whether you plan on using a rifle or bow, being able to aim at your target with precision is paramount. To achieve accurate aim, you need to have an effective sighting device on your gun or bow. Not only will accurate aim allow you to make more kills, it also allows you to make clean kills that won’t prolong the suffering of an animal that may also require you to track down your prey for hours.
Hunters using firearms often use magnified optics or rifle scopes which will allow you to shoot long range targets. The hunting experts at badassoptic.com explain that for long-distance hunters, a high tech sight is an absolutely vital piece of equipment since it gives hunters the best possible chance of a successful shot. High-range variable scopes as opposed to fixed scopes are generally more expensive but are far more versatile. Rifle scopes may provide you with anywhere from 2 to 80 times magnification power.
When it comes to bow sights, you’ll find there are many different styles and pin sizes to choose from. The two main varieties of bow sights are those with a single movable pin and those with fixed pins set at certain distances. Mounted on the riser of your bow, a bow sight will definitely allow you to aim your bow more effectively. We should note that larger pins are great for visibility in low light but they may be less accurate over long distances due to their tendency to cover up more of your target. Increase your success even further by getting a bubble level for your bow sight, as this will help you become more consistent with your shooting angle.
Specialized Hunting Clothing
There are various reasons why you need to choose the right clothes for hunting. First of all, you need to dress for the elements and terrain you will experience in order to keep yourself safe and comfortable. Secondly, you need choose clothing that offers you the best chance of a successful hunt. This often means being well camouflaged so your prey will not see you approaching or sitting in your tree stand. While wearing clothing with camouflage pattering can be most effective, it may not always be allowed. If you plan on hunting in a public hunting area frequented by other hunters, you may want to wear blaze-orange colored clothing to ensure your safety. This will allow you to be seen by other hunters and it may be a legal requirement in certain states to wear at least a certain amount of bright blaze-orange clothing.
Because weather can often be unpredictable, especially when hunting all day long, it pays to be ready for rain, snow, or cold weather if it’s a possibility. You should always pack all clothing items you think you may need and sticking with waterproof options is always your best bet when it comes to gloves, hats, and outer layers. Most hunters dress in a three-layer dressing system that consists of a base layer, mid layer, and outer layer. This allows you to add or remove clothing based on the current weather conditions. The biggest key is to limit how much you sweat. Sweating can lead to a chilly and miserable hunting session, especially if you are planning on sitting in one spot such as a hide or tree stand for the day. We recommend you dress light while hiking and setting up and then add layers if you get cold.
You may not want to wear clothing that has been washed with highly-scented laundry detergent, as this can give your presence away to animals. Another option is to simply mask your scent with special scent-killing sprays or things like deer urine if you’re hunting deer. Showering with scent-free soap will also help mask your scent in the field.
Choose footwear that is durable enough for the conditions you will be facing. A proper waterproof hunting boot may be needed if you plan on tracking and hunting down your prey. You may be able to get away with something less rugged if simply hunting from a hide or tree stand. The goals are to not get your feet wet and offer your feet breathability.
Along with a quality gun or bow sight as mentioned earlier, another item which can help you to make successful long-distance shots is a rangefinder. Rangefinders, as their name suggests, enable you to know exactly how far away an animal is from you so that you have a better chance of being accurate with your shot.
There are several different types of rangefinders including the more inexpensive optical and infrared varieties as well as the more ideal for hunting which is a laser rangefinder. Rangefinders for firearms often have a range up to 1,200 yards whereas bow rangefinders usually provide a range up to 800 yards.
Rangefinders operate in two modes, with hunters wanting to use what is known as the second priority mode as it can help you target the range of your prey more easily rather than being distracted by branches or other objects that may be in the foreground between you and an animal.
Rangefinders often offer magnification capabilities to help you better gauge the distance of your prey, but note that higher magnification does equate to a decrease in field of view which can make locating moving targets more difficult. You will also find that taking range readings off hard reflective objects will provide better accuracy.
Another important feature of a good rangefinder is one that will tell you the true horizontal distance which can compensate for your shooting angle and the terrain of the area you are hunting in. Ideal hunting rangefinders should be compact and lightweight, offer continuous measurement capabilities and brightness calibration, and optics that will reduce glare.
No hunter is complete without their trusted set of hunting knives. While some knives are quite versatile, most hunters carry at least a few different knives that each serves a different purpose. Camp knives are aptly named because they are great for basic tasks around camp. This may include cutting rope, cutting kindling for fires, clearing vegetation around both your camp and tree stand, preparing meals, and more. Many hunters opt for a folding multi-tool style knife as they include other helpful tools such as screwdrivers and pliers for making adjustments or repairs to weapons and hunting gadgets, as well as tools like scissors and small saws.You will also want to have a good skinning knife. A skinning knife should be ultra-sharp and feature a short thin blade for accuracy. This is especially true if you plan on using an animal’s hide for taxidermy. You will also require a field dressing knife which will allow you to gut an animal in the field. A quality gutting knife will allow you to field dress and animal quickly, which is vital for making sure you preserve the meat by removing the internal organs. An ideal field dressing knife should have a stocky blade and depending on your preference a gut hook as well.
Lastly, a boning knife with a narrow flexible blade will allow you to remove the precious meat you plan to preserve and eat. Some are designed for use on both mammals and fish. Seek out corrosion-resistant knives and remember to clean all of your knives after each use to extend their life. It is also important to always keep knives sharp to make them most effective.
When you are out trekking on a hunt, you will need a sturdy backpack to enable you to carry all of your important items. Choosing the right backpack is very important because it needs to be both durable and comfortable. If you aren’t planning an overnight or multi-day hunt, you won’t need to carry a large cumbersome day pack. Choose a pack size that will allow you to carry solely the items you will need. There is no need to load up with gear you’ll never use.
The most important thing to consider when purchase a hunting backpack is to get one that is correctly sized for your body. What may work for your friend’s body type may not work for you. Don’t be afraid to try out a few different options so that you can choose the one that is most comfortable for you. Make sure your backpack’s waist belt can be tightened enough, which is important when carrying heavy loads, and choose one that gives you the option of adjusting the torso length to suit your body.
A good backpack should have a quality suspension system and load lifters that will ease the tension on your shoulders by forcing your pack load tighter against your back. Hunters will want to choose a pack that offers meat hauling capabilities and possibly a hydration system that uses a water bladder that allows you to drink without needing to stop to remove your pack and search for a water bottle.
While some backpacks may look fancy with a lot of pockets and loops for carrying gear, note that this can make locating gear in the field more difficult. It’s nice to be organized, but the more pockets and zippers a backpack has, the heavier your pack will be and there will be more chances for things on your pack to break. Seek out a backpack that is waterproof or at least water-resistant, won’t tear easily, and won’t make a lot of noise which could scare off your prey. A camouflage pack will allow you a better chance of going unnoticed by your prey.
A First Aid Kit
There are many different injuries that can be sustained on a hunting trip, both minor and major. Having a well-stocked first-aid kit is vital for all hunters to enable them to stay safe and healthy whilst out on a hunt. Make sure that you have essential personal medicines, bandages/wraps, band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and possibly an EpiPen if you think you may encounter something that makes you prone to anaphylaxis.
Hunting in remote areas means you will have to rely on yourself until you can reach help or help reaches you. It’s always wise to take a first-aid training course so you can treat both yourself and others that may become injured. Having undergone first-aid training and carrying a first-aid kit will allow you to treat broken bones, cuts, animal bites, rashes from poisonous plants, hypothermia, heat exhaustion, and more.
You’ll also want to make sure to have some way of purifying water whether it be through the use of a portable filtering device, purifying tablets, or boiling in order to prevent waterborne illnesses, unless of course you will be able to carry enough clean drinking water for the duration of your hunt.
With hunting season on our doorstep, now is the time to start preparing all of your essential items. We hope our guide of essential gear recommendations allows you to become a more effective and efficient hunter.