If you are just starting out in hunting and feel a bit overwhelmed, don’t worry. We have all been there when we started out, too. Thankfully, hunters are a generous group, and there are plenty of friendly people willing to help you along. In fact, you can count us first among that lot. To get you going, we have compiled a list below of essential hunting gear for beginners. This is not a comprehensive list, but it is sure to steer you in the right direction and get you on your way to enjoying the hunt.
Hunting clothes encompass much more than camouflage and bright orange. In fact, your hunting trip is greatly impacted by the clothing you wear. Whether you are hunting in hot or cold conditions, you need the proper hunting apparel to keep you comfortable.
The best way to dress for hunting is in layers. That way you can add or subtract layers based on the weather conditions, especially as they change while you’re out there. Start with a base layer of merino wool or synthetic polyester. These do much better than cotton in wicking away moisture and keeping you dry and comfortable.
Next, add an insulating layer like a sweatshirt or hoodie to help keep you warm. Finally, put on an outer shell layer. This layer should be both water and wind-resistant to help seal in your body heat. When it comes to fit, better to size up than pick something that is too tight. This outer shell will go over other layers.
For cold conditions, don’t forget to throw in accessories like a hat, scarf, gloves, and a face covering.
You’re likely to be traversing rugged terrain, potentially muddy paths, and snow-covered trails, so you need a pair of hunting boots that can stand up to those situations. Factoring in the potential for cold weather conditions, you also want a pair of boots that are well insulated and provide protection from the elements.
What you do not want is a pair of boots that fit too tight. Tight-fitting boots constrict your feet which makes them colder faster. Plus, you are likely to be wearing more than one pair of socks in especially cold elements, so it is best to choose a pair one size up. And speaking of socks, maximize your warmth with a pair of merino wool socks; this material will keep your feet dry and comfortable during your trek.
Bow / Firearm
Deciding whether to choose a bow or a firearm is influenced by a variety of factors, chief among them experience, personal preference, and skill. Using a bow is a fun and challenging way to hunt, but it also requires more skill, practice, and the ability to get closer to your target.
Shotguns and rifles are the two most common firearms to use. Shotguns are ideal for moving targets such as birds, turkeys, ducks, and others. A rifle is the preferred method for long-range shooting and hunting larger animals like deer, bear, and moose.
Either way you go, protecting your valuable equipment is a must. Buying a firearm is no small investment, so you should also purchase a sturdy gun case to protect your gun. The last thing you want is moisture getting into your gun and affecting its performance.
Hunting Knife / Tools
A good, sturdy hunting knife is essential. You will need it for field dressing an animal when you get one, plus for any survival situations that pop up. You can choose any fixed blade or folding-blade knife that’s sharp and sturdy. Ideally, a 3-5” blade works best.
Consider a multitool, as well. These tools are compact and versatile, providing implements that can come in handy in a variety of hunting and survival situations.
First Aid Kit
Alright, we’re heading out into the woods with firearms and knives. What could go wrong, right? Well, hopefully, nothing, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Your hunting pack list needs to include a first aid kit. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just make sure it includes some bandages, antibacterial cream, anti-itch cream, and hand sanitizer. Your multitool should have scissors and other implements you may need.
There you have it – a few basics to get you started. And if you are ever in doubt of what else you might need, don’t forget to check in with your hunting buddies. They will be sure to have a few favorite must-haves for you.