These five pieces of bear hunting gear are items you don’t want to forget back at the cabin.
When it comes to bear hunting, most people have packs full of gear that is tailored to meet the demands of that specific hunt. What gear is necessary also varies depending on the time of year. Well, here are our picks for the five pieces of bear hunting gear that aren’t optional.
1. Quality Optics: Binoculars or Spotting Scope
I know, you’re probably thinking this is an obvious choice of gear, and you are probably right. However, you can’t stalk what you can’t see. Obviously, this doesn’t come into play as much while sitting in a stand over top a bait bucket, but keeping a good pair of optics around is extremely important for high country glassing. Don’t think you can get away with a cheap pair. Trust me, this is not an area you want to be stingy on.
A full day of glassing is going to take a toll on your eyes, so be sure to get a pair that’s comfortable and will not cause eye fatigue after a long day. Whether you end up choosing binoculars or a spotting scope is most often relative to your hunting scenario. Choose wisely.
2. Bug Repellent: Springtime or Warm Weather Hunts
This is something that I’ve forgotten plenty of times as I headed off into the woods during warm weather scenarios. I beg you, don’t make this mistake. Whether you prefer a Thermacell unit or some form of netted, bug-proof camo, this is absolutely necessary.
Thermacell units are know to fail or malfunction, so keep that in mind if you are leaning in that direction. (Trust me, I have experienced it firsthand). Luckily, I was wearing a 3D Bug Suit by Redhead and was able to survive until the day was over. My suggestion is to carry both. If you are going to wear a full head net, then be sure to practice shooting your weapon with it on prior to going out into the field.
3. Secondary Firearm
In my brain, this is common sense while bear hunting. It isn’t often that a wounded bear turns to attack the hunter who just put a bullet in its head, but accidents do happen. A wounded bear is a bear you never want to have to fight. Keep a pistol like the Smith & Wesson Model 629 or the Ruger GP100 stuck to your hip at all times. While large handguns are more effective at stopping bears in their tracks, shooting a .44 Mag or even the .357 Mag has been known to get the job done.
4. Baby Wipes
This is something I never hunt without. However, due to their scent, be sure to keep them in your truck. Baby wipes come in handy for just about anything an outdoorsman can get into. After handling your dead trophy, it is important to clean up the leftovers and make sure you aren’t smearing micro bear bits all over your steering wheel on the drive home.
Trust me, your hunting buddy will be jealous when you smell like a fresh field of daisies and he smells like bear intestines.
5. Medi-kit/Emergency Shelter
If you are an avid hunter, I’m sure you have an ‘Oh SH#T Kit’ somewhere in your gear arsenal. Bring this with you! Bear hunting usually takes the hunter a good ways back into the wilderness. Even if you are only 5-8 miles back, that’s enough distance to create a problem during an emergency. Keep a small bivy, a tarp, and an emergency blanket handy at all times. They take up space in the pack, but you will be happy you brought them when the time comes to use them.
Don’t leave these pieces of bear hunting gear at home; they can’t save you if they’re still in the garage.