Which hunting tools are actually worth the investment?
Rifle? Check. Treestand? Check. Camouflage gear? Check. Scent control? Check.
If this sounds like the thought process that runs through your head before heading out the door in the morning for a weekend hunt – or better yet, the checklist you sift through in the weeks leading up to Opening Day – then you are on the right track to a successful hunt.
However, these items are merely the basics, and while you can track and hunt deer with the basics, you are eventually going to come to a scenario where you need some other piece of gear that you don’t have.
When those moments come, the seven accessories listed here may make all the difference.
View the slideshow to see the hunting tools that can bring you that much closer to a harvest.
In the age of smartphones and text messages, walkie talkies are obsolete, right? Wrong. If you are planning on going hunting with a buddy or with an entire group of friends, then there is still no substitute for a set of walkie talkie radios for keeping in touch while in the field.
Smartphones have come a long way in keeping us connected at all times, but the fact is that mobile networks are still spotty in some places, and you can bet that most of your hunting properties fall into the “some places” category. You don’t want to find yourself separated from your friends in the woods, only to discover that you have no service on your phone and can’t contact them. When you can’t contact your partners, you can’t be sure where they are. When you don’t know where your partners are, you can’t safely discharge a weapon. So buy a set of walkie talkies and take them out into the woods with you. Whether your walkies save time or save lives, they’re worth the purchase.
Similarly to walkie talkies, there’s a temptation among hunters nowadays to ditch the GPS unit and just rely on the smartphone for navigation purposes, but it’s not a temptation you should give into.
Once again, mobile service isn’t always reliable, not to mention the fact that using navigation satellites on your smartphone is a good way to kill the battery so that you don’t have any juice left when it counts. Invest in a handheld GPS unit, preferably one that will track your location and be capable of telling loved ones or emergency response teams where you are if you should get lost or injured in the field.
RELATED: How To Make a Poor Man’s Deer Feeder
Shooting Glasses and Ear Muffs
Okay, this one might not quite fit into the theme of the article, since it’s not something you would generally bring along with you on a hunt (and would therefore not be a part of your daily checklist).
However, having a pair of high-quality shooting glasses and noise canceling ear muffs is of pivotal importance if you plan on spending an appreciable amount of time at the shooting range before, during or after hunting season starts.
A ricochet, bullet fragment, or casing in the eye can easily ruin a lot more than your hunting season, and the consistent pops, blasts, and booms of the shooting range will eventually take a toll on your hearing if you’re not wearing ear protection.
There are plenty of hunters out there who would probably just as soon “not waste their time” with trail cameras. These people argue that consistently traipsing around your property to check feeds from cameras can do much more harm than good, and that trail cameras don’t even get great images or intel anyway.
These people are only partially correct. Consistently returning to your trail camera can be detrimental to your hunting season success, if only because you’ll risk leaving behind your scent, spooking deer, or both. But the best trail cameras nowadays don’t even require frequent visits, instead delivering photo feeds right to your computer screen, and any trail cam worth its salt (and correctly placed) is going to become a goldmine for information about the deer on your property.
If you want to be successful this hunting season, you need to scout your territory and get to know what sort of deer you might be working with, and trail cameras are one of the best and least invasive ways of doing that.
Want to hit a deer from hundreds of yards away? Better have a rangefinder.
These distance-measuring tools have quickly gone from luxuries to essentials in the deer hunting community over the past few years. The ability to accurately measure the distance of your target is key in being able to plan a shot that hits and kills that target. Some marksmen can adjust their own shots accordingly once they know the distance the are dealing with. Others have to plug the distance figures in smartphone-based ballistic calculators to get a handle on how to deal with the bullet trajectory.
In both cases, success starts with the rangefinder, so make sure you have one in your pack unless you’re only planning on taking short range shots.
Dog Tracking Collar
This accessory isn’t something that every single hunter out there is going to need, but if you’re planning on taking your dependable hound out for the hunt, the most responsible way to do it is with a dog tracking collar.
Just as you want to have a GPS unit to help you navigate your hunting property or to alert loved ones to your location, you want to be able to find your dog if he or she goes missing. A GPS tracking collar may be a hefty investment, but when it comes to keeping tabs on man’s best friend and making sure you never go home without your dog, there is truly no substitute.