15 Things You Can Tell About a Hunter By Looking at His Equipment

Hunters make up a diverse community. There are hunters of all genders, ages, shapes, and sizes, and they all have their own idiosyncrasies. One way to learn more about them is to give their hunting gear a once-over, and evaluate what type of game they chase, places they like to go, and specific activities they enjoy. Maybe the most important thing you can really tell by gazing at a hunter's gear is how much they respect the animals that they hunt. Those who take part in the pursuit know that today's gear can give you an edge and improve your odds of success, as long as you're applying it to your hunts correctly. But without even talking to a hunter, I feel like I can take a quick inventory of their gear, and then predict a lot about them. Here are 15 things I feel confident knowing about someone, based on the kind of hunting gear they have.

1. Superstitious Stuff

Most of us love to hunt with a lucky shirt, an heirloom firearm, or some item that belonged to a loved one. It makes us into creatures of habit, but whether or not it really brings any luck is debatable. No matter, there is still something telling about a person who always carries or wears a specific item while hunting. I keep the tail feathers of the first greenhead mallard I ever got inside of my license tag holder, and bring it with me on every hunt. Folks who do this may be superstitious, but it also probably means they don't take hunting any more seriously than they should. It's about having a good time, being a good land steward, and appreciating the opportunity.

2. The Turkey King

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Turkey hunting is addictive; just ask anyone who does it each year. And though the gear is different from what other hunters who chase other kinds of game would use, there's still a lot of it. If they've got different types of spring and fall camo to choose from, several turkey decoys including a motorized version, and an entire drawer full of turkey calls, you will know they're a dedicated gobbler hunter and probably a little bit of a hoarder. Our only remaining question is, how can they keep track of it all?!

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3. The Waterfowl Commander

Sure, the calls and the camo have a lot to do with duck hunting, but we think owning a huge selection of decoys is a dead giveaway. I have personally owned upwards of over 100 duck decoys at certain points in my life, which is a laughable drop in the bucket to the 1,000 that some hunters use. Particularly if you're in the goose hunting crowd, you know all too well that a lot of decoys can and will make a difference. If someone needs a trailer to haul all their waterfowl decoys, that really says something. Waterfowlers like this seem to always lean towards the "more is better" option.

4. Predators-R-Us

These hunters own multiple types of electronic calls and decoys, and they probably like to hunt so much that they just can't wait around for another deer season once one ends. Coyotes and other critters need their populations checked, and predator hunters are more than happy to help out. In the long run, these hunters are doing the rest of us a favor, so it's fair to assume they're generous and kindhearted beneath their predator hunting exterior.

5. He Who Dies With the Most Bows Wins

Once you go bowhunting, you may never come back. It's like graduating to a bigger challenge, and many dedicated bowhunters start collecting bows and bow accessories early on. At times, this hunter's basement might look like the local bowhunting shop, and there's always some tinkering going on. They're a curious type of person, and eager to own and master the latest and greatest, even if that means getting a new bow every couple of years.

6. Cares Deeply for His Gun Dog

If your hunting gear includes a first aid kit, tracking collars, food and water, vests, and even head and ear protection devoted to canines, then it's fair to assume you're some sort of bird hunter. The relationship between some hunters and their dogs is extra special, and just knowing that they have a soft spot for four-legged family members tells you they're a kind, appreciative type of person.

7. Dead Serious Deer Hunter

Let's say you've got multiple full body deer decoys, an entire shelf dedicated to scent removal, and clothes wrapped inside of plastic bags until the season starts. I'm betting you're a hardcore deer hunter, and probably living somewhere in the Midwest (our country's most promising deer region). These are the kind of folks that like to cover all their bases, and leave as little to chance as possible. Setting and checking trail cameras, hanging and maintaining stands, then scouring the weather reports for the right conditions are all a part of a serious deer hunter's mode of operation.

8. Mr. Organization

hunting gear

Craig Raleigh

A hunter like this has to have everything in its place, including hanging all hunting clothes, storing boots in a straight line, and labeling containers religiously. They're more prepared than other kinds of hunters, ready to gather what's needed and head out at a moment's notice. These are the kind of people that make lists, have good memories, and always seem up for anything.

9. Piles Everywhere


This is the opposite of Mr. Organization. Someone who leaves their gear lumped into a corner, usually on top of other gear, is the type that easily loses things and can't always keep good track of their belongings. Oh, and the inside of their truck looks like a used hunting gear store. This isn't an instantly negative thing, because unorganized may still mean creative, easygoing, and adaptable. Jut give them a checklist before inviting them to the deer woods.

10. Ready for Anything


This fellow has all the latest waterfowl gear, elk hunting gadgets, a full-sized pronghorn decoy, 15 different turkey calls, lock on treestands, a predator calling system, a squirrel squeaker, and an alligator harpoon to boot. This might seem like overkill, but it's a good thing. They live by the old saying, "It's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it."

11. Honors the Past

We all reminisce about our hunting past and can sometimes relive it vicariously through this kind of beloved gear. A hunter who still uses his dad's shotgun, grandad's hunting shirt, or uncle's old treestand fits into this category. They're a traditionalist that likes to think they can keep things (like, say, hunting access) they way they are if they treat it with respect and don't take it for granted.

12. Hasn't Dried Off Yet

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If someone owns spearfishing gear, there are definitely some things you can tell off the bat. They almost certainly live near the coast, and they like being able to see things from a perspective that less folks get to enjoy. Hunting underwater sure does give you a point of view that's different from your ground blind! Spearfishing is a great passion, but it's time to get out of the water and chase some deer, for crying out loud!

13. Hogs On the Brain

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This person has at least 10 good hog guns, night vision gear, thermal optics, and subscribes to multiple helicopter hog hunting YouTube channels. They're the type that likes a target-rich hunting environment, and might even consider trapping as a means of being more productive. Industrious, clever, and definitely dedicated, a real hog hunter is someone you can always count on.

14. Primitive is the Only Way

There's a lot to discern about a hunter who uses a muzzleloader or a recurve bow. There may be a hint of "hipster" but that's because they are deliberately making things more connected to an age that's well in the past. If a hunter makes his own longbow, then you're really got some things to figure out. They are likely respectful and honest, and love to take deep dives into things to fully understand them.

15. Reading Material

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If rifles, bows, muzzleloaders, camo, calls, and decoys are hunting tools, then so are books. If someone's reading habits about hunting are so voracious, it's safe to say they're hungry for more. Fill up a brain with hunting knowledge, and you're letting people know you are devoted, educated, and love to gather as much information as you possibly can.

Please check out my book "The Hunter's Way" from HarperCollins. Be sure to follow my webpage, or on Facebook and YouTube.