The Ultimate Hunting Supplies Checklist to Prepare You for the Big Hunt

beautiful teen hunter with complete hunting supplies and gear

Image from Pixabay

Your hunting trip is only going to go as well as you prepare for it. When it comes to hunting supplies, it’s easy to forget something small in the excitement. Those small things, usually, turn out to be pretty big.

If you’ve ever made the shot, just to realize that you are miles into the woods with no rope or deer drag to pull your game out of the worst possible place it could have fallen, you know what we’re talking about. Or, fired your rifle, and gone to reload it when you realized that targetting in your scope used more rounds than you thought. Many of us have had these experiences, and if you are preparing for the hunt of a lifetime, you don’t want to come home with that kind of story.

You never want to set out for hunting without having all of the supplies you need, yet even the most seasoned hunter can make a human error and forget something.

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The Ultimate Hunting Supplies List

hunting gear and supplies

Image from Pixabay

It can be costly to buy things on the road, but if you forget an essential item, it could spoil the hunt or even put you in danger. Obviously, there are things you need to do before the hunt, during the hunt, and after the hunt. So that is how we broke down this list. However, there are other things to consider. Having the right hunting supplies is essential. After all, you’re going miles into an environment that has not only your prey but also many predators.

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Before the Hunt

Before you even start buying hunting supplies, there are things you need to do. Be sure you take care of all this, or you may find yourself in a situation where you can’t hunt, and all of the time and expense of preparation was for naught. Also, check your local DNR laws and regulations.

Hunting guide, rules and regulations handbook

Hunter safety course

Landowner permission

Hunting license

Set up your blind or treestand

Driver license or other ID

Animal tags/license

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Hunting Supplies Needed During the Hunt

There are certain supplies that you need during the hunt. These include your weapon, ammo, binoculars, scopes, and other essentials. Don’t forget things that you’ll need for yourself, like toilet paper, toiletries, and hand warmers.

bow and arrow

Your Weapon

It may seem like it goes without saying, but you need to make sure that you’ve got all the firearms or other weapons you are going to need. Whether you hunt with a rifle, shotgun, bow, or spear, an empty case or just an empty space when you get there is something you never, ever want to face.

Gun

If you’re hunting with a gun, you’ll need to make sure it’s cleaned, packed, and that you have all the needed supplies for it. Your gun of choice is completely up to you. However, get the best gun your budget will allow. There’s plenty of room in a hunting supplies list for saving money, but your weapon should get the bulk of your budget. Talk to the people at the establishment where you go to buy your weapon. They can help you select the one that’s best for you and your hunting needs.

Gun case

Compound bow

You’ll pay from $ to $$$ for a compound bow, even more when you’re done adding accessories. You’ll want to protect it with a case. A case will cost you anywhere from $ to $$$, depending on how high-end you want your case to be. Although hard cases cost more, they protect your investment.

If you’re hunting with a bow, make sure you’re packing extra bow strings, arrows, release, and an arm guard.

Scope

Bipod

Night vision

Ammo

Ammo case

Gun cleaning kit

shelter

Ground blind

There are many options for quality blinds, none of them will do you any good back home, in the shed. As we’ve already discussed, most forms of blind should be out long before you are.

tree stand icon

Tree stand

guy shooting crossbow from a tree stand

Image from Amazon

When it comes to tree stands, there are three main types: ladders, fixed-position stands, and climbers. You’ll pay anywhere from $200 to $500 for a good stand.

Ladder stands are well suited to situations that call for you to erect them days in advance of your hunt. They tend to be heavy and bulky and require considerable effort to erect. However, once they’re up, they’re stable — giving you a nice solid platform from which to hunt.

Fixed-position stands are the middle ground between climbers and ladders. They’re suitable for semi-permanent locations. Like ladders, you’ll need to erect them in advance. They’re easier to transport than ladder stands. For these stands, you’ll need climbing sticks or steps, or a ladder.

Climbers give you the most flexibility and mobility. They’re easy to carry in the same day of the hunt and if you’re agile enough, you can climb a tree quickly and quietly. Also, they’re popular because they’re usually comfortable.

Most tree stands have a weight limit of 300 pounds. If you weigh more than the specified weight on the stand, you need one that will accommodate big and tall people. For example, Summit makes a stand that will accommodate folks up to 350 pounds.

Tree stand safety rope and harness

Climbing sticks or ladder

Lifting kit or rope

rope icon

Rope

Hunter Safety System Rope-Style Tree Strap
  • STAY SAFE UP AND DOWN THE STAND: Replaces your current tree strap and serves as an effective LifeLine for climbing style tree stands
  • LOSE ANY FEAR OF ASCENDING OR DESCENDING THE STAND: Makes climbing easier and safer, keeping you attached at all times during both the climb and the hunt
  • VERSATILE ENOUGH FOR MANY DIFFERENT STANDS: Accommodates most trees and allows for easy 360º shooting from nearly any angle
  • INCREDIBLY EASY-TO-USE: Simply loop it around the tree above your stand location and let the excess hang free
  • ALLOWS FOR SHOTS AT ALL ANGLES: Easy-to-adjust Prussik Knot allows for additional maneuverability in your treestand

The uses for a good rope are nearly endless. From safely lifting your gun to your tree stand, to suspending meat above marauding bears — rope is a hunting supplies list staple. A 100-foot roll of 550 paracord can be the difference between being prepared and being miserable.

backpack icon

Backpack

Gelindo Military Tactical Backpack

Image from Amazon

You’ll probably need a backpack every time you go hunting, so it makes sense to invest in a good one. If you can find one that has a hydration pack, lots of pockets, and a small rucksack, that’s even better.

hunting knife

Pocket knife

Your pocket knife is something you’ll never want to leave home without. A good, sharp pocket knife is worth its weight in gold, as any outdoors person will tell you.

We’ll get to the knives you need for after the hunt a little later.

Multi-tool

Knife sharpener

spray

Scent eliminator

Conquest Scents RuttingBuck Pack (Rutting Buck and EverCalm Stick)

Image from Amazon

Deer and other wildlife are very sensitive to the smell of humans. You need to use a scent eliminating soap or spray to wash the human off of you.

Bear spray

binoculars

Binoculars

Bushnell Falcon 133410 Binoculars with Case (Black, 7x35 mm)

Image from Amazon

A good pair of binoculars is an essential tool. They are possibly as important as the right weapon and the right boots. You can get them for as low as $99 and as high as $499, so you are also going to want a good case for them.

Rangefinder

Quick-drying towel

The Camping Trail Outdoor and Camping Towel Set

Image from Amazon

Since you need a towel to carry into the woods with you, you may as well pack a high-quality quick-drying towel in your hunting supplies. Even better, many of them are antibacterial.

Zipper-seal bags

Sunscreen

Insect repellent

Lip balm

Zip ties

Toilet paper or biodegradable wipes

Portable toilet seat

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Lighter

Zippo Matte Pocket Lighters
Zippo Matte Pocket Lighters red matte
Zippo Matte Pocket Lighters red

When hunting, you may run into a situation where you need a fire. Along with wind-proof waterproof matches, it’s a good idea to have a lighter that will withstand strong winds and work in wet conditions.

Hand warmers

Flashlight or lantern

Headlamp

Thermos

Game calls

Many hunters use game calls to bring animals closer. Whether you are calling for small game, large game, or birds — the right call can make all the difference.

Doe in heat cans that release the plaintive cry of a doe seeking a buck and rattling antlers can also bring your game in range. Most good calls cost a little cash, but they’re worth it.

Decoys

guy with dead deer after crossbow hit

Image from Amazon

Decoys are important, particularly in waterfowl hunting. Whether you’re hunting for turkey or waterfowl, if you want to fill your bag, you need to have decoys in your hunting bag of tricks and learn how to use them.

Turkey decoys, depending on whether you want hen or jake or both, cost anywhere from $20 to $81. Mallard duck decoys cost between $45 and $75 for a pack of six.

You can also use decoys in deer hunting, but only in some states. Be sure to check the local laws. The folks at Mossy Oak said it best: the biggest mistake hunters make when using decoys is “not using the decoy.”

The fact is, using decoys for deer hunting is effective when done right. Choose decoys based on the conditions of your hunt. During rutting season you would use estrus doe and young buck decoys, for example, to lure in a big buck. You can try a silhouette decoy, and in places where they’re legal, a battery-operated decoy.

However, note that using decoys is not legal everywhere. Be sure to check the laws where you’ll be hunting. Doe decoys cost between $60 and $90.

Last, make sure your decoys don’t smell like humans. You have to cover your scent. Therefore, handle your decoys with gloves and spray them with odor neutralizer every time you set them up.

Two-way radios

You may or may not want two-way radios. Some hunters think they’re nice to have, and can provide an extra communication device. They cost anywhere from $80 to $150.

Solar phone charger

GPS

Why do you need a GPS system? After all, our smartphones have GPS, right? Yes, but there’s a good chance you could end up in an area without cell service. We recommend taking a GPS with you, in addition to your compass and maps.

The more ways you cover yourself, the more insurance you have against disaster. A good GPS will cost you from $150 to $500. Another option is a GPS watch. They can cost anywhere from $75 to $310.

Compass

Maps

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Hunting Food and Beverages

food in a tin can

Image from Pixabay

Whether you’re hunting for two hours or a week, you’re going to need to eat and drink. Minimally, you need water, but it’s also important to know what you can and can’t eat on the hunt.

Food

Quest Nutrition Ultimate Variety Pack
  • 20-21g Protein, 4-6g Net Carbs, < 1-3g Sugars, 14-16g Dietary Fiber, 170-200 Calories, 4.5-8g Fat
  • Certified Gluten-Free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization.
  • No added sugar and keto-friendly protein bar
  • Includes 1 bar each of the following flavors: Blueberry Muffin, Double Chocolate Chunk, Chocolate Brownie, Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Mocha Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Hazelnut, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Peanut Butter, S'mores, Cookies and Cream, and White Chocolate Raspberry

For food on your hunt, pack some things like protein bars and granola bars, energy bars, fruit, trail mix, and things like that in your hunting supplies. Avoid anything with meat scents like beef jerky. Your prey will smell it. So will other predators.

If you’re planning an overnight or multi-day hunt, you’ll need to plan for that grocery-wise. There are also complete meal kits. All you have to do is add water.

Beverages

First of all, you need water and plenty of it. Plan for how much you’ll need based on how long you’ll be out there. Buy a good hydration bladder. Fill it completely before you head out. Hydration bladders cost between $20 and $30.

You can also take some stainless steel bottles full of water. You can get a camo stainless steel bottle for between $17 and $25.

Also, another thing you should have on hand is a LifeStraw. If you need to drink from a stream or other water source, this will remove 99.99 percent of waterborne parasites.


Having some Gatorade on hand is nice, or some electrolyte tablets or liquid that you can add to your water to help restore hydration if needed.

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Clothing

MOPHOTO 5 in 1 Ghillie Suit, 3D Camouflage Hunting Apparel

Image from Amazon

For most hunters, clothing is the only thing between them and the elements, so the right inner- and outer-wear is important. From boots to a balaclava, make sure you’re covered, literally. Your clothing should be as insulated as your climate calls for, and the more you layer, the easier it is to get comfortable.

Some hunting clothing comes with advanced technology that uses antimicrobial silver that blocks odor, so it helps alleviate worries about masking your scent.

Hunting jacket

Camo hunting pants or suits

Balaclava or face mask

Hunting boots

Rainwear

Moisture-wicking or heated socks

Gloves

Performance base inner layer (long underwear)

Orange vest and hat

Extra set of clothing

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Hunting Supplies Needed After the Hunt

successful moose hunt

Image by Susan Drury from Flickr

You did all of that work to get ready for the hunt and checked off all of the items on your checklist to get your hunting supplies in order. Now imagine you’ve taken down a buck and don’t have the tools and supplies needed to get that fellow home. Don’t forget all of the supplies you’ll need for after the hunt.

Rubber gloves, apron

Be sure you have some heavy duty rubber gloves for cleaning and gutting your game. It will be a messy job if you don’t have a couple of pair of these in your hunting supplies.

Scale for weighing game

You’re going to need to weigh your kill at some point. Hanging game scales will hold up to 660 pounds.

Supplies for wrapping meat

If you’re going to be processing your meat, take the supplies. You’ll need butcher paper. It costs between $15 and $25 per roll. Also, you’ll need some freezer tape, which costs between $3 and $5 per roll. Last, carry along some Sharpies in your hunting supplies. They cost anywhere from a few bucks each at a discount store to $20 for a box of 36.

Processing knives and pelvic saw

When you down an animal, you’ll probably need to do some of the processing and gutting in the field. You can get good combo processing sets that have a gut hook and filet knife, along with other tools like a boning knife, saw, and brisket spreader. Some kits even include sharpeners and game cleaning gloves. If your kit doesn’t have a pelvic saw, you need to buy one and they cost between $15 and $25. A butchering knife kit will cost $30 to $65.

Game bags

Allen Big Game Quarter Game or Meat Bag (Pack of 4)

Image from Amazon

With a specially designed game bag, you can keep your carcass at 36 to 40 degrees using ice bags. Most game bags have an antimicrobial liner to prevent mold and mildew. Plus, they have a durable polyester outer shell. 

Cooler(s)

If you’re packing up your meat, you’ll probably want to put it in some coolers unless you’re hunting near home. You can get coolers as big as 70-quarts or 125-quarts. While a 70-quart cooler costs $55 and $65, a 125-quart cooler will set you back $450 and $550. You’ll also need a smaller cooler for your own food if you’re on an overnight hunt. 

Deer cart or drag

How are you gonna get that big old buck out of the woods? Be sure to take along your game cart. These are super heavy duty two-wheel devices that you can pull your deer up onto to wheel out of the woods. Most will hold about 500 pounds. 


You can also use a deer drag, which is a heavy duty cable with a handle that you use to drag your deer out of the woods. 

Lift system and gambrel

Viking Solutions VS-VHK001 Game Processing

Image from Amazon

With a game lift system, you can easily raise and lower upwards of 600 pounds of game. Therefore, these are used to get your deer into your truck or to get an animal up to cap and skin. 

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Emergency Gear Hunting Supplies

No one ever goes into a hunt thinking the worst will happen, but it’s good to prepare for the worst. Besides needing to start a fire, you may need first aid or medication, an emergency blanket, fishing and snare wire, etc…

First aid kit

Be sure to bring a basic first aid kit with your hunting supplies and just plan for Murphy’s Law when packing it. You need medical tape, gauze, triple-antibiotic ointment, butterfly stitches, and a good assortment of band-aids. You can use butterfly stitches to patch up larger cuts that may normally require stitches. Pre-moistened alcohol pads are handy and could be invaluable if you need to sanitize something for any reason. ​

If you are hunting where dangerous snakes are a factor include a snake venom extractor kit. Additionally, pack some basic medications like pain relievers and Benadryl, which is an antihistamine and invaluable if you have an allergic reaction to anything. Most importantly, make sure you have any prescription medication you need.

Finally, if you’re prone to stomach upset, you’re going to want your go-to relief, be it Tums or Pepto-Bismol. One last thing for your first aid kit is Calamine or Caladryl lotion. It will give you much-needed relief if you run into some nasty poison ivy or poison oak.

Emergency thermal blanket

If for some reason you’re stuck in the cold, you can quickly get hypothermia. Don’t risk that when you can carry an emergency thermal blanket in your hunting supplies. They are usually lightweight, with some weighing about two ounces.

fishing pole

Emergency snare and fishing gear

Survival Kit for Trapping by Thompson Snares
  • Made in the USA
  • Contains (1) 0S-30 30" inch, 1/16” cable snare & (1) 00S-20 20 inch, 1/32” cable snare
  • Also includes tie wire and instructions for setting loop size
  • Check local game laws before using

In case of an emergency, will the items in your backpack save you? Although an emergency snare and fishing kit doesn’t take up a lot of space in your hunting supplies, it can buy you a lot of peace of mind for $20 to $30.

Flares

The Original Highway Flare Kit (6-Pack Emergency Flare Kit)
  • Kit contents: (6) 30 minute highway flares plus (1) FREE high visibility safety vest.
  • Protect you and your family during a roadside emergency. Flares prevent injuries and save lives. Flares are safe and easy to use.
  • Flares store safely in the trunk of your vehicle. Made in USA.

Having some flares is a must. It’s one surefire way for help to find you.

Wind-up flashlight

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Hunting Supplies, Wrapping It All Up

Finally, a hunting trip can be the most rewarding experience of your life as long as all goes as smoothly as possible. However, it’s all about being prepared and having the right hunting supplies. Your survival is on the line. Being prepared for yourself, and for the people you’re hunting with, will ensure that everyone enjoys a rewarding hunt.

About the author

Lily Millington

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