When you are planning an all day deer hunt, what gear do you take to the woods? The way I see it, there are two types of hunters in this world. The first hunter packs light and takes only what is necessary for each sit. The second, packs all but the kitchen sink. Planning what gear you'll will take to the woods is more important than you may think. I will reluctantly admit that until I started hunting with Jeff, I was hunter 2. My Sitka Tool Bucket pack came on every hunt, loaded to the brim with extra gear strapped to the sides, no matter if it were a 2 hour ambush, or an all day venture. Arguably to some extent it was necessary, as a filmmaker, there is a lot of extra gear needed to capture every moment of the hunt. However, that Sitka pack always holstered a wicked saw, a bow holder, binoculars, a rangefinder, various knives, flashlights, a grunt call, ‘snot-rags,’ coon urine, crushed granola bars, an extra release, and I guarantee I would have stuffed the kitchen sink in there if there were room. Jeff on the other hand, hunts lean. No packs, no snacks, just what he needs to get the job done.
Gear for a Short Hunt
On a typical sit ranging from 3-4 hours in duration, Jeff uses his Sitka Incinerator Muff as his pack. A flashlight, grunt tube, bow hook, cell phone, and thin pair of gloves are all that make the cut. A pair of binoculars and a rangefinder stay strapped at his side. In his opinion, less is more. No straps, buckles, or potential noise causing items, equate to a better chance that you wont spook any deer within earshot. On a successful hunt, he goes back to the truck for the items he needs to get the deer out of the woods.
Gear for All Day Deer Hunt
Even for an all day sit, Jeff takes the bare minimum to get through an all day deer hunt. At the truck before the hunt, he chugs 2 bottles of water to keep him hydrated from dawn ‘til dusk. Adding to his hand muff only 2 granola bars, a hand warmer, extra gloves, and a knife, he can sit from dark to dark, but typically he moves to different stands for morning and evening. On some hunts in expansive wilderness, he will add a compass to the short list of necessities, but ultimately these 12 items are all you really need to get you through an all day deer hunt, barring the obvious bow, arrows, release and tags!
Gear Up Smarter
Depending on which type of hunter you are, I challenge you to pack leaner and smarter for an all day deer hunt. In the two months I have hunted with Jeff, I have cut over 10 lbs and 15 items from my carry in weight, and I make a lot less noise and sweat because of it. I carry the camera and tree arm in by hand. No more straps, buckles, or ‘bonus’ items make the cut. On a typical sit, I now pack my cell phone, an extra camera battery, and a pair of gloves into a hand muff that stays silently at my side. In the grand scheme of things, you really only need your bow, arrows, and release to get the job done, anything else is clutter. So keep it to a minimum!
By Dylan Lenz