Today’s hunter is anything but a minimalist. The number of gadgets available to the modern hunter is almost unlimited, and to a novice – overwhelming. Most of it, while potentially providing increased comfort or some level of increased success, is unnecessary.
This mountain of available equipment can also become a potential economic barrier to participation. Separating out the “must haves” verses the “nice to haves” can be difficult even for the experienced hunter. However, this will be a critical task for the instructor of this session.
Because of the regional and seasonal differences in hunting seasons and hunting techniques, the list of the minimum equipment required to go deer hunting varies considerably. Developing this list should be relatively easy for you to put together. Remember, your participants are novices who may or may not want to continue to hunt, or continue to deer hunt, after the class. Keep the list to the bare essentials.
In reality, three separate lists should be developed. They are:
- Equipment that the students are expected to supply
- Equipment that the program (or instructor, mentor/guide) will supply
- Optional/nice to have equipment
To save instructional time, these lists should be developed in advance and handed out at one of the early class sessions. However, each list should briefly be gone over during the class to explain what each piece of equipment is and what it is used for. Again, your participants are novices.
Some of your participants likely have other outdoor experience and may have equipment that can be used for hunting. In almost all situations, the participants will be required to purchase some equipment. Those purchases should be kept to a minimum.
In many programs, the program supplies expensive equipment, such as firearms, and cold weather or foul weather gear. Hunter education programs, 4-H Shooting Sports Programs, and confiscated firearms may be available for your program to use.
In some situations, mentors or guides may also supply equipment. While this practice is not recommended, particularly for firearms, it is sometimes unavoidable.
In any case, clearly identifying, and listing, the equipment supplied by the program (and where it will be obtained) is important for the participants, instructors, and mentors/guides.
The last list includes optional/nice to have equipment, such as seats, chairs, full camouflage, hunting packs, hand warmers, etc. In many situations, this equipment depends on the hunting technique used and/or the weather during the actual hunt. Often, this optional equipment may be supplied by the mentor/guide. Again, these details should be worked out well in advance with the mentor/guide.
Clothing should not only be scent free, but also as silent as possible. Nylon should be avoided. Obviously, outer clothing also must comply with state regulations regarding “blaze/hunter orange” requirements.
Camouflage clothing is not necessary; but the cloth selected should be soft and noiseless as possible. A mix of drab colors will work fine as long as they are scent free and quiet (and warm if hunting during colder months).
A deer’s hearing is second to its hearing as a defense mechanism. Unnatural noises, even subtle sounds like nylon rubbing against each other, can alert them to your presence.
Proper clothing will also keep you warm and dry. Dressing in layers, and avoiding cotton will help keep you warm and dry. Modern synthetic clothing and wool are excellent choices. Some excellent clothing may be found inexpensively at used clothing or Goodwill stores.
Rain gear is a huge asset during inclement weather. Occasionally, rain gear or cold weather clothing may be lent to participants by the program or mentor/guide.