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Hunter in the woods

Getting Ready for Hunting Season

Planning for hunting season isn’t something that should start the night before you venture into the woods. It’s a process that takes a lot of preparation, research, and organization. In order to ensure a successful, safe hunting trip, our experts have put together a list of all the supplies you need to make this the best season yet!

The Necessary Paperwork

If you don’t have all of the necessary paperwork, your hunting trip can be drastically shorter than you had planned. Make sure that you, and everyone in your group, have taken the necessary courses to get a hunter’s education certification card. Required courses vary by state, so double check what the qualifications are for your specific area with a site like

Getting your hunter’s education card is a great start, but it isn’t the only piece of paperwork you’ll need. Be sure to purchase the correct license specific to the animal you will be hunting and the type of firearm you will be using. If required by your state, make sure you also have the correct types of carcass tags, and the information you need to register your kill.

Don't forget to find out the hunting season dates for your state!

Paperwork Checklist

  • Hunter's Education Card
  • Hunting License
  • Tags
  • Driver's License/Personal ID

Hunting Gear

Hunting blind in the woods

Besides your bow and arrows or gun and ammunition, there’s a wide range of hunting gear you need in order to ensure a successful hunting trip. With a keen sense of smell, deer and other animals will instantly turn the other way if they sense any humans in the area. Make sure you have scent reduction spray for your clothes, gear, and hunting blind, as well as scent-blocking bags and containers for additional clothing, socks, gloves and more.

On the flip side, having the correct deer scents will help to attract deer to your location. Do research to ensure you’re correctly distributing the scents, and using the correct scent for the time of year that you’re hunting. In addition to scents, also bring a variety of calls to attract deer to your location. Some popular options are estrus bleat cans, fawn bleat cans, grunt tubes, rattle bags, and snort calls.

While most hunters will have their tree stands and ground blinds set up ahead of time, make sure you bring additional stakes, a hammer, and a patch kit for your ground blind. If you’re hunting from a tree stand, be sure bring a harness, rope, and extra ratchet straps.

Hunting Gear Checklist

  • Ammunition
  • Rifle/Bow
  • Backpack
  • Bipod
  • Bow/Gun Case
  • Bow/Gun Hoist
  • Cleaning Kit
  • Game Cameras
  • Ground Blind
  • Hammer & Stakes
  • Scent Attractant
  • Scent-Free Containers
  • Scent-Reduction Spray
  • Tree Stand
  • Ratchet Straps
  • Harness
  • Binoculars
  • Decoys
  • Estrus Bleat Can
  • Fawn Bleat Can
  • Grunt Call/Tube
  • Rattle Bag
  • Snort/Wheeze Call
  • Hunting Knife


The specific clothing you’ll need largely depends on the time of year and climate that you will be hunting in. Generally, it’s advisable to dress in multiple layers – a base layer, middle layer, and insulated top layer – to accommodate for shifting temperatures throughout the early morning, afternoon, and evening. Remember you’re likely going to be carrying everything to your designated hunting spot, so don’t over pack. Depending on how long your trip is, you might be able to get away with an extra base layer, a few pairs of extra socks, gloves, and rain gear. Check local rules and regulations to determine how much and what type of blaze orange gear you are required to wear as laws vary by state.

Clothing Checklist

  • Insulated Parka
  • Jacket
  • Camo Pants
  • Blaze Orange Cap
  • Blaze Orange Vest
  • Boots
  • Gloves/Fingerless Gloves
  • Long Underwear
  • Insulated Overalls
  • Rain Suit
  • Socks

General Gear

Some of the most important supplies for your hunting trip actually have nothing to do with getting that highly-anticipated kill; focusing on your own safety and overall well-being while hunting can make or break a hunting trip.

Grab a hydration pack or military canteen so you can sip water throughout the day, and make sure you have protein-packed food that will give you the energy you need. Jerky, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, energy bars (remove the wrapper and place in a soft, quiet container before leaving), bananas, and dried fruit are all easy to prepare, pack, and eat while you’re on the hunt. Avoid noisy, smelly, foods that are hard to eat with one hand.

In addition to food and drinks, make sure you’re prepared for any emergency that can arise. Bring a fully-stocked first aid kit, along with a lighter, matches, flares, hatchet, and rope. Make sure you have a fully charged GPS and/or working compass, as well as your basic toiletries.

General Gear Checklist

  • 2-Way Radios
  • Batteries
  • Camera
  • Hydration Pack/Canteen
  • Food/Drinks
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Flares
  • Flashlight/Headlamp
  • Hand Warmers
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Hearing Protection
  • Hydration Pack
  • Lighter/Matches With Case
  • Rope
  • Safety Glasses
  • Sunglasses
  • Toilet Paper/Paper Towel
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Mess Kit
  • Toiletries
  • Hatchet
  • Tent/Tarp Patch Kit
  • Water Purifier

After the Kill

Grilled venison thai noodle salad

Once you’ve killed a deer, you’ll need to pull out your field dressing supplies. First and foremost, make sure you have a very sharp hunting knife, this will make gutting the deer easier and faster. Also included in your field dressing kit you should have a pair of nitrile or latex gloves, hand sanitizer, two gallon-size bags for the heart and liver, paper towels, zip ties to tie off the intestinal canal and attach carcass tags, and a saw if you prefer to quarter your deer for transport. Make sure you also have a good game cart to take the deer back to your campsite or truck.

After your deer has been skinned and butchered, it’s time to process the meat. Meat processing equipment like a sausage stuffer, meat grinder, tenderizer and dehydrator make preparing meals with venison simple and fun. For some tasty meal ideas that the whole family will enjoy, check out our roundup of tasty venison recipes!

After the Kill Checklist

  • Permanent Marker
  • Deer Cart
  • Deer Hoist
  • Folding Saw
  • Freezer Paper/Tape
  • Gambrel
  • Game Bags
  • Grinder
  • Sausage Stuffer
  • Gutting Gloves
  • Pelvic Saw
  • Processing Kit/Knives
  • Plastic Bags
  • String/Zip Ties for Tags
  • Game Scale

The Day has Finally Arrived

Careful planning can be the difference between a successful, fun hunt and a stressful excursion. When the new hunting season rolls around, you can confidently set off towards your carefully selected and prepared hunting location, knowing that you have everything you need packed and ready to go. Enjoy the thrill of the hunt!

Other Helpful Resources

Find more How-to Guides and Articles

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