The Essential Bow Hunting Checklist


Emergency Locator Beacon: You never know what might happen on a hunting trip. If you lose cell signal and become injured, an emergency locator beacon can alert search and rescue units of your location. (Regardless, always leave an itinerary with someone you trust.)

Scents and Calls: Whether you are hunting deer or wild boar, don’t forget to pack the scents and calls to attract them to the area.

Trail Camera: Trail cameras can capture what animals are passing by your way so you can be ready to take the shot. They can also give you a good idea of the habits of deer and when you might expect them to pass your way again, allowing you to choose the best position for your hunt. Make sure to keep your SD cards for your trail cam safe in an SD card case, such as the Pelican 0915.

Zip Ties: Simple yet effective, zip ties can come in handy for all sorts of things when bow hunting. You can use them to tie back foliage obstructing your shot or view and you can use them to secure foliage around your blind to disguise yourself better.

Insect Repellent: To keep insects off you while you wait patiently for a deer or game to come within shot, an insect repellent will prevent you from swatting them away and being spotted. You can spray yourself down or use something like a ThermaCell portable repeller.

Sleeping Bag: Choose a lightweight sleeping bag to stay warm, especially when hunting in higher elevations where the temperatures can drop dramatically at night.

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Lighter/Matches: This counts as one of the Ten Essentials, but needs mentioning anyway, especially if you plan to cook up some quick freeze-dried meals for sustenance. Don’t forget cooking pots and fuel.

Scent Control Items

The last thing you want is an animal picking up your human scent downwind on a hot day. So make sure to hunt with these critical scent control items.

Scent Control Clothing: Above all, make sure you bring scent control clothing to eliminate your human odor. While scent control clothing comes in handy to disguise your scent from your game, still be mindful of wind direction.

Odor Eliminating Spray: In addition to scent control clothing, pack an odor eliminating spray to conceal yourself.

Wind Checker: Lastly, a wind checker is helpful to determine if your scent is being carried downwind, allowing you to shift position if necessary. Used in combination with the above items, you’ll be completely unnoticeable.

Tree Stand or Tree Saddle Gear

If you plan on saddle hunting, you will need these extra pieces of bow hunting gear:

Tree Saddle/Tree Stand: If you prefer this bow hunting method, make sure it’s in good condition and perform any maintenance before heading out.

Safety Harness: Make sure it feels comfortable and chafe-free the moment you try it on. You will be standing in a tree for some time. Of course, make sure the lifeline and lineman’s belt are packed, too.

Tree Cutting Tools: Bring some tree cutting tools to cut back limbs for shooting lanes. A tree saw or a small pair of pruners will get the job done. Zip ties are good for this also.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>