First I’ll point out that the title of this post is a cynical ploy to generate page views.
Next, for hunting deer, the only things that you “need” are: a weapon and bullets or arrows, or whatever, everything else is optional. (Don’t forget licenses and permits and …) If you want to do anything with a deer after you’ve shot it then you’ll need a knife too, but that really is it.
And there are, of course, infinite other things that can help you with deer, or make the event more enjoyable, but they are not absolutely necessary.
Instead of 4 essential pieces of hunting equipment, how about 4 pieces of equipment that you can easily do without, but are quite useful?
I went years and years and years without a saw on a stick and did fine. But my dad bought a Hooeyman last year and it seemed like I used it every time I went out in the woods. Instead of needing to cut down whole branches or whole small trees to clear lanes to shoot from, with a tree saw you can selectively trim just the branches that you need to.
Don’t bother with the five foot model, the ten foot one will be way more useful. The fact that it is collapsible is great and the removable saw part is even useful for cutting small nearby branches.
I went years without a tree saw, on a stick, but now that I’ve used one I doubt that I’ll ever not have one.
2. Heavy Hooded Sweatshirt
Before wearing a heavy hooded sweatshirt in the cold, I spent years in the woods trying to make my neck as short as possible. It is extremely difficult for a hat and a normal coat collar to cover your neck.
A coat’s hood is almost always just in the way. They add bulk, they collect rain and debris, if they dis attach they have potentially noisy metal zippers, they are also likely to be waaaay to thick to hear anything through.
A heavy hooded sweatshirt is great, though. You get an added layer of clothing, a hood that is less bulky, protection for you when its windy and none when its unnecessary, you get a warm item to wear when you want to remove your camo to field dress deer. And if your hoodie gets dirty, then you won’t be washing away the colors on your camo, and on, and on.
Buy the thickest one you can find. Get one a size or two too big. Don’t get one with zippers or buttons because those things can make noise or catch on things and get stuck. Acceptable colors are: brown, black, dark grey, and dark green. Shirts with logos are unnecessary, add unwanted color, and probably cost more.
Loading a muzzle loader requires you to remove the ramrod from beneath the barrel, turn it around and push the bullet, or whatever, and power all the way down the barrel. You can use the one that came with your gun just fine. However, ramrods are generally a bit shorter than the barrel so that they do not stick out past the muzzle. This means that once you’ve pushed the bullet and powder down the barrel the ramrod may end up flush with the muzzle. And pushing on the ramrod can hurt you hand a bit too.
An added handle and longer ramrod can make loading your muzzle loader a fair bit easier.
A flashlight is about as essential as it gets for safety reasons. Its also useful for finding your way way around in the dark on a regular basis. (Although I try to avoid using one in order to be more stealthy.)
When you shoot a deer with a bow, and sometimes with a gun, you’ll need to follow the drops of blood it leaves as it runs away. That blood is hard to see during the day, but once it starts getting dark out the artificial light you provide will make the wet blood shine against its dull natural surroundings.
Normal flashlights give off a yellow uneven light. LED flashlights give off a very consistent white light that makes finding blood an awful lot easier.