The List of Essential Deer Hunting Equipment

The only things that are really “essential” to deer hunting are: a weapon, ammunition for it, and the necessary licenses and /or permits.  But I thought that it would be useful to have a list of the minimum items that will leave you reasonably well prepared.

Thoughts on the list:

This is just a list.  Most items should have an obvious purpose, and I’ll not be pointing out why you should have them here.

Let me know in the comments if you would like specific advice on any particular item, otherwise I’ll detail the particulars in other posts.

This list was written with my Wisconsin weather and seasons (bow, muzzleloader, gun) in mind, if you live somewhere warmer, then you’ll obviously not need heavy boots or coats.  And so on for colder climates.  And so on for those of you who don’t plan on hunting with a muzzleloader.

And don’t forget whatever permits or whatever is required.


  1. Camouflage hat
  2. Camouflage facemask or face-paint
  3. Camouflage coat
  4. Camouflage pants
  5. Brown or camo light boots
  6. Brown or camo heavy boots
  7. Brown or camo light gloves (which will ideally fit inside the heavy gloves)
  8. Brown or camo heavy gloves
  9. Heavy Windshear sweater
  10. Wool socks
  11. Base layer (long underwear)
  12. Heavy hooded sweatshirt
  13. Back tag holder (depending on your license display laws)


  1. Rifle
  2. Bullets of the corresponding cartridge
  3. Riflescope
  4. Sling
  5. Cleaning rod
  6. Cleaning patches
  7. Oil for cleaning
  8. Gun case


  1. Slug gun (a standard shotgun without the interesting chokes can be okay but not as good)
  2. Appropriate slugs
  3. Riflescope (perhaps with a shotgun ballistics reticle)
  4. Sling
  5. Cleaning rod
  6. Cleaning patches
  7. Oil for cleaning
  8. Gun case


  1. Muzzlelader
  2. Appropriate bullets or saboted bullets
  3. Blackpowder or similar
  4. Shotshell primers
  5. Riflescope (perhaps with a shotgun ballistics reticle)
  6. Sling
  7. Cleaning rod
  8. Cleaning patches
  9. Oil for cleaning
  10. Even more cleaning patches
  11. Gun case

Compound bow:

  1. Compound bow
  2. Bow sight
  3. Peep sight
  4. Quiver
  5. Whisker Biscuit arrow rest
  6. Carbon arrows
  7. Field points
  8. Fixed blade broadheads
  9. Allen wrench (for adjusting the sight)
  10. Mechanical release
  11. Bow target
  12. Bow case


  1. Crossbow (most come with a ‘scope)
  2. Cocking rope (depending on the bow)
  3. Bolts
  4. Field tips
  5. Fixed blade broadheads
  6. Crossbow specific target
  7. Arrow puller
  8. Case

Traditional bow:

  1. Recurve or long bow
  2. Bow string
  3. Arrows
  4. Field points
  5. Bear Razorhead style broadheads
  6. Glove or tab
  7. Bow target
  8. Case

Hunting accessories:

  1. Treestand, at least one (it better be a climber if it is only going to be one)
  2. Hunting knife
  3. Rope for pulling weapon up to stand
  4. Gutting gloves
  5. Flashlight (LED preferred)
  6. String, to tie the license to the deer (depending on your laws)
  7. Gun safe or rack to store guns
  8. My forthcoming book

There are lots of other things that you could get, but the above are the things I say are essential.  Get good versions of all of these things before you start buying things like rangefinders.



3 comments on “The List of Essential Deer Hunting Equipment

  1. Neu Hombre says:

    Great list. I really like using a head lamp vs a flash light. Leaves both hands free and it’s always lighting up where you are looking.

  2. […] recently posted a list of all the things that you need to hunt whitetail deer.  Despite my fear that this off season is too equipment heavy for this […]

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