Be Prepared – Deer Hunting Checklist

Anthony Cote
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Pre-Hunt Preparation

License and Tags

You need a license and tags to hunt deer and they can be purchased well in advance of the season you’ll be hunting. Many states also allow you to buy any of these items on the day your season starts. You must make sure of harvest limits before you buy your tags.

Land Permission

Make sure you have permission to be in the area. Next, look up the property information online. Use Google maps and take a look at the terrain. This will allow you to better strategize your hunt.

Check your batteries

Ensure all your calls, lights, whistles, etc. have fresh batteries. Then check them again. Your chance of success on the water is directly related to how long you can hunt, which is directly related to how long your batteries last. Nothing sucks more than weak batteries when you're looking at a late day. This is especially true when you've had success early with no action for several hours and you're in a remote area.

Tune your bow or clean your gun

Check the collars on your dog, make sure they are tight.

Get your health check and make sure your prescriptions are current.

Check your licenses and tags.

Get your blaze orange and camo clothing out of the closet.

Make sure your cedar log is cut, seasoned, and ready to burn.

If you are drinking “get rid of it, if you plan to hunt.

Make sure your electronics are charged.

Wash your body and your clothes

Before putting your camo on, wash your body and clothes. If you do not, your smell will be on everything … including your camo. This will make it very difficult to stay undetected.

Check the weather

Before you start hiking, check the weather. Since you'll likely be out for several days, it’s in your best interest to have inclement weather at least a few days off in the future. The weather forecast is key so you can plan what you'll wear and what to bring to stay warm. If there's a heat wave or major storm coming, you'll want to reschedule your trip.

Tell someone where you’re going

General Hunting Pack List

  • Compass
  • Hunting license
  • Hunting license
  • Hunting boots
  • Hunting pants
  • Safety glasses
  • Lightweight gloves
  • Hunting hat
  • Hunting backpack (at least 3,000 c.i.)
  • Small folding map/state forestry map
  • Rain gear
  • Hatchet/ax
  • Folding saw
  • Canteen/water container
  • Dry socks
  • Knife
  • Hunting jacket
  • Poncho
  • Appropriate season clothing
  • First aid kit
  • Hunting bag
  • Hunting boots
  • Scent elimination products
  • Helmet
  • Rangefinder
  • Pen and paper
  • Backpacker hunting pad
  • GPS
  • Cellular phone
  • Bear spray
  • Folding saw
  • Whether you are a new hunter or a seasoned hunter, the only chance you have of having a successful (let alone safe) hunting trip is if you are properly prepared. Pack your dry box with a wide range of hunting supplies. Use this list to help you get ready for a successful hunting trip and possibly to get a new bag, or wildlife permit.

Camo and Orange Safety Vest

This hunting vest is made of high-quality rip-stop material and features a reversible bright neon orange on one side and a camo design on the other. It is completely breathable and elastic, allowing for a comfortable fit great for both men and women. A drawstring top will also ensure that it stays in place during your entire adventure.


Always make sure that your weapon is ready to go- you don’t want to be fiddling around with it when you come across that big 10-point buck! Check out your weapon and make sure there are no issues there.

Food, Water and a Bathroom

Cell Phone

All-Weather Gear

Prepare for the worst winter weather conditions. Wear layers of clothes, waterproof outerwear, and a hat. On a cold morning, a wool stocking cap is essential to help retain heat. If a rain shower strikes, put on a raincoat to stay dry; another layer to wear on top and to keep heat in. The most important clothing item of all is a pair of warm, waterproof boots.

Survival Gear

List: 8 Critical Items to Bring

There are a two types of items that you’ll need to consider when planning your gear. The first are things that you need for the actual hunt and the second are items that you will need to survive a day or two if you get lost or separated from your group.

The survival gear list is always the same for a few reasons. The wider your skills set and knowledge the better off you’ll be in a remote survival situation. The items you bring will be based on your skill level.

Before you build your list of survival gear, it’s important to practice using them. Make sure that you are familiar with using your survival gear and have practiced enough so that you feel confident in your ability to use it in an emergency.


Map out all of the locations you plan on hunting on a topographic map. This is a great way to take the guess work out of things.

Topographical maps can be found online for free or small cost. Just make sure you understand how to read a topographic map.


First-Aid Kit

A hunting accident can happen to anyone, anytime, and anywhere. The key to having an enjoyable trip is being prepared for anything to go wrong.

While this checklist is geared toward hunters, it’s easy to see how you can modify it for a day at the office, a camping trip, or when traveling.

A bad cut can often be prevented by knowing what to do. In order of what to use first, and what to use last, it should be:

  • Aide Type
  • First Aid kit

@ Band-Aids

  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Super glue
  • Moleskin
  • Finger cot
  • CPR face shield
  • Sterile wipes
  • Emergency blanket
  • Safety pins
  • Ipecac
  • Antibiotic ointments
  • Sting relief
  • Aluminum oxide
  • Skin prep
  • Ammonia inhalants
  • Wound wash

Hand Saw or Branch Clippers

To cut large branches or to cut around the tree stand safely, a hand saw or branch clippers are the best tools for the job. A hand saw is the best option since you’ll have more control and can cut using both hands for extra strength. If you’re cutting less than a 4 in branch or just need to cut a small section of thick limb, the branch clippers are a great option for safety and ease.

Deer Drag


One well-timed, experienced day or moment of successful deer hunting can be enough to make you feel all the need for hunting. Having a trail camera to catch deer stills will help you get some footage to enjoy as well. It is essential to spend the whole day on the field, just in case you get lucky and spot the animal. Your system should be well organized. If you carry all the accessories to be prepared for anything, you'll then have an easier chance of coming back home with a success in your hands.

Scent Eliminator—This is a good product that can replace or remove all the scents that aid your identification to a deer. It is of great importance that a deer hunter applies it correctly. You can start from the neck, all the way to the feet and in between. If you fail to apply this correctly, you can forget about your hunting expedition. Enough said, scents are one of the inevitable parts of hunting, but any small effort that makes things easier for you is greatly appreciated.


You can only be as effective as your calls and decoys are. They are your lifeline. You want to make sure you have all the gear you need for success.

Calls – Once you become an expert caller, you will know your call is the only call you need. Until then, until you perfect your calling techniques, compliments for your calling are compliments for your decoys when the deer come running. Practice calling in a variety of weather conditions so the deer make it to you instead of the other way around.

Decoys – You won’t become an expert at decoys overnight. This is a hobby that will define you as a deer hunter. It is a life-long pursuit so you want at least one decoy for every season.

Avoid the chemicals associated with using decoys. Use a common household soap to wash your decoys down. The bath soap contains a biodegradable surfactant. You can leave them out to air dry or use a hair dryer to speed the drying process. When decoys have been cleanly washed like this they will last for years.

Bowhunter’s Gear List

Need a bowhunter’s checklist? Here you go. It’s great to make a copy and put it somewhere easy to access. It’s even better to use a checklist like this before a hunt to get organized.

Bow and Accessories

Use a 3D Shooting Bow to learn how to shoot your bow correctly before archery season starts. Store a bow stringer in your truck or hang one with your bow to bring along. A bow stringer and bow are the most important parts of your hunt. Make sure to have a way to drop away rest attached to your bow as well as a slotted carabiner. You will need a hunting bow with at least a 350 lb. draw weight for the larger deer.

Quiver and Arrows

I prefer a quiver I can hang off my belt. I do not like going into the woods and walking around with arrows in my hand. Not only does it look stupid, but it can cause an injury or worse. I prefer a bow quiver that hangs off my belt. This allows me to have my hands free to climb a tree stand and take a shot quickly. Or if I’m on a turkey hunt, I have my hands free if a gobbler comes into view.

Arm Guard

If you are going to be out in the field for a long spell, taking shots from your treestand or the ground, consider wearing a arm guard with your camo.

This will help save you from any unwanted spraying of mud that might be kicked up or from any bruises from possible close encounters of the deer kind.


What can it do?

A rangefinder helps you to measure the distance between you and your target. It's such an accurate laser rangefinder, you can choose a preferred distance and it will beep or vibrate up to that distance.

Why is it a must-have?

Many hunters have claimed that getting a rangefinder is one of the best investments they have ever made. It gives you an extra sense of security, just knowing how far away a target is. Plus, when you're watching your prey, you can give it an extra boost of adrenalin when you see something moving in the bushes that might be a deer.

Bow Release


Using a release is a good way to shoot your bow more accurately and consistently.

To shoot arrows with power, accuracy and speed, your bow should be set an inch or more below your draw length. Doing this will reduce arrow drop and allow you to maintain a more consistent release point with your back, shoulder and elbow.

If you don’t have a bow release, you can still shoot your bow accurately and consistently by practicing proper finger shooting techniques.

Making a bow release is one of the best outdoor fun activities for kids, both boys and girls.

Kids may find assembling a bow release hard, but they will surely enjoy completing the steps and seeing how it works. You better give them the proper guide before they start making their own as they might end up making their own version of a bow release and not the right one.

The basic part of a bow release is the frame that fits around the bow. You can make your bow release from an old piece of wood.

For the bow release string, you can remove a string from an old toy.

All you need to do now is to nail the release string in the wood frame.

Make sure that you cut the release string slightly longer than the wood frame.

To attach the release string to the wood frame, you can put a small hole in it and tie the string using a small knot.