Are you ready for hunting season? Summer is halfway over, and fall hunting is just around the corner with some deer seasons opening as early as mid-August and fowl seasons opening in September and October. Since it’s never too early to begin preparing and keeping an eye open for great deals on essential hunting gear, I’ve highlighted some crucial pieces of equipment below that will surely bring you success this coming season.
The Hands-on Hunting Knife
Granted, a quality rifle or bow is obviously important, at first however, a hunter needs a quality hunting knife. I often feel this is the most overlooked essential in a hunter’s arsenal — few realize a shoddy knife that disappoints and under-performs can easily ruin what could have been a great trip. Sure, everyone carries around a pocket knife with a measly 2 or 3-inch blade, but a serious hunter needs a serious knife.
There are two main types of hunting knives I recommend: fixed-blade (like a bowie knife) and lock-back folding knives. Fixed-blade knives are rugged, reliable, and easy to clean — a plus for any hunter with limited resources. Fixed-blade knives can also be potentially dangerous if not packed and handled properly, so be sure to invest in a high-quality sheath. Most lock-back folding blades have the strength and reliability of fixed-blade knives, and they are safer to pack and carry. I favor lock-back blades against traditional folding knives because they eliminate the risk of closing while in use and cutting your palm or fingers. Additionally, many lock-back blades offer one-hand operation, which is a useful feature for any hunter.
Every good blade should be accompanied by a quality sharpener. A blade without a sharpener is like a gun without bullets or a bow without arrows. While some fixed-blades come with a sharpener in their sheath, it’s best to have a separate one for added efficiency. If you’ve never sharpened a knife before, the art is somewhat delicate. Enlist the aid of an expert for your first attempts.
Multi-function, Multi-use, Multi-tool
Second, along the same vein as a quality hunting knife, a professional multi-tool is also an excellent resource to draw upon in the wilderness. Multi-tools, or multi-function pocket knives, provide hunters with a myriad of instruments to use for any situation that may arise. Additionally, these tools double as excellent fishing, hiking, and camping accessories.
Let There Be [LED] Light
Third, you shouldn’t go anywhere without a light, to be specific, an LED light. Even if you plan on hunting in the daylight, carrying around a reliable LED torch is just good common sense. After all, if you’re a serious hunter, efficiency with your light is what your after. Many times you don’t have two hands free to fumble with a switch to turn on, which makes an LED light with a one-handed operation design very hunter-friendly. Still, better yet, an LED headlamp would free up both hands. As far as power and light output are concerned, LEDs far out-perform traditional bulbs. Whether you’re using a flashlight, headlamp, or lantern, LEDs will not only shine brighter, they’ll last longer too, meaning they’ll function when you need them most.
Additionally, LED tactical lights that attach to rifles and other weapons are equally effective and efficient.
There’s No Place Like Home
Finally, a compass or GPS unit is essential for tracking. You don’t know where the game will lead you, but you better know how to get back to camp and from camp back home. Even in the simplest of settings, it’s easy to get turned around and lose your way. Don’t risk getting lost because you didn’t think you needed an orienting instrument. Additionally, make sure you know how to properly use a navigating device. If you don’t, ask a seasoned expert to show you how, and practice in familiar territory before venturing out into the wilderness.
As the fall hunting season draws closer, make certain you’re equipped with the tools you need to experience success. Don’t wait — get the right gear, right now. Of course, having all the right hunting gear doesn’t make you a great hunter, but it will provide you with the safety and ability to start becoming one.
~Richard McNeal, 2009