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Essential Hunting Gear for Beginners [Complete Checklist]

Essential Hunting Gear for Beginners

The joy you get in hunting and the knowledge about hunting gear are directly proportional.

But, there is no shame in being a beginner!

As they say, everyone has to start SOMEWHERE. The same is true for hunting, too!

I remember my first hunting session being a complete fail because I had NONE of the right materials!

This article lists all the essential hunting gear for newbies, including some gear reviews and how they can help you.

Ready? Let’s dive right in!

Hunting Gear Checklist for Beginners

Before anything else, remember that these hunting gear list prioritized equipment created for beginners with minimal hunting investment.

These are the BASICS that I started with, and they’ve definitely helped me get better and better!

Once you become more comfortable and accustomed to hunting, you’re more than welcome to add more.

Without further ado, here are the best and most essential hunting gear and equipment for beginners.

1. Appropriate Hunting Clothing

Hunting clothes

You will need THREE layers for your hunting clothes: the base layer, an insulating layer, and an outer shell layer.

The BASE layer is the layer that touches your skin. I recommend choosing items made of synthetic polyester or merino wool.

Avoid cotton at all costs!

Use this material for your underwear, bottoms, tops, and socks. This will help you in absorbing sweat and in moderating your body temperature.

For your insulating layer, you can get by with regular fleece jackets, sweatshirts, and jeans. The goal is a wool or polyester jacket.

Pricey, but a great investment nevertheless!

Lastly, the outer shell layer consists of your hunting jackets, pants, and the like.

The pattern will depend on which state you are from and the hunting activity that you are doing.

One of my favorite hunting suits is from HECS. It is designed to avoid the electromagnetic sensing of animals, especially for bow hunting.

In other words, you can sneak up on animals UNDETECTED! In terms of design, their clothing is ULTRA-lightweight and breathable!

I’ve spent the whole day in Stealthscreen fabric and had an easier time deer hunting because of its flexibility.

Why Is Proper Clothing Important to Hunters?

Your hunting trip highly depends on the quality of your hunting clothing.

Hunting has unpredictable conditions, and hunting clothing is your first line of defense.

I remember hunting during the winter once. I thought I was going to freeze to death because my hunting clothes weren’t thick enough.

Different activities require different materials, but everything must be BREATHABLE!

Essential hunting gear starts with hunting clothing that is water and wind-resistant. These materials seal the body warmth you need for cold places.

When it comes to size, choose something slightly larger than what you would normally wear. The air space will let you hold your body heat.

Are you going deer hunting? You’d need something quiet when you move so you can get closer to your prey and have better accuracy.

PRO TIP: To test your hunting clothing, wear them at the store and start walking around it. Try moving your arms around to see if it makes noise. Do the same with a pair of boots.

The right hunting clothes are an INVESTMENT, of course. But the things I mentioned above are the absolute minimum.

2. Hunting Weapons

Two hunters

Aside from having the right hunting clothing, the right hunting weapon will also MAKE or BREAK your first hunting trip!

Consider this factor when choosing your hunting weapon.

Your state regulations are important! Depending on what’s allowed, you can choose between using bow hunting, hunting rifles, or rifle scopes.

Let’s explore your options one by one.

Bows and Arrows

Bows and arrows aren’t my first weapon of choice when hunting mainly because they take A LOT of practice.

They have an effective range of around 50 yards, meaning you must hunt more closely to your intended animal.

If you really want to try deer hunting with the bow as your hunting equipment, try practicing bow shooting first.

I personally took an archery class to help me not only improve my aim but also make me more acquainted with my bow.

Another advantage of using this traditional hunting gear is that it is easier to carry than a firearm.

I wasn’t easily overwhelmed either when I was a newbie as there are fewer safety concerns.

Hunting Rifles

There are a lot of debates when it comes to the best hunting weapon for beginners.

One other piece of advice is that you start with a firearm on your first hunt. You have three options when you are hunting using a rifle.

  • Caliber .243 (two forty-three)
  • .270 (two seventy)
  • .30-06 (thirty ought six)

Let me tell you the difference.

The .243 has enough gunpowder to quickly kill a deer. The positive side is that it has very little kickback.

Meanwhile, the .270 and the .30-06 are lifetime hunting rifles. Using these two, I’ve delivered quick kills during deer hunting, elk hunting, and the like.

They’re built for squeezing as much velocity as possible for long, accurate shots.

This is ideal when your hunting trip has an ideal stand, or you are used to long-range aiming.

Hunters usually use these guns when their prey are really sensitive to sounds, like deer.

Rifle Scopes

Rifle scope

Rifle scopes are my BEST FRIEND when it comes to improved vision and accuracy of the firearm.

This is one of the BEST hunting equipment for starting hunters as it minimizes error and helps in shooting more deer.

Rifle scopes from Vortex boast extra-low dispersion glass and fully multi-coated lenses, resulting in a bright and clear picture.

It also has exposed tactical turrets and a side parallax knob which helps hunters aim better in long-distance precision shooting.

Some optics and rifle scopes from Vortex are also waterproof and fog-proof!



Since some hunting regulations don’t allow rifles, starting hunters can carry a shotgun as an alternative.

Aside from having a longer and more effective range, using a firearm takes less practice than using a bow and arrow for hunting.

This shotgun is the Mossberg Maverick 88 in 12 gauge, one of the inexpensive models for hunting.

It also has removable plugs if you want to go waterfowl hunting! The strong gunpowder can take down a big animal with as little kickback as possible.

I’ve used this shotgun as a practice weapon when I was still learning how to shoot, so it’s great for beginners.

3. Hunting Gear and Equipment

Man looking through binoculars

The best hunting weapon is useless when you can’t see anything, right?

A few pieces to compliment your hunting gear list would be things that will help your vision.

New hunters would benefit from investing in these miscellaneous items under this essential hunting gear list.



Most monoculars have a magnification between 5 and 10, which are a must if you plan to travel lightly.

I find them SUPER convenient when moving from one place to another.

They are also decent in low-light settings, especially if you are deer hunting during dusk or dawn.


Pair of binoculars

Binoculars can have up to 20x magnification and multi-layer coated aspherical lenses that will provide a high-definition view with minimal transmission.

This is an essential part of your hunting gear checklist, especially if you have been watching something for a long time.

Not to mention most binoculars are suitable for harsh situations!

For instance, in elk hunting, a hunter must be able to see the elk from a high vantage point or from a tree stand.

Binoculars are useful for precision and accurate aim.

I recommend that you do not submerge binoculars under water as it can also affect their brightness and clarity.



A hunting gear checklist is never complete without carrying in equipment for illumination.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve gotten lost in the dark!

A tactical flashlight can have multiple adjustment methods for different situations.

Some even have additional features like a flash jump reminder and an SOS emergency rescue in case of an unexpected situation during your hunt.

Some flashlights, like police flashlights, can withstand harsh handling.

I recommend that you put them inside your backpack during the daytime to avoid an accidental fall into the water or misplacement.

This is also an essential item when you are going camping during your hunt. Pack extra batteries if your flashlight is not rechargeable!

4. Hunting Knife


A hunting knife is another important part of your hunting gear list!

I usually keep a short blade, which is around 4 inches. In terms of the mechanism, choose a fixed or folding blade knife for a quicker response.

While a folding blade knife takes longer to unlock, it’s much safer, especially when you’re not used to using sharp objects on your first hunting trip.

The ideal hunting knife boasts stainless steel, can have replacement blades, and have excellent edge retention.

Excellent edge retention means you won’t have to sharpen your blade frequently, no matter how often you use it for cutting rope or field dressing.

I’ve gone outdoors for a few days straight and never had to worry about my knife turning dull.

When you’re in the middle of the woods, you will find that a knife is essential for both camping and the hunt itself.

Just wipe it with toilet paper to prevent rusting.

Believe me; the absolute MINIMUM is for the knife to be securely fastened.

There are many situations during the hunt that will require you to bring a knife out quickly!

5. Hunting Backpack

Open backpack

Your hunting backpack will ensure protection from rain and heat for all of your hunting equipment.

What’s important for a hunting backpack is its COLOR.

Avoid flashy colors like neon and other bright colors like yellow and orange. Instead, opt for black, brown, gray, or green.

Your clothing, extra boots, food during the hunt, and other items essential for camping must be protected by a reliable bag.

It’s also a plus to get one with an ergonomic design that will keep your hunting gear organized and a few pieces easily accessible, such as food.

Lightweight, durable bags make it easier to endure long hours outdoors, too!

6. First Aid Kit

First aid kits

Of course, your hunting accessories aren’t complete with FIRST-AID!

Some first aid is a good option when there is no nearby camping ground.

I’ve had to take a rest since I was feeling unwell as the day went on, so I took some handy medicine.

Another time, I had to patch up a cut. Good thing I had some bandages and disinfectants on hand!

Have a first aid kit that has burn cream packets, ibuprofen, gauze roll, and other items used for different wounds and situations.

7. Pair of Hunting Boots

Hunting boots

Sometimes, the hunting supplies checklist isn’t always about what you’re carrying, but what is carrying YOU (a.k.a your pair of boots).

Your gear will not be complete without a pair of dependable hunting boots.

Your pair of boots must be durable enough to last all the conditions you’ll experience in the woods. They should also be 100% waterproof.

I personally carry a pair lined with a breathable mesh design, just like my hunting clothing.

Aside from that, it helps if your boots are contoured to prevent slipping.

I was once rained on during a session outdoors; good thing my boots saved me from slipping as I tried to find shelter!

Additional Hunting Tips for Beginners

You now know about all the things you should bring and wear.

Here are some important tips you should keep in mind before starting your next/first hunt!

#1 Prepare Emergency Supplies

First aid kit icon

While they are not part of the main list of hunting accessories and gear reviews, emergency supplies are important, especially if you are on your first hunt.

The thing is, ANYTHING can happen in the woods, especially when you are camping. These emergency supplies are as important as any other piece inside your backpack.

Believe me; these items may save a life. Aside from first-aid, make sure you prepare the following:

  • Toilet paper
  • Extra batteries
  • Extra food and water
  • Bug repellent

#2 Invest in Tree Stands/Ground Blind

Tower icon

Want to absolutely increase your chances of seeing a deer?

The key is to create a ground blind or a stand with a safety harness on a tree.

If your hunting equipment is a bow, a tree stand will offer you more advantages as the need for movement absolutely increase.

Of course, I wouldn’t do this alone. I always ensure I have a hunting buddy to spot me.

#3 Know Essential Skills

Person in safety attire icon

Your hunting license won’t include other survival skills, but it is paramount to know other stuff like cutting rope, how to field dress a deer, and climbing a tree.

If you want to save money, you can also learn how to repair your pair of boots, clothing, or gloves.

You can even learn how to make a water bottle silencer in case the situation calls for it!

It’s not enough to just know how to shoot.

When I was a beginner, I went through a lot of hardships because I didn’t know much about my surroundings or how to make the most of my supplies.

The key is to master your gear and your role in the hunt, like spotting more deer from a tree stand or knowing how to save food.

Part of the hunt is cooking your catch to become food. Ensure proper cooking, too!

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the Best Hunting Weapon for Beginners?

I started with a firearm when I was a beginner, and I believe that’s the best choice for beginning hunters.

Firearms allow you to shoot comfortably from a safe, long distance. Plus, it’s quite easy to get used to!

Some believe that bows are better for beginners, but in my experience, they take a lot longer to master and require you to be up close and personal with the target.

It might be a little nerve-wracking for a newbie to shoot with an animal is at close-range, which will only result in a failed shot.

What is the Easiest Animal to Hunt for a Beginning Hunter?

Squirrels, pheasants, and ducks are some of the easiest animals to get a beginner started in the hunting game.

For starters, squirrels are everywhere! You can easily hunt them with small-caliber rifles and small gauge shotguns.

Hunting for squirrels also teaches basic hunting skills like identifying camouflage or sneaking up on prey undetected.

Meanwhile, pheasants ducks are one of the easiest birds to hunt since they are also easy to find.

Pheasants are easy to spot because of their size, so taking them out with a shotgun shouldn’t be too difficult. Plus, their meat is quite delicious!

As for ducks, they travel in packs, so it’s possible to take multiple out at once. You also don’t have to be radio silent while hunting, so don’t worry about ducks running away.

Final Words

Man looking through rifle scope

I hope this article helped you put together your essential hunting equipment list.

Your first hunting trip can be both exciting and overwhelming, and the goal is to help you prepare as much as possible for anything.

Even the most seasoned hunters benefit from having the basics!

As I always say, when it comes to hunting season, it’s better to have something and not need it than to need something and not have it.

Happy hunting!

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