Having the appropriate hunting gear is essential to having a good, safe, and lawful time hunting. Before heading out, it is of the utmost importance to conduct research on the state laws and the hunting area itself. Consequently, there are two major components to prepare for any hunt: items that will be used before leaving for the hunt, and items used during or after the hunt.
To have a legal hunt, every hunter must purchase a license, tag, or stamp. In the united States, such items are typically purchased through the Division of Wildlife of the state where the hunt will occur. In addition, it is of the greatest importance to review a copy of the rules for the state where the hunt will occur. The rules change from year to year and are very specific as to the times, species, and sex of the game. The rules for a given year will dictate at what specific day and time a hunt for a given animal with a given weapon can begin – and again, the rules will change yearly.
Another piece of hunting gear is an area map. Studying and carrying a parking map, trail map, and landmark map, is valuable too, particularly if the area of land on which the hunt will occur is large. Also, it is important to receive permission from the land owner, if hunting on private land or the field office, if hunting on public land.
A hunting buddy is always nice to have along, for companionship and for safety. If something goes wrong or help is needed, it is important to have another person to turn to. In addition, a third party, not on the hunt, should be informed as to the vicinity of the hunt, and the estimated time of arrival and departure.
Hunting gear includes the appropriate hunting weapon and ammunition. The weapon will vary from season to season and from game to game. For example, sometimes a hunter may use a bow and arrows. If a hunter decides to go antelope hunting, he would use a small bore, flat shooting rifle. For a larger animal, such as a moose or an elk, he would use a large bore rifle.
Other hunting gear is dependent on the type of hunt. Binoculars are always handy. Dogs are great for duck hunting and horses are useful to pack in and out gear and even game. A boat or an ATV may also be used, especially for water fowl or large game, respectively. Again, depending on the kind of game and time of year, jackets and hunting boots may be necessary – sometimes jackets will be camouflage and other times bright orange.
After the hunt is over, a hunter needs additional hunting supplies. Field dressing supplies, such as a knife, disposable gloves, and plastic bags are recommended. In addition, cleaning supplies are useful to clean the hunter up after dressing his game. Once the hunter returns to his vehicle, he must pack the meat in a transport ice cooler, to keep it fresh, as well.
If other hunting gear is needed, it will be specialized. For example, camping supplies are necessary for overnight hunts. A daypack, food, and water will often be key items, too. A compass, cellular phone, GPS unit, and special weather gear may also be important items for certain hunting situations, as well. The important thing is to plan ahead and think through all aspects of the hunt before leaving home - such planning will make any hunt a more enjoyable and safe experience.