10 Things You Won't Need Your First Time Deer Hunting (Or Possibly Ever)

“My mistake was in ever opening the books.” 

There’s a lot of hunting gear labeled as “essential.” Some hunting gear is better suited for serious and advanced hunters. And some of it just plain gimmicky.

We were new hunters once too. And it’s easy to blow all your money on things that seem good when you’re getting geared up.

Here are 10 things you probably won’t need as a first time hunter. Or probably ever.

  1. A full box of ammunition.

    Chances are you’re only going to get one shot at a deer. Save some space in your pack and carry enough to fill your rifle’s magazine (3-5 rounds). Same story if you’re turkey hunting 3 or 4 shells tops.

  2. Wind powder.

    Believe it or not, some people need tools to tell which way the wind is blowing. Wind powder is – as the name might have tipped you off – a light powder you toss in the air to where the wind is blowing. Save your money and lick your finger.

  3. Camouflage on anything smaller than your rifle.

    This is going to save you a lot of money when you’re getting gear. You can get nearly anything in camo these days. But don’t be fooled. A camouflage knife is the worst thing when you drop it and can’t find it. Same goes for camo cellphone covers, camo belts or even – this is a thing – camo chainsaws.

  4. Speaking of knives.

    Any hunting knife that’s closing in on the price of your rifle is a bad buy. Field dressing a deer dulls a knife really fast regardless of cost. Do yourself a favor and buy a sharpening stone and learn to use it.

  5. Scent-Lok clothing.

    I’ve got bad news for you newbie: you stink. No amount of scent-lok clothing, odorless shaving cream, soap and shampoo is going to stop a deer from smelling you. Save your money and buy clothes that fit and don’t rustle.

  6. Pee bottles.

    Risking a mix up between your water and your urine is scary idea. But really, don’t buy into the idea that a special bottle for your piss is going to stop a deer from smelling you. Just use an empty bottle and hope a deer isn’t near when you’re relieving yourself.

  7. The Deerview Mirror.

    Here’s the theory: You’re in a tree stand or on the ground. Turning your head is noisy and oh-so tough. So you get a mirror to see the prey behind you. No. Keep your ears open and don’t jerk your head around like a squirrel.

  8. The latest, most amazing camouflage clothes.

    Camo is contentious. Some swear by it. Others think camo is useless. We think erring on the side of “don’t spend on it if you don’t have to” is smart. If you’re just getting started with hunting go a season with what you have. Spend more on true hunting essentials like rifles, bows and boots. Wearing good, drab outdoor gear will get you through the season. It’s more important to master key skills like winding, staying quiet and finding hunting spots that produce.

  9. Spotting Scope.

    Here’s the truth of things: your first hunt is probably going to turn out to be an armed hike. After a few seasons you’ll know where to look, so until then just carry some decent, cheap binoculars. We’re assuming you’re just getting your gear together, so the price of a spotting scope is better spent on the glass on top of your rifle. You know, your actual scope.

  10. The Cough Muffler.

    There is – and this is true – a gadget that makes your cough silent. If you’re sporting a cough, put out your cigarette (shouldn’t be smoking) or take a swig of water quietly.