Are you getting ready to head out on your very first whitetail hunting trip? If so, your excitement levels are likely at an all-time high. It's no wonder why between 9 and 10 million Americans go whitetail deer hunting each year. There isn't anything quite like putting on your whitetail hunting gear and soaking up everything the outdoors has to offer.
But with all the gear that is available out there, it can be challenging to know what you really NEED if you are new to whitetail hunting. While you want to ensure that you have high quality hunting clothing and gear, you also don't want to blow your budget on gear that isn't totally necessary.
This is why we came up with this whitetail hunting gear list - to help you know what the basics are for your setup.
The Whitetail Hunting Gear Basics
One of the beautiful things about going whitetail hunting is that you can do it in nearly any state. But with that much variety of hunting destinations, also comes the challenge of getting the right gear.
The gear that you need ultimately depends on the location and season that you are hunting. If you are able, it is probably a good idea to hunt closer to home for your first whitetail hunt. That way you are more familiar with the weather and terrain of the area you are hunting and can make better choices when it comes to choosing the gear that will work best for your hunt.
Before you even start thinking about what gear you need, you have to ensure that you are actually going to be able to hunt. That entails obtaining a hunting license. Some states require an application and lottery style draw, but others you can simply purchase a tag over the counter. Visit your state's Department of Wildlife website for more details on how to obtain a tag.
Each individual state that offers whitetail deer hunting has its own rules and regulations in place. You'll want to educate yourself on these rules and regulations so that you're able to follow them and avoid getting yourself into any trouble when you start hunting.
Your Weapon of Choice
More often than not, those who are just starting to hunt whitetail will go with a rifle versus a bow. Either way, it'll be important for you to purchase the best rifle or bow for you.
Some of the best rifles for hunting whitetails are:
- Winchester Model 70
- Remington 700
- Seekins Precision Havak Element
- Henry Lever Action X Model
- GA Precision Xtreme Hunter
Along with your rifle, you will need to make sure that you have plenty of ammunition purchased to get you through sighting in your rifle and the hunt.
Some of the best bows for hunting whitetails are:
- Bear Execute
- Hoyt RX7
- Mathews Phase 4
- PSE Unite
With your bow you will also need to make sure that you have the appropriate arrows, broad head tips, and release. If you aren't sure what length or grain of arrow and tips you want or need, you can check out a local archery store or even sporting goods store with a bow counter to get some help. They may even have an archery lane for you to test out different types of releases to find the best fit for you.
While it isn't required, hunting from a tree stand is the most common style of whitetail deer hunting.
A tree stand is going to make it more difficult for the deer to detect your presence, because you are out of their direct line of sight. It'll also help you get a better view of what's going on all around you and ensure you're able to make the best shot when you do finally set your sights on your whitetail.
A few tree stand options are:
- Summit Dual Axis
- Millennium M150 Monster
- Hawk Helium Pro
If you aren't in love with the idea of whitetail hunting from a tree stand, using a hunting saddle or even a hunting blind are good alternatives. But no matter what you choose, make sure that you have all the pieces that go along with it, so that you stay safe! This can include things like a harness, carabiners, rope, and more.
Having a high quality hunting backpack is an often overlooked piece of gear. You want to look for a backpack that is lightweight and comfortable to minimize effort packing your gear in and out. Also having plenty of storage will help with the organization and accessibility of all your gear, making your hunt go much smoother.
We recently partnered with CRÜZR to offer their Escape Pack™ in our Summit pattern. It offers a variety of compartments, 1900 cubic inch storage capacity, removable pouch, and more. Make sure to check out their website for all the features of this hunting pack!
It's no secret that whitetail deer have an amazing sense of smell. So it is important to minimize the amount of scent on your body as much as possible.
Merino wool is antimicrobial and helps with odor control naturally, which is why we highly recommend it as one of the best base layers for hunting. You can also look into other scent control products, such as spray, deodorant, and even laundry detergent. There are a large variety of companies producing these items, so looking at reviews of products or talking with experienced hunters would be the best place to start.
Even with all your odor prevention tactics, you still want to make sure that you stay down wind. Wind is a major factor in not having your scent give away your location.
On the same "scent" train of thought - you might want to pack deer scent in your hunting backpack. Deer scent can be used to attract whitetail into thinking there are other deer in the area where you'll set up shop.
Deer scent isn't the only thing you can use to attract deer to the area in which you'll be hunting. You should also look into the possibility of using deer calls to get deer to come closer.
Good optics are a core piece of hunting gear that you will need for ANY species you are hunting. They are an amazing tool for watching or locating animals from a distance.
Sometimes it can be challenging to determine exactly how far away your target it, but knowing that distance is what is going to help you determine HOW to make the most ethical shot. A range finder can be used to sneak a peek at how far away a whitetail deer is so that you can get a shot off more accurately.
Just make sure you buy a range finder that is specifically designed for hunting. Going cheap on any optics is not recommended.
Food and Water
Staying nourished and hydrated throughout a hunting trip will be of the utmost importance. Especially if it is hot, humid, or you have a long hike in and out of your hunting spot.
But make sure to choose snacks that aren't too loud or smelly, as you don't want to give away your location while in the woods.
Ideally, your hunt is going to end with a deer on the ground. If this is how your hunt does end, you want to make sure that you at minimum have a hunting knife in order to skin and quarter your deer.
Whitetail Hunting Clothing
When you're buying hunting clothing for a whitetail deer hunting trip, you should give thought to what the weather will be like and shop accordingly. There are some articles of hunting clothing that will be better for mild and dry weather than others.
Here are some core pieces of whitetail hunting clothing that you will want to have.
No matter if the weather is cool or warm, you are going to want the best hunting base layer you can get.
As we mentioned before, merino wool offers odor protection, so it is our "go-to" base layer material.
Not only does it help with odor control when you are warm, but it also does a great job of wicking away moisture to keep you cool.
These base layers can be worn independently, or with an outer layer, depending on the weather.
Jackets and Vests
If you plan to hunt for whitetail deer in an area that is projected to be very cold, you won't want to leave home without the right hunting jacket or vest. You might be forced to cut your first hunting trip short if you attempt to hunt without the right cold-weather whitetail hunting gear.
From light jackets and rain jackets to late-season jackets and down jackets, you'll be able to choose from any number of options.
You should also keep in mind that you're most likely going to be sitting down in a tree stand or in a hunting blind for long stretches of time. So it is important to not neglect the durability and comfort of your camo hunting pants
Having cheap or ill-fitting boots might end up being one of the biggest mistakes you make during your entire trip. Having the wrong boots can lead to wet, achy, and even blistered feet. Nothing is worse than having to hike back to your camp or truck at the end of the day with sore feet. So make sure that you secure a durable pair of hunting boots that can keep your feet comfortable and dry all day long.
At this point we have most of the core pieces of whitetail hunting clothing, but there are some valuable hunting accessories that can add to the quality of your hunt as well.
- Hunting gloves: Help keep hands warm in cooler temperatures
- Hunting neck gaiter: Help keep the cool temperatures off your neck, as well as pesky insects.
- Merino wool socks: Offer moisture-wicking capabilities to minimize odor, as well as keep feet comfortable.
- Wind Checker: So you can make sure that when you set up you aren't downwind of your target.
- Thermacell: To help keep bugs away without using smelly bug-spray. Some even come with a flashlight option!
Why Not Buy a Whitetail Hunting Clothing Bundle?
If you'd like to avoid having to create your own collection of whitetail hunting clothing, we have special bundles that'll check all the right boxes for you. Here are the bundles that we can set you up with today.
Whitetail Starter Bundle
If you're going on your first whitetail hunt, you can't go wrong with our whitetail starter bundle. With core pieces of whitetail hunting gear, it is a fantastic start for your hunting clothing collection.
Early Season Whitetail Bundle
Our early season whitetail bundle is a great option for those who know they are going to be hunting in cooler temperatures.
Extreme All-Season Whitetail Bundle
Our extreme all-season whitetail bundle has everything you could possibly want in it to be prepared during your whitetail hunt - no matter what Mother Nature throws at you!
If you know your first whitetail hunt won't be your last, this might be the best bundle for you.
Invest in the Right Whitetail Hunting Gear
Securing the basics for whitetail deer hunting will often be the most time-consuming part of preparing for your first hunting trip. But it'll be worth all the time you put into it since it'll lay down a solid foundation for your first trip and all the trips that will come after it.
SKRE has you covered when it comes to the latest and greatest whitetail hunting clothing. We invite you to browse through everything our whitetail hunting camo collection has to offer. It'll help put you in a position to enjoy every single second of your first hunting adventure.
WHITETAIL HUNTING GEAR LIST
- Hunting License
- Weapon and Ammo
- Whitetail Hunting Clothes
- Merino Wool Base Layers
- Hunting Jacket/Vest
- Camo Hunting Pants
- Hunting Boots
- Merino Wool Socks
- Neck Gaiter
- Scent Control
- Deer Scent
- Deer Calls
- Range Finder
- Hunting Knife
- Thermacell (pest control)
- Wind checker
- Tree Stand/Blind/Saddle (optional)
- Applicable safety equipment