Hunting Gear Essentials

A steady hand and a keen eye are crucial, but successful hunting also requires the proper equipment. This article on hunting gear essentials will help you zero in on the right tools of the trade.

Hunting Gear 101

Whatever type of hunting you do, and whether you're a novice or a seasoned pro, having the right gear is essential for performance and safety. The gear you need depends on the type of hunting you’ll be doing. Rifle hunting is much different than bow-hunting, for example: each offers different challenges under diverse conditions across the seasons. And big game hunting has different requirements than hunting for squirrels or birds. You’ll also need to transport everything you intend to wear, shoot or inhabit during your trip. If you take the time to investigate your options, you'll be better prepared, and less likely to return empty handed.  

Types of Hunting Gear


Airgun Hunting

The airgun category includes a broad range of recreational firearms including pistols, rifles, and various hybrids. They are powered by compressed air or gas, or can be spring-loaded. Under Canadian law, airguns that fall within specific power and range limitations are exempt from licensing and registration, but such guns are still powerful enough for hunting. If you want to hunt small animals or rid your rural property of annoying critters or birds then an air gun may be the perfect choice. There is a wide variety of airgun ammunition available to suit different types of prey. An air gun is also an excellent option for novice hunters who can learn safe handling and improve their marksmanship before moving up to something more powerful.

Crossbow Hunting

Bow hunters can justifiably claim to be a special breed. In choosing this traditional method of stalking game, you must develop specialized skills, as well as the patience to get quite close to your prey before shooting. Compound bows and crossbows are powerful weapons that can be used in deer hunting, bear hunting and moose hunting. Close-range bow hunting places a premium on tracking and camouflage skills, not to mention a keen eye and steady hand. Practice makes perfect, and there a wide variety of practice targets available to better your aim. Crossbows are illegal or restricted in some jurisdictions. 

Rifle Hunting

Your choice of rifle depends upon your target prey and the options are practically infinite. Deer hunters, moose hunters, elk hunters and bear hunters require heavier calibre long arms and ammunition. Small game, waterfowl and turkey hunters need lighter gear. Regardless of size, a rifle and scope is a delicate instrument and should be protected in a good quality rifle case. Be sure to read your province’s hunting regulations before setting out. And most importantly, keep your firearms and ammunition safely locked away in good quality gun cases and ammo boxes when not in use.

Slingshot Hunting

Today’s slingshots are built from durable, lightweight composite materials and capable of far greater accuracy than the homemade version you might recall from childhood. Highly portable and affordable, slingshots require no special licensing to own. Before using a slingshot for hunting though, you must practice your aim and observe some basic safety rules. A slingshot is suitable for hunting small game animals and game birds. The choice of ammunition includes various sizes of BBs and pellets. A slingshot is also a handy item to include in a survival kit for a camping trip or an extended hike in the woods. Children using slingshots must be supervised.

Knives and Multi-Tools

When you're deep in the woods and need to cut or repair something, having the right tools makes a huge difference. As you prepare for your next outing, be sure to pack some version of a folding knife to cover basic cutting tasks. Compact, razor-sharp models come with durable, synthetic grips suited to any weather. For heavier cutting, a sheathed hunting knife with a six-inch blade is a good choice. You should also pack a multi-tool, with handy items such as pliers, scissors, a knife, hacksaw, bottle opener and can opener. 

Duck Calls and Decoys

Duck hunting makes for a great day in the outdoors, but you also want to bag your limit and head home. And with the right calls and decoys, you have a much better chance to get close enough for accurate shooting. Most duck hunters carry a mallard call and a duck whistle, along with backups. Duck decoys (floatable duck replicas) work in tandem with duck calls to attract a flock. Remember, it's not just the look of your decoys but the number you use and how you position them that attracts real live ducks.

Blinds and Stands

Hunting typically involves making yourself invisible to your prey. Camouflage clothing is one means, but you should also consider a hunting blind or tree stand. You can purchase blind material and assemble it yourself on site or opt for pre-assembled blinds that set up quickly and easily like a pop-up tent. Deer hunters often use tree stands, which include a platform for sitting and a ladder for climbing up the tree. Tree stands can also provide protection from the elements during a cold, wet hunting season.

Hunting Apparel

As a hunter, you want to strike a balance between blending into the natural environment and making yourself visible to fellow hunters. For close-range hunting, you'll typically need head-to-toe camouflage clothing to avoid detection. A full camo outfit includes a hat, gloves and boots, all in a colour pattern consistent with your terrain. In some jurisdictions, a bright (blaze) orange hunting jacket or hat may be mandatory for safety purposes. Waterproofing, scent-control treatment and insulated undergarments are worth considering too, depending on the hunting season and location.

Hunting Accessories

No matter what type of hunting you do, you need to equip yourself with the right accessories. These are items that improve safety, protect equipment, increase comfort and generally help you hunt more successfully. The list starts with the basics, such as hunting knives, backpacks, fanny packs, camouflage tape, binoculars, protective eyewear and hearing protection. It then expands to include game-specific accessories, including duck calls and duck decoys and specialized calls and attractants for prey such as deer, moose, elk, bear and coyote. If your hunting involves an extended stay in the woods, you'll also need to outfit yourself with camping essentials such as a tent, sleeping bag and other outdoor gear. At home, you'll need a secure gun safe to safely store your firearms when they're not in use. And, of course, before embarking on your hunting adventure, you'll need to acquire the necessary hunting licenses.
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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