The Most Important Hunting Gear for The Prepper / Wild Game Forager

by Daren Rifen

According to the United States Fish & Wildlife Service an estimated 90 million US citizens aged 16 and above participate in some form of wildlife-related recreational activities. 13.7 million of these are hunters, 12.7 million of whom use rifles, shotguns or handguns for hunting. This means that the remaining 1 million hunters use bows. With such a huge number of hunters, it is no wonder that an estimated $ 70.4 million is used on hunting gear annually. From this statistics, it is clear that hunters invest heavily on their hunting equipment. As a novice or beginner hunter figuring out what hunting gear to invest in can be a daunting task, especially given the wide selection of hunting gear available. While this can be challenging there are certain equipment that you should prioritize over others. If you want to make the transition from rookie to advanced hunter these are the hunting gear, you should buy.

  • A good hunting weapon
  • A quality pair of hunting optics
  • Camouflaged clothes
  • Knife and honing stone

Now let us consider the importance of each one of these hunting tools individually. This way you will know which one to buy first and which to buy last. However, if it is possible, it is recommended that you purchase them all at once.

A good hunting weapon

As already observed a staggering 12.7 million hunters use rifles, shotguns, and handguns for hunting. Another 4.5 million use bow and arrows while another 2.9 million use antique muzzle loaders. Thus, different hunters have varying preferences when it comes to hunting weapons. As a beginner, a rifle is a better hunting weapon than a bow. When choosing a rifle, it is important to consider the weight. A bulky rifle will weigh you down, and its recoil action will probably interfere with its accuracy. The cartridges or ammunition you are using on your rifle should be humane on the animals you are hunting. Light cartridges are more accurate but have minimal impact on far-off targets. When buying a rifle do some research on its cartilage and weight.

A quality pair of hunting optics

One of the most important hunting gear any advanced hunter must have in their arsenal is a good pair of hunting optics. There are several optical instruments used for hunting, with the most common being binoculars and spotting scopes. The latter have a more powerful magnification power than the former but are heavier. Thus, if you are a beginner having a good pair of binoculars will be instrumental to the success of your hunt. The best binoculars for hunting will give you an even playing field. Especially since a deer or any other wild animal have better eyesight than humans. If you can, also buy a best rangefinder to improve your hunting. Standard hunting binoculars have a magnification of 8X and 10X. However, some binoculars have high magnifications of up to 15X. It is important to note that the higher the magnification the harder it is to stabilize. Thus, if you are newbie a binocular with either an 8X or 10X magnification will be ideal.


Camouflage is the greatest asset that both hunters and soldiers have in their quest to conquer the great outdoors. Thus, it is important that you get clothes that blend well with your hunting area’s surroundings. In addition to clothes scent inhibiting products. Commonly known as scent blockers, these liquid products help you mask your body’s natural scent thus minimizing detection by animals. Scent blockers are available in the form of sprays and lotions that you can apply on your skin. In addition, to clothes you also need to get a great pair of boots that can withstand the roughness of your hunting terrain. If you are hunting during winter, then your hunting boots need to be insulated. Also, the outsole of a hunting boot needs to be made from rubber so that it does not make any sound that may alert your target of your approach. Finally, a good pair of hunting boots needs to be waterproof.

A knife and honing stone

Another important tool that you will need when going hunting is a hunting knife. There are generally two types of hunting knives, fixed blade, and folders. Fixed blade knives are cheaper, lighter and stronger compared to their folding counterparts. However, due to their size, they are not easy to carry around. Folding knives, on the other hand, tend to be costlier due to their folding mechanism. However, they are versatile and come in handy when you need to cut through bone and cartilage.


  1. Another thing that I think is just as important in hunting is good, quality boots. I’ve seen too many people get hurt wearing poor quality boots or just flatly the wrong shoes. This is no time for your favorite “Air Jordan’s”.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Absolutely! Or in my case a good pair of ankle encasing shoes…(high desert) catch 22 f for foot wear, hmmm time for some good moccasins

    • swabbie Robbie says:

      I paid a price for bad boots. They were felt lined good boots bt the felt had worn down. It was a very cold day in 2009 and I was standing for a long time. My toes got frost bite and that winter and every winter since I get chill blanes. Though I have far better boots and socks these days I still get them.
      Note: One good part of treating them is taking vitamin D

    • I was always taught that if you take care of your feet you can go anywhere!! so to me a great pair of boots is one of the most important choices!! been wearing this pair of hunting boots for going on 3 yrs and they still have a lot left in them!! I take good care of them also!! they weren’t cheap but the quality is excellent!!

    • azrealityprepper says:

      JP you are absolutely correct. I would put good boots even above camo clothing or a knife and above good optics.

    • Fl Prepper says:

      I used to deer hunt with a set of good waders. I would be the guy that volunteered to wade the swamps and bogs, and guess what? I got the most deer as the other stood on the perimeters.

  2. Good point on the boots. I do remember the story of the two guys going on a hike in bear country. One is lacing up his hiking boots and the other is putting on running shoes. The guy with the boots tells the runner that his shoes won’t cut it. The shoe guy says we might get chased by a bear. The boot guy says you can’t outrun a bear! The shoe guy says I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you!
    Archery is a good plan but I would add that you should consider bow fishing. Most shots are from less than 10 feet away so aiming isn’t difficult. You do do need to remember that refraction form the water bends light and if you aim directly at a fish you will miss. You need to aim under the fish. Check eBay for affordable gear.
    A quality hunting knife made from a good steel will outlast you. I like Puma. It’s a German knife made with Solingen steel. It will outlast you. Newer Puma knives are being made in China now so used is the way to go. Once again, eBay.
    On firearms you should know that they can be used to also take fish. The impact on the water from a high velocity round will stun a fish allowing it to be netted. An arrow is much quieter and is re-usable.
    Trot lines are heavy lines with multiple hooks attached that allow in tended fishing. Very affordable.

    • Oops that should have been un-tended fishing. check the line daily or more often.

    • Not all trotlines Are created equal–the traditional ones are so easily tangled as to be a nightmare to set or retrieve. Those which have individual lines with baited hooks that attach to the main line with clips are the most recent innovation (in the last 15 years or so) and will work better for anyone. I’m told that circular hooks are best, though I’ve used traditional hooks and NEVER failed to catch big catfish. This trotline design is an example of what you should try:

  3. MD, thanks for posting an article on a Fri again. & I hope u & all the pack rec peace & joy during this special season! God bless u.

  4. Chuck Findlay says:

    The most important thing is the ability to know how to stalk your animal to get close enough to use the weapon you have. All the rest is is just extra stuff…

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      Used to be able to get birds to land on me, think like the animal you are after, its amazing how fast animals dismiss something they dont see as a threat. Only once did I touch deer in the wild and not take their life. It was weird, doe and fawn walked right by me, I reached out and just let my fingers drag over the fawn…not sure if they ever realized I wasnt the bush…miss those days, now im lucky too get five yards of the path without falling over…ahh back!

    • Or when to sit and wait. I’ve taken a lot of game by pausing and just sitting on a stump or rock while waiting to see what would move first. Or for my backside to go numb…lol

  5. When I was learning to hunt we didn’t have optics, camo or special footwear. We wore and used what we had and got the job done anyway.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      We would wear jeans and flannel.

      • I never subscribed to wearing cammo while hunting . I never wore neon clothes either ,I do want to look different from game so I do not get shot.

    • A rifle, a knife, a 10′ length of rope, and state approved hunting apparel (which does not include any cammo for gun hunters, not even for black powder seasons, since most states have regulations for what can be worn: hint, check state hunting regs),and a compass (with the smarts to use it before going off road), is all a beginner needs to hunt. All the other stuff is just that: added weight totally unnecessary for the enjoyment of hunting. Yes, it’s nice to have ‘stuff’, but it isn’t and shouldn’t be a requirement.

      Good boots are something every person should have as a matter of course, as is warm clothing worn in layers. Also, a good pair of warm gloves or mittens and a hat.

      Stalking ability is a moot point for stand hunting. More deer are shot from a stand than by stalking. Scouting ability is more important than stalking by a wide margin. However, stalking should not be neglected training right along with tracking skills. If you’re going to ‘get into’ stalking, you’ll discover that less us more because silence and slow are keys to success. You don’t need a bunch of trinkets rattling around your person or banging on brush, rocks, trees. Another hint about stalking: invest in clothing with reinforced knees and elbow pads: at least half your time stalking will be spent crawling below shrub levels.

      Pre-season training should include learning to sit still and quiet for extended periods, shooting range time as much as possible, walking and strength building exercises to include lifting and dragging weight- fgrom 100 to 200 pounds for deer hunters, and a good bird and insect book to study before season, the skill used to identify friendly critters while waiting for the quarry to arrive.

  6. I love the hunt it is so great to live in a place that I can hunt and fish for most of our meat. I think hunting can cost a lot if you make it to complicated so try to keep it as basic as possible. One more thing please remember to respect the animals your hunting and the wilderness you are in.

    • azrealityprepper says:

      Speed, I agree with you and I think respect is pretty much the missing factor in a lot of the troubles we have today. Absolutely must respect the animals and wilderness. Both can bite you hard…..

  7. One way to stabilize binoculars is to grasp the the binoculars with only the ring and pinky fingers. Rest the thumb on your cheeks, the fore fingers behind the eyes and the middle fingers on your temples. Helps me quite a bit.

  8. Ummmm. Don’t mean to be nit-picker, but none of my rifles have any cartilage. Just sayin…

  9. I’ve taken 4 deer so far this season and plan on taking a couple more.
    My hunting gear isn’t top-of-the-line but I’m matching up my gear with my needs.
    I’ve gutted a deer with my Leatherman Multi-tool, shot a deer under a camo surplus poncho strung up to stay dry during a rainstorm, nailed a rabbit with my homemade slingshot walking back to my truck from leaving my deer hunting spot.
    I also trap and have a small supply of various traps to use.
    When properly set, they work for me while I’m doing other things.
    We ate two rabbits my DW fried up like chicken in a 10-inch Dutch Oven that were from snares I made from a spool of picture frame hanging cable.
    You’d never believe it if you seen me on the streets or during the workweek.
    But anyways……………

    • Richard, I love your background. I hunted for years only wearing blue jeans, a flannel long sleeve shirt, a pair of wool socks, an old coat and a cheap pair of work boots. I carried an old knife with a stag handle given me by my father for field dressing animals, I still have that old knife, but today I carry newer and better quality ones.
      I remember my feet would lose feeling but it was all I could afford at the time. I had near frost bitten feet when I was in High School and to this day when my feet get real cold they can become numb and painful.
      Now we have everything imaginable and it’s funny how often so much of that stuff stays in the truck when I’m hunting or remains at home.
      My recommendation: good quality warm clothes whether under or outer are important, good boots, reliable rifle/bow, good quality hunting knife, knapsack etc. bottom line, I use minimal good quality hunting gear.

      • Well said, Col D
        As I get older now, I try to see things ahead only to find myself at times to work with what I’ve got.

  10. This kind of brings up a question, especially in the preparedness community. Years ago part of the basic battery of arms one should have included a accurate scoped bolt action ‘deer rifle’ (not a psudo-sniper rifle) and to supplement their riot shotgun 18-20″ barrel, a 26-28″ field barrel for game getting. Is that still applicable today? Sure with modern bonded soft points in 223/7.62×39/308cal one could use a scoped modern semi-auto rifles (ARs,AR10’s etc) as 300 yard hunting rifles, but what sayth the hive?

    • Actually, the battery of arms need not contain a scoped rifle of any kind, and a scoped rifle is a pseudo sniper rifle. A riot shotgun? You mean a short barreled partridge shotgun? I don’t see a difference there, and a longer barrel pretty much just improves aiming ability since most shot powders burn out long before 26″.

      Nothing wrong with using .223/7.62×39 for hunting deer- unless taking shots at 300 yards, which is well beyond the range of ‘humane kills’ for those two cartridges (‘cartilage’ for those who want to proof-read). Yes, they can hit at that range, but humanely kill? Questionable with average shooters. Semi-auto? what difference does it make the action type for hunting? Semi-auto rifles have been used more than a century, even before adopted for military use.

    • Jesse Mathewson says:

      I enjoy my red dots and carbines…and can easily hunt with them – as for shotgun, honestly, its overrated in a modern world. Exceptions being geese, ducks, pheasant or turkeys – game birds are not worth the sound of shotgun in grid down, especially when you can easily build live traps and avoid shot.
      Additionally the weight disadvantage with shotgun shells versus a .22lr (for geese, ducks and the like) make it difficult for persons like myself (physical disability that is not fixable / eg., long term nerve damage, missing L5 etc ,) to say its worth owning a shotgun.

      This doesnt mean it has no value, however, especially in the southwest body armor is quite common among all segments of society. Another reason I prefer carbines with steel core ammo and or 55 grn fmj 🙂

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