Great Gear for First Time Deer Hunters

With dwindling hunter participation throughout the nation, introducing someone to deer hunting is one way all hunters can help save the sport.

Hunter aiming rifle using Caldwell shooting sticks
As it is with introducing someone to any new, having reliable gear can make the experience go smooth.Caldwell

Despite the white-tailed deer being the most popular big-game animal in the United States, the number of deer hunters is declining at about the same rate as the number of hunters overall. That’s a bad thing for the future of a sport loved by so many. Certainly, most are willing to do their part in keeping deer hunting from disappearing altogether, but how? One way all serious deer hunters can make a difference is by introducing new hunters to the sport. To do so, however, they need some extra equipment that they can loan someone interested in the sport and help newcomers have a comfortable, enjoyable time. If you want to take a new person deer hunting, these three items can make your venture more successful.

Two-Person Blind

Ameristep 2-person hunting blind.
This hub-style ground blind has plenty of room for two hunters to share when deer hunting.Ameristep

When introducing a new person to deer hunting, comfort is one of the main considerations. Since being cold, wet, or otherwise uncomfortable can take the fun out of a hunting outing, you need to make sure your guest will remember the hunt as being enjoyable. While tree stands are wonderful tools for hunting deer, a two-person ground blind is a better choice for introducing a newbie. For one thing, since they are enclosed, blinds are usually warmer than most tree stands. Take a small propane heater along, and they’re even more comfortable, especially if you have good-quality chairs to sit in. Blinds are also more soundproof than an open-air stand, allowing you to explain the ins and outs of hunting to your guest with less chance of spooking deer. Portable deer blinds are available in two basic types—pop-up blinds and hub-style blinds. Since hub-style blinds are generally sturdier and a little roomier, they represent the best investment if you plan to introduce someone new to the sport.

Boots

Ariat men's Conquest hunting boots
These leather hunting boots have lugged rubber soles and rounded toes.Ariat

Having a spare pair of boots can be a little tricky because of sizing issues. But it’s nearly undebatable that if a new hunter heads to the field or forest with inadequate footwear, he or she will likely soon be miserable because of wet, cold feet. Consequently, a return trip is less likely. Most serious hunters need an extra pair of boots, anyway, in case their favorite pair wears out or gets damaged. Make sure that whatever boot you choose is light enough that it won’t burn your guest’s feet up in the early season, but heavy enough that, when used with a good pair of socks or two, will keep his or her feet warm in late winter. The best boots have interiors with wicking materials to keep perspiration away from hunters’ feet, thereby keeping them more comfortable. They also have at least some insulation, although hunters in warm climates might opt for non-insulated boots. Lastly, quality boots should have slip-free, lugged outsoles that provide a good grip when you and your guest walk from the truck to your ground blind and back.

Shooting Sticks

Caldwell Deadshoot shooting rest
This field pod will help a new hunter steady his or her gun for an accurate shot.Caldwell

The whole idea of taking a new person deer hunting is for him or her to have fun, and few things are more fun than getting your first deer. Since many new hunters haven’t done much shooting, one of the most important things you can provide them, aside from a quality firearm and appropriate ammunition, is a good shooting rest. Many deer are missed each year because it’s difficult to hold a rifle steady when a hunter takes their shot. A quality shooting rest can solve that problem. Shooting rests range from simple monopod type rests, to bipod shooting “sticks,” all the way up to high-tech rifle rests mounted atop portable tripods. The better rest you can provide, the better chance that your guest will be successful and might find him or herself hooked on the sport. Be sure to take your guest to the range beforehand so he or she gets a chance to shoot at least a few rounds to become familiar with the operation of the firearm they will be using on the hunt.