Among the oldest of human activities, hunting was once just a matter of pure survival. While times have changed—and most people can feed and clothe themselves without ever going afield—hunting endures. The desire for fresh and nutritious meat; the need to commune with nature; and the simple thrill of the chase all draw multitudes of men and women to pursue their own game.
Beyond these benefits, however, hunting requires participants to stretch their limits and hone their instincts. Continuous learning about animal behavior, terrain and human capacity always accompanies regular hunting.
Essential Hunting Gear For The Best and Safest Experience In The Wild
In the past decade, a proliferation of new technologies has changed the gearing landscape for hunters. There is so much hunting gear available that it is difficult to discern which tools and products are the most effective to achieve a successful hunt. Some gear is essential, such as knives, correct clothing, and blaze orange for hunter safety. Other gear is optional and depends on your quarry as well as your terrain, weather conditions, and personal experience. Still, other tools are largely considered unethical, such as the use of drones to spot animals or the much-maligned practice of hunting from airplanes. A good collection of hunting gear will take you from scouting to hunting to field dressing.
Although they go about their trade with pluck and passion, knife manufacturers are—in the end—in business to make money. It falls on the hunter-consumers to determine what knife is best for their needs.
Multiple factors go into a wise and rewarding purchase. For instance, the choice between a fixed-blade versus a folding knife is both personal and practical. If the game you hunt is large—and the terrain more rugged—a fixed blade knife is often a better option for its strength and dependability.
On the other hand, folding knives have the advantage of being easier to carry and to conceal. They are also considered safer. Should you want a knife that doubles as a tactical instrument, the folding knife can also serve that aim.
Once the fixed/folding threshold is crossed, consumers do well to examine the working components of each knife. EdgeHunting reviews knives from point to edge to handle. Some field dressing calls for making fine punctures –cutting around the backside of a deer, for example—while there are other times when accidental punctures can make a hash out of your game. The blade point, in these cases, makes all the difference.
At the same time, a straight edge of a blade is superior for cutting, but less so for cleaning. Meanwhile, the handle should meet more subjective requirements, including safety, comfort and efficiency. Whether made from metal, wood, bone or synthetic material, the handle is your point of contact.
As with hunting knives, consumers of tactical knives want to be clear about the purpose and the scenarios in which a knife is used. Tactical knives are designed for utility and practicality. Cutting tree limbs, branches and tough fibers; puncturing metal barriers and hard shells; and penetrating rugged climbing surfaces are all examples of tactical knife applications. Escaping from submerged vehicles and—it must be said—surviving a dangerous combat situation also benefit from the right tactical knife.
Again, the choice between fixed-blade and folding should not be made without considering how the knife will likely be used. On balance, the folding knife appeals to tactical users because it is easier to carry and conceal. Strength and durability, however, are equally important factors.
Blade materials are central to the effectiveness and longevity of any good tactical knife. Whether stainless steel or carbon steel, knife blades come in various compositions. Some are easier to clean while others stay sharp longer. Price, of course, can not be ignored, and the type of steel has much to do with the cost.
EdgeHunting evaluates tactical knives based on blade composition, design and versatility. We also follow the same criteria we apply to hunting knives when determining the strengths and weaknesses of tactical knife handles.
Watch this video to see the basics of tactical knife fighting:
Within the hunting world, there are many different types of weapons you can choose from when you go out for your hunt. You can use a bow and arrow set, whether it is a recurve bow, or a compound bow. You can also choose different types of rifles, depending upon the gauge you want to shoot, along with different riflescopes which are available to you. When it comes to rifles, depending on what you are hunting, you may want to go with a version of a rifle which is better for smaller game. When that is the case, then the Air Rifle will be your best choice. And of course, you will want to get yourself the best air rifle out there.
Taking good care of your feet is a given for hunters, campers and hikers. While every hunter wants to be light on the feet, comfort and protection from the elements is crucial for a successful outing. Whitetails, waterfowl and upland game reside in very different ecosystems. Your boots, therefore, will need to be tailored to the appropriate environment.
Rubber, fabric and leather—or composites of all three—are the primary components of hunting boots and each works best in certain climates. EdgeHunting also considers snugness and warmth when reviewing outdoor footwear, since persevering afield with focus and stamina mandates dry and comfortable feet. Therefore, insulation is always highlighted.
The most basic item for a successful hunt is a good camp. Obviously, you want your camp to be a good distance from your selected hunting spot. Whether you are hunting deer, bear, elk, geese or moose–animals have a keen sense of smell that allows them to detect predators easily. That’s you. There are hunting clubs that one can join that collectively own or lease land that includes a cabin for the hunters as well as a significant amount of acreage available for the hunters.
Often hunters will make land-use agreements with local farmers enabling the hunter to use the farmer’s land for a set period without endangering anyone–including the hunter. If you are unable to obtain access to private land, there is the option of obtaining a license and a permit to hunt on public land. Hunting on public land involves much more advance preparation. However, some hunters swear by the record bucks they have tagged on public land.
Animals have camouflage to protect them from predators. An animal’s camouflage is usually its fur or feathers. The color and texture of the animal’s fur allow it to blend into its surroundings to avoid predators. Animals are difficult to detect in their natural habitats’ by design. You are the predator, so you require the right camouflage for the environment that you are hunting. You need to blend into the surroundings so that your prey does not detect you. Animals do not have the same color perception as humans. While they may not be able to see your blaze-orange vest, they are keenly aware of your silhouette in their habitat.
The basic patterns of camouflage are as follows: Woodland, brush, marsh/waterfowl, and snow. Your choice of camouflage depends on region and terrain. Choosing the correct camouflage is important. Obviously, you will not wear a woodland pattern if you are hunting during or after a massive snowstorm. Some camouflage patterns are designed to work well in several different environments. The rule is: you want to dress in head-to-toe camo except for your required blaze orange that helps to keep you and other hunters safe from each other!
Selecting the best binoculars for hunting involves looking at numerous characteristics. From environmental factors such as weather and light availability, to the terrain you are scouting, and what features your binoculars offer you are crucial.
A laser rangefinder can be a hunter’s best friend. This pocket-sized wonder tool can accurately determine the distance between you and your target in mere seconds. If you do not have a set tree stand where you can pre-mark trees with accurate yardage–then a rangefinder helps you to determine if you have a good shot with the press of a button. Also, there is always the inevitable downtime in a hunt. You can use your rangefinder to determine the distance between your stand and all visible terrain markers so that when your quarry is in sight you already know if you have a good shot.
As you become more adept with a range finder, you can also use it to measure the distance of your target when it has come into your view. This takes quite a bit of practice and precision. The on-the-spot method is usually used when you were not able to determine accurate yardage before your hunt or if your target has appeared in an area that you did not anticipate. Laser rangefinders have become more affordable as the technology has advanced.
Tree Climber With Safety Harness
If you are hunting deer, elk, or bear with a bow–you will, in all likelihood, be hunting from a tree stand. As with anything, your personal safety is priority number one. It’s all fun and hunting until someone breaks a limb in the wilderness. Safety harnesses are very basically vests that are worn by first stepping into leg-holes–like pulling on a pair of pants–then securing the vest to the upper body. Safety harnesses are designed to prevent you from falling out of your tree stand while climbing to your tree stand. The safety harness is anchored to the tree by a safety tether, thereby preventing the hunter from falling from the tree. If you plan to, or already do archery hunting from a tree–it is wise to buy a safety harness to use with your tree climber. Accidents happen and happen often. Never risk your personal safety in the wilderness!
Many hunters, especially turkey, and other bird hunters find the use of a game call that mimics an animals’ “voice” is essential to a successful hunt. Calls can mimic an animals’ distress, willingness to mate, or the voice of a dominant male. The use of game calls is not limited to birds. There are hunting calls available for many species, including deer and elk “grunters”. Electronic game calls are a recent development that is controversial. Game calling has always been a carefully learned skill. “Push button” game calls are considered an unfair advantage by some hunters.As with anything–it depends on your goal. If you are hunting to obtain essential meat for the subsistence of your family–then electronic game calls are fair “game”. Otherwise, the use of game calls is considered a combination of art and science. Many long time hunters craft their own calls to match their personal observations of animal behavior.
Like using game calls, the use of attractor scents when hunting whitetail deer can be an effective way to bring a deer within shot range. Attractor scents are deer urine extracted from either a buck or a doe. The theory is that laying a trail of a doe’s urine during the rut will attract a buck to your shooting lane. This method is best used during, obviously, the rut season. On the other hand, buck urine is used before the rut to lure another curious buck to check out the competition. Deer become accustomed to attractor scents. If you plan to use them, it is best to mix up your bag of tricks with different brands or methods.
The use of scent attractors is controversial. Some hunters swear by it while others dismiss it as nothing but snake oil. One thing that most hunters agree on is scent maskers that help to reduce or eliminate the human scent. Deer have a super keen sense of smell. Rest assured; they can smell you while you travel to your stand, and they can smell you when you are in your stand. Hunters used to use pine needles to mask their scent by rubbing fresh pine branches on their skin and clothing. Today there are hundreds of commercially available scent maskers that include sprays, lotions, and even laundry detergents. Scent maskers are a must for the whitetail hunter.
GPS is a relatively new addition to the hunting gear roster and one that is universally agreed upon as a must-have for scouting. If you are using aerial maps, Google maps, or any other computer-based topography maps, then you know that what you see is not always what you get. GPS allows you to plug the coordinates that interest you into your handheld GPS then go for a scouting walk to identify and mark the most promising locations. Another useful feature of GPS is that you may be able to identify better routes to your chosen spot. You can even punch in the coordinates of deer sightings when you are scouting out of season.
If you have a few select areas where you normally hunt or an area that you have scouted that looks promising then a trail camera is a great addition to your gear kit. A trail camera is a “set it and forget it” scouting option. Mount your camera to a tree or other terrain marker and let it scout for you, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A spot may look particularly promising due to droppings, rubs, or other signs of activity. Looks can be deceiving. A trail camera allows you to monitor the activity of every species that is active in your spot–day and night–for days or even a week.
Getting Accurate Information
The wonderful thing about outdoor life is the challenge. We are continuously dared to overcome an endless sequence of tests and trials. We do so with ingenuity, sometimes our own and sometimes from others. Dangerous weather, hazardous terrain and unpredictable fauna all conspire to make our prey elusive.
However, when we work our minds and learn from those who have gone before us, we are better suited for success. EdgeHunting.com helps outdoorsmen gain knowledge and experience without having to learn the hard way. Our reviews give hunters and campers the heads-up they need to avoid bad purchases and failed expeditions. Feel free to explore our pages to get the “edge” you need.