Honest Hunting

2021 Guide & Checklist For First Time Hunter – Checklist For Beginners

For a first-time hunter, hunting can be quite a challenging experience. In fact, a beginner hunter may find it daunting while choosing and gathering the right kind of hunting gear.

If you are a first-time hunter, the most common question popping up in your mind is – “Where do I even start?” Or, “How do I know what I should arrange for my hunting trip?”

Well, there is some crucial hunting gear you need to take while heading outdoors for a hunting excursion. It is never a good idea to simply set out for your hunting trip without taking the necessary preparation.

For any hunting mission, I always recommend my readers and followers to assume the BEST, and at the same time, keeping preparation for the worst-case scenario.

Having the right kind of preparation will keep you alive in the event of any kind of unwanted emergency. In fact, proper planning and preparation will keep you alive in such emergency conditions. While going after your prey, there are chances that you may lose track and can end up unpredictably detained for the next few days.

So, how should you get yourself prepared to set out for a hunting mission?

Well, the first thing to do is to make a list of the essential hunting gear. Honestly speaking, preparing a proper hunting gear list with all the required equipment can be tough, in fact impossible, for a first-time hunter. Even if you are a pro-level hunter, you may need to double-check your hunting gear list before heading towards your hunting trip.

Keep in mind that if you miss out on single critical hunting gear, your entire hunting mission can be a devastating one. In fact, there are chances involved with your life risk as well.

The avid hunters do know that the hunting industry is a growing one. With loads of hunting equipment available from a wide range of hunting gear brands can make a beginner hunter really confused. Besides, it is also tough to select the most needed hunting gear without the right kind of knowledge and information.

Therefore, in this article, I am going to share a detailed discussion on the beginner’s guide to hunting with a must-to-have hunting gear list. The following discussion is basically focused on helping the first-time hunters with all the necessary information so that their first hunting mission can be a successful one.

Let’s dive right into our discussion….

Checklist For First Time Hunters

Since I will be covering literally everything you need to know about hunting and hunting gear as a beginner hunter, this will definitely be a long discussion.

If you really want to educate yourself with the essential hunting gear checklist, make sure you give your utmost attention here.

Deciding Hunting Type

If you have a passion for hunting, you definitely know that there are currently various hunting types available for hunters. So, before you start preparing your hunting gear list, it is crucial to decide which type of hunting you will prefer for your first-time hunting trip.

Types Of Hunting

For your convenience, I have made a short discussion on different types of hunting available for you. In this case, you have to keep in mind that there are a few different hunting categories when the topic is about hunting game.

In order for making the regulations easier, hunting species have been divided into specific categories. Here, you will get to know about the primary types along with some example species.

  • Big Game:Bear, elk, deer, boar, caribou, bison.
  • Small Game: Squirrel, rabbit, skunk, raccoon.
  • Game Birds: Pheasant, grouse, dove.
  • Furbearers: Fox, beaver, marten, pine, bobcat.
  • Predators: Wolf, mountain lion, coyote.
  • Waterfowl: Geese, duck, swan.

So, these are the most popular hunting types categorized by different species. Depending on your preference, you can choose the hunting type for your first-time hunting mission.

Getting Hunter Safety Card

For any kind of hunting trip or mission, you definitely need to collect your hunter safety card in the first place. The rules and regulations associated in getting the hunter safety card may vary from state to state.

But, generally, to get a hunter safety card, you need to complete a certified and specialized hunter education course. Upon the completion of the course, you get your hunter safety card. Remember that if you don’t complete the hunting course, you won’t get the safety card. And, this may deprive you of your first-time hunting mission.

The best part of this course is that you can participate in the program online, and it is not expensive.

Managing Your Hunting Licenses

There is also an option called the hunting license, and this also varies from state to state. Depending on your hunting location, you have to manage the hunting license of that particular state. You can get more info from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

For first-time hunters, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is offering a remarkable price break. If needed, you can check it out.

At the same time, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is also offering an amazing hunting opportunity for first-time hunters. If you are a beginner hunter, you should check this out.

Simultaneously, the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife offers a special “Mentored Youth Hunter Program” for providing hunting opportunities for youth. This special mentoring program is designed in a way that you will be allowed to go out for hunting even if you don’t pass the hunter education program. This seems like a great deal for the young first-time hunters.

For first-time hunting, you may be a bit nervous and confused as well. So, I want to inform you of the fact that one Chisago City girl named Lilly Mickelson did something remarkable and unforgettable in her first time hunting. This is definitely inspiring for all the first-time hunters out there.

Doing The Proper Research

Remember that talking with experienced hunters and local people can help you gain hunting knowledge. While talking to people or pro-level hunters, you will get to know about the best hunting spots, the best hunting season or time of the year, and also the best hunting gear you need for your hunting mission.

If you are lucky, you may get an invitation from the avid hunters to join them and learn from them. Honestly speaking, experienced hunters are always much interested in helping the newbies while learning how to hunt following the right way.

So, always talk to people and skilled hunters to increase your knowledge about hunting.

Practice & Practice

Always remember that great saying – “Practice makes a man perfect.”

Remember the fact that it’s not possible to get the best deer stalk while going hunting for the first time. The reality is you need to spend more and more time learning the behavior of your prey. The more time you spend learning your prey’s behaviors, the better hunter you can become over time.

Even if your first hunting mission goes wrong, don’t be disheartened. Just keep in mind – “Failure is the pillar of success.” If you practice more, you can start improving your hunting skills over time.

Essential Hunting gear For First-Time Hunters

This is the most important part of our discussion, as this section will describe all the essential gear for a first-time hunter.

From hunting accessories to something as crucial as your hunting gun, I have prepared this list mentioning and describing all the must-to-have hunting gear for a beginner or first-time hunter.

Here we go….

Hunting Boots

To start off, you definitely need a good-quality pair of boots. Keep in mind that having a poor hunting boot pair can surely ruin your entire hunting excursion. The extreme hot or cold weather is the main reason why you need a good pair of boots.

Frankly speaking, a good pair of hunting boots can definitely cost you, but consider it as a one-time investment.

You might be thinking why I have kept the hunting boots first in the essential hunting gear list for first-time hunters. Well, whether it is elk hunting or duck hunting, your hunting boots can break or make your hunt.

I always recommend the first-time hunters make an in-depth study on the best-rated hunting boots so that they can get the perfect pair for their first-time hunting excursion.


Just like the hunting boots, a good quality backpack can play a significant role in turning your hunting experience into a successful one. When you have a high-quality backpack, you can even hike for miles after miles. On the contrary, a poor backpack won’t allow you to hike for a longer distance.

You can depend on your backpack way more than you have anticipated. And, just like the hunting boots, a quality backpack requires a good investment. But, at the end of the day, it is the added value you get from a high-quality backpack.

Just answer me to this question – “Why should you spend again and again buying low-quality and cheap backpacks?”

Poor quality or cheap hunting backpack can make your experience lots of unexpected situations like a zipper or strap break. These kinds of sudden and unwanted events can definitely turn your entire hunting trip into a disappointing one.

While looking for a good quality hunting backpack, it is important to study the reviews of the top-rated hunting backpacks to get the right one for you. Actually, there are lots of hunting backpacks available from a variety of brands at this moment in time. So, buying a random backpack without proper research won’t be a good decision at all.


Water is another crucial item that you have to keep at the top position in your hunting gear list. Water will not help you to be hydrated while waiting for the prey, but it will also simply keep you alive in any kind of emergency situation.

When you decide to go for your first hunting trip, this is something for which you should make an investment. Even you can mark it as one of your top prioritized items.

For your convenience, I will make a short discussion on this topic:

  • You have to manage a good bladder that has the capacity to hold a lot of water. It is essential for you to make sure the bladder is full of water before you head out. Trust me; you will definitely need it.
  • Keep good quality stainless steel water bottles full of water with you.
  • A portable water filter (preferably a quality water filter from a renowned brand) and iodine tablets.


Always remember that decoys are important, I mean very important – no matter you are on a turkey hunting mission or waterfowl hunting. I should let you know that not using the decoys while hunting can be your biggest mistake as a first-time hunter.

If you want your hunting mission to be a successful one, it is crucial to keep decoys in your hunting gear list and make the best use of them.

You may need either turkey decoys or duck decoys, or goose decoys for the type of hunting mission you choose.

Bird Calls

It is another must-to-have item you have to keep on your hunting equipment list. It is not like you just only have to use a call during your hunting mission. Also, you have to practice in a way so that the call should sound like next to perfect.

Making the best use of the calls can make the difference between going home filling your bag or empty-handed.

To make a good start for your first-time hunting trip, you can check the Duck Call or Turkey Call.

Scent Killer

A nice-smelling clothing item is all everyone wants to wear before going out, but it is not recommended when you are heading out for a hunting mission.

Although scent-killing sprays or scent killers are one of the most crucial hunting gears, most beginner hunters fail to identify the importance of this particular item. For your information, you have to wash your hunting apparel with a scent-killer apparel detergent.

At the present time, you will find varieties of scent killers from different brands in the market. So, it is essential to check the reviews of the top-rated scent killers from renowned brands. This will help you get the right kind of scent killer for washing your hunting clothes.

At the same time, it is also important to use scent-killing spray on your hunting boot as well. In this case, you also have to make an in-depth study of the available boot sprays to get the right one.

The best part of a good quality scent-killing spray is it works whether your clothing or boot is dry or wet. It is also important to mention that the spray works better when your clothing items are dry.

So, now you know when and how to use scent-killing sprays to get rid of the odors from your hunting apparels and boots.

Trail Camera

Another essential hunting gear for beginner hunters is the trail camera. If you don’t know the usage benefits of the trail cameras, you may be deprived of some additional advantages for hunting.

The trail camera is a great device that can help hunters in keeping track of the game over longer periods of time. You must know the fact that you cannot follow your prey on a continuous basis. So, the trail camera can help you pick up the slack.

This particular device uses a specific technique called “Motion Detection” to determine when large animals pass the route. Then, it produces images mentioning both date and time. This is crucial information for the hunters for planning and organizing the hunting patterns.

In order for making the best use of the trail camera, you have to get a clear idea about the placement of the camera. If you can figure out the right spot, you can do the hunting task without even disturbing your prey.

Since this camera’s main use is to track games, it is better to have a weatherproof and sturdy trail camera. The durable construction will provide you with a longer period of service life.

In order to get the perfect one for you, you should check the reviews of the top-rated trail cameras available currently in the market.


One of the most demanding classing tools for any explorer is a good pair of binoculars. Now, you may think that is why I have used the term ‘explorer’. Well, a hunter is no less than an explorer, right?

Being hunters, we usually explore the little-known secrets of nature and our prey and hunt the game accordingly. For spotting animals like deer from a good distance, you definitely need to have the best pair of binoculars.

To be more precise, I would say that you should get one of the best-rated hunting binoculars available out there as they are specifically designed to serve you in order to meet your hunting needs.

If elk hunting is what you prefer, I suggest you get any of these top-performing binoculars for elk hunting.

When you look for a pair of binoculars for hunting, it is vital to focus on something that is designed for viewing long-distance objects. Spotting your target from a long distance can give an additional advantage while observing your prey. And for this reason, a hunter should have a deeper knowledge of top-rated long-range binoculars.

We all know that a pair of binoculars can be a bit expensive. Since hunting is somewhat a costly hobby, so you can make a big budget for this.

However, if making a big budget isn’t possible for you, I would recommend you check any of the best-rated binoculars under $200 or top-rated binoculars under $300. At this price range, you would get the perfect and affordable binoculars for your hunting need.


A headlamp is one such hunting tool without which you can’t even think of planning for a hunting trip. For your information, by the word ‘headlamp’ I specifically mean headlamp; not the flashlight. You might get mixed things up between these two tools. So, I thought it would be better if I had clarified the confusion.


For any kind of hunting, a rangefinder is another important tool that is like a must-to-have for every hunter. With this particular device, you can measure the distance to the position of your target.

Since the core function of a rangefinder is to measure the distance, so always put your main focus on the ‘distance measuring factor’ while choosing the rangefinder for you.

In this case, you can also go for one of the best-rated rangefinder binoculars as they both will serve you with the same benefits.

At the end of the day, you will decide which device to choose for fulfilling the hunting needs.

Rifle Scope

Always remember that a powerful rifle, unlike the silent bows, can strike your target with very few accurate shots. While you shoot with your rifle, it requires abrupt precision. So, it is essential for every hunter to manage a good quality rifle scope that features immediate precision.

Night Vision Scope

First-time hunters need to get the best-rated night vision scope as it allows them to have clear vision even in low-light environments. For hunting, every moment is important, whether it is dawn or dusk.

So, don’t forget to add a good quality night vision scope to your essential hunting gear list for a first-time hunter.

Pocket Knife

A pocket knife is a great hunting tool that can help you perform various activities when you are out there on a hunting mission. It is small and compact, letting you keep it in your pocket with ease.

Skinning Knives

While hunting, you will need a good quality knife for skinning your kill. For this purpose, you must need one of the best skinnings or gutting knives designed specifically for hunting purposes.


Depending on your preferences, you can take different types of weapons for your hunting mission.

Here, I have made a shortlist of the most common weapons I usually prefer for a hunting excursion –

  • Rifle.
  • Gun.
  • Ammo.
  • Compound Bows.
  • Recurve Bows.


Weather can cause serious harm if you don’t have the right kind of hunting apparel with you. So, always give a higher level of concentration while choosing your hunting apparel.

Hunting Rain Gear

To protect against hypothermia, every hunter (both beginner and pro hunters) needs to have good quality hunting rain gear.

Base Layers

The base layer is another must-to-have hunting apparel for all types of hunters. You can get the HECS Hunting Suit as it comes with a full package.

Hunting Socks

For hunting, you should add a good pair of hunting socks to your essential hunting equipment list.

Ladder Stand tools

A ladder stand tool is also an important tool as it will help you to set your ladder stand against the tree with safety and ease.

Sharpening Stone

When you are on a hunting excursion, it is quite common that you will use your hunting knife a lot. You will need to use it even more at the time of gutting a deer or elk. In that case, you need a sharpening stone to sharpen your hunting knife.

Survival Kit

I would suggest you keep all the modern-day surviving tools in your box of surviving kit.


For a hunting excursion, it is essential to pack the right kind of food if you don’t want to ruin your mission.

You can take the following food types for your hunting trip:

  • Granola and protein bars.
  • Fruits.
  • Fruit snacks.
  • Train mix.

Keep in mind that anything that has a meat scent; you have to avoid that.


For any hunting excursion, you may need to stay there for camping. In that case, you have to manage shelter to keep you warm. So, keep yourself prepared in this case.

Miscellaneous Items

First Aid Kit

For your hunting mission, you have to organize your first aid kit box with all the essential tools. Any kind of sudden accident can happen at any moment in time. So, be prepared to survive in the worst-case-scenario.

Blaze Orange Vest

Bug Repellent

Most beginner hunters often overlook this important hunting tool; sometimes, they forget to note this.

If you forget to add the bug repellent to your hunting gear list, you will do it only once. After your first-time hunting trip without bug repellent, you won’t forget to take this never.

Nylon Rope or Cord

Currently, there are various types of nylon tapes available out there. While choosing the nylon rope, you have to look for the ones that are durable and sturdy.

You might be thinking about why you would need a rope for a hunting excursion. Well, you never know what an unwanted situation will offer.

Surveyors Tape

For tracking the downed animal, the surveyor’s tape can help any hunter with the most. You just need to place a portion of the tape on the exact spot where you find the blood trail of your downed prey.

Zipper Seal Bag

For storing lure items and used scents, you have to keep good quality zipper bags.

Field Dressing Gloves

Wet Wipes

Insulated Seating Pad

Compact Pistol

Walkie Talkies

You will need the walkie-talkies if you have a partner in your hunting mission.

Cell Phone

If it is possible, you should pack a solar charger for your phone. But, a cell phone with big battery will suffice.

Checker for Wind Power Direction

Paper and Pen

Hand Warmers

If you are heading out for a hunting trip in cold weather, you must take hand warmers.

Magazine or Books

During your hunting excursion, if you get bored, you can read books or magazines to chill you out from the boredom.

Trekking Poles

Zip Ties

Trash Bag

When you are out there on a hunting trip, it won’t be a good idea to harm the environment with your leftovers. So, you should add a trash bag to your list of hunting equipment.


Urine Bottle

Survival Guide in Wilderness

Final Words

Hunting can be fun, interesting, and expensive. It is also a major source of entertainment for any kind of hunter.

For the first-time hunters, the excitement for a new experience can’t be described in words. So, it is necessary to have full preparation by managing all the essential hunting gear.

I have tried my best to mention and describe all the needed hunting equipment for beginner hunters in the above discussion.

I have also explained why you need each of the essential hunting gear during your hunting excursion for your convenience.

I hope you have an in-depth idea about the first-time hunter’s checklist after reading the above comprehensive discussion.

Still, if you have any questions, you can comment below.

I would love to help you out. Take Care!

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