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Your Complete Hunting Checklist: Hunting Prep 101


Article Categories: Hunting
Article Tags: Hunting

Unless you have a fantastic memory, it’s likely that you will have gone on an important hunting trip, only to realise an essential item has been left back home. It’s an incredibly frustrating experience and, more often than not, there’s only yourself to blame. That’s why we always recommend you write up a packing list.

This checklist should have a full inventory of all the must-have items and should always be revised before any hunting trips. If you’re not sure what to include, don’t worry, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will explore the essential items you must pack for your upcoming hunting trips.


Gun, Ammo, or Bow and Arrows

You will need to bring a firearm or bow and arrows with you on your hunting trip. If you are using a firearm, make sure it is properly registered and that you have a all necessary permits. If you are using a bow and arrows, make sure you have the proper equipment and that you are familiar with how to use it.



Backpacks are essential to carrying your gear, and potentially carrying any game out of the woods.


Hunting Licences and Tags

You will need to purchase a hunting license before you can go hunting. This can be done online or at a local shop or guide outfitter. Make sure you have the necessary tags based on seasons, firearms, and targeted animals.


Map of Area

You’ll need to get to grips with the area you’re navigating. We recommend you bring a waterproof version of your map so, no matter the weather, you’ll be prepared. We recommend a map whether you have a GPS device, or a downloaded map on your phone. This is in case of any technical difficulties.


GPS or Compass

To help you make sense of the map, we recommend you bring along a GPS or compass as this will ensure you’re on the right track. Read our guide on the best handheld GPS devices for choosing.


Hunting Knives

Whether you’re cutting rope, opening cans, or dressing animals, hunting knives are an absolute essential. In particular, we like ultralight knives that are easy to carry. You can also check out our list of the best knives for hiking.


Route / Trail Markers

How do you ensure you’re not running around in circles? We recommend you invest in some route markers to place throughout the day. These can be used for marking your own route, marking blood trails, marking tree stands, and more. This is a super helpful tool that is often overlooked by many.


Water and Snacks

Hunting can use up a lot of energy, which is why you need to ensure you’re replenished. Take plenty of water, electrolytes, carbohydrates, and a few high-protein snacks, such as beef jerky or cereal bars.

Water requires a vessel to hold that water. For long trips, bringing a water filter system of some sort is highly recommended as well.



Similarly, you may spend many hours underneath the hot sun, therefore, it’s always a good idea to wear plenty of sunscreen before you set off.



Headlamps are absolutely essential for any adventure. This is part of the hiking 10 essentials, and is particularly important for any hunting trip.


Game Call

Depending on what you are hunting for, having the necessary Game Call devices can make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful hunt.


Hunting Clothes

As a hunter, you’ll need to camouflage into your surroundings. We’re talking hunting clothes, masks, hats, boots, and even gloves. In many scenarios, you may also want clothing to help other hunters see you easily as well. A complete list:


Noise control

Animals can hear you from a long way away, so it is important to use noise control products to help you stay quiet.



It can be difficult to scope out certain birds or animals in the wild, especially when you’re trying to remain as silent as possible. Carry a pair of binoculars with you to increase your accuracy.


Scent Killer

Animals are very sensitive and can pick up on the faintest of smells. That’s why you should always carry a bottle of scent killer with you, as this will help you remain undetected.


Scent Attractors

In some hunts, you may be bringing a scent attractor where it is legal to do so. If that’s the plan, don’t forget it!


Your Ethics

It is important to follow all hunting laws and regulations. It is also important to be ethical when hunting, which means killing animals quickly and humanely. Never leave home without knowing your training, and being ready to make decisions that will keep you safe, and maintain ethical hunting practices. This could mean not taking a shot or turning around even when it is a tough decision.


Other Considerations

  • If this is an overnight trip – you must also consult our complete backpacking checklist guide.
  • Make sure you know your weather forecasts for gear and clothing choices.
  • Make sure someone not on your trip knows where you are going, your expected time to contact them, and what to do if they don’t hear from you.
  • Emergency gear. You need to be completely familiar with the 10 essentials list.

We hope this list helps you!

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, backcountry skier, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued climbed all of the Colorado 14ers, is always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about