First Time Deer Hunting – What Do I Need?

first time deer hunting what do i need


Deer hunting for the first time can be one of the most fun, challenging, and exhilarating moments of your life.

However, it is crucial that you are both fully prepared in terms of the gear that you need to have along with the information you need to possess before stepping into the great outdoors.

Fortunately, we have done the research and put together this guide to answer the question: “it’s my first time deer hunting, what do I need?”

An Orange Vest And Hat

Outdoor Cap BLZCPV Vest and Cap Combo Adult Blaze, Blaze Orange
Having an orange vest and hat is quite possibly the most important thing on any hunters list.

It is absolutely crucial to your safety and it is the first item we recommend picking up.

It can be tempting for a novice to go out without an orange vest and an orange hat but do not do this.

If you are looking for a suggestion, we recommend picking up Outdoor Cap Blaze Cap and Vest, which is a simple vest and hat combo that will get the job done.

It doesn’t have any special features like many higher-end vests have, but it will certainly provide visibility while you are hunting.

Your Weapon Of Choice

first time deer hunting what do i need

Understandably, there are a ton of different deer hunting rifles on the market today. These range in price, features, and specialty.

More experienced hunters may choose to bring a different rifle out if they are hunting for whitetails in a swamp or mule deer in an open field.

The entire scope of different deer hunting rifles is too large for this article, but for a novice hunter, a basic .30/06 will do the job for most hunts.

Make sure that whatever you choose you have safely practiced within a controlled environment, and make sure the rifle is ready to handle the great outdoors.

Alternatively, crossbow hunting has become much more popular in recent years for a variety of reasons.

First of all, a high-end crossbow is extremely easy to use, and it requires very little practice to understand the basics.

Additionally, it has almost no pull back and is significantly quieter than a shot from a rifle – so much so that if you miss the first time, you may still be able to fire on other deer in the area.

If you are looking for a great beginners crossbow, we highly recommend the Barnett 78128 Whitetail Hunter II, which is a phenomenal crossbow that shoots 350 feet per second.

It has a phenomenal scope and is simple to use.

Plenty Of Ammunition

If you do decide to use a rifle to shoot, make sure you have plenty of ammunition.

A more experienced hunter can probably get away with just bringing a single box of ammunition, but since this is your first time, definitely bring a few boxes just in case you miss a lot.

If you do end up missing a lot in the beginning, don’t take it personally – there is definitely a transition period from shooting at a range to actually firing at a whitetail.

Inexperienced and nerves will quickly go away after landing that first shot.

Camo Jacket

Legendary Whitetails Men's Standard Huntguard Reflextec Hunting Jacket, Big Game 360, X-Large
When it comes to picking up a hunting jacket, it is definitely worth it not to skimp.

Keep in mind that you are going to be wearing this for hours on end, so it is important that it is made of high-quality materials and will keep you warm throughout the day.

We are big fans of Legendary Whitetails HuntGuard Reflextec Camo Hunting Jacket because it is a great choice for beginners.

In addition to being water-resistant and breathable, it comes with multiple removable liners that you can change up whether it is early season, you are hunting in the rut, or it is late season.

We are also big fans of the matching Legendary Whitetails Huntguard Reflextec Camo Bibs, and recommend picking those up as well.

Hunting Gloves

Glacier Glove Alaska Pro Camo Waterproof Insulated Glove (Realtree, Large)
Historically there has been a difficult decision that hunters would have to make: do they keep their hands warm, or do they pick a glove that is functional for shooting?

Fortunately, thanks to technological advancement, this trade-off no longer exists.

Nowadays, you can find gloves that are warm and functional.

This is why we think Glacier Glove Alaska Pro Camo Waterproof Insulated Glove is a great deer hunting product.

It is both waterproof, breathable, and keeps your hands warm. Importantly, they’re also nimble and allow you full functionality.

For more information on gloves we love, check out our article the best cold weather duck hunting gloves.

A High-Quality Knife

Gerber Vital Big Game Folder - Tool-less Exchangeable Blade Hunting Knife w/ Sheath [31-003053],orange
The main purpose of a hunting knife is to process meat after you have taken down the game.

Additionally, it is a great idea to have a have a high-quality knife in case you find yourself in a sticky situation, entangled in the earth, or just for your own protection.

For a first timer, field dressing deer can be extremely intimidating.

This is why we recommend picking up a knife that prioritizes safety and reliability, such as the Gerber Vital Big Game Folder Hunting Knife.

This is a high-quality knife and comes with a precise handle, which makes it ideal in case things get messy during your first-time field dressing.

Additionally, we are big fans of the incredibly sharp blade and the blade switching system on the Gerber Vital Big Game Folder Hunting Knife, which makes dressing deer and other big game much easier.

Trust us, you want a high-quality knife to harvest all of that delicious meat you just secured.

Rubber Gloves For Field Dressing

Hunters Specialties Field Dressing Gloves Combo Pack 6 Pairs Short Latex Gloves & 6 Pairs Shoulder-Length Poly Gloves for Deer Gutting
Trust us, we’ll save you all of the details, but if you plan on field dressing your deer, you are going to want shoulder-length gloves on when things start to get messy.

Pick up a few pairs of Hunter’s Specialities Field Dressing Gloves.

Deer Calls

Flextone Outdoor Hunting Versatile Realistic Sounds Volume Control Compact Buck Collector Plus Deer Game Call
Deer calls are a crucial item that many first time hunters overlock. It can be extremely tough to get close enough to a buck, especially if you are using a crossbow.

Grunt calls can be a great tool in the early season and attract all different bucks.

You can also use a buck roar to try and attract larger, more dominant males.

If you are new to deer hunting, we recommend picking up Flextone Buck Collector Plus Call, which an easy to use, forgiving grunt call.

You can use to call bucks, does and fawns. Illusion Extinguisher Deer Call System is another high-end deer call that we recommend.

Hunting Boots

Irish Setter Men's 2870 Vaprtrek Waterproof 8' Hunting Boot, Realtree Xtra Camouflage,11 D US
You are going to be spending a lot of time on your feet, and it is crucial that you are comfortable and dry while you out in the great outdoors.

It is crucial then to have a pair of high-quality hunting boots that will keep you warm, insulated from the elements, and provide you with support to trudge through different environments.

Irish Setter Men’s 2870 Vaprtrek Hunting Boot is a phenomenal, high-end hunting boot that won’t let you down.

The boots reach about seven inches up from the sole, providing a lot of comfort and support.

These are durable boots that we recommend picking up – they will make your hunting experience much more enjoyable.

A Flashlight

Many novice hunters do not realize how useful a hunting flashlight can be when tracking deer.

In addition to allowing you to help spot tracks that you may not regularly notice, it is also a vital safety tool in case you lose your way and get lost in the woods.

Additionally, you absolutely need a high-end hunting flashlight if you ever decide to take up night hunting.

NiteCore EA11 Led Flashlight is a high-end flashlight with 5 different brightness levels, from 900 to 1 lumen. It has a substantial battery life and comes with a lanyard for easy access.

We highly recommend always keeping a high-quality flashlight on hand.

A Hunting Backpack To Put Everything In

Timber Hawk Killshot Backpack, MBUC
As you can see, proper deer hunting requires a lot of gear.

As you can imagine, you are going to need a dedicated gear bag to put everything in and keep everything organized.

We recommend Timber Hawk Killshot Backpack, which is a top-of-line backpack that can hold a variety of gear and includes a rain cover and two-liter hydration bladder.

Timber Hawk Killshot Backpack is a fantastic backpack and one that can be used for multi-day adventures, thus making it a phenomenal piece of gear that will continue to work for you as you mature and grow as a hunter.

It has comfortable straps, a built-in binocular strap system, and more great features.

Use Scouting Tools

first time deer hunting what do i need

Technology has drastically changed scouting and pre-scouting. It used to be that hunters had to turn to the Farmer’s Almanac for migration predictions and weather patterns, but nowadays, everything is a simple Google search away.

This is both a blessing and a curse – having information be available to everyone is great, but it also means that your secret hunting spot on public land is now open to everyone.

We recommend checking out Real Tree Pro Rut Report for tracking information, and other similar services.

Bring Plenty Of Snacks And Water

first time deer hunting what do i need

When you are daydreaming about hunting deer for the first time, it seems like you will be constantly on the trail of big bucks or in the midst of a great shot.

However, the fact of the matter is that hunting requires a lot of patience, a lot of walking, and uses up a lot of energy.

It is crucial, regardless of exactly how you plan to hunt, that you have a lot of water and food on hand.

Make sure you are fueling up consistently to keep your energy levels and focus high!

Get Permission To Hunt

first time deer hunting what do i need

If you are going to be hunting on private land, it is absolutely essential that you get permission from the owner of the land.

Do not risk stepping on to private land without the owner’s permission.

If you are looking for a smart way to get an owner of private land to agree to your hunt, tell him that you will split the game meat if you end up bagging a deer.

Take The Hunters Safety Course

Last but not least, make sure you take the hunter’s safety course. In most states, it is a simple 4-hour course with a follow-up written exam.

In most cases, this is true if you are hunting with a rifle or a crossbow and it is a prerequisite to getting your hunters permit.

Do not skip out on taking the required education. It teaches valuable lessons and makes it safer for all of us.

Additional Item Recommendations For Your First Time Deer Hunting

  • Warm Clothes – Warm clothes are crucial to staying warm while you hunt. We recommend using moisture-wicking socks, Underarmor shirts to retain heat, hand warmers, a face mask, and whatever else you can bring to ensure your warmth.
  • Zip Ties – Zip ties are crucial for tagging the deer when it is down and getting it ready to go, but there are a million other things that you can do with zip ties so it is a great idea to always have plenty on hand.
  • Portable Phone Charger – Many hunters nowadays use hunting apps such as Onxhunt and other deer tracking apps. Unfortunately, these apps can quickly drain your battery. Bring a portable battery charger just in case your battery dies.
  • Toiletries – Stick some toilet paper in a zip lock bag to keep it dry. Bring lots of bug spray, and bring scent removing deodorant.
  • Bring Bear Spray – If bears are known to live in the area where you are hunting, bear spray is an absolute must.
  • Mark Your Trail – If you are planning on going deep into the woods while you hunt, pick up some trail marking materials so you do not get lost. This is a lesson that many hunters end up learning the hard way.

Where Should I Buy Gear For My First Deer Hunt?

Many of our readers have reached out and asked us exactly where they should buy gear for their first deer hunting adventure – they have asked us about Cabela’s, Buckmasters, Fleet Farm, and other retailers. We think the best place to buy your deer hunting gear is on

Click here to go directly to the product page for Timber Hawk Killshot Backpack on


There you have it – a comprehensive look at what you need for deer hunting when it is your first time.

We hope you have found this guide to be useful.

As always, check with your local state laws to get more information and always follow these laws to the T.

Make sure you have proper hunting gear when you are out in the field!

We hope you have a successful hunt and have enjoyed reading this guide! Now you can answer the question, “it’s my first time deer hunting, what do I need?”