Whitetail Hunting Gear Checklist – Don’t Forget a Thing!

Deer season is just around the corner. Use our hunting gear checklist and be prepared! This hunting gear list has all the hunting essentials that you need for a successful hunt.

Halfway to your tree stand, you stop dead in your tracks.

Even forgetting one tiny item can cause a big hassle in the field. If you don't have a knife sharpener, the Edgemate Carbide Sharpener will make all the difference when it's time to do the dirty work.
Forgetting a knife sharpener can have BIG ramifications.


“I forgot my [fill in the blank].”

Yup. Every hunter’s been there. Especially after waiting until just before opener to get our gear together.

And with so much to pack, there’s no guarantee you’ll remember everything even if you do give yourself plenty of time. Anybody who has ever had to dress a deer with a dull knife can attest to how forgetting one small item like a knife sharpener can be a big set back.

The Importance of a Checklist

If you want to avoid the above scenario, you need a checklist. There’s simply too much to remember on your own.

And the pros at Sportsman’s Guide have put together a good one, including everything you could possibly need before, during and after the hunt. Because they know the unprepared hunter is a whitetail’s best bet at survival.

[Click here to get your printable Sportsman’s Guide Whitetail Hunting Checklist]

Sportsman's Guide Whitetail Hunting Checklist


Missing something? Check out an entire collection of hunting gear at Sportsman’s Guide


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62 Responses to “Whitetail Hunting Gear Checklist – Don’t Forget a Thing!”

  1. Avatar

    Barry Beasley

    I am a new hunter. I want to hunt to help feed the hungry family in Florida. If I could win it would help me a lot their are a lot of family that don’t have meat to eat. I would give up my time to feed the needy if I had some kind of financial help or hunting tools or trailer and freezer. I think I can start in Florida and due for other states as well my name is Barry Beasley e-mail Carillon10@hotmail.com.

  2. Avatar

    Jim Willard

    This is the first time for me checking out your web site.I have just taken on a new family and we all hunt so I will be looking forward to all you have to offer . The boys need outfitting and seems like I always need something.

  3. Avatar

    Jeff Watson

    I grew up in the woods,started bow hunting at age of 12. Never really used all the gear and accessories. Probably cause it was too much for me to keep up with. Over the years I have added a few things. I love having the sportsman guide to keep my blood thumping come season. Hitting age 44 I still love to hunt and help those would love to try. I have taken several people out on successful hunt excursions with the bare essentials. I think if I could be outfitted with some gear I would be able to make this a full time hobby. One buddy in schyler county Illinois hadn’t hunted his family farm in 20 years. I got him to go and after locating good spots he was able to take down his first deer at age 41. We have been going back for the last 5 years and now our boys are involved. I really feel like a student of the hunt and love teaching others the passion

    • Avatar

      Tom Kacheroski

      Hi Jeff … thanks for sharing the thrill…your enjoyment of hunting, and most importantly, your effort to introduce others to our great pastime. It’s also awesome that you are getting your kids participating, and teaching them all the good the sport has to offer. Thanks again and continued success in the woods!

  4. Avatar

    Doug Lipscomb

    You forgot casual shoes ie:tennis shoes,flip flops on your deer hunting checklist.I don’t think I’ve ever been hunting without forgetting something,I’m sure everyone can add or subtract from this list.Great job guys

  5. Avatar

    Keith Fader

    Don’t forget the early season hunter’s newest best friend, Therma-cell. Keep those little needle nose buggers from flying around your head. Always keep one in my pack.

  6. Avatar

    George Bradley

    I hunt in the northwest Ga. area where public land has alot of hunting pressure on it. However with the help of Sportsmanguides lower prices…i have killed several deer out of their lockon tree stands.Now my son is old enough to go with me more…he cant wait till season opens up again.

  7. Avatar

    Kimberly Bowen

    You forgot one thing on your list “bow release” otherwise it’s a great list. I carry at least two just in case something happens to one of them.

  8. Avatar

    Luis Perez

    Would that fit in just one bag

  9. Avatar


    Thanks for the list

  10. Avatar


    “ALWAYS FOLLOW THE MONEY”. Please note: this list is offered by Sportsmen’s Guide AND they are always ready and willing to supply every single piece of equipment listed here. it has often helped me to keep this “There’s a sucker born every minute” by David Hannum re PTBarnum where I could retrieve it at a moments notice.
    a consideration for needed:
    a simple but proper firearm in a caliber which is suitable to kill an animal cleanly.
    simple clothing and shoes to meet the weather and the terrain.
    simple and inexpensive outer layer which contains the required color for certain hunting conditions.
    consider a small but strong sharp knife which can be sharpened [careful of stainless steel].
    important: keep everything which is included carefully thought through.
    remember who is making the list…. “Your Complete Whitetail Hunting Checklist – Don’t Forget a Thing!” ?VS “ALWAYS FOLLOW THE MONEY”.

    I began deer hunting @ age 12 here in the mountains of Pocahontas County, WVa 1958. the old men here [one was born in 1867] had to keep everything simple. there were almost no deer left in those days so ‘the hunt’ was a hard one. BUT these old hunters trained me to be extremely careful of the direction the bullet was headed in and “boy, you better have hair in your sights before you pull that trigger.” also, when I was put on a “deer stand” I was to stay there no matter the weather. I learned this hard earned lesson and have wanted to live it out as an adult. “Y’r Complete W H C – Don’t Forget a Thing!” this ‘don’t forget a thing’ was the true lesson from the old men. summed up: ‘it wasn’t about me’. I’m sorry Sportsman’s Guide, but I must suggest to folks to be very careful to determine what is foolishness here.

    • Avatar

      John Petrello

      Follow the money – says it all.

      • Avatar


        Nice anecdote. Your “list” is just a compressed summary of what this website goes into further detail to explain.

        Most people have the agency and common sense NOT to buy “all the things” on the list, but just stuff that is applicable to them. Do you think people will bring a rifle if it is bow season?

        No one cares about your anecdotes, by the way.

  11. Avatar


    btw, thinking back, the real trophy was to have stayed on that ‘deer stand’ when the weather was cold and wet. to stand still and to not tromp your feet. no fire. to have only taken a shot when I knew exactly where the ‘drivers’ were. to want to have “hair in your sights before you pull that trigger”.

    thus the real trophy had nothing to do with size of horns or whatever ‘the hunt’ was. it was to ‘sense’ acceptance when I passed their muster. they didn’t have to say ‘it’… ‘it’ being ‘boy, you toughed it out”. I knew then, it was the massive “thrill” of being accepted as a man amongst men who hunted the old way. I was 12 when I started with them…. what a blessing it was. the deer I have forgotten. to have walked in their foot step, my heart is still filled at this moment.

    I apologize for going on. but everywhere I turn in this new hunting world, it seems to always be about what you can get no matter the cost to the animal. chatter about calibres? that is very simple. gun? single to auto? all will do it if it shoots where it is aimed. just do a bit of checking.

    all you need is one good banjo; not the expensive one nor several sitting around. then get to know that banjo as an extension of you. you can ‘feel it in the tool you are using’. your music then can be about others, not you. thus “– Don’t Forget a Thing!”. play your music for others and you wont forget.

  12. Avatar

    BH Bradley

    I started hunting back in the late 1970’s. Back then (and I’m sure for eons before me), having fancy gear was only a prerequisite of the wealthy hunter. Camouflage, if you could find it, was recycled military. I was perfectly happy wearing a pair of faded Levi’s, a flannel shirt, a pair of work boots with scratchy wool socks, and whatever else the weather called for. To me, it was about the experience, not the kill. I didn’t (and still don’t) get a deer every year, but I get my share. When I get one, it’s frosting on the cake. As for Sportsman’s Guide’s list, it’s nothing more than a suggestion. Be selective and leave the kitchen sink at home. Most sporting goods on the market today are not required. Stick with the basics: a reliable/legal kill method and a quality sharp knife above everything else. Heck, our ancestors were pretty much naked and they found a ways to successfully hunt without a lot of “stuff”.

    • Avatar


      Do you think there were a lot of “naked” hunters running around hunting in single-degree temps?

      Get real. Technology and mass production means that not only does modern gear last longer, but it is also less expensive than it was when first introduced (generally speaking).

      I will take modern gear that I have to buy once every couple of decades over thrift store trash that performs miserably, thanks.

  13. Avatar

    Jeanne Godar

    Living where I hunt really cuts down on the list.

  14. Avatar

    larry wall

    What ever it takes.

  15. Avatar

    Steve Reed

    Very insightful, yes I am the hunter who forgot his hunting knife and couldn’t gut my buck taken in Idaho. Try dragging a ten point mule deer through the brush that isn’t gutted, not happening. Thank you sportsmans for that extensive list of must have gear. Keep up the informative articles and information related to being a sportsman.

  16. Avatar


    Very helpful information, indeed!
    I have always been looking for a complete checklist out there. This one is by far the best!
    Thank for sharing and keep the good works!

  17. Avatar

    Jeff Mc

    Great list but the one thing I would add is trash bags. (unscented) You can never have enough.
    I use them for all my dirty clothes as to not contaminate anything. You should get a whiff of my feet after a day out in the field!

  18. Avatar

    Bruce Swafford

    The more tree stands you have the more places you have to hunt

  19. Avatar

    Bradford Snelson

    I loved the info graphic you made for a checklist of things to remember when you go hunting! I can definitely imagine how frustrating it would be to get all the way out to your spot only to realize that you’ve forgotten something. If you’re trying to get hunting gear late in the season, it might make sense to order it online instead of going in to a physical store location.

  20. Avatar

    Jordyn Crane

    This was an awesome with helpful content. I believe in professionals so this is a very useful article for everyone. Thank you very much for sharing..

  21. Avatar

    Steve Simmons

    Your Article is Wonderful! A lot of Great Tips and Very nicely written. I have learned a lot from your article Thank you for sharing with us.

  22. Avatar

    Bree Byrd

    A whistle should be added to this list.

  23. Avatar

    Roger Middleton

    I have been wanting to take my son out hunting for awhile now but I don’t really know much about it and I’m worried that I might mess something up. I liked that you had mentioned that it can be important to make a checklist of everything that you need before, during, and after the hunt. We might have to start making a list, although to avoid mistakes, I might have to look for a professional to guide us when hunting whitetail.

  24. Avatar


    Status of my gun delivery

  25. Avatar

    Ron Thomas

    Two items of the utmost importance weren’t on the list. 1) ThermaCELL with refills, and 2) toilet paper which is probably the single most important item to carry into the woods!!!!!!!!!

    As for the rest of the list, I’m one of the lucky few who only has to walk out of my back door in order to deer hunt, so the majority of stuff isn’t even on my radar.

  26. Avatar

    Robert A Boyer

    I have been doing business with Sportsmans Guide pretty near from when you started, and I will be doing business with the Guide until I die. I love the deals and the service. I don’t need anything today, but I will soon.

    • Matt Dybedahl

      Matt Dybedahl

      Thanks, Robert! We appreciate you doing business with us over all these years. If there’s anything you ever need, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

  27. Avatar

    Lance Bosma

    The treestands second man install kit is great I just wish I could get the pivot anchors separate from the kit. I have more then one teestand to install and just want the pivot anchors. Thanks for having good stuff at an affordable price. Lance

  28. Avatar

    Linley liming

    I have been in the woods for many years , and safety must come first,, check ur pack every day to make sure u have what will get u through until someone comes, first aid supply’s, letting people know where they can find u, remember u can get hurt, I DID, ended up going to ER to get stitches !

  29. Avatar

    Donald Ort

    You forgot the walkie talkies AND CELL PHONES!!!! WE DON’T HUNT WITHOUT THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. Avatar

    James Deamud

    I’m still waiting for delivery looks like 10 days really makes it hard to do with you

  31. Avatar

    John Linchon

    Hunting is very adventurer game. Everyone doesn’t like hunting but who are the passionate about hunting they like hunting very much.

  32. Avatar

    lewis stern

    please sent copy of sportsmans guide hunters checklist

    thanks lew stern

  33. Avatar

    Maurice T. Weller

    Hey guys I think this listing is great but I will have to adapt to the type of terrain and area I am Hunting! For instance Climbing Gear for mountain ranges! Isn’t it a absolute need to bring a Cooler! What about food and snacks!
    Come on Guys!!!

  34. Avatar

    Jim O'Hare

    My Uncle promised to take me hunting, but didnt, -got too old. He let me borrow a 30-06 and I went with my bud Chris into the Catskills, up a dried river bed in his Willy’s. Ten years no bucks, Saw a couple but waited for the next one that never came- DUH. Finally got an ugly busted up spike at 32, with an overbite to boot. Time to get busy, forgot my real knife, but had a swiss army knife. What a mess from a hack surgeon in the snow. A bloody scene halted for an hour as I dropped the knife DUH – and its getting dark. Anyway I finished and didnt have a drag rope and not much to grab on an ugly buck, for a country mile. A memorable first. Wish I saw that 8 pointer standing next to that ugly spike. You end up learning on your own, and 15 nice bucks later. I learned what slow really means and what quiet really means. I swear that I was slow and quiet- wrong.That is the journey. Dont rush.
    So…- knife, rope, sandwich, canteen, lifesavers and a silk scarf are ALWAYS in my pocket. look more move less

  35. Avatar

    Jim Neubeck

    Why is it that all of these type of articles leave out one of the most important items that can absolutely save your life. Myself and all of my hunting buddies carry a Personal Locating Beacon (PLB) every time we go hunting. Please include this in your check list. I got mine for under $300 and I never go in the woods without it.

  36. Avatar


    What is the best Rifle/caliber to kill deer up to 100 feet

  37. Avatar

    Charles humphrey

    Water and some granola bars.

  38. Avatar

    Charles Humphrey

    And let’s not forget toilet paper. Not only for the obvious reason it helps in tracking also. You find some blood drop some toilet paper, that way you can always look behind you and see the direction the trail is going.

  39. Avatar

    Linley Liming

    I have been one who really enjoys the outdoors, after growing up out in the woods of southern Ohio, my mother’s family who cut timber for a living, and too many times they were not prepared for accidents made me realize what can happen and how quick !!! Stop and think, it can happen too anyone, take this list, and use it, take a first aid course too, u may have too spend a night in the woods alone, wet, cold and ?, be smart u have people who care for u, sincerely ,retired, fire and ems, for 28 years !

  40. Avatar

    Don Schuiteman

    I am 84 years old and of a bigger build.I need a ground blind made for an older person. What do you suggest?

  41. Avatar

    James Brumley

    If your State requires it, as mine does; don’t forget your blaze orange vest and hat!

  42. Avatar

    Anthony Maldonado

    Thanks for sharing the ultimate hunting checklist.

  43. Avatar

    John LaPadura

    Please add safety harnesse to the list.

  44. Avatar


    really nice article keep sharing useful information

  45. Avatar


    If I don’t put it in the truck the previous week or physically strap it to my body, I will likely forget something!

  46. Avatar

    Steve C.

    I can’t find the riflescopes in the list. A good scope is very important and an essential thing to have while deer hunting. If I’m 100 metres away from the target I must need a good rifle optic to hit the target smoothly.

  47. Avatar


    wonderful article i really like it

  48. Avatar


    Wow great article.
    The more tree stands you have the more places you have to hunt.


  49. Avatar

    John Bradley

    amazing! Reviewing your checklist and its great but the one thing I would add is hunting gloves. Is it helpful, what’s your opinion.
    Good Day

  50. Avatar


    WOW! So impressive list. Thanks for sharing this helpful post. Keep digging more tips like that.

  51. Avatar


    I am really impress by your hunting article doing research prior to engaging in Texas Whitetail hunts is important, since it can help you get familiar with how your target will behave during the hunt. Even the smallest details about your game can determine the success or failure of your hunt. These details include their daily patterns, eating habits, and behavior when passive, as well as when threatened.

  52. Avatar

    Steven Rinella

    Awesome share!! Usually, I love to hunting alone. Which backpack you use for alone hunting?

  53. Avatar


    It is a very helpful article because i myself like to hunt. We often go for huntings on weekends

  54. Avatar

    kashif Ahmed

    Amazing checklist to skyrocket our hunting experience keep post amazing stuff.