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Early Season Gear List For Whitetail Hunting

by Elevation Equipped

Essential Early Season Gear for This Fall


As opening day of archery season gets closer on the calendar, the anticipation for most bow hunters is more than they can bear. This leads many people to start planning everything out well in advance, including their early season gear. The early season has its challenges for hunters though – from summer-like heat to swarming insects, things aren’t usually as desirable as a late October hunt. Even so, early season hunting has its advantages as well. As long as you can be prepared for it, you stand a great chance at connecting with a big whitetail on your opening day. Here’s an early season gear list to help you keep track and organize your own hunting equipment.

Early Season Gear for Bow Hunters

Getting out for adequate target practice throughout the year is critical to your success as a bow hunter, but having the right early season gear is also extremely important. For example, hunting clothing you typically use later in the season could be way too warm and the wrong camo pattern for the early season conditions, which could compromise your hunt. Whereas having the appropriate warm weather hunting clothes will make you more comfortable and help you sweat less to avoid detection from a whitetail’s keen nose. Use the list below to organize your early season hunting gear and finish up your preparations for deer season, because it’s probably not long before you’ll be up in a tree stand waiting for the right one to walk by.

Early Season Hunting Clothes

As mentioned, hunting clothes are one of the first things you’ll probably think about. Make sure to use several lightweight layers, which gives you the best ability to adjust for the hot conditions. Even in the heat, including a light merino wool base layer will actually help you stay cooler by wicking your sweat away and cooling your skin. Then if you get too hot, you can always remove other layers and just sit in your base layer. The material and camo pattern are both very important to consider too.

  • Material – without the right material, your hunting clothes might not work out well in early season conditions. For example, cotton usually feels somewhat heavy in the heat and simply absorbs your sweat (and body odor) instead of wicking it and letting it dry. Make sure you have some good scent control clothing (usually made of lighter merino wool or polyester materials) to stay scent-free in the heat.
  • Camouflage Pattern – lightweight camo clothing is a great first step, but you need the right camo too. Most September whitetail hunts involve lots of green leaves still, so make sure your early season camo pattern has enough green to blend in with the surroundings.

Hunting boots are important no matter what time of year you go out. But in the early season, make sure you get a lightweight pair that is somewhat breathable, to help keep your feet from overheating, sweating, and getting too terribly smelly.

Hunting Backpack

Regardless if you’re simply going on a quick hunt on your property or doing an all-day hunt far from home, having a good quality hunting pack will make things easier for you and should be part of your early season gear. A hunting daypack is all you really need to store a few essentials (e.g., knife, rope, snacks, etc.). The Lowlands 750 backpack is well camouflaged in an olive and Mossy Oak Break-Up® Country pattern so you can hang it in the tree stand with you. It is also compatible with a hydration bladder, so you can easily stay hydrated while hunting in the heat.

Hunting Safety

If you choose to hunt in a ground blind in the early season, you don’t have to worry about safety so much, unless it’s 90 degrees and you start having heat stroke. But if you’re in a tree stand of any kind (i.e., climber, hang-on stand, ladder stand, etc.), you need to make sure you use a safety harness. Forgetting this piece of equipment might seem like a minor issue, and you might be tempted to still hunt, but please don’t climb into a tree without one. It could easily save your life, and that’s worth missing a hunt for.

Bow, Case, and Accessories

This one seems somewhat obvious, but many people don’t think much about it. A good quality bow case is capable of securing your bow and protecting it as you come and go from the house or vehicle. The Suspense bow case has a protective skid plate and the 3-inch-deep case and tie-down straps keep your bow in place. Additionally, it comes with ample storage for accessories (e.g., release, arrows, extra broadheads, miscellaneous bow tools, etc.) and even has a fully detachable garment bag to store your scent-free hunting clothes.

Other Essential Early Season Gear

In addition to the hunting gear above, there are all kinds of other hunting accessories and items you should keep track of. Here are a few of the most common ones you should likely be taking with you on any given deer hunt.

  • Facepaint/Mask – for especially warm days in the tree stand, try using face paint instead of donning your usual face mask. It might seem like you could skip this in the heat, but your chances will be much better if you can camouflage as much as possible. Wary deer don’t respond well when they see the glare off your nose or forehead.
  • Scent-elimination spray – having early season scent control clothing really helps with this issue, but you will inevitably sweat. Keep some scent-eliminating spray with you and make sure you use it before you walk to the tree stand and just before you climb up.
  • Light – even if you don’t plan on staying in your tree stand until after sunset, it’s a good idea to pack a headlamp or flashlight with you. Being stuck in the woods without one is not a very fun experience. And if you actually get to loose an arrow at an animal, you will definitely need one for tracking purposes.
  • Knife – this should be a no-brainer, but make sure you pack a knife in your early season gear, your mid- and late-season gear, and really any time you’re outdoors. A knife is so incredibly valuable in the woods.

This year, don’t get so excited for bow hunting that you overlook an important piece of equipment. Use this early season gear list to keep track of it all and make this season as successful as possible.

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