Updated: Apr 20
All right, you’ve put in the work. You bought a bow, you’ve been practicing and you’re thinking about gearing up for your first hunt. Let’s talk about some essential pieces of bowhunting gear and accessories that you will need to bring with you for that upcoming bow hunt.
Over the past few years, these pieces of gear have been so crucial at any given moment. Whether it’s been a notebook to write in to help pass the time on those inevitable long and boring sits. Snacks to fuel up after hours sitting in a bush blind, or an allen set to fix something on your bow that isn’t working right.
Choosing the right bowhunting gear is so crucial. There’s nothing worse than being out on a bow hunt and realizing you forgot or left something behind. We’d suggest that once you compile your gear that it lives in a backpack or your bino harness and STAYS there. Keep it all together and make a checklist on your phone that you can go over and verify before stepping out of your front door.
This will help to ensure that you are always properly prepared for your upcoming hunt. In addition to our Top 10 essential pieces of bowhunting gear. We included some honorable mentions at the end of this article as well. They are a bit more specific to certain game or types of hunts, but relatively just as important. Ok with all that being said let’s get into the meat and potatoes here!
Top 10 Bowhunting Gear Essentials
1. Allen Set
The first item on this list is the Allen Set from Pine Ridge Archery. I’ll say it louder for those in the back. ESSENTIAL. It’s a must-have, I can’t tell you how many times this has come in clutch.
Whether it’s on a hunt or the range. Something will inevitably come loose, a sight will be slightly off and you’ll have to make an adjustment, or your arrow rest gets knocked and needs to be readjusted. Now, come to think about it. This has even come in handy for other people more than me some days. So be that person that’s always prepared. Whether for yourself or others.
Check it out on Amazon here >> Pine Ridge Archery Allen Set
2. Dead Down Wind Wind Detector
The Dead Down Wind Wind Detector is an excellent tool for detecting wind direction and ensuring that your scent is not being carried toward prey. Essentially it’s a bottle with extremely fine particulate powder which you squeeze to assess the direction of the wind.
This compact device is easy to use and provides accurate readings, so you can adjust your approach accordingly. Scent control is a crucial aspect of bowhunting, and the Dead Down Wind Wind Detector is an essential accessory to help you stay undetected.
Check it out on Amazon here >> Dead Down Wind
When bowhunting, you never know when you'll need a light. If we can give you one sound piece of advice, you will kill A LOT of animals just before last light. STAY TILL DARK, don’t be a wimp, and be scared of the dark. Yes, it’s a bit odd and creepy at times. But with the right lighting system, you don’t have to worry about the things that go bump in the night.
Whether you're tracking game in low light conditions or navigating your way back to camp after dark, a good headlamp is a must-have item. I recommend a compact, high-quality headlamp that is easy to carry and provides ample light, red light, and varying brightness levels.
We recommend checking out the Camo Headlamp from Lastlights.
For a Discount, use code: LIGHT10 >> CAMO HEADLAMP
4. Back-Up Release
Having a backup release is an important safety measure when bowhunting. If your primary release malfunctions or gets lost, having a spare release can save your hunt. So always carry a backup release in your pack, just in case. Ideally, you have the exact same release, but if not just bring SOMETHING. Because something is better than nothing. Remember, TWO IS ONE AND ONE IS NONE.
5. Hunting License
Don't forget your hunting license! In most states, it’s the law to have a physical copy of it on your person. Be sure to keep it with you at all times when hunting.
6. Small Rite in the Rain Notebook and Pen
A small Rite in the Rain notebook and pen is perfect for taking notes, keeping track of your gear, or just writing about your experience. The durable paper is waterproof, so you don't have to worry about your notes getting ruined if they get wet. This is a great item to keep in your pack at all times.
We would suggest not wearing headphones to listen to music or podcasts. It’s too easy to distract yourself and miss some crucial sounds. Imagine missing a snapping twig or rustling in the brush so you move around or make a noise like nothing is there and you spook away your game…it’s not worth it.
Instead, to pass the time, observe your surroundings and take notes. Enjoy the time out there, soak it all in, and write about your experience. You’ll enjoy looking back on it down the line.
Check it out on Amazon here>>>
A GOOD knife is a must-have item for any bowhunter. Whether you need to dress game or cut a branch to clear a shooting lane, a reliable knife is essential. We recommend a knife that is well-balanced, full tang, and has a carrying holster. We recommend Montana Knife Company. They make some of the best and most durable knives on the market. Tried and true, you won’t much else better out there.
Check them out here >> Montana Knife Company (The Speedgoat or Blackfoot are a favorite)
8. Mouth Call
A mouth call is an excellent accessory, these calls mimic the sounds of various animals, which can attract game to your location. There are many different types of mouth calls available, so be sure to choose one that is appropriate for the type of game you are hunting. Both Phelps and Woodhaven make good-quality game calls. You can choose between mouth calls which are harder but very effective and hands-free, wood calls, or tube calls. Do your research and look into them all to see which is best for you.
Check some out on Amazon here - Phelps Game Calls >> https://amzn.to/3MRR1jp
A multi-tool is a versatile item that can come in handy in a variety of situations. Whether you need to tighten a loose screw on your bow or cut a piece of rope, a multi-tool can help. Look for a high-quality multi-tool with a variety of functions and a durable design.
We would recommend going with a Leatherman. They are pretty darn bulletproof and have been a staple in the multi-tool space for a long time. Ideally, you want one with some needle nose pliers, a serrated knife, multiple bits, a can opener, pummel, a knife sharpener, and a flint on it.
This will allow you the best range of tools for whatever comes up. We personally like the Leatherman Signal. It has all that and more. It isn’t obtrusively large so it can be put on your person or packed with minimal space being taken up.
Check it out on Amazon here >> Leatherman Signal Multi-tool
This is last on the list so it will be left on your mind last. Good optics are priceless. I’ll take an excerpt from Steven Rinella’s book “Hunting, Butchering & Cooking Wild Game”.....Where he says…” If I had a thousand dollars to spend on a gun, I’d spend $100 on the rifle and the rest into the scope”. This pertains to your rangefinder and binos too.
So with that being said, find a good set of binos and a range finder. We would recommend looking into Vortex Optics and Leupold. They make some of the best and most reliable optics on the market.
Game bags are important to have if you will be field-dressing your animal. Once the animal is butchered you will need these to put the meat into for transport.
A good tarp is worth 100x its weight. I have an SUV and I’ve been hog hunting where I needed to transport the carcass to a place to dress it as I hunted it pretty late and it was past dark. I wasn’t far off from my vehicle and it would’ve been much easier to take it to my car and then back to the cabin to dress with better lighting. So luckily I had a tarp I could wrap it in and toss in the cargo area of my SUV. The moral of the story, bring a tarp!
If you have to transport your meat for any extended period you will need a clear and ideally a larger one at that. Check out RTIC, YETI, or IGLOO for some quality coolers. YETI is expensive but the gold standard. RTIC and IGLOO make great coolers that’ll more than get the job done and won’t break the bank.
Bowhunting is hard enough as it is, so be sure that you stay well prepared, and check that you have the essential bowhunting gear you will need to be as effective in the field as possible. We hope that this is helpful to you out there getting ready to embark on your first bow hunt or to any of you having issues in the field hopefully you picked up on a good bit of info here to take with you next time you get out there.
Until next time keep shootin’ 'em straight and best of luck to you out there!