Embarking on a hunting expedition requires more than just skill and patience; it calls for the right equipment for the work. In the UK, where hunting is both a traditional sport and a way of connecting with nature, having the best hunt gear is crucial for a successful and safe experience.

This blog will provide a comprehensive guide to the essential gear required for hunting, encompassing reliable firearms, protective clothing, advanced navigation tools, and survival kits.

Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or just starting out, understanding what to bring and why each item is important will enhance your hunting trips and ensure you’re well-prepared for any situation in the wild.

hunter holding gun with dog and best hunt gear in a foggy field

What Hunting Gear Do I Need To Start

No matter your hunting goal, be it western mountain elk or whitetail deer, having the appropriate equipment is key to being successful. Luckily, there are a wide array of hunting accessories to meet any need you might have.

Hunting products often focus on producing dead bucks, but every hunter needs a few essential items in his or her arsenal. These may include:

Gear Category Essential Items Key Features Considerations for UK Hunters
Firearms and Ammunition Rifle, shotgun, bullets, cartridges Calibre or gauge appropriate for the game, Reliable brands Adherence to UK firearms regulations and proper licencing
Clothing and footwear Camouflage gear, waterproof jacket, hunting boots Weather-appropriate, durable, and comfortable Local climate considerations blend with the environment.
Navigation Tools GPS device, compass, maps Easy to use, accurate, durable Familiarity with local terrain and backup navigation options
Optics Binoculars, Rangefinder, Scope High clarity, durable, and lightweight Species being hunted, typical viewing distances
Survival Kit First aid kit, knife, and fire starter Compact, comprehensive, and easy to use Preparation for emergencies and basic survival skills
Communication Devices Two-way radio, mobile phone Reliable signal, long battery life Coverage in hunting areas, weather-resistant models
Hunting Accessories Game calls, scent blockers, and tree stands Effective for the intended game, easy to transport Specifics of local game species and hunting techniques
Storage and Transport Backpack, game bags, gun case Spacious, durable, and comfortable to carry Capacity for all gear; protection of firearms
Food and Hydration Water bottle, non-perishable snacks Easy to carry, nutritious, and sufficient for trip duration Hydration needs and energy requirements for hunting activities

1. Compass and Map

There are various electronic tools available to hunters, such as smartphone maps and GPS devices. Even if you know how to navigate with these tools, having an old-school map and compass handy may come in handy in case of device failure or loss, plus these don’t take batteries, require software updates, or are nearly indestructible with waterproof coatings or storage considerations.

Learn to align your compass with magnetic north by learning to line up its needle. When taking bearings, lay your map out flat on a surface and place your compass upon it; mark where you currently are and where you intend to travel before drawing a line between them with a straight edge of the compass baseplate and drawing a line on top. Finally, rotate its bezel until the orienting lines on the dial are in line with grid lines running north to south on the map, while the index line points towards the direction of travel.

2. Water

Hydration is of utmost importance in hunting. Your body burns more calories while hunting and needs plenty of water to stay hydrated for the duration of the hunt, making bringing along a small pack with a water bladder an essential gear item for any successful expedition. Plus, drinking regularly from it allows you to stay more hydrated for longer.

Not all hunters realise the significance of having access to water when hunting in the backcountry, however. A proper packing list can help minimise this common misstep, including items like a backpack with a hydration pack, clothing appropriate to the climate and terrain, durable boots with camouflage gloves, a sturdy cap, and a flashlight.

Deer typically obtain their water from vegetation sources, but they will also travel to sources of drinking water. Early-season deer often visit water sources before and after hunting, making it beneficial to hunters if water sources could be located between bedding areas and feeding sites. Unfortunately, water supplies aren’t always reliable, especially during drought conditions or when perennial streams freeze up over winter.

3. First Aid Kit

Maintaining an effective first aid kit in your pack is essential to remaining safe when exploring the backcountry. A comprehensive hunting first aid kit should cover everything from minor cuts and scrapes to major wounds, fractures, dehydration, and infection.

The ideal hunting first aid kits are compact and minimalistic in order to save space and weight yet still meet all necessary medical needs in the wilderness. Items such as SAM splints for treating ankle rolls and broken bones, as well as hydration solutions to combat dehydration, should all be included in these first aid kits.

Hunters should also become knowledgeable in first aid and CPR procedures, with advanced courses like Wilderness First Aid to increase backcountry medical skills. Furthermore, it’s advisable for hunters to discuss emergency protocols with their hunting companions prior to embarking on any trips in order to understand group plans, ensure everyone carries appropriate equipment, and create a point of contact in case of an incident.

4. Fire Starters

Survival gear is essential for all hunters. Without the ability to light a fire quickly and easily, hunters won’t be able to cook their catch or stay warm after dark. Luckily, fire starters exist that make starting campfires simpler than ever.

Some of the best fire starters include magnesium or ferro rods equipped with strikers to generate thousands of sparks quickly and conveniently. Others can easily fit in your pocket or backpack for camping and hiking trips; others even feature built-in tinder pads that make their use even simpler.

Not having a fire starter may not always be necessary; with practice and patience, you may learn how to create fire without one by employing primitive skills like bow drilling, hand drilling, or traditional flint and steel. A survival fire starter, however, makes starting a fire easier in wet or windy environments.

5. Shelter

Shelter is one of the most essential pieces of hunting gear outside of firearms. Exposure to harsh weather conditions such as cold temperatures and high altitudes can be especially hazardous, leading to hypothermia, which could prove life-threatening without proper protection. Furthermore, having shelter provides warmth as well as keeping hunters dry while simultaneously deterring predators.

Clothing, scent eliminators, and a hat or balaclava are other essential hunting gear items. Hunters should dress according to the climate they are hunting in and use camouflage clothing, as camouflage will help them blend into their surroundings. Wearing a hat that protects the head, ears, and neck helps regulate body temperature, as does having good-quality socks that wick away moisture effectively, prevent blisters, and protect against the elements.

To extend their hunts and increase their chances of success, hunters are strongly advised to bring portable hunting shelters, such as ground blinds or pop-up shelters, on hunting trips. These lightweight protections from the elements enable hunters to remain in the field longer for greater odds of a successful hunt.