Another hunting season approaching means another list of gear, and while not every deer hunter needs or wants all the same items, these things work. With retail prices from under $20 to over a grand, there is something for every hunter and style of hunting.
Choosing the correct deer ammunition amidst shelves stacked with all sorts of manufacturer claims can be a daunting task for hunters. While tipped rounds are far from ideal for bigger game, they are tailor-made for the thinner-skinned, medium-sized American White-tailed Deer. Rapidly expanding bullets will, on the whole, perform much better than heavier rounds that are not intended to transfer their kinetic energy as quickly. Deer hunters should give at least one of these a go both on the range and in the stand: Sig Sauer Elite Hunter, Hornady Outfitter, Nosler Ballistic Tip, Federal Premium Trophy Copper, and Norma BondStrike. Each one of those makes use of a polymer-tipped, boat tail bullet, while those seeking non-lead options will gravitate to the copper alloy construction of both the Hornady Outfitter and Federal Premium Trophy Copper. For more in-depth info on these tipped rounds, check out our feature.
A nice mix of our tipped rifle ammunition offerings, ideal for taking deer-sized game. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)
BUSHNELL NITRO SPOTTING SCOPE
While not all deer hunting involves copious time spotting and stalking, range time itself is a whole lot more enjoyable with a good spotting scope. Bushnell’s Nitro is ideal in both situations. Though it’s on the higher end for average range deer hunts, it perfect for hunters who need optics that can handle big game seasons in the Western states as well as local deer fields. Our test model is the 20-60x65mm with the angled eyepiece, though straight is also available. The glass is top-quality, fully coated, nitrogen-purged with a 16mm eye relief and 110’/50’ FOV. A magnesium chassis with a rubberized coating is both durable and practical. The rotating tripod ring makes the scope even more comfortable in awkward field positions. The Nitro Spotter carries a $749 MSRP, though real-world prices already have it listed under $600. For more in-depth info on the Nitro, check out our feature.
Bushnell’s new Nitro Spotting Scope, here in 20-60×65 works equally well glassing for game on backcountry hunts as it does on a tripod on the shooting range. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)
MONTANA DECOY PLOT PACK
Decoy use is rapidly growing in popularity among deer hunters, both bow and gun. We’ve used them to draw in curious whitetails with great success on the edges of food plots as well as in more open terrain. This two-decoy set from Montana Decoy allows for the greatest versatility in a hunting setup. Whether it’s early-season feeding, pre-rut, or full-on chasing, hunters can use the included Motion Doe alone, add the second Buck/Doe either with or without its antlers attached or position the Buck aggressively with his antlers in place. In an innovative move, the company includes what they call a “teaser tail” that not only mimics an actual whitetail’s bushy tail but also allows for scent placement on this part of the deke. Even mobile hunters will appreciate the Plot Pack, as we especially enjoy how compact they fold and fit into a hunting pack, almost the size of a frisbee, so it’s easy to have them at the ready. The decoys spring open easily, the fabric material has held up well, and when positioned correctly, deer can’t help but come join the party. The retail price on the set is $139.99.
Montana Decoy’s two-deer plot pack is ideal for both bow and gun hunters (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)
OZONICS SCENT ELIMINATION DEVICE
Though we usually lean much more to traditional types of hunting, this one is too intriguing to ignore. Instead of preparing for the hunt by covering with odor control sprays or layering on new scents, Ozonics offers these battery-run devices that use ozone to destroy human scent in the field. The HR-300 Scent Elimination Device is intended not only to de-stink your gear at home, but more importantly, is built to take out in the field. This same unit designed to be attached to your tree, placed in a ground blind can also be used in a scent control closet or container at home. Though ozone scent control always seems to find controversy, Ozonics is clear about staying well within government standards. The HR-300 sells for $449, while similar units are available at both higher and lower price points. While we have no good way to scientifically test the unit, we’ve had numerous deer walk right by the HR-300 in both ground blind and ladder stands.
Ozonics are battery-run devices using ozone to destroy human scent in the field (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)