Though no Substitute For Hunting Skills, the Right Gear can Help you Bag your Deer
By Gary LewisWhen she sees a deer or a picture of one, our nearly two year-old daughter will exclaim, "Ah, bucka. See bucka!"
We'll tell her, "Right. Deer," or, "Buck deer."
"Yah. Gear," she says.
I think she has a point. Every huntger needs to consider the gear they will take into the field on opening day.
Good boots are essential but can be noisy on fallen branches and dried leaves. There are several ways to deaden the sound of your footfalls.
The still-hunter needs boots to get to the hunting area but, when the woods are dry, should consider something quieter.
Moccasins can be tied to a belt or packframe. When a stalk must be made, the hunter simply shucks the boots and slips on the moccasins.
Wool socks can be used in lieu of moccasins but should be worn with at least two on each foot over a lighter sock. Duct tape can be added to the sole to further protect the feet. I tried this opening day of archery season and found it very quiet and comfortable. Watch out for sharp sticks though.
A third way to add stealth to your stalk is with a polyester fleece over-boot. A product called Baer's Feet slips on over the boot. The sound of dry leaves crackling or twigs breaking underfoot are muffled by the heavy 1" pile material on the sole.
What makes these ideal for later season hunters is the fact that moisture and cold won't penetrate to the feet through the fleece and boots as they will through just moccasins or socks.
Baer's Feet won't add weight to your load and can be tied out of the way on your pack, ready to be used as needed. You can find them through area sporting goods retailers or Cabela's.
Still-hunters who spend a lot of time in heavy cover should also consider other elements of their gear. Nylon caps, backpacks and fanny packs are noisy in thick brush. Fleece, chamois or saddlecloth are good, quiet alternatives.
Sound is only one of the elements to consider. Big game rely heavily on their sense of smell to avoid danger. Keep the wind in your face and you will be able to get closer to game than ever before. A product called Smoke in a Bottle can help you dope the wind. Simply pop the top with your thumbnail and squeeze. The white powder puffs ride the air currents, a visible indicator of what the wind is doing.
Of course, gear is never a substitute for good hunting skill but the right gear can go a long way toward helping you bag your buck this fall.