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Reader Mike Benton writes:

As the temperatures start to cool, a hunter’s thoughts turn to…deer. Do you have everything you need for this year’s hunt? Beyond a good rifle, there are a few accessories can make your hunting trip even more successful and ensure you come home with something to fill your freezer.

A Tree Stand

A tree stand allows you to see further with more clarity than if you were huddled on the ground in a blind or crouching in the bushes. A good tree stand will allow you to make a better shot and hopefully a clean kill. Many tree stands have different attachment systems that will let you change your location or quickly make adjustments so you can be comfortable.

Make sure the one you buy is durable, can support the weight of you and your gear and that you install it properly. Once you’ve selected the right stand for you, it’s time to accessorize it. Some can be fitted with blinds, as well as seat pads, umbrellas, shooting rests and even recliners. You could be up there for hours…why not be comfortable?

A Good Riflescope

Your rifle’s optic isn’t a place to scrimp. Having the best scope for deer hunting will make a huge difference in ensuring a good shot and a clean kill. You may only have one chance to get your deer this season, so you’ll want to give yourself the best chance you can.

A good rule of thumb is to spend as much on your scope as you did on your rifle and, depending on where you’ll be hunting, somewhere in the 3x to 12x magnification range (your mileage may vary). Be sure to take the time to mount yours properly and get it sighted in at the range before you take to the woods this fall.

Scent Control Clothing

Deer have more scent receptors than dogs. If the wind is right, they’ll know you’re coming long before you see them. That’s why scent control clothing is so important. In addition to popular spray-on scent hiders, many companies sell clothing that’s scent controlled or sprays that you can use. There are four ways to ensure that the deer don’t pick you up on the breeze before you hit the field.

A carbon base layer will help tone down the human aroma, combined with rubber, waterproof boots that will work well in all types of weather.

Next, be sure to shower and eat before putting on your hunting gear. Scents from food and drinks will stay with you any ruin any scent control steps you’ve taken.

Third, be sure that you to wash your hunting clothes in scent-free detergent that is scent free and if possible, line-dry them outdoors. You can then also spray odor eliminators on your clothing as well as your body, but you will also want to spray it on your rifle, other hunting gear, etc.

Lastly, be sure to store your clean clothing in a scent-controlled bag. Many hunters won’t put on their hunting gear until they’re near their hunting spot and ready to head into the woods in order to avoid the possibility of contaminating their scent-free clothing. And even then, they’ll hit themselves with another shot of spray-on scent blocker.

Waterproof Boots

Any time you’ll be in the field all day, you’re sure to find yourself in a variety of conditions like marshes and other wetlands. Especially during deer season. You may have to walk through streams or creeks to get to that special hunting spot. And once your feet get wet and/or cold, you’re in for a long day.

Having a good pair waterproof boots, GORE-TEX or rubber, preferably in camouflage with sturdy soles. They’ll help you handle the terrain, stay dry and be comfortable while getting you to your hunting spot of choice.

A Good Hunting Knife

If you’re successful and bag your buck or doe, you’ll need a good sharp blade field dress your kill. Fixed blade or folder, be sure to choose one that’s tough and features a steel that takes an edge and holds it.

Keep in mind that a fixed blade will require a good, comfortable sheath for carry and is generally more durable. A folder is easier to carry in a pocket, but is more difficult to clean and needs to feature a sturdy lock-up for safety reasons.


The right gear can make all the difference in a comfortable, fun and successful hunt this fall. Make sure to equip right and put yourself in the best position possible to bring home the venison this fall.

About the author: Mike is a passionate hunter and his favorite grounds are Alaska and British Columbia. He’s also an expert in hunting gear and he is one of the most reliable resources when it comes to choosing the right tools for the job. He also writes for

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  1. What a load of HORse SH!#!! No accesory in the world will make deer appear! That is the usual reason for getting skunked, deer just don’t show up the same day I do!

    • Matty shoots and scores.

      Every year I see dozens of shiny new hunters with the latest gizmos crash through the forest, spiffy new boots snapping sticks and kicking brush. Then they blame the wolves when there isn’t a deer or elk in sight.

      Ever wonder why so many hunters see a deer when taking a dump? Because that’s the only time they are ever quiet.

      So the the best hunting accessory just might be toilet paper. Just get the camo colored stuff so another hunter with a tree stand, new scope and shiny new waterproof boots doesn’t mistake you for a whitetail while your wipeing your ass.

  2. … Guarantee a Successful Deer Hunt This Fall


    How ’bout “improve the probability”. Yeah, I know, not so catchy a headline.

  3. Been killing deer with bow and gun in Western NY every year since idk early ’80s . Iron site shotgun , and no need for ” scent controll ” clothes lol .scent control is 100% wind direction and understanding the thermals around each stand , I recommend using milkweed for that .

    I do have a dozen stands up plus climber and blinds, and love a good knife though .

  4. The most important treestand “accessory” is a safety harness. Falling out of a stand is one of the most common, if not #1, hunting accident. Lots of hunters dead or seriously injured from those falls.

    When it comes to scopes, my personal rule-of-thumb is don’t buy it if it’s sold in a blister pack. I see lots of folks with “overscoped” variable setups here in PA when a 3-9 or even a 2-7 would probably be better suited for busting deer around here.

    And don’t forget about the best place to shoot a deer: as close to the truck as possible.

    • Quasi-

      The harness was exactly the same thing I didn’t see when reading the Treestand para and am pleased that it was mentioned early in the replies. Everyone has their own risk matrix and acceptable risks, but Life safety…life safety.

    • Have a 2-7 on my shotgun and haven’t killed a deer with it turned above 2. If it wasn’t for the way the scope mount is on the gun, I’d probably mount a red dot…

  5. An additional list. Good gloves, hand warmers, snacks and drinks, map, and sufficient ammo. Oh and a kilt always helps.

  6. A good thermos!!!!! Cold coffee somehow sucks more in a deer blind in winter than it does in a heated truck.

  7. A knife? I know a fellow who used his rifle’s front sight to gut a deer… yes, he’d forgot his knife, but the point remains the same: if you ain’t where the deer are, no matter how good your knife is, it’s useless. Of course, the same can be said for tree stand. Scope? Really? I’m amazed how many deer were never shot before common use of scopes: the number must be astronomical.

    C’mon, fellas– how about headlining like “helpful gadgets that may help to bag your deer’?

    • JSW,

      “I’m amazed how many deer were never shot before common use of scopes …”

      In my experience the three big advantages of scopes over iron sights are:
      (1) Better accuracy when shooting beyond 80 yards.
      (2) An additional 10 minutes of shooting light at dawn.
      (3) An additional 10 minutes of shooting light at dusk.

      Points number (2) and (3) are huge. Not only is an additional 20 minutes of hunting in a day significant in and of itself, those specific 20 minutes are a critical time window when a LOT of deer are moving. I cannot tell you how many times I have been out hunting all day and the only deer I see are during that first 10 minutes at dawn the last 10 minutes at dusk. During those times, there was not enough light to see iron sight placement against a fuzzy deer silhouette. There WAS enough light through a scope to clearly see the deer and cross hair alignment on the deer body.

      I love iron sights and would love to forego rifle scopes. Experience has shown me that scopes are necessary if I want to be able to shoot a deer in the really low-light (although still legal) few minutes of dawn and dusk.

  8. I love this site. I get politics, guns, hilarious comments, and coffee covered key boards at no charge. The site works; not covered in so many ads that I want to gouge out my eyes. The site staff are great, the writers actually seem to care about the information they put fourth. This is the single greatest firearms website on the planet, even my non-gun friends have heard of it. I have cited several articles here for college papers (a blight be upon those who instituted MLA). My day is made better when I get a notification of a new article, I feel I really appreciate the effort that comes from the labor of love that the TTAG team creates with this site, and I respect them for what is a thankless job, the world would be a dim place if TTAG didn’t exist.

    But, this article is not the standard of what I have come to expect from TTAG, this reads more like one of those crappy wikihow articles, generic and bland, reporting that water is wet. Please, don’t devolve into the likes of what guns/bearingarms has become. I say this from a position of respect and admiration, don’t demean yourselves with garbage. You guys are great. Keep it up.

    • “But, this article is not the standard of what I have come to expect from TTAG, this reads more like one of those crappy wikihow articles, generic and bland, reporting that water is wet.”

      Alex, that’s when the TTAG Chimps in the comment section step up with snide comments and wisecracks of dubious quality (like mine)…

  9. Knife: Havalon with replaceable razor blades. It’s gutted several whitetail with less fuss than any other “hunting” knife I’ve tried. Dull the blade on a couple of deer and swap it out for a new one (I think mine came with 20 replacement blades).

    Scope: Eh, maybe. A $200 Nikon, $130 Leatherwood, or even a $90 Bushnell red dot have worked just fine. The whole “spend as much on glass as you do on the rifle” is nonsense unless you expect some serious 300+yd shots. I’ve never had a $130-200 scope fog up, provide a sight picture I couldn’t use out to 200yds, or lose a zero.

    Coffee/thermos, as previously stated.

    Exhilaration that you’re out in the wild for a damn change. Even if there’s not a single game animal spotted that day, it was a good day.

    • Anner,

      I think you hit the nail on the head with your assessment of scopes. The scopes that are available these days for about $200 (especially scopes that normally cost more and go on sale for $200) seem to be darned nice optics for shots out to 200 yards.

  10. Required accessory number 7:

    Good fortune!

    I wish I had $100 for every time I secured a really good hunting location and something off-the-wall ruined the hunt.

    Exhibit number 1: a promising location with fresh rubs and scrapes everywhere — and the previous property owner trespassing, hunting that property, and going on a 10 minute tirade when he discovered that I was hunting it.

    Exhibit number 2: a location where the owner bags multiple deer EVERY opening day — bizarre weather and a brand new home just occupied days earlier with grandma, screaming kids, barking dogs, and grandpa sighting in his rifle FOR OVER AN HOUR IN THE MIDDLE OF OPENING DAY sent every dear within a 1/2 mile radius heading for the swamps.

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