This list assumes you have the bare necessities to legally harvest a white tail deer, including things like a bow, knife and required licenses. The rest of the items on this list just increase your odds of success.
- Satellite pictures of the area you are interested in hunting. I like Google Maps and Yahoo Maps. These two sights show maps from different times of the year for my area. It is nice to see the vegetation as well as distinguish between trees and brush. You can see game trails, drainages, natural bottlenecks clearings etc. I am often able to pick an approximate hunting stand location based on the wind direction just from the information from aerial pictures.
- Mock scrapes. For only a few dollars in mock scrape starter scent you can establish a route for the bucks in the area giving you a better chance of finding them especially as the rut draws near.
- Tree Stand. Tree stands help get your scent up off the ground. Most deer predators attack from the ground, so being up in the air puts you in a place that deer do not expect to see predators, so you are less likely to be noticed. Tree stand have an advantage over ground blinds in that they give you a better point of view with less obstruction. They are also more portable than tripod aerial blinds.
- Camouflage. Camouflage clothing is very important, I like Ghillie Suits but they are not a necessity. Be sure to camouflage your weapon and your face. I have been seen by deer more often when my face was not camouflaged.
- Scent eliminator. Play the wind, use a treestand, but don’t forget scent eliminator, it is an inexpensive way to add another few percentage points to your odds.
- Range finder. All the hard work you have done in the off season, scouting, trail cams, mock scrapes, stand selection is all for nothing if you can’t place the shot when it counts.
- Estrus. When the rut is in full swing, a few drops of this golden elixir is sure to bring the bucks in from downwind.
- Rattling antlers or rattle bag. From subtle rattling in the October pre-rut to aggressive ratting during the main rut, there is no other audible call more effective than rattling.
- Good mechanical broadheads. They fly straighter and more predictably than fixed blade broadheads and they often have a greater cutting diameter with less weight.
- Headlamp. When you place the shot in the waning light and you give it some time to expire it is good idea to try to track that night. A change in the weather could wash away your trail and it doesn’t take long for a deer to go bad if it is not field dressed. It would be a shame to do all this work and not to have anything to show for it, more importantly, it would not be respectful of our natural resources.