15 Essentials for a Deer/Hog Hunting Backpack by Randy Rowley


I recommend the following minimum gear for deer/hog hunting backpacks (in order of importance):

  1. Pee container.  They keep you from having to leave your blind/tree stand to go pee and making noise/leaving your scent everywhere in the process.  It will require a screw-on lid.  One with a handle is helpful.  I use a Scent Killer Clothing Wash container.  I carry corn in it to freshen up the corn at the feeder and then put the empty container in my backpack.
  2. Waterproof/fogproof roof prism binoculars in either 10X42 or 8X42 from a brand that offers a lifetime warranty, such as Vortex, Burris, Nikon, and Leupold.  If your binoculars fog up they’re worthless.  Roof prism binoculars are more compact, lighter, and easier to hold than porro prism binoculars.  A $100 – $150 pair is all that is needed for most hunting situations in Texas, such as Vortex’s Diamondback’s.  You’ll often find those on sale half off before Christmas at Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s.  Vortex has a Forever, transferable, warranty.  I got a used pair of Vortex Sidewinder’s (the predecessor to the Diamondback) on eBay for $80.  I also got a new/open box (either display or returns) pair of Nikon Prostaff’s on eBay for $100.
  3. Shooting sticks.  They’re very helpful when using a pop-up or fabric blind.  Tripod shooting sticks are recommended.  My present shooting sticks are Thunder Bay Tripods.
  4. Scent-A-Way Spray (or similar).  A lot of hunters spray themselves down with scent removal products before their hunt, but sometimes you need to do it again during a hunt, particularly if you have swirling winds.  If deer/hogs smell you the jig is up.
  5. Laser Rangefinder monocular.  Probably 95% of deer and hogs in Texas that rifle hunters kill are taken at 100 yards or less. Most hunters know how far their feeder is from their blind and sight their rifles in for that distance.  For such hunting, most of the time a laser range finder is not needed.  However, deer have a habit of showing up where least expected, often much farther away.  Laser range finders are invaluable for such situations. They are even more invaluable for bowhunters including crossbow hunters.  Affordable laser range finders are made by Bushnell, Vortex, Burris, Nikon, SIG Sauer, Leupold, and Weaver.  More expensive ones are made by Newcon Optik, Leica, Opti-Logic, Zeiss, and Swarovski.  Bushnell’s rangefinders have a rain mode that will penetrate most precipitation, a zip mode that reads through brush and foreground clutter.  Most laser rangefinders have a scan mode that gives continuous distance readings as you scan multiple targets.  Laser rangefinders boast accuracy rates of +/- 1 yard at 300 yards.  I owned a Nikon 4X Yardage Pro 800 yard laser rangefinder until it died.  I now own a SIG Sauer Viper 4X 850 yard laser rangefinder that they no longer make.  It’s similar to their SOK10602 Kilo1000BDX.
  6. Night Vision monocular.  They’re very useful for hog hunting at night, but also good for locating deer, so you’ll be ready to shoot at legal shooting time.  This prevents hunters from having to shine their flashlights in all directions looking for hogs, which alerts them to your presence and wears down your spot light’s battery.  I own a Night Owl Explorer Pro that I purchased used from ebay for $60.  It’s a 5-Power Generation 1 scope.  With it you can tell that there are hogs under a feeder at 100 yards, but you won’t be able to discern many details.  After about a year it stopped working and I sent it in to Night Owl.  They sent me a new one for only $79.  I highly recommend them.  The Night Owl Explore Pro has since been replaced by the 5-Power NOXM50.
  7. Drag ropes.  I own a Hunter’s Safety System Bowhunter Safety Harness with drag rope.  It keeps me from wearing out my arms while dragging a deer/hog.  Your shoulders and arms will thank you.  I also have a drag rope that I use when I’m not wearing my safety harness.  It’s similar to this Do-All Outdoors Pro Deer Drag one.  It’s a lot easier to drag with than grabbing horns or a leg.
  8. Exclusive Wildlife Kill Light XLR 250.  They and one’s like them are very useful for hog hunting at night.
  9. ThermaCELL Portable Mosquito Repeller with extra butane fuel and repellent mats – don’t use OFF! or similar products, unless you don’t like seeing deer and/or hogs.  ThermaCELL’s are quiet and odor-free.  Best of all, they work.  Include a bungee cord or zip tie to hang it with.
  10. Rattling Horns.  I prefer natural ones (there’s nothing like the real thing).
  11. Flextone grunt call.  Sometimes you can get a walking buck to stop if you grunt at it.  They no longer make the one that I use, but it’s similar to the Flextone Buck Collector Plus.
  12. Texasboars HogNHeat Boar Urine with cotton hanging applicators.  I’ve not had success with this, but others have.  Texasboars web page is no longer working so you probably will have to go with an alternative, such as Tink’s Power Pig Sow in Heat.
  13. Tink’s Doe-In-Rut Estrous Doe Urine with cotton hanging applicators.  I’ve not had success with this, but others have.
  14. Water bottles.  Bring twice as many water bottles than you think you’ll need.  If you run out of water during a hot hunt the jig is up.
  15. A digital camera or card reader to look at your game camera SD cards (if your game camera doesn’t have a picture viewer).  I use a Nikon Coolpix AW130 5X Wide Optical Zoom camera.
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