by Joe Arterburn


Preparation is a fun part of deer season. It helps you get in the hunting frame of mind as the excitement of approaching opening day ramps up.

To help keep you organized through the preparation process, Cabela’s has compiled a checklist to keep you on track as you daydream about the big buck out there—somewhere.

License, Tags and Maps: First things first—no license, no tag, no hunt. And you need to know where you will be hunting and the more scouting you do the more success you’re likely to have. Start with, where you find information on public land, private land, property boundaries, trails, even back roads. Another good source of information is Know before you go.

Firearm: A personal, and important, choice and there’s a lot to choose from. Check out (that’s Thompson/Center), and For practice, and to include up-and-coming hunters, there’s nothing like quality time with a Daisy BB gun or air rifle. Check out

Scope, Mounts and Sights: Quality scopes, mounts and sights make a difference. Don’t let your success depend on unreliable optics. Learn more at and HIVIZ Shooting Systems at

Rangefinder: A key to accurate shooting is knowing the distance to the deer. Check out SIG SAUER’s rangefinders at

Ammunition: Use quality ammunition designed for deer hunting. Practice at the range with the same ammo you will use for hunting. And check and double-check you have the correct caliber and ammunition on opening morning. Visit and

Sling: Securely carrying your firearm is an important safety consideration. Check out slings, swivels and more at and

Firearm Maintenance: Take care of your firearms before and after the hunt. Good sources to consider: and

Firearm Accessories and Storage: Maximize shooting potential with high-visibility sights, recoil pads and more at and secure storage at home and on the road at and

Targets: Shooting practice makes you a more confident hunter. Find targets at

Binoculars: Before you can bag a deer, you have to find him. Binoculars help you find and field judge the animal so you can take a confident shot. Wide selection at

Field-Dressing Knife: A sharp, reliable knife is an essential hunting tool with numerous uses from cutting rope to, hopefully, field-dressing the buck of your dreams. Check out, and for sharpeners,

Scent Elimination and Covers: Don’t let a deer’s sensitive nose pick you out of the woods. Control your scent with products from and

Insect Repellent: Nuisance is one thing, health concerns are another. Keep mosquitos and other insects at bay with ThermaCELL Repellers. Visit

Treestand/Safety Harness: Safety is the top consideration. has a selection of harnesses, lifelines and hunting accessories.

Limb and Tree Saw: Check out saws great for trimming branches out of your shooting lane at and

Boots: Boots are the foundation of your hunting outfit. Visit for a large selection of hunting footwear. And take care of them with Sno-Seal from

Clothing: Where to begin? There are a lot of factors to take into consideration, weather and terrain among them. The best advice is to go to and start shopping.

Camouflage: Head to to see the latest developments in camouflage and a lot of other useful information.

ATV: Great choices to get you in and out of the field at

Reloading: Top-quality equipment and supplies at and

Other sources of information to help you prepare for the season include:

Find Shooting/Sight-In Ranges: Visit the National Shooting Sports Foundation at

Conservation Organizations: Hunters are conservationists. Two valuable organizations to join are the Boone & Crockett Club (, and Safari Club International (

Hunter Education Courses: International Hunter’s Education Association ( and

Retail and Shopping: Find locations near you at and

And there are a lot other items that should be on your deer-hunting checklist, including:

  • Grunt Call, Rattle Bag or Horns
  • Scents and Lures
  • GPS
  • Wind Checker
  • Drag Rope
  • Tree Steps or Ladder Sticks
  • Headlamp/Flashlight
  • Water Bottle
  • Waterproof Matches/Lighter
  • Backpack
  • Field-Dressing Gloves
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Camera