Gear Up for Gun Season with Michael Waddell

Michael Waddell’s Hunting Gear List

November, the rut, and most state’s gun seasons have arrived!  This is the time of year most hunters work so hard for, but unfortunately many are still not ready. This poses the question… Do you have everything you need?  Before you take off to your favorite hunting spot on opening day, it might be a good idea to double-check your gear bag, closet, man-cave, or wherever you might store your hunting gear. Compare what you have to Michael Waddell’s hunting gear list!


There are so many items to consider when you are preparing for a deer hunt.  Here is a list of some critical ones to be sure you don’t forget:

Gun Season Deer Hunting Checklist 


Gun season, the rut, all day sits… this time of year and the tactics surrounding deer hunting in November need extensive gear lists. You never know what will happen and when it’ll happen, so you best be prepared for every scenario. Below we break down some of the more critical items for a better explanation.

What’s in You Hunting Pack?

Every hunter carries items in their pack, from coffee and snacks to their favorite book. Some items are obviously more important or critical to the hunt’s success than others. For example, one of the most critical pieces of gear in a gun season checklist is the firearm itself! Making sure the gun, scope, and ammunition is dialed in is critical not only to your success, but your ethical responsibility. This list, however, is not just your average deer hunting checklist. This list from Michael is obviously thoroughly tested in different states, different situations and has helped bring down several trophy deer. Give it a read and make sure you are throwing these items into your hunting pack!

 1 – Firearm, Scope, and Ammunition

It goes without saying that you will need ammunition for your firearm to take a deer.  Don’t get caught leaving that box of ammo behind when you leave for that early morning hunt.  Make sure the ammo you have in your pack is the right caliber for your firearm and the load it is zeroed with.  Switching loads to something unfamiliar will cause your shot to be off and ruin your hunt.

While you might love the tried and true .270 Win, .308 Win, and .30 – 60 for your deer hunting, or the basic 12 gauge rifled slug, having the right ammunition can make all the difference! lets you easily shop by applying several filters and applications, making it a breeze to find accurate, deadly and dependable ammunition.

If you wish to take a youth hunter to the stand with you this year, Michael suggests using low recoil Custome Lite® ammunition from Hornady. Both the 7mm-08 Remington or the .243 Win Custom Lite® ammunition from Hornady make perfect selections for youth hunters.


Michael Waddell’s Muzzleloader Hunting Setup 

Michael also runs through his own setup for gun season. In the video below Michael explains his muzzleloader hunting setup.


Michael’s Muzzleloader is the Thompson Center® Triumph® Bone Collector®. This muzzleloader is one of the very first Bone Collector® branded items. The Triumph® Bone Collector® meets and exceeds the standards of the most discerning black powder hunters.

Michael has the Bushnell® 3-9x 40 mm Bone Collector Trophy XLT scope installed on his muzzleloader. His scope features the “Dead On Arrival” (DOA) feature, including reticles that help make zeroing the scope fast, easy, and simple.

Michael shoots 110 grains of loose black powder and a Hornady® 250 grain SST®-ML™ Speed Sabot. The “easy load” bullets effectively engage with the rifling and stay properly sealed during firing. Thiscoupled with the centering of the sabots, create maximum velocity and unparalleled long range performance.

2 – Binoculars

Quality binoculars are a must in the woods. Take care of your optics and they will take care of you.  A good pair of binoculars is essential when you are picking your hunting area apart looking for deer movement.  Good binoculars extend your effective hunting range and help you familiarize yourself with the country you are hunting. Michael suggests the new Bushnell® Engage binoculars.  Check them out below!

3 – Rangefinder

A good rangefinder you are familiar with, and hopefully, the same one you used to sight in and practice with your firearm, is an indispensable tool.  Knowing the exact range to your target is vital to ensure an ethical shot and quick recovery.

4 – Fog Eliminating Optical Cleaning Cloth

Keeping your binoculars, scope, and rangefinder clean and clear of dust keeps them at the ready and at their full potential.  Investing in quality optics and tools is a big part of a hunter’s expenditure. Caring for these assets is not only important during the hunt, but also ensures you will be able to enjoy your tools for years to come.  Not being able to identify your target through a scope or binoculars because of dirt or fog can end your hunt in frustration. Take a simple step to help ensure success–keep your optics such as binoculars, rangefinder and scope clean.

 5 – License, pen and Zip Top Bag

Sportsmen must live by an ethical code and follow the game laws without exception.  Make sure you’ve got your game tag and any hunting licenses required by the state you are hunting in.  Make sure you’ve got a pen that works in your pack so you can fill out your game tag as soon as you recover your trophy.  Keeping your license with a ballpoint pen clean and dry in a zip-top bag has saved many a hunt when Mother Nature sends rain or snow.  Make sure to familiarize yourself with the hunting laws where you are pursuing deer including shooting hours, game tag placement, and transporting your trophy buck.

 6 – Wind Checker  

Mature bucks live and die by their nose. The best setup, food source, or bedding area won’t save you if the wind is not in your favor. Don’t risk blowing your hunt if the wind isn’t right.  Check the wind not only at your stand or blind, but before and during the walk in.  Try to anticipate deer movement and patterns and use the wind in your favor throughout your hunt.


7 – Deer Calls 

During the November and December months, mature bucks are territorial and aggressive. Use the phases of the rut to your advantage to call in a hormonal brute.  A wide array of deer calls can be used to call in an unsuspecting buck, but also can work well to stop a deer for the shot or to get a buck to change direction when the shooting angle isn’t right.  Michael has his own preference to which deer calls he has in his pack, however, there are 5 that you should consider. Check out these 5 deer calls below!

8 – Deer Scents

Hunters have access to a wide array of attractant deer scents.  Scents that smell like a hot doe, a rutting buck’s tarsal gland, and a buck’s forehead gland are all on the market.  These scents are another tool in a hunter’s toolbox or pack, in this case, to help you connect with that trophy buck. We have provided a detailed guide to help you through which deer scents are most effective. Check out the guide below!

9 -Scent Free Spray  

It’s no secret that companies have made big bucks off of scent control clothing and products, but it’s no gimmick. If you are sitting there wondering, “Well I see deer and don’t have anything for my scent!” then you have no idea what you’re missing! Unbeknownst to you, deer have been avoiding your area well before you see them. If you want to make the most out of your deer hunting season take a look at each level of basic scent control to see what you can improve upon.

10 – Layering Clothing

The weather during deer season can be up and down, even during the same day.  Frosty mornings and warm sunny afternoons can make dressing for the weather tough.  Varying activity levels during the hunt like walking in and out of a stand between long sits can also play a big role in clothing needs and warmth.  Keep in your pack layering clothing like sweatshirts, liner gloves, stocking cap and extra socks.  Regulating your body temperature to keep from sweating and also from getting chilled will go a long way in keeping you comfortable during the hunt and in the woods.

11 – Tree Stand Hooks and Accessories

No hunting setup is complete without an assortment of tree stand hooks, hangers, and other gear oriented accessories. They make organizing and hunting a breeze and can make a huge difference when you need an essential tool within reach.

Do you have everything you need? Michael’s hunting gear list is specific to his needs, but you can be sure that this list is well thought and tested thoroughly. If you liked this checklist, make sure you check out Michael’s bow hunting setup on the link below!



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