Essential Gear for Hunting Western Whitetails

Unlike many Eastern whitetail hunts, where you are only a few minutes from your parked truck, when hunting the expansive West you must ensure you have everything you need for a day in the field.

Here are some of the gear items that get put to use for my hunting trips for whitetail deer, mule deer, elk and other game.


Mystery Ranch Metcalf pack has ample room for all your gear, is durable enough for rugged use, and easily can haul out your deer or other game.

I stow my gear in a Mystery Ranch Metcalf backpack ( The Mystery Ranch Metcalf’s main space can accommodate multi-day trips, with ample room for rattling antlers, rain gear, lunch and even a spotting scope. It also features a handy shelf for packing deer quarters and outside compression straps for fastening bows or firearms. The pack weighs 6.1 pounds and retails for $549.

Skip the rubber boots while out West and invest in a great mountain boot such as Cabela’s Perfekt by Meindl ( Built with a layer of natural cork and Poron heel inserts, the boot cushions every step. A moisture-managing layer aids in expelling foot perspiration, while Gore-Tex protects the boot from outside elements. The rubber soles with lugged traction handle rocky terrain, but are quiet enough for stalking. Full-grain leather construction ensures no sprained ankles and 400-gram Thinsulate-Ultra insulation warms the tootsies on frosty mornings. The Perfekt retails for $299.99.

Shots out West might range from point blank to infinity. For guaranteed accuracy without breaking the bank consider Nikon’s Prostaff 7i rangefinder ( The Prostaff 7i readings are accu- rate to +/- .5 yard at 600 yards or less, to +/- 1 yard from 600 yards to less than 1,000 yards. It has true 1,300-yard ranging capability. With Nikon’s HYPER READ technology, distances are displayed instantly and with clarity. The unit is compact, ergonomic and waterproof. Its rugged construction fits the Western backdrop. The Prostaff 7i retails for $299.95.

Finally, when you need to tempt a buck from afar reach for Hunter’s Specialties newest deer call, the Slam Talker ( This call features fingertip control that provides a huge range of inflections from young fawns to brawny bucks. It’s guaranteed to work in all weather conditions and has a quiet exterior so it won’t make noise if it bangs against your other gear. The Slam Talker retails for $19.99.

— Mark Kayser