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5 Inventions that Changed Hunting

by Doug Howlett   |  October 4th, 2011 17

Want to start a great discussion—or full blown argument—next time things are feeling a little slow in camp? Just toss out the question: “What are the greatest inventions that changed hunting?” You’ll get plenty of answers, and, when you think about it, there are a lot of great candidates. If you want to go the full spectrum of man’s existence, then certainly discoveries such as arrowheads, fire, gunpowder, invention of the gun or even the atlatl (yeah, I saw that one on a message board and have to agree, you can make an argument for it) are all worthy of being declared the greatest things to set our great hunting tradition rolling ever forward.

Even coming into more recent history, say the last 100 to 150 years, there are still too many options to really pinpoint the best. So, we went with five. Maybe you’ll agree, maybe you won’t. But there’s no denying the following five inventions had an amazing impact on the way the majority of us hunt and even live today.

Got a different invention you believe should bump one of these off the top five? Chime in on the comments below. We’d love to hear your thoughts. For now, here’s ours:

  • Ben O'Brien

    I'm going to add Thermacell to my greatest inventions list. Never leave home for hot weather without one!

  • Doug

    Yep, and one that I wanted to really add had it been a Top 6 list would have had to be the trail camera. It too has changed the way most deer hunters scout both before and during the season. I don't know many hunters who don't own at least one.

  • Bob Stafford

    This may be in other post, I think you are missing the biggest of all, and you are doing it right now. The amount of information available to the modern hunter is paramount in turning us into the master predator we are today. From magazines and VHS tapes to the PC, this has to rate right up there with any you have listed.

  • Mike Grogan

    How about the 4 Wheel drive truck, or SUV. Got to get there.

  • T. T. Nier

    I don't think the repeating rifle had as much impact directly on hunting, but more on the firearms industry altogether. Having follow up shots is great, but not super essential to the whole hunting experience.

  • Scott Carmody

    Great article. I think synthetic fleece and Gore-Tex would need to be pretty high up there, too. At least where I hunt, anyway.

    And 4×4 ATVs.

  • Russell Barngrover

    And do I remember those Baker Treestands. I realized after sliding 15 feet down one that they were not good for climbing telephone poles as they would not grip the smooth hard surface that well. Lesson learned.

    • spence williams

      I had a TSS stand do the same … That's when I learned what TSS REALLY stood for!

  • Dorsey White

    They are the most resent that I remember of.

  • Dorsey White

    They are the most resent I can remember of.

  • Barry Sensing

    I would say the In line muzzleloader and the laser rangefinder would be in the top 10. I don't know of too many hunters that don't use either one of these.

  • Chris Cummings


  • David

    I would argue that 4×4's, four wheelers, and many other modern options have impacted hunting negatively. These are great tools that are over-used. Modern hunters think they are supposed to drive right to their treestand get out and shoot a deer 4oo yds away with the newest rifle/scope combination. Meanwhile real hunters will walk to their stand, shoot a deer up close and personal, and then at least drag it out to a road or somewhere the 4 wheeler or truck can pick it up….if there is no road then you just drag it out….with help if necessary.

    While I enjoy much modern technology, I think that modern hunters rely too heavily on technology instead of developing the skills necessary to actually hunt.

    An important thing to remember in this discussion is this….Hunting is not shooting… is everything leading up to and following that shot…..let's keep our perspective right!!!!

  • Hickory


    WTF does your sermon have to do with hunting. Take your drivel elsewhere.

  • chris

    Carbon and silver based, scent-elimination systems should definetly rank.

  • joseph a. Barbknecht

    1 rifles scopes. 2 mass produced quality ammunition, affordable
    3. Great writing motivating us to hunt 4.transportation roads airways
    Vehicles to get us efficiently to sites 5. Communications that create political
    Activism and preservation resulting in hunting for the landless masses
    Instead of say Europe

  • A.LeDuc

    Game Calls?

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