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Must-Have Gear for Deer Hunting with a Rifle

Going rifle hunting for deer this fall? Throw these must-have items into the back of your truck before heading off to camp.

Must-Have Gear for Deer Hunting with a Rifle

With the official arrival of fall on the calendar, gun hunting seasons for whitetails are just around the corner in many parts of the USA’s prime deer country. From Missouri to Texas, from Alabama to Pennsylvania, from Oklahoma to West Virginia and in a whole lot of spots in between, hunters are hurriedly putting the finishing touches on their plans to fill the freezer and hang something big on that empty spot up on the wall.

If you’re hoping to live out your whitetail dreams from a deer stand somewhere across our great country this fall, then consider securing some — or all — of these products from Academy Sports + Outdoors before you head off into the woods.

6.5 Creedmoor Thompson Center Compass

A good rifle is one of the most important tools deer hunters can have at their disposal, and the bolt action Thompson Center Compass model is a good choice for a price that won’t kill the family budget.

Available in several different caliber options (prices vary by caliber) — including the wildly popular 6.5 Creedmoor — this American-made rifle features a composite stock, an adjustable trigger and 5+1 bullet capacity. Add in features like a match-grade barrel with 5R rifling (to minimize bullet jacket deformation and jacket fouling in the barrel’s grooves) and a threaded muzzle (to make it compatible with 24 UNEF compensators, muzzle brake, and suppressors), and the Compass rifle is a bullseye splitter that will put a big buck down for the count. MSRP: $299.99

6.5 Creedmoor Thompson Center Compass

Hornady Black Centerfire Ammo

Maybe you’re a reloading fiend and ballistics geek like a good friend of mine is — someone who wants to tinker with each and every load that you feed into your hunting rifle.

Or maybe you’re an easily confused guy like me who simply wants to know what works in the whitetail woods — a simple process where you grab a few bullets from the box, fill the magazine, crank one into the chamber and be ready to go when Mr. Big saunters by.

Either way, you’re covered with Hornady Black Centerfire Ammo — 20-round boxes that feature a boattail hollow-point design as are made in the USA. That should be just about perfect when that All-American bruiser whitetail finally steps into the clear. MSRP: $19.99

Hornady Black Centerfire Ammo

Remington Core-Lokt Centerfire Ammo

Staying on the subject of rifle bullets — and big bucks — don’t overlook the timeless offering from one of the great American gun and ammunition makers in our land. That’s a box of Remington Core-Lokt Centerfire Ammo, available in a number of popular deer-hunting calibers.

Available in 20-round boxes in the familiar Remington green-and-gold Core-Lokt boxes, this deer hunting round features a progressively tapered copper jacket locked to a solid lead core, a soft-point bullet design able to deliver controlled expansion, high weight retention and superior penetration into a buck’s vital zone.

Made for medium-sized to heavy-sized big game animals — including the whitetail from coast-to-coast — this is a good bullet that leaves enough greenbacks in the wallet for a big-buck dinner celebration down the road at the all-night cafe. MSRP: $17.99

Remington Core-Lokt Centerfire Ammo

Wildgame Innovations Mirage TruBark 18.0 MP Infrared Digital Scouting Camera

Looking to find out what bucks are roaming your property this fall? Then you’ll probably want a good game camera to inventory the herd traversing your hunting property, as well as for building up a hit list of which big-antlered bruiser you want to wear your deer tag by the season’s end.

Figuring all of that out — as well as keeping close tabs on any new bucks that might show up as the rut approaches — is a breeze when you’ve got the Wildgame Innovations Mirage TruBark 18.0 MP Infrared Digital Scouting Camera hanging from a tree or post.


Able to silently grab razor-sharp 18 MP still images and up to 15 seconds worth of 720p HD video footage, this camera features exposure control settings along with a trigger speed of less than 0.5 seconds. Running on eight AA batteries (included), this camera features TruBark camo concealment to hide it during the day. You’ll also get an 80-foot range, and 36-piece, high density LED infrared illumination capability to keep it working undetected at night.

Finally, you can put a 32 GB SDHC card (sold separately) into the slot and quickly walk away, able to record an amazing number of backwoods whitetail photos that can help you plot your next move on the big antlered buck of your dreams. MSRP: $99.99

Wildgame Innovations Mirage TruBark 18.0 MP Infrared Digital Scouting Camera

Magellan Outdoors Brush Backpack

When I first started deer hunting, I carried only my rifle, a few extra bullets and a grunt tube call — all easy to fit into a small fanny pack in the most popular camo of the day. Today, I want to carry a bit more gear — not to mention some water and snacks — which usually requires a backpack of some sort.

As noted in our Must-Have Bowhunting Gear article, it’s hard to beat the Magellan Outdoors Brush Backpack for such woodsy chores.

Able to give hunters a yawning-sized main compartment for the storage of rain gear, rattling antlers, an extra call, handwarmers, a box of bullets and of course some great snacks, this 25.6” H x 19.7” W x 7.1” D pack with its tough-as-nails Mossy Oak Brush camouflage exterior can help you get all of your vital gear into and out of the deer woods.

With an accessory pocket on the front, dual handgun concealment pockets on the back — be sure to check state and federal regulations where you hunt concerning handgun laws — a zippered rainfly storage compartment and an insulated pocket to keep those high-energy snacks warm on a cold late fall day, this is a great pack at a great price. MSRP: $39.99

Magellan Outdoors Brush Backpack

Game Winner Deluxe Ladder Stand

In my early days of deer hunting, a kind gentleman that I knew from my Lone Star State roots invited me to hunt on his small East Texas farm. I’m glad he did — a morning sit in a tall ladder stand nestled up next to a big mature pine tree soon left me tagging the first whitetail buck of my hunting career.

My mentor in life and deer hunting — nicknamed Honey by his family and closest friends — is gone now, but the lessons he taught me aren’t lost on this now middle-aged deer hunter. A ladder stand will do just fine when it comes to taking a good buck,

That’s especially true with the Game Winner Deluxe Ladder Stand. Constructed with an oversized platform and a non-skid grate, this 15-foot stand comes with a 16×21-inch nylon mesh seat, padded armrests, a safety harness and a rust-resistant powder-coat finish. All of this is designed to help you sit and wait quietly until a good buck wanders down the trail, just in time for dinner. MSRP: $139.99

Game Winner Deluxe Ladder Stand

Game Winner 2-Man Quad Pod Hunting Stand

Tripod stands are a regular staple in the whitetail woods of Texas, a state full of deer but not many tall trees made for regular treestands.

But the truth of the matter is there are plenty of other states where a stand like the Game Winner 2-Man Quad Pod Hunting Stand will work just fine.

From a brushy area of new growth to the edge of a heavily used CRP field with only a few saplings sprouting up, there are plenty of places tailor-made for this quad pod featuring a rust-resistant powder coat finish. At nearly 10-feet tall, this two-man stand features a platform size of 57.5 x 57.5 inches and a seat size of 38.5 x 17.5 inches — more than enough for a comfortable hunt.

Add in a padded seat that rotates 360 degrees, an adjustable backrest and shooting rail, a mud ring for wet ground and stakes that help secure this stand, and a Game Winner Quad Pod just might be the big buck good luck charm you’ve been looking for! MSRP: $269.99

Game Winner 2-Man Quad Pod Hunting Stand

Moultrie Deer Feeder Pro 30-Gallon Tripod Feeder

While some states don’t allow the use of feeders in the fall, it’s a time-honored practice in several spots. While some hunters don’t appreciate it, living in a state where the thorny brush is almost impenetrable at times and visible whitetail movement can be limited, feeders help deer hunters see daylight movement, pattern a good buck and simply enjoy the afternoon’s local deer show even if the hunter has no desire to pull the trigger.

If corn and protein is something that your state allows for, consider using the Moultrie Deer Feeder Pro 30-Gallon Tripod Feeder. Able to be customized with run times of one to 20 seconds, this programmable digital timer can spin out corn or other suitable food sources up to six times per day.

Featuring a UV-resistant plastic hopper, a plastic spin plate and funnel and square locking legs for stability on wet ground, this 5.5-inch tall Quick-Lock design allows for easy ground access, rugged performance and in-the-field reliability. MSRP: $99.99

Moultrie Deer Feeder Pro 30-Gallon Tripod Feeder

Academy Sports + Outdoors Deer Corn 40-lb. Bag

One of the most important questions about deer-hunting gear to a Texan each fall is the price of deer corn. Fortunately, that price is never too much when you load up the truck with a few 40-pound bags from Academy Sports + Outdoors Deer Corn.

Triple cleaned to reduce waste material in the bag, these golden nuggets can help provide deer with necessary energy during the rigors of the whitetail autumn, along with supplementing their natural forage when it is scarce on the landscape.

Add in the deer corn’s durable poly-bag packaging that makes for easy transport into a remote spot, as well as an impromptu rifle target if you need to recheck your scope’s zero, and a bag of Academy Sports + Outdoors Deer Corn can be nearly worth its weight in gold to a hunter holding a few big buck dreams. MSRP: $5.99

Academy Sports + Outdoors Deer Corn 40-lb. Bag
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