By Cody Altizer
In my most recent post, I listed and discussed my three favorite, most essential pieces of hunting gear and equipment. Items that I trust in the field and believe increase my chances of harvesting a mature buck. For this post, I’ll list three of, what I believe, are the most overrated and unnecessary pieces of equipment that a hunter can take with them on a deer hunt. Keep in mind, these are just my personal opinion, and if a product has worked for you in the past, then by all means continue using it.
I laugh to myself inside (okay, sometimes I literally laugh out loud a little bit too) when I see products available for purchase in sporting good stores “specifically designed to successfully hold and contain human urine to prevent game from smelling and ruining your hunt!” Really?
Okay, I get it. Some hunters believe that human urine spooks deer. I don’t, but if not peeing on the ground gives them peace of mind, reassurance and an added confidence boost while in stand then who am I to judge. However, please explain to me why one would spend 10-15 dollars of their likely hard earned money on a plastic bottle, when they could just use an old Gatorade bottle, a water bottle, a Powerade bottle, etc. You get my point. Purchasing pee bottles is a complete waste of time and money, in my opinion, as well as an indication of complete lack of creativity and common sense.
Carbon Activated Clothing
Now on to more practical gear that I feel is a bit overhyped. Let me preface this topic by saying that I do believe in the science of carbon activated clothing, and a handful of the garments I wear during the season are carbon activated. That being said, I believe too many hunters rely on said science for their scent control rather than employing it as yet another weapon in their arsenal.
I don’t think it’s necessary to be decked out in the latest and greatest carbon activated clothing to kill a whitetail. Hunters were harvesting mature deer before the “carbon companies” and hunters are still harvesting mature deer now not wearing those garments. In fact, I think misuse of the carbon activated technology may have resulted in lower success rates for some hunters because they misuse the gear and rely on it too heavily. Hunting the wind correctly is the first step to sound scent control, followed by scent control products like sprays, scents and cover scents to help reduce your scent, because you’re never going to be able to eliminate it. I believe in the science, I just feel as if the marketing and use of the product is flawed for many hunters.
Deer Calls and Scents
Again, let me preface this topic by stating that I use deer calls, albeit rarely, during the deer season, but only when the timing is right. Scents, not so much. I have personally had too many negative experiences with scents to believe in them. However, I do know several hunters who have had great success with them. I just believe that both are vastly overrated when it comes to getting close and harvesting mature deer especially mature bucks.
My biggest hang up with deer calls is that they alert deer to your position. Trust me, I believe in their use during the right application, like coaxing in a rut crazed buck, but blindly calling only puts deer on alert that there’s another deer in the area. Initially, that sounds great, however, when they go looking for the deer that made that sound, their senses are heightened and they become more cautious and more on edge. The closer they get to the area that made the sound, the more likely they are to circle downwind to further investigate.
The same can be said for scents, except that you are trusting a product, that you’re not even sure how it’s made, or where its contents came from, to whip the whitetail’s greatest line of defense, and do it in a manner that will make him more vulnerable to be killed. Again, I know they work, but I think they are overrated because woodsmanship and keen knowledge of a whitetail’s habits should take precedence over an attractant made in a factory hundreds of miles from the deer you’re hunting.
Deer hunting is really a simple sport. It’s not easy, but I like to keep things simple when trying to kill big bucks. Some gear makes me more efficient, and helps me close the deal, while others seem more like clutter, things that could present more problems than solutions. What about you though, what products available to hunters do you feel are most overrated and useless? Let us know in the comments!
– Cody Altizer