Hunting Equipment: Buy the Best You Can Afford, Then Practice With It

(Photo courtesy of Tom McMillan)
(Photo courtesy of Tom McMillan)

Want to consistently bag a huge whitetail? Then listen to Tom McMillan's advice on buying the best hunting gear that you can afford, then become deadly proficient with it

When it comes to deer hunting success, #DeerWeek co-host and Sportsman Channel personality Tom McMillan knows that there's no substitute for some great whitetail real estate.

You know, the old adage "Location, location, location."

Hunting some of the best deer hunting ground in the country in the Sunflower State of Kansas, McMillan certainly knows how to get himself, his good buddy and fellow #DeerWeek co-host Michael Waddell, or a hunting camp client on the trail of a dandy whitetail buck.

But even with some of the best whitetail real estate out there at his disposal, McMillan also points out that there's no substitute for having good gear ... and knowing how to use it at the moment of truth.

That's why he offers a two-for-one hunting tip here, sage advice that comes in quite handy when a hunter peruses a catalog or the aisles of a hunting equipment box-store, let alone out on the practice range.

"In this day and age, the choices that we have for (deer hunting) equipment are basically limitless," said McMillan. "That doesn't mean that you've got to go spend every dollar that you make (on such gear).

"My suggestion would be to go buy the best equipment that you can afford and (then) get to know it," he continued.

McMillan isn't saying that deer hunters should buy into gimmicks or equipment fads: "There is still some equipment out there that probably shouldn't be."

But when it comes to the basics - a hunter's bow, a rifle, a muzzleloader, a pair of binoculars, a grunt call, some rattling horns, a safety harness, etc. - don't skimp on quality and performance.

"If you can afford it, there's plenty of equipment out there in this day and age that will help with your shooting success and your hunting ability," said McMillan. "Technology has come a long ways, (again) if you can afford it."

But the second part of this two-for-one tip is that even the best equipment on the planet can be useless - or even a potential hunting liability - if a hunter isn't well versed in using that top end gear, being deadly proficient when the moment of truth walks down the well worn game trail.

In other words, when Big Daddy strolls out for the one and only chance you might get this fall, a hunter needs to have already read the instruction manual and punched the time clock out on the practice range.

"You have to practice," said McMillan. "You have to get used to your equipment and you have to build confidence in your equipment. So (continual), year round practice, whether you use a bow, a muzzleloader, or a crossbow, it doesn't matter.

"You've got to be proficient in the woods with what you're taking into that hunting situation. So practice!"

The truth in all of this is that even on some of the best whitetail real estate in the world - like Tom McMillan's own Kansas backyard - you might only get one good chance at a truly world class whitetail, in a lifetime no less, let alone in a single fall season of hunting action.

So like an old bowhunting equipment ad used to say in the hallowed pages of magazines like North American Whitetail and Bowhunter, "When the moment of truth arrives, the time for preparation has passed."