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The Deer Essentials

Too busy scouting deer to shop for the coolest new gadgets and clothing? Check out our list of must-haves for deer season.

Too busy scouting deer to shop for the coolest new gadgets and clothing? Either get your spouse to do it or check out my list of must-haves for deer season.

Optics Pack Nikon teamed with BlackHawk for its Field Recon Team Optics Pack. It has protective pockets for a binocular, a rangefinder, a lens cleaning kit and shooting sticks or a tripod. Non-slip shoulder straps have a built-in binocular keeper; its waist straps hold the pack comfortably in place. ($170; 800-645-6687;

Warm and Quiet The problem with warm, waterproof clothing is it tends to be noisy. I found Under Armour's Armour Stealth Extreme Cold Bib to be quiet, comfortable and non-constrictive despite its efficient insulation. It's shown in RealTree AP, but is also available in Mossy Oak. ($300; 888-7-ARMOUR;

Hoist it High The Gunslinger fit securely to my .270's stock and hoisted it barrel-down every time up to my treestand. If you're a klutz, secure it to your stand while hunting so your gun won't hit the ground if dropped. ($20; 800-541-0507;

Multi-Tasker With a little practice, I was able to unlock the Gerber Freehand Multi-Plier's tools with one hand. Features include wire cutters, a Phillips head and three sizes of flathead screwdrivers, a ruler and fully serrated scissors. ($82; 800-705-2040;

Hands-Free Illumination I find an LED headlamp easier to use when climbing into a stand than clenching a lantern in my teeth. Browning's Black Ice Phantom has a bright, one watt Luxeon white LED and three colored LEDs to preserve night vision and to keep it less conspicuous. ($50; 800-333-3288;

For the Uplander, Too Buck's Alpha Crosslock CT Tool's 3-inch, 420HC blade is beefy enough to field-dress a deer, but sleek enough to pack on upland hunts. A handy foldout choke wrench is included. ($86; 800-326-2825;

Scented Leaves My favorite new product from Wildlife Research Center is its latest Trophy Leaf in "Golden Estrus" scent. It's pre-scented and ready to go out of the box without adding additional scents. (4-pack, $13; 763-427-3350;

Longer-Running LED Thanks to an innovation, the SureFire E2L Outdoorsman emits more light (45 lumens) for a longer period of time (14 hours) than previous E2Ls. At 5.25 inches, it weighs just 3.5 ounces. ($129; 800-828-8809;

First Aid for Hunters Luckily, I haven't had to field-test Adventure Medical Kits' Hunter model, but it has many of the tools I'd need for minor scrapes to more serious situations. Pain relief medicines, sterilization treatments, wound-care items and more are included. Its detachable field trauma kit is easy to carry in the field-pack it with the necessities and leave the remainder of the kit at camp or in a vehicle. ($60; 800-324-3517;

Stock Sleeve Thompson/Center's Rifle Stock Sleeve is made of Cordura and holds five shells. It fits snugly with three Velcro straps. A foam cheekpiece makes a comfortable cheekweld and reduces felt recoil. ($64; 603-330-5659;

Rapid Deployment They took a little getting used to, but Sling Stix are a compact alternative to traditional sticks. They fold into a pouch on the sling and an elastic cord quickly snaps them into place upon deployment. ($60; 877-311-2633;

It's Electric ThermoLogic's gloves and Bomber jacket are waterproof, breathable and quiet, but their real selling point is the silver- and carbon-based ink flowing in the lining, which conducts electricity and emits heat. Rechargeable batteries produce heat for six hours at the lowest setting (85 degrees) or 2 hours at the highest setting (110 degrees). There are no wires and it's even washable. (Bomber-$199, Deluxe Bomber-$299, gloves-$65; 877-9-GLOVES;

The Alpha Dog Like the scent-free properties of rubber boots, but prefer the comfort of leather? The lightweight and ankle-supporting LaCrosse Alpha Lite 7.0s are a good compromise. Typically, I switch to leather when the weather dips too far below freezing, but the boots have 7mm of neoprene under a rubber exterior-a heavy pair of socks and you're ready for all but the coldest conditions. A side-zip model is available for easy on/off. ($59; 800-671-BOOT;


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