Night hunting this season to get a better chance at snagging a coyote or a bear? Predators offer a special challenge and you’ll need to come loaded with some basic essentials in order to maximize the success of the hunt especially if you’re thinking of deer or hog hunting at night. Showing up with your basic kit is going to leave you wanting for more, so don’t go home empty-handed.
These are the top 5 gears that every night hunter wants and needs:
1. Deployable Seat Vest
You will find yourself tracking in gross conditions, and you’ll want to sit down between treks. A deployable seat vest is wearable, so it’s one less item you’re dragging around on your back when you want to minimize extra weight.
When you need to sit down and wait for your target to approach, simply remove your vest, yank the paracord, and it will inflate. Voila: an instant comfortable seat in the middle of the deep woods. What else could a hunter want?
Just make sure that whatever vest you choose has a waterproof seat, or you’re in for a damp hunt.
Some top buys include:
- Field & Stream’s EveryHunt Turkey Vest (don’t be fooled, it’s not just for turkey hunting)
- Primo’s Gunhunter Seat Vest
- Mossy Oak’s Camo Turkey Vest with Cushioned Seat
Predators won’t waste their time stopping at a location that lacks prey. Decoys help bring them right to you.
There is a wide range of decoy types and materials, but you’ll want to choose one that’s relatively compact and easy to carry. Predator hunts generally involve a lot of trekking, so you don’t want to be weighed down by a decoy that’s half as big as you are. Luckily, most prey animals are pretty small.
Also, make sure that the decoy you choose is the right type for the species you’re hunting. A coyote responds well to rabbit decoys, while a bear might opt to lumber after a fawn instead.
Some of our favorites include:
- Montana Decoy’s “Miss Hoptober” Rabbit Decoy
- Montana Decoy’s “Fawnzy” Deer Fawn Decoy
- Primo’s Sit & Spin Crazy Critter Decoy
3. Scan Lights
How are you supposed to see what you’re hunting when they’ve got much better night vision than you? A scanning light can help close the gap, letting you spot predators before they spot you.
For best results, choose a scanning light with a red color spectrum, so you can stay undetected by sensitive predator eyes. If you’re night hunting, then chances are that you’re up against predators that are extremely good at sensing light and movement, and the wrong spectrum will send them packing in a split second.
Some good choices for night hunting include:
- FOXPRO’s Fire Fly Scan Light
- Wicked Lights’ Ambush 3-in-1 Scan Light
- Night Snipe’s Scan Light Combo Kit
4. Electronic Calls
Traditional calls are the bee’s knees, but they’re hard to work when you’ve got chilly lips and fingers from a night in the stand. An electronic call saves you the work without sacrificing the quality of the call.
For hunting coyotes and other common North American predators, you’re best looking for an electronic call that can mimic both the predator itself (preferably a mating call) and the prey animals that it seeks out (often rabbits, geese, and ducks).
Some of our favorites include:
- Foxpro’s Deadbone 10-in-1 Electronic Predator Call
- ICOTec’s Electronic Predator & Big Game Call
- Primo’s Dog Catcher Electronic Predator Call
5. Shooting Sticks
A good tripod, bipod, or monopod will set you up for an accurate shot, even when it’s 3 am and your fingers are frozen. Look for one that’s fully height-adjustable, which will give you the flexibility to stop and set up anywhere you get the sense there’s a coyote lurking nearby.
Bipods are generally the quickest to set up and take down, while tripods have the most stability. Monopods are good for portability but tend to be less stable, which can have an impact on your shot.
Here are some good options:
- Primo’s Gen 2 Bipod Trigger Stick
- Primo’s Pole Cat Steady Stix Magnum Bipod
- Caldwell DeadShot FieldPod Shooting Rest
What’s your must-have for hunting predators in the dark? While we’ve rounded up our top 5, what you need is really going to depend upon what you’re hunting, and what geographical area you’re hunting in. Drop you must have night gear in the comments below!