|If there is one
hunter that carries the most do-dads and whats-its around with
him, it’s the varmint hunter.
In this section we will review some of the equipment and gear you might
with you on a hunt. Each has it’s own pros and cons, but each has its
the equipment closet of the varmint hunter.
The equipment listed is more suited for the bobcat or coyote hunter, as
dogs and ground squirrels are usually found in open farm fields with
Please remember that this equipment list is not written in stone as a
have', but it will give you an idea of some of the things that can
your varmint hunting trip much more enjoyable.
You will also notice that I have not listed a firearm in this list.
This is due
to the fact that the gun you use is entirely up to you and different
different opinions on the subject. We will be putting a page together
give you more information on the various calibers that are more 'well
Backpacks and fanny packs
First off you should have something, besides your pockets, to carry all
equipment in. I would highly recommend either a small backpack or a
The backpack will usually allow you to carry more stuff with it not
the way, but the backpacks usually require you to pretty much drop
and remove the pack for access to your gear.
Fanny packs will cut down on the amount of gear you can carry, it makes
that in ease of access and not having to remove it like you would a
Fanny packs being smaller are easier to ‘pad’ up to keep the gear
from making noise while you are walking into and from your stands.
Clothing and Camouflage
One thing to remember when you are varminting is you want to be comfortable!
Sitting still for half an hour to an hour is not very easy if you are
or sitting on a sharp rock. When I first started to varmint hunt I
much camouflage. Usually it was a pair of jeans and a woodlands
shirt. There are hunters out there that do not use any camouflage at
power to them, I prefer to get as many aces up my sleeve as I can. In
year or so I have really taken a liking to a Ghillie type camouflage,
right here at the UVA. It really breaks up your ‘human’ outline and you
apply cover scent right to the suit itself and after you are done you
it up and stick it in a corner until next time. Wearing the Ghillie
makes you blend right into the surrounding ground cover, the small
natural fiber blow and move in the slightest wind, just as normal
plants do. The
bulk of the ghillie will also allow you to get away with a little more
then you normally would be able to in plain cloth camouflage, allowing
slight movements to grab a call, sight in on a target or scan the area.
Shooting Sticks or bipod
If there is one thing I really, really, REALLY hate to
take along with me, it’s my shooting sticks. You don’t need anything
or special in the way of shooting sticks. The main uses for them is to
steady the rifle while you are aiming at the potential target, and
rifle or shotgun while you are calling or sitting in wait. I use a
that are made up of 1x1 pieces of wood, cut to a length of about three
held together by a stove bolt and a wing nut. The entire set is painted
dull mottled camouflage pattern and has small pieces of leather glued
to the top
to protect your stock and a small piece of metal that is used as a clip
attach them to your belt. I got the idea from Varmint Al at www.varmintal.com.
You might want to check his site out also, he is an avid varmint hunter
some really great information on that and many more subjects. The
also have so many uses that it would almost take another entire page to
benefits of using the ‘Bi-Fur-Pods’ instead of the commercial sets, and
you do accidentally leave them out in the field somewhere (heaven
are only out a few bucks, instead of the fifty or sixty dollars the
sets of high
end bipods cost.
A commercial bipod would work on in some situations, but almost all of
to fall short in some way or another to the homemade shooting sticks.
In the end
I would say make up a set of them for yourself, and customize them to
the areas you are going to hunt.
Another piece of equipment that has is very useful is some sort of a
pad to use
to sit on. There are a few variations out there, I would recommend one
straps to either fasten it around your waist or over your shoulder.
help to take your concentration away from that sharp rock that’s poking
the posterior and keep it out in the area ahead of you looking for your
Also make sure that it is waterproof and is easily washable.
Here is what could be considered the ‘meat and gravy’ of the varmint
his calls. In the past few years there seems to be quite a few more
calls out on the market. Personal preference and the area you plan to
decide on what types of calls you will use. There are two main ‘types’
varmint calls. Electronic and ‘hand’ calls.
As the name implies these are usually held in the hand and use the
lungs of the
varminter to power them. There are dozens of styles available out
expensive hand carved ones in exotic woods to inexpensive ones made of
The major benefit of the hand calls is the way you can change the
and duration of the call to suit your needs in the situation you are
in. Another benefit is weight, most of the hand calls only weigh a
and are easily carried in either a pocket, fanny pack or on a lanyard.
also diaphram calls, very similiar to the ones Turkey or Elk hunters
use. If you
can master the use of a diaphram call You will get the benefits of not
movement like the electronic calls with an even lighter package then
Another very handy call is what is refered to as a 'squeaker call' it
usually a small rubber bubble with a small squeaker in one end. With
squeaker you can try to coax that varmint that has hung up just out of
close enough for a shot, or use a preset code of squeaks to communicate
your hunting partner.
These are the electronic versions of the hand calls. Most are battery
and use either a cassette tape or CD with the sounds recorded on it.
benefit of the electronic call is that it gets the actual sound of the
away from the shooter and they usually require a lot less movement to
The major drawback of the electronic calls is the weight. Two or three
may not sound heavy on the box, but add all the other gear you are
it all adds up pretty quick.
I have seen a few that were rabbit shaped, radio-controlled setups that
ok and sounded semi-ok, but it looked like you would be limited to the
variations of built in calls on a unit like this.
Cover and Attractant Scents
This area of equipment can be as complicated or simple as you want to
Cover scents come in dozens of scents from sage to skunk. Most people
at least some type of either cover scent or scent blocker to keep the
getting into a position downwind from the hunter or caller and catching
scent and making for the next county.
Recently a couple companies have started to produce soft foam decoys
predator hunters. They are light, and roll up for easy transport to and
your stands. One company makes two versions of a rabbit and a fawn
main reasons to use a decoy are to get the attention of the prey away
and to have something in the area that could be making the distress
the prey hears.
Other useful equipment
There are some other things, and their uses, that you can add to the
equipment to take along such as the following...
A very sharp knife - the sharper the knife the easier job you will have
Length of rope or a dog choke chain - if there are trees in the area
you can use
the rope or chain to tie the carcass in a tree for easier skinning.
Latex or rubber medical-type gloves - keeps the blood, guts and other
of you while you are skinning an animal.
Binoculars - obvious
Canteen - obvious
Large garbage bags - for holding the individual pelts after skinning
GPS unit - pretty handy for getting back to the truck after wandering
hills or forest for a while.
Flea and Tick killer spray or powder - Use a blast or two into the
with the pelt to kill lil critters.