Skip to main content

Essential Gear for Bowhunting on Small Properties

Keeping the deer unaware of your presence when you've got minimal acreage to work with is the key to sustained action.

Essential Gear for Bowhunting on Small Properties

Last october, I found myself with a free evening to hunt. In addition to my buck tag, I had a doe license in my pocket, so I slipped into a stand on a 29-acre property in the Twin Cities. The ever-present drone of traffic on a nearby highway covered up my approach some, and when I settled in I thought there was a chance a doe would make her way through.

Since it was the middle of October and the property had never produced much in the way of buck sightings, I wasn’t thinking clearly when he walked in. When I caught sight of the buck walking in, he looked to be all of 130 inches. He was also looking right at me because I’d been careless, and while he didn’t fully spook, he did switch directions and walked out of my life.

That encounter reinforced my belief that if you do everything right, good things can happen on small properties. My hunting partner and I are pretty diligent about when we hunt, what conditions we will hunt in, the setups we use, and our overall presence on the property. This keeps the deer more at ease and gives us a better chance for success when sloppier hunting would likely blow out the entire parcel.

Whether you’re hunting 15 acres or 40, you still have options. But your success will boil down to using the property wisely.


Treestands & Ground Blinds

This starts with stands and blinds. I’m generally a treestand guy first, if I can get away with one. So when I find a small-property spot worth hunting, I check out the aerial options before considering a ground blind. For this task, it’s tough to beat The Peak ($130) from Summit. This stand features a foam-padded swing seat with backrest to ensure you’ll be comfortable and move less, which directly equates to fewer deer picking you off. It’s designed with a good-sized platform, and it’s built with durable powder-coated steel for years of safe use.


If you’re planning to hunt the cattails, willows, or any low brush that isn’t conducive to a stand, a ground blind is your best bet. This year the SurroundView 360 Blind ($499) from Primos has garnered the most attention in the category, and for good reason. It eliminates blind spots, allowing you to see approaching critters from any direction. A personal favorite in the SurroundView lineup is the 180 ($299), which features two blackout walls and two see-through walls.

Ameristep ratcheted their ground-blind game up a level this year with the release of the Distorter ($300). This blind is not shaped like a camo cube, so it blends in really well. It’s also roomy, uses 3D Edge ReLeaf trim to further disappear, and features a Shadowguard interior to keep you from getting spotted.

Scent Control

A huge part of keeping action consistent on limited ground involves scent control. If the deer smell you while you’re there, or after you’ve left, you’ve educated them and cut your future chances down considerably. These days, I use a multi-pronged strategy for keeping my scent presence as low as possible.

The first step involves treating my clothes with ozone at home in a Scent Crusher Ozone Tote ($250). I simply layer my clothes, harness, and boots in the Ozone Tote and treat them for 30 minutes. The Tote goes into the bed of my pickup, and then once I reach my hunting area I get dressed.


Because I’m hypersensitive to entrance and exit routes and the scent I might leave on them, I always wear knee-high rubber boots. In this category, it’s pretty tough to beat the Alphaburly Pro ($180) from LaCrosse Footwear. I like the 800G Optifade Elevated II option, but LaCrosse has plenty of other configurations for your choosing. The main point is they’re crazy comfortable to hike in and can be sprayed down with scent-eliminating spray to add an extra layer of protection to your stealth missions.

Rocky Boots has a new knee-high option — the Sport Pro ($120). The 16" Sport Pros are designed with a multi-directional outsole, are waterproof, and feature a polyurethane footbed for extra comfort. They’re also designed with an adjustable locking strap and are covered in Rocky’s Venator camo.

A great choice for totally de-scenting your boots is the D/Code Field Spray ($7–$12) from Code Blue. Through the use of medical-grade nanosilver particles, D/Code eliminates up to 99.9% of odor-causing bacteria, meaning it’s the ideal choice for treating your knee-highs and other equipment.


Once on stand, the best bet is to stay active with your scent control, and for this task there are very few options. The HR-300 ($450) from Ozonics is an excellent choice given its ozone output and battery life. This year, the company has also released the HR-230 ($350), which is designed to work perfectly with the company’s DRiWASH Gear Bag, Kinetic Pack, and of course, in all of your treestands and ground blinds.

Trail Cameras

When you’re dealing with minimal acreage, you’ll want to know when you should be hunting and when you should be resting your spots. There is no better way to do this than with a great trail camera. One camera I’ve grown to love in the last few years is the Spartan GoCam ($300–$470). They offer quite a few different cameras that work with most wireless carriers, so you don’t need to step into the woods to know what has been browsing past your stand sites. With all wireless cameras I have to offer two caveats. The first is that they aren’t legal everywhere, so check your regs. In other cases, they’re good to go when it comes to scouting in the preseason but can’t be used during the open season. The second caveat is that they are about a thousand times more addictive (and fun) than a normal, non-cellular camera.

Stealth Cam has stepped into the cellular game this year with their new GXVRW ($300). This 22MP camera transmits HD photos and videos directly to your mobile device via the Stealth Cam Remote app. The GXVRW also boasts a sub-.5-second trigger speed, and a flash range of up to 100'.

The small-property devotee would also be wise to check out Bushnell’s latest, the Impulse Cellular Trail Camera ($299). AT&T and Verizon versions are available on this camera, which features 5-second image recovery, a 100' No Glow Flash, .2-second trigger speed, and sophisticated antitheft technology.

Cuddeback has reinvented the way trail cameras work by releasing their new CuddeLink options ($120–$270). This daisy-chained camera system might seem like a big-property dream, but the small-acreage hunter can certainly use it to monitor an entire property while barely having to step foot on it. Multiple cameras can be placed throughout your deer grounds, which will all send images to one home camera. This isn’t a Wi-Fi or cellular system but instead a private camera-to-camera network that’s fee-free and really, really cool.

If you’re searching for a killer camera that captures clear images all hours of the day and night, look no further than the Dark Ops Pro XD ($220) from Browning Trail Cameras. This 24MP camera features Dual Camera Lens Technology, which means it sports a lens dedicated to daytime photos, and one for nighttime. It also captures amazing 1080p HD videos (what better way to monitor the rut?), features a .15-second trigger speed, and is designed with a 1.5" color viewing screen.

Anyone on the hunt for a wallet-friendly camera with which to monitor their diminutive patch of deer ground would be well served to check out the Rival 18 Lightsout ($140) from Wildgame Innovations. This camera uses 42 high-intensity invisible LEDs to ensure you’ll get perfect images without spooking antlered passersby. It’s also built with a 90' illumination range, a less-than-.5-second trigger speed, and can capture 720p HD video.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

High Country Colorado Turkey Hunt

High Country Colorado Turkey Hunt

Danny Farris and Doyle Worbington of J&D Outfitters are hunting turkeys in Colorado.

Kansas Turkey Bowhunt

Kansas Turkey Bowhunt

Bowhunter contributor Matt Palmquist sets up shop for a turkey hunt in Kansas.

Season Opener: Kentucky Whitetail Bowhunt

Season Opener: Kentucky Whitetail Bowhunt

Christian Berg arrives at Whitetail Heaven Outfitters in Kentucky to kick off the beginning of his hunting season.

Turkey Decoy Beatdown

Turkey Decoy Beatdown

Bowhunter contributor Matt Palmquist witnesses a hen trying to destroy one of his decoys while hunting turkeys in Kansas.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Curt Wells and Randy Ulmer [video] explain the importance of momentum and penetration when choosing heavy vs. light arrows for bowhunting.How to Choose the Best Hunting Arrow - Heavy vs. Light How-To

How to Choose the Best Hunting Arrow - Heavy vs. Light

Curt Wells

Curt Wells and Randy Ulmer [video] explain the importance of momentum and penetration when...

Don't ruin your chances of tagging a big buck this fall.Late-Summer Scouting Mistakes to Avoid How-To

Late-Summer Scouting Mistakes to Avoid

Tony J. Peterson

Don't ruin your chances of tagging a big buck this fall.

Is FOC really all it's cracked up to be? Is it important to accuracy and penetration?Arrow FOC: Why It's Important for Bowhunting Arrows & Broadheads

Arrow FOC: Why It's Important for Bowhunting

Jace Bauserman

Is FOC really all it's cracked up to be? Is it important to accuracy and penetration?

Inspired by “Buzzwinkle,” a lit up moose in Anchorage, this Apple and Cheddar-Ale Moose Burger Recipe is sure to be a delicious party on your taste buds with every bite.Apple and Cheddar-Ale Moose Burger Recipe Recipes

Apple and Cheddar-Ale Moose Burger Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Inspired by “Buzzwinkle,” a lit up moose in Anchorage, this Apple and Cheddar-Ale Moose Burger...

See More Trending Articles

More Bow Accessories

When we look at the attrition rates of hunter numbers, it's not a pretty picture. There is a brightEssential Gear for Women Bowhunters Bow Accessories

Essential Gear for Women Bowhunters

Tony J. Peterson - July 13, 2016

When we look at the attrition rates of hunter numbers, it's not a pretty picture. There is a...

There are many reasons why bowhunters go the route of custom string sets, but three areCustom Strings Increase Bow Performance and Accuracy Bow Accessories

Custom Strings Increase Bow Performance and Accuracy

Mike Carney - July 29, 2016

There are many reasons why bowhunters go the route of custom string sets, but three are

To help you find the perfect Father's Day gift this year, the BOWHUNTER staff has compiled some of2018 Father's Day Gift Guide Bow Accessories

2018 Father's Day Gift Guide

Brian Fortenbaugh - May 14, 2018

To help you find the perfect Father's Day gift this year, the BOWHUNTER staff has compiled...

Check out our roundup of the best new release aids from the 2019 ATA Show!6 New Archery Release Aids to Consider for 2019 ATA Show

6 New Archery Release Aids to Consider for 2019

Colton Bailey - January 11, 2019

Check out our roundup of the best new release aids from the 2019 ATA Show!

See More Bow Accessories

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Bowhunter subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now