Hunting Tools You Didn’t Know You Needed

Hunters are deeply immersed in their tools. Guns, ammunition, optics, knives, even our trucks are all the tools we need. Tents, cots, camp stoves, and maybe some bourbon to watch the campfire. Shutters, tree supports, trail cameras, camouflage, decoys, boats, canoes, boots, boots, like the road, the things we need last forever. However, here are three tools you probably haven’t even thought about. Trust me, you need them. You just don’t know yet.

WOOX strong ax

WOOX strong ax
No hunter can be considered well equipped unless he has a good axe. I keep an ax in my truck at all times. I have used it to clear fallen trees on the way to our camp, to clear shooting paths for a deer stand, to cut brush to hide a blind duck, and to clear a path to get a bear out of the woods. I’ve also chopped wood and made firewood for various campfires, staked tents, driven nails, and split the ribcage of a whitetail. I even used an ax to cut off a squirrel’s tail and use it for fly tying. Frankly, I don’t know how a hunter manages without one.

WOOX Forte Ax Blade

I’ve had several over the years, from axes to a double bladed felling axe, but the one I have in my truck right now is the WOOX Forte. This ax is said to be a hybrid of American and Italian design, and is a great all-purpose axe. The unique head design cuts well and splits wood even better. I ordered mine with the 22-inch handle, which makes it handy to use for everything but felling a redwood. It comes with a leather sheath to protect the edge. This is a high quality ax that will be passed down from generation to generation. MSRP: $190-$220;

DMOS Delta Shovel Blade

DMOS Delta Shovel
A shovel is like an axe, because it’s a tool you never think about until you need it. It’s almost a necessity to get a stuck truck back on track. It can also be used to dig a hole for a camp latrine or to fill in at the end of the hunt. I dug a trench around my tent, dug out the rock under my mat, dug a fire pit, and used the shovel to stoke the fire. I have even used a shovel to fend off raccoons raiding my refrigerators. I don’t like to leave the pavement without one. The problem is that the blades take up space.

Blade DMOS Delta Cerakoted

I have a couple of those little folding shovels. One is a surplus GI left over from trench service in a war long ago and the other is a modern reproduction. They both have short handles that weren’t made for old folks with bad backs. The blade is really too small to use for anything other than planting flowers in the garden. I’ve cursed at the absurdity of trying to dig a truck out of a snowbank with these toy shovels. But they fold up and fit in my toolbox, so they are what’s in there.

I was poking around the internet and came across the Delta Shovel DMOS. I’ll be honest; the $250 price of admission was a bit of a surprise. Then I remembered the last time I crawled through the snow and mud under my truck with my little collapsible shovel and how I offered to trade my house that day for a big shovel. (On later thought, a tow truck would have been a better deal.)

DMOS Delta adjustable shovel and Woodsman's Pal brushcutter stored in truck bed

The biggest market for this shovel is off-road enthusiasts, so it’s a good bet it’s dug a truck or two. With the telescoping handle, the Delta opens up to a full size shovel. It is 51 inches long, which is long enough for any road crew worker to lean on. They say it’s been tested to handle 1,000 pounds of lever force, which is more than I can muster these days. The full-size blade can be used in the hoe or shovel position, but folds down so it’s not much bigger than the small GI shovel. Mine has the Cerakote option which, in addition to being pretty, will protect the metal from rust and corrosion. MSRP: $249;

Woodsman's Pal Brush Ax on Tree Branch

lumberjack friend
I remember seeing ads for Woodman’s Pal in outdoor magazines when I was a kid. It was introduced in 1941 and was issued to troops from World War II to Desert Storm. That just made me want one.

Recently, he was clearing shooting lanes for a deer stand using a machete from a well-known knife company. It was total garbage. The edge of the blade flexed with every stroke and he was as blunt as Joe Biden long before he had the first sucker out of the way. That’s when he knew he needed a better tool.

The Woodman’s Pal is made from quality steel that will cut down trees rather than bend to shape. They won a world war with this thing, so a maple branch is nothing.

The 10½-inch blade has a sharp edge on the front side that works great as a razor as well. On the back is a chisel-sharp sickle hook designed for cutting vines and brush. The leading edge of the tool can be used for digging.

Woodsman's Pal Brush Ax Leaning Against Wicker Basket

It comes with a very nice leather sheath. The handle scales are made of wood, but a retro version of the original is also offered, using stacked leather washers as the handle. I really like that one. This is not a cheap tool, costing about the same as a high-quality knife. You get what you pay for and beware of cheap imitators. One I see a lot online is from the same company that made my machete.

I used Woodman’s Pal last winter when setting up a line of pest control traps here at Camp Towsley. I used the blade and hook to clear the brush and cut material to hide the traps. I even used my nose to dig a bed in the frozen ground for the traps. I had forgotten how much fun trapping can be and I wish I had this when I was trapping full time in the 70’s. MSRP: $185-$225;

I wrecked my old truck on the way home from a bird hunt last fall. The new one has a lot less storage space, but you can bet these three made the cut for must-have tools.