Every avid hunter appreciates the stealth and advantage a hunting kayak gives them. The ability to approach prey without spooking them is invaluable. Simply having a hunting kayak isn’t enough, however. To get the most from this specialty watercraft you’ll need to have the right hunting kayak accessories and appropriate gear. Here’s everything you need to know to optimize your hunting kayak and bag your next prize.
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What Makes a Hunting Kayak Different
Hunting kayaks are specifically designed for stealth, stability, and comfort for long paddling trips or lengthy waits. They also are built to accommodate hunting-specific accessories and gear. Like regular kayaks, hunting kayaks come in a variety of sizes and shapes, so choose one that fits your body type, hunting environment, and gear.
Paddles have an added significance when it comes to hunting, where maneuverability and speed are of paramount importance. The main factors to consider when choosing a kayak paddle for hunting are it its material, length, and shape. Lightweight paddles made of carbon fiber or fiberglass reduce fatigue and improve efficiency. The blade shape is also a key consideration. A kayak paddle’s blade shape needs to fit both your paddling style and the environment in which it’s used. For example, a wide blade works best in calm water while a narrower blade helps maintain control in fast-moving water.
Hunting often involves long stretches of staying stationary and waiting for prey. This can be challenging on water which is why a good anchor system is an invaluable hunting kayak accessory. A good kayak anchor system will keep your kayak still even when there’s a current or wind. When choosing an anchor system, consider its weight, length, and material.
Not all hunting is stationary, however. Sometimes you need to travel to or from various locations. This is where a kayak cart comes in. A kayak cart eliminates the need to carry your kayak on your back or shoulders and allows you to cover more ground than you would with the kayak strapped to your shoulders or back.. Quality kayak carts are lightweight, durable, and easy to use. The wheels should be large and able to handle different terrains, including sand, gravel, and rocks.
Outriggers improve your hunting kayak’s stability in rough waters or when carrying heavy gear. Two floats attach to the sides of your kayak and provide additional support and balance. Common considerations when selecting the right outrigger include its size, material, and weight capacity. Outriggers need to be easy to install and remove and not interfere with your paddling or hunting.
A hunting kayak is a specialized purchase and an investment that needs protection. A good cover protects the kayak from sun, rain, and snow. It can also help lengthen the lifespan of your hunting kayak by preventing the buildup of dust, dirt, and debris. To get full protection, a kayak cover must be the right size and made of a material suitable for the climate in your kayak will be stored in.
While every paddler can benefit from using dry bags, these are particularly essential gear for a hunting kayak. Dry bags, as the name implies, keep your gear dry and organized, protecting your equipment, food, or bait from water damage. They come in different sizes and shapes that can store everything from hunting gear to water and electronics. Always check a dry bag’s waterproof rating in addition to its size and material. It also needs to be easy to open and close and fit in your hunting kayak well.
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Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
A personal flotation device (PFD) is a must-have accessory for any kayaker, including hunters. It provides additional buoyancy and support during an emergency situation where you find yourself in the water. When choosing a PFD, consider its size, and fit, and check its buoyancy rating. Also, try it on first to ensure your PFD is comfortable to wear and does not restrict your movement. Finally, confirm it’s approved by the US Coast Guard.
A GPS device can do more than help a hunter navigate through unfamiliar waters and keep track of their location. Some GPS devices also have information on tides, weather, and other variables that may affect your hunting experience. A GPS device should be assessed based on its accuracy, battery life, and features. Make sure it’s easy to use and can be mounted or carried on your kayak.
A bow mount is a great accessory for hunters who use a bow while on the water. It provides a stable shooting platform by enabling the bow to be mounted to the kayak. When choosing a bow mount, consider its compatibility with your bow and kayak as well as its stability and durability. The bow mount should be easy to install and remove and not interfere with your paddling or hunting.
Fishing Rod Holders
Fishing rod holders serve the dual purpose of being a storage place for the fishing rod and a valuable tool for hunters who are also anglers. As always, first, ensure the fishing rod holder is compatible with your kayak. Ease of installation is also key, as is the fishing rod holder’s weight and size. Finally, make sure it won’t interfere with your paddling or hunting.
Duck Decoy Anchors
Duck decoy anchors are essential for duck hunters who paddle. They allow you to place your decoys in the water where you need them. However, they need to be able to be easily stored in your kayak and compatible with your specific hunting kayak model. Weight and material are other considerations for duck decoys.
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Camouflage netting helps hunters blend in with their surroundings, remaining hidden from their prey. It can cover the hunting kayak and gear or even the hunter themselves. Camouflage netting should be chosen based on its material, size, and durability. It must be easy to install and remove and not interfere with your paddling or hunting.
A spotlight is particularly useful for paddlers who hunt at night or in low-light conditions. That ability to illuminate one’s surroundings and spot their prey help with both accuracy and safety.
A spotlight’s utility to you will be primarily based on its brightness, battery life, and durability. It also needs to be easy to use and store. As always, additional equipment should never interfere with your paddling or hunting.
Hunting kayaks provide a stealthy and efficient way to bag prey. However, to get the most from your hunting kayak, it’s important to equip it with the right accessories. From paddles to anchors, kayak carts to outriggers, and bow mounts to spotlights, there are plenty of accessories to choose from that can enhance your kayak’s functionality and amplify your chances of success.
Always consider your specific needs and preferences, as well as the hunting environment and conditions, when choosing hunting accessories. They should also never interfere with your ability to paddle or hunt.
FAQs about Hunting Kayaks: How to Outfit Your Kayak for a Successful Hunt
Do I need a hunting kayak to use these accessories?
No, most of these accessories can be used with any type of kayak. However, hunting kayaks are specifically designed for hunting, and may have built-in features that can enhance your hunting experience.
Can I use a regular paddle for hunting kayaking?
Yes, you can use a regular paddle for hunting kayaking. However, a lightweight and efficient paddle can reduce fatigue and improve your performance.
Are outriggers necessary for hunting kayaks?
No, outriggers are not necessary for hunting kayaks, but they can improve the stability of your kayak and provide additional support.
Do I need a GPS device for hunting or kayaking?
No, you don’t need a GPS device for hunting or kayaking, but it can be a useful tool for navigation and tracking.
Can I use duck decoy anchors for other types of decoys?
Yes, duck decoy anchors can be used for other types of decoys, but make sure they are compatible with your decoys and kayak.