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Of all the tools a bowhunter can carry to enhance the chances of success, perhaps the most overlooked is a simple pair of garden hand pruners. Sure, they add a little weight and might not be appropriate on an extended backcountry hunt, but for hunting from a stand and other day trips to the deer woods, they offer a quick solution to problems that you might otherwise have to gnaw and claw your way through. Here’s how to make this household tool your secret weapon.

Shooting Lanes

Hand pruners can clear out small branches and brush that could cause problems. Fiskars

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When hanging stands and clearing shooting lanes, there is no substitute for the quick and silent removal of arrow-deflecting brush. Saws make noise, take time to use, and often are ineffective on flimsy limbs. Carrying a small hand pruner allows you to get in and out of your stand area with minimal disruption.

Still Hunting

Keep hand pruners handy so you can make short work of branches as you’re walking. Felco

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Still hunting often means moving through dense brush to stay downwind, stepping over or around briars and other snags to get where you need to be. Keeping a pair of pruners in, say, a cargo pocket of your hunting pant, allows you to quietly nip snags and obstacles out of the way as you ghost into range. Stow the tool where you can easily withdraw and replace it without removing your pack, and make sure the blade lock is configured to allow one-handed opening.

Game Recovery

Save hand pruners in different places because you never know when you’ll need one. Corona

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Hand pruners are also useful when tracking game through the thick stuff, where it’s imperative to stay on course and not lose the trail. Once game is recovered, keep the pruners handy for any heavy cutting required during field dressing and processing. From big game to waterfowl and upland bird hunting, a good pair of snips will quickly become a tool of choice once you are accustomed to carrying them in the field.

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