Hunting without high-priced toys

oleefish2

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Oct 16, 2007
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638
Location
wy
Some folks like me have had to budget, save and have a bucket list to enjoy our love of hunting and fishing. The interesting thing is we are still successful with no $1000 rifle scopes, spotting scopes and other optics. I once had a $14 Bushnell 4X scope on a 300 wm for several years and it worked great even after falling down a rock slope, that even ripped one of the adjustment caps off. I also use Tasco, Simmons and Nikon without any major issues. Granted I do understand that how clear they are does not compare but they have never cost me an animal when hunting. I fish with poles and reels that cost less than $50 and my boat (1986) and electronics were either used or display models. I am not trying to brag to much but I get dozens of calls on how, were and what on fishing. I am just trying to say that spending $1000s of dollars will not make you a better hunter of fisherman but time spent learning and listening. I will admit that if I won the lottery a newer boat and maybe a newer truck would be parked at the house. If I bought new guns they would be savages and the optics ?????. I would like to have a good spotting scope, that is one item that cheaper sucks. Have fun and be safe out there. olefish
 

glass eye

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Sep 3, 2012
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1,137
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El Centro, CA
Rarely do I buy hunting gear or backpacking equipment new in a store or even online. Most of what I have I picked up at a swapmeet for dirt cheap. Sometimes I'll buy on ebay and rarely have I bought anything from Cabela's.
 

GAoutdoors

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Jan 27, 2018
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71
Location
SW GA
I have been thinking about this lately. Having new hunting and fishing gear is great, but there are other things I would rather spend (or save) money on. I hear stories of my dad hunting in blue jeans and a long sleeve shirt. I would rather go hunting/fishing more than worry about the best gear besides safety related gear.
 

noharleyyet

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Nov 15, 2004
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TEXAS
The cheapest gear is that which has the quality to function at an alpha level for an equivalent or longer time than the yearly latest/best'est. Buying from hunters who don't agree with this tenet will also save some scratch.
 

wllm1313

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Dec 9, 2015
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4,279
Location
Aurora, CO
I think it depends on the specific gear, it's very difficult to do certain types of hunts without the proper equipment, but as glass eye noted it's amazing what you can pick up lightly used.

I hear the old, oh man they were so much tougher back then comments a lot... I think on the whole they were, but while there are lots of stories about grandpa hunting in blue jeans with just a rifle and a sandwich in his pocket, I also have heard plenty of stories about gandpa just taking the backstraps, as there were no wanton waste laws back then. I also have yet to see pics or heard a story about someone's grandpa killing an elk solo, without horses, 6 miles back, and packing every last scrape of meat back. I'm not trying to insult anyone or their grandpa but just pointing out that nostalgia can lead us to overlook some of the hairy details.
 

SnowyMountaineer

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Dec 11, 2009
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1,401
Location
WY
There is some value to simplicity and efficiency, but it also never ends. I have very nice outdoor and hunting gear by almost any measure, but I also don't have a truck, live in a small house, have never had a boat, never spent a dollar on a ski pass, a snowmobile, an atv, a horse...it just depends on what your priorities are. One guy thinks one thing is necessary to do what he likes, another disagrees; it's all good. Being thrifty or efficient is great, but as wllm notes the "good old days" mentality is questionable in most cases IMO.
If I can say I had as much or more fun on some awesome adventures as anyone out there with my gear then it's a win; whether I had cheap crap or nice stuff.
 

BlakeA

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Dec 13, 2012
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1,549
Location
North Dakota
I enjoy quality equipment. I make sacrifices every year to spend the money I do on hunting and equipment. We all have choices. Can a guy go fill a tag in blue jeans and a leather Harley Davidson jacket? Absolutely. If mother nature rears her nasty head at 10k ft 3+ miles in the backcountry, good equipment and gear will not only keep you on the mountain but can literally save your life with the proper layering system and gear. Nike tennis shoes, cotton socks, blue jeans, and long sleeve cotton shirts will make a hunt in the backcountry beyond miserable. Add in a dated Wal Mart pack for hauling your gear and/or meat if you are successful and not only do you risk injury but a nightmare of uncomfortable miles of hiking. I get where you are coming from, but there are many different types of hunts and no hunt is the same.
 

ntodwild

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Dec 21, 2018
Messages
210
Location
Washington
Im not sure why people start this debate but its as old as dirt!

We are all different in our gear choices, all have different budgets and anyone who discounts the guy with a $14 scope or the guy with the $1600 scope is missing the picture.

Most of us (I am assuming) hunt because it's an experience we have learned to enjoy and enriches our lives in so many ways (in whatever that is to each of us). It's a past time passed down from parents, friends or family. Truth be told..... The absolute best hunting gear on the market is the gear that you can afford at the time that allows you to get in the woods and enjoy that thing you just can't live without...

The debate over gear, what it costs and whether it is worth it will go on forever but the fever that drives us all to want to debate over that gear is what actually enriches our lives.
 
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MinnesotaHunter

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Sep 15, 2010
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3,429
Location
Gem Lake, Minnesota
I enjoy not smelling my stanky synthetic Army polypros anymore. I started hunting in Mil surplus, REI garage sale, cotton/synthetic stuff, $100 binos, etc. However, over the years I have upgraded, and wouldn't go back.

Definitely hunt/fish, over shopping, but I don't necessarily see virtue in being uncomfortable to prove a point.
 

oleefish2

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Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
638
Location
wy
Sorry to have insulted some of you but I was not saying higher dollar equipment is not OK it is. I was just saying the experience and success come from time spent and afield not what you carry. I also save every way I can so I can purchase what I need and have been lucky to have been gifted some very nice gear. My highest dollar gear items are my boots, happy feet happy hunter.
 

Bambistew

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Dec 10, 2002
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5,343
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Chugiak, AK
Can you be successful with "lesser" gear? Sure. Can you be more successful with better gear, sure. You have to define success though.

I spend my money (when I have some) on things that I think will either increase my chances of success, or improve my comfort in the field, which has a direct effect on the time spent hunting. I spend maybe $300-400 a year on gear if that anymore, mostly just replacing worn out items.

For example, could I get by with a pair of $150 boots on a sheep hunt, probably. Would it suck balls, yep, would I walk as far? Probably not. Would I find a sheep in less walking? Hard to say , but for $250 more dollars, I surely won't limit myself due to blistered crippled feet and a miserable experience.

Could I get by with a $200 backpack? I did for years. Was it painful? Yep. Did they fall apart after a couple years? Yep. Was it easy to justify spending 3x as much on a pack? Yep. More comfort, better built, etc. Haven't bought a pack in nearly 10 years.

Could I get by with a $200 Tasco spotting scope on a sheep hunt? I've done it... was I successful? Nope. I could barely tell if the animal was a sheep at 2 miles. I'm sure I missed a lot of animals that I just couldn't see through blurry crap glass. With my current scope, I could count points on the deer, or determine if the ram at that range. Does it make me more successful? If I can't see the animal I can't be successful. If I was just trying to fill a tag, be a toss up. If I need to verify size, or want to look for larger animals, it surely helps. As a bonus I see 3x as many critters. Compare a cheap spotter side by side to Alpha and see how many more animals you find with the better glass. Its a lot...

We each have our own expectations on gear and success. There are a lot of things I don't by, mostly because I don't see the return on "investment" being equal to success.

I agree with fishing rods and cost of them. Been there done that, and go back to my $50 specials. Nice rods are balanced better and have better feel, but really not that much better. The both break just as easy when you close the door/tailgate on them... :sneaky:
 

Estimator86

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Jul 19, 2018
Messages
86
Location
Great Falls, MT
What about the game we seek? Do we not owe it to them to be proficient with what we have and get the best gear we can afford? It might not be the difference in "getting" that animal, but it may be the difference between tracking one down for a mile to a clean kill.
 

cahunter805

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May 27, 2014
Messages
760
To each their own but I buy the best gear I can afford and that helps give me every advantage I can get. I enjoy researching different brands and equipment and finding what works best for my personal use and situation. I can honestly say high quality gear has changed my hunting style and has made me more successful and more enjoyable hunting adventures.
 

ElkFever2

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Mar 4, 2019
Messages
786
Location
Iowa
I hunt A LOT. If/when I have money to spend, it mostly goes towards hunting gear, tags, meat processing gear, etc. Plenty of the early years I used cheap and second-hand gear because it was all I could afford, but my hunting experience was no less enjoyable than it is now (ignorance is bliss). I am a minimalist and I do not own a lot of stuff, but the percentage of my stuff that is hunting stuff is HIGH. I used to be bothered by other hunters who talked on and on about their gear. I wished we could just focus on the experience, camaraderie, being outdoors, etc. Now that I have some nice stuff, though, I get where they were coming from. When I first upgraded my big game set up from a $100 just adequate gun to a $500 heavily researched, custom-designed, self-constructed, bargain-busted, and field-proven set up, it was pure bliss. I will talk anyone's ear off about tight groups, smooth/fast action, and ballistics specs in a tool that is basically an extension of my own body. I still head out on some day trips in jeans and my grandpa's .22 and it's about as casual as can be, but there's an added pleasure in being a gear aficionado that is only known once it has been experienced.
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
108
I have spent my life hunting white tall deer. Bow shot gun muzzleloader rifle. My frist bow cost 45$ and i said i will never spend $$$ of dollars on a bow 2 or 3 good bucks still living latter i spent 400 on a bow.
Double barrel shotgun with rabbit ear hammers was all i ever needed one 200+ in deer that was just out of range and there went 300 on a new muzzelloader. 4570 single shot was all i would ever need for my 16th brithday now 7mm mag 6.5 creed 3006 243 and looking at a 300 wm.. So most of us start out on the low end. And we all upgrade as we go. And thats fine you know we all injoyed those days.
And i could enjoy it still. But i do enjoy my muck boots over the shoes with a plastic over my socks to keep my feet dry. Dont know about yall
 

mtmander

Active member
Joined
Apr 29, 2014
Messages
830
Location
Philipsburg, MT or NC
I have better gear , really optics, now than when I started hunting. I find that I can 'glass' more and not get eye
strain with my better optics. I also have more spending money now (kids are grown and out on their own) and walk
less and glass more. Maybe my method of hunting has changed since I started hunting but I enjoy seeing game
and this method is working for me.
I still hunt with my rifle bought in the 1950's , no need to change that , it still shoots great.
 
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