Hunting without high-priced toys

88man

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Joined
Jan 31, 2011
Messages
437
Location
Pa
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
In regards to the spotter, Buying quality used is a great option. There are gear and gadget nuts out there that have limitless pockets and will buy a new spotter just because they see adds or see a certain professional hunter using a different brand. I saw a post on a forum once and a guy said he couldn't do the hunt because he didn't have merino wool under wear!!!!
Last week I stopped in for supper at my 78 year old Fathers house, he typically hunts and fishes 100 plus days a year. Anyway my mom gave him crap because the shirt he was wearing was worn thin and had a hole in it. He bought that shirt back in the 1960's!!!! Its a woolrich shirt and he wears it all the time. So sometimes when you buy quality you only need to buy it once.
 

belshawelk

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Joined
Aug 27, 2015
Messages
335
Location
Oregon
For years I hunted with what I could. Bought year end clearance items and such. Did the same thing with home furnishings when we were young. Then I got sick of all the crap. For me I decided if I couldn't afford it I would wait till I could. Fast forward may years. I have worked my ass to a very successful level. I wont buy anything that is not exactly what I want. I do the research and buy what I think is the best. We all have different ideas on what that is. For me I can say its made me a better hunter with better tools and equipment. Doesn't mean I shoot longer ( although I could as I have the guns to do it and now the skill) doesn't mean I hike less ( although I could, but I have my own property, but still hunt 50% on public) or drive faster because I have a car to do it. it just simply means I am more comfortable in better clothing than lesser gear because I can stay out longer in weather and be comfortable. I have guns now that are more capable , which takes pressure off of me, which then make me a better hunter. Everything from optics, knives, clothes, guns, ammo, and yes even the bourbon I drink makes it more fun and enjoyable. But I never look down or different for someone who doesn't want to spend the money or cant, that's their choice or ability. I got a buddy that spends thousands on bowling balls and equipment ( huh?) but its his passion. Lets not even talk about golf. I spend thousands on my girls at softball. I have never spent a dime any bar and don't eat out much. That's just me. We all have our things and what makes us happy ( which is the key) because I am not saying I am any better than the next guy, (I Just look better doing it- lol)
 

clharr

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Joined
Feb 10, 2018
Messages
39
It's funny that I came into this subforum to do some research on new binoculars and possibly a spotter. Hunting the Hill Country of central TX we never needed a spotter and barely needed binoculars or range finders, my longest shot at a deer was right around 130yds. So I've always used "cheap" optics, been very happy with my mid grade Vortex scopes and $130 Merrell hikers. Now that I'm going to start hunting the west it occurs to me much of what I use wont cut it in the different terrains and climates I'll be in, so I've been slowly upgrading and acquiring what I can when I can.
That said, not having the best stuff wont keep me from going. I've done well down here often killing the biggest deer on the property compared to guys who'm had better equipment and more money to spend simply because I spent more time in the field and learned the animals. Skill set goes a long way.
So I will probably just take my $100 spotter to Colorado this year and promptly buy something better after the trip when I know I'll need something better next time around. 😕
I've got too damn much gear to buy and trying to prioritize comfort for me and my wife.
 

Sitkablacktail

New member
Joined
Apr 10, 2018
Messages
15
the only reason I have a set of Ziess SF 10x42s, is i got recently had to work 36 hours strait and got a big fat check had enough OT to buy them out right. I figured screw it and pulled the trigger with the extra cash.
 

Nameless Range

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Jun 6, 2013
Messages
2,729
Location
Western Montana
Most gear is expensive for a reason - because it’s better. It’s tough though, because there’s such a rate of diminishing returns for the top end stuff. Yeah, those $200 pants are definitely better than a $50 pair, but probably not 4 times better. Lots of examples like that.

It’s true that it’d be foolish to treat discomfort or being cheap for the sake of being cheap as a virtue, but that is such a minority view I can’t recall ever running across it in real life.

What I do run across all the time are people who associate status and success with top end gear. The former being tautological with the latter. It’s fine to be proud and pleased with your gear, and gear is cool, but for many, gear is another game they are playing.

To each their own. Hunting With what ya got is always better than not hunting at all.
 

std7mag

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Joined
Aug 23, 2016
Messages
638
Location
central pa
I try to be as much a realist as the next guy. I understand some people can afford the higher end items.
But....
A lot of it seems your paying for a name.
$300 pair of boots, $200 pair of pants? Not in this kids lifetime!
When i was looking for some rubber boots, figured i'd go to the local farmers supply. $134 for the cheapest pair? You gotta be freak'n kidd'n me!
Found Frogg Toggs for $94. (Still way to much for parlor boots with camo print on them!).
Do i like higher end items? Sometimes.
Can i find something that works for me at a lesser cost? Usually.

One need only look at this particular catagory in the forum to see the difference of pricing. How many threads start off with " What's the best $1,600 spotting scope?"
That is beaten now by a $3,000 pair of binoculars!
And don't sell me the "you need it for hunting out here".
I'm still planning a Colorado elk hunt.
I'll get by just fine with my $89 Celestron spotter, $90 Vortex Raptor bino's, and $299 used Savage 111.

I'm thankful to Randy, and our sponsors.
But sometimes i feel like the forum should be named Hunting At Tiffany's instead of Hunt Talk.
 
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BucksnDucks

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Joined
Aug 27, 2015
Messages
179
Location
Northern CA
I have great memories and some success with low budget gear and a million dollars worth of enthusiasm. I also have memories of lessons learned like missing my first "big buck" due to a cheap scope with a detached reticle and nearly freezing to death in cotton clothes. I think there is value in starting out simple and figuring things out as you progress in the outdoors, especially for kids. I also see how success and some comfort in the field is essential for some to continue the pursuit.
This discussion can go to extremes in both directions. I believe the important take away is not to judge other's ability based on the quality of their gear or lack there of.
 

MinnesotaHunter

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Joined
Sep 15, 2010
Messages
3,363
Location
Gem Lake, Minnesota
I have great memories and some success with low budget gear and a million dollars worth of enthusiasm. I also have memories of lessons learned like missing my first "big buck" due to a cheap scope with a detached reticle and nearly freezing to death in cotton clothes. I think there is value in starting out simple and figuring things out as you progress in the outdoors, especially for kids. I also see how success and some comfort in the field is essential for some to continue the pursuit.
This discussion can go to extremes in both directions. I believe the important take away is not to judge other's ability based on the quality of their gear or lack there of.
Too often these debates are dominated by people with emotional opinions on opposite ends of the spectrum.

two ideas from this debate seem clear:
1. You can't buy skill or your way up the mountain, but some amount of investment can make you more efficient.
2. Worrying about how everyone else perceives you or your gear is silly, whether you spent a bunch of money on it or not.

Go hunting and quit worrying about how everyone else does it.....
 

oleefish2

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Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
606
Location
wy
Too often these debates are dominated by people with emotional opinions on opposite ends of the spectrum.

two ideas from this debate seem clear:
1. You can't buy skill or your way up the mountain, but some amount of investment can make you more efficient.
2. Worrying about how everyone else perceives you or your gear is silly, whether you spent a bunch of money on it or not.

Go hunting and quit worrying about how everyone else does it.....
Thank you for your reply, this was my point I did not say this well.
 

BuzzH

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Jan 9, 2001
Messages
10,665
Location
Laramie, WY
Too often these debates are dominated by people with emotional opinions on opposite ends of the spectrum.

two ideas from this debate seem clear:
1. You can't buy skill or your way up the mountain, but some amount of investment can make you more efficient.
2. Worrying about how everyone else perceives you or your gear is silly, whether you spent a bunch of money on it or not.

Go hunting and quit worrying about how everyone else does it.....
I don't know if that's entirely true. I was talking with my a good friend of mine from Augusta Montana who has been there and done that when it comes to hunting. We got on the subject of equipment and how much better it is today. He made a statement that is very true, that back in the 60's-70's even 80's equipment sort of sucked. A 1970's era sleeping bag, probably weighed more than a tent, stove, sleeping bag, thermarest, and the backpack you put all that in today...combined.

Equipment has become not only much lighter, but more water resistant, tougher, warmer, which allows hunters to not only make their way up the mountain easier, but also allows them to stay longer, hunt further back in, and be more comfortable the whole time they're there.

I think back to the weight of the equipment I used to carry when I started backpack hunting...good thing I was young and tough, because it was heavy, bulky, and was not nearly as good as the stuff I use today.
 

MinnesotaHunter

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Joined
Sep 15, 2010
Messages
3,363
Location
Gem Lake, Minnesota
I don't know if that's entirely true. I was talking with my a good friend of mine from Augusta Montana who has been there and done that when it comes to hunting. We got on the subject of equipment and how much better it is today. He made a statement that is very true, that back in the 60's-70's even 80's equipment sort of sucked. A 1970's era sleeping bag, probably weighed more than a tent, stove, sleeping bag, thermarest, and the backpack you put all that in today...combined.

Equipment has become not only much lighter, but more water resistant, tougher, warmer, which allows hunters to not only make their way up the mountain easier, but also allows them to stay longer, hunt further back in, and be more comfortable the whole time they're there.

I think back to the weight of the equipment I used to carry when I started backpack hunting...good thing I was young and tough, because it was heavy, bulky, and was not nearly as good as the stuff I use today.
Don't forget, the jump up to a stiffer boot, how much better a good pack carries a load, and how much easier a good set of binos is on your eyes when you have to sit behind them all day.

I would be a huge hypocrite, if I said I didn't think good gear mattered. After 15 years of slowly upgrading almost everything I use, I have some pretty top-o-the-line gear.

Point of fact, I just got a 2 man tent that weighs sub-2lbs. When I started elk hunting in 2005, I had an 8lb goodwill special, and I am damned glad not to be using that thing anymore....
 

MTTW

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Joined
Apr 1, 2016
Messages
565
Location
Montana
I still use that sleeping bag Buzz speaks of. Why? That would take a while to answer, so I wont. I think about replacing it every time I stuff it in my 1980s vintage internal frame pack, but I wont. I figure sleeping with all of your clothes on and your hands in your armpits, and your Carhardt coat wrapped around your feet builds character. At least it will if you wake up.
 
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