Hunting without high-priced toys

PrairieHunter

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May 17, 2018
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Laramie, WY
Seems like many new hunters focus on expensive hunting gear designed for backpack hunting even though many day hunt and really don't need to be paying big money to save a few ounces on anything.

I's all about looking legit for selfies on social media.
 
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ElkFever2

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Mar 4, 2019
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Iowa
If I had unlimited funds, I would buy "A" grade gear. But, seeing as I don't, I either buy used "A-/B+" gear or new "B" grade gear.

I think the two biggest mistakes people make are not going hunting because they can't afford "A" grade gear, and going afield with "F" grade gear and having their hunt ruined because of it.

Here's a little chart I made up

A+. Collectible, limited edition, or custom. A want category for those who like to spend money.

A. The best gear money can buy. Slightly better quality than A-/B+, but at a significantly higher cost.

A-/B+. Solid quality for a moderate price.

B. Decent quality gear that will get the job done.

C. Pays to carefully select among low-priced gear. Some is no-frills reasonable quality, and some is junk.

F. True crap that no one can afford to buy because it either won't work, or quickly breaks/wears out. Some people are determined to buy the cheapest possible stuff, and manufacturers will always exist to meet this demand.
 

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Scott85

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Nov 22, 2018
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315
I like to hear feedback on what type of gear works and gear that doesn't and the reasons why. That's is as far as I'm concern with what other people are using. Their money, their prerogative.
 

Sytes

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Montana
$ spent on non-essentials boil down to time available and $ surplus.
 

theddguide

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Central wisconsin
I don't have the highest priced everything but I wouldn't be against using it if I could afford it. I've been buying more expensive stuff the last couple years mostly because I've realized for me, just to carry the higher quality gear while hunting is more enjoyable; not to mention, I think it gives an underlying level of confidence knowing you're not using junk.
 

BuzzH

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Jan 9, 2001
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Laramie, WY
I got tired of using sub-par gear a long time ago.

I don't need the latest in trendy gear, but I'm not going back to sorel boots, cotton long underwear, and blue jeans either. Also not going to throw away my Swarovski glass and go back to $29 tasco binoculars. Doubt I'll throw my leupold scopes in the trash to put a $39 bushnell 3-9 on my rifle. Pretty much a given that I wont be packing any more deer or elk meat in military pack frame with a mail bag attached to it.

I used all that stuff in the past, got by with it at the time, and it "worked"...but it didn't make things easier and if you're going to use stuff like that, you better be tough.

I still have that military pack frame with the mail bag in the rafters...and its probably going to stay there. I'm not tough enough anymore to use it, in particular for packing a half a bone-in mule deer buck 5 miles in Upper Rock Creek.

 
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antelopedundee

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Jul 12, 2018
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Ames
I don't have the highest priced everything but I wouldn't be against using it if I could afford it. I've been buying more expensive stuff the last couple years mostly because I've realized for me, just to carry the higher quality gear while hunting is more enjoyable; not to mention, I think it gives an underlying level of confidence knowing you're not using junk.
During my first trip to WY oh so long ago I recall the rancher's son commenting that when people come out they bring a $100 sleeping bag and a $300 gun and by the time they leave the wished they'd brought a $300 sleeping bag and a $100 gun.
 

WyoDoug

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Apr 8, 2019
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Cheyenne, Wyoming
I know this is an old thread, but I thought I would add my dime to the argument. First, it is not your gear or how much you spend on it that makes you a better hunter. It is your attitude and your skills and how you use the gear you have that makes you a good hunter. You have to look at both ends of the spectrum when you buy hunting and fishing gear.

Cheap gear will sometimes make you regret the investment. Expensive gear may be overkill and not of substantial benefit. Optics is one of those where you buy cheap you regret it if you shoot long range so I tend to spend some buck there. On tents, backpacks and that, I buy for function rather than brand name or cost. I have a 100 dollar day pack that has done me well over the years and recently bought a 250 dollar bigger pack that supports the new bladder canteens that are sold. None of my hunting clothes are expensive. Them too, I buy for function and durability rather than cost or fashion.

Hunting, fishing and camping need not be expensive or fancy. You have to decide your budget and pull the trigger on toys that way.
 

Tradewind

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Joined
Aug 19, 2015
Messages
1,721
If I had unlimited funds, I would buy "A" grade gear. But, seeing as I don't, I either buy used "A-/B+" gear or new "B" grade gear.

I think the two biggest mistakes people make are not going hunting because they can't afford "A" grade gear, and going afield with "F" grade gear and having their hunt ruined because of it.

Here's a little chart I made up

A+. Collectible, limited edition, or custom. A want category for those who like to spend money.

A. The best gear money can buy. Slightly better quality than A-/B+, but at a significantly higher cost.

A-/B+. Solid quality for a moderate price.

B. Decent quality gear that will get the job done.

C. Pays to carefully select among low-priced gear. Some is no-frills reasonable quality, and some is junk.

F. True crap that no one can afford to buy because it either won't work, or quickly breaks/wears out. Some people are determined to buy the cheapest possible stuff, and manufacturers will always exist to meet this demand.
Who let the engineer into the discussion?
 

Gunner46

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Dec 6, 2003
Messages
2,757
Location
Frigid Ohio
My old abused Marine Corps gear served well enough to keep me alive through 'Nam & Desert Storm. I understand it's limits, but have also learned to adapt it & me to the situation. Over 40 years with the same crap. I guess it's just Old School.
 

std7mag

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Aug 23, 2016
Messages
632
Location
central pa
until you put on an actual pair of good boots..
I tried some expensive boots ( to me) for work at my wife's insistance. She was buying. ( i was paying for, but she authorized it out of the joint account lol)
While they seemed comfortable in the store, after an hour at work i had to run home and put my Merrill's back on.

One of the most comfortable pairs of boots i've ever owned was a set of $59 Sketchers.
 

Don Fischer

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Jun 27, 2017
Messages
650
We used to get some nice weather during deer season around here. Proper gear for me then was blue jeans, white t-shirt and pair of tennis shoes! Never paid over $200 for a scope and have a couple old Redfields, from the early 70's that work fine. Even have an old El Paso 4X weaver on my 22 mag. I don't feel poorly equiped. In cold weather around here it's two pair of sock's, $50 boot's and sweat shirt with a hood, all from the Bi Mart!
 

hank4elk

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Jan 8, 2015
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Location
SW NM
I'm in the old school club, but I upgrade my stuff as needed. Always have.
I started in cotton & with used backpacks a poncho,army surplus etc...
Still have my 1st bolt rifle,quality used. Still the only one I have & it works excellent. I have been thru 3 scopes til the most recent Zeiss upgrade I got half price,NIB.
Started with the Win 94 I still have & use on occasion with the old 8x30 Stiener binos I bought on sale 30 yrs ago for thick stuff. They replaced the Bushnells I had my dad gave me.
Medium/high quality Aspen binos & spotter have served me well for many years. If I start having eye problems I might upgrade,but I can see critters miles away clearly.
All the cheap binos I had, I gave to others. Useless for me.
Wish I had one of the old sleeping bags....for a dogs bed liner....
 
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LopeHunter

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May 31, 2007
Messages
2,203
Location
NW U.S.
I got tired of using sub-par gear a long time ago.

I don't need the latest in trendy gear, but I'm not going back to sorel boots, cotton long underwear, and blue jeans either. Also not going to throw away my Swarovski glass and go back to $29 tasco binoculars. Doubt I'll throw my leupold scopes in the trash to put a $39 bushnell 3-9 on my rifle. Pretty much a given that I wont be packing any more deer or elk meat in military pack frame with a mail bag attached to it.

I used all that stuff in the past, got by with it at the time, and it "worked"...but it didn't make things easier and if you're going to use stuff like that, you better be tough.

I still have that military pack frame with the mail bag in the rafters...and its probably going to stay there. I'm not tough enough anymore to use it, in particular for packing a half a bone-in mule deer buck 5 miles in Upper Rock Creek.

Preach Buzz! I fondly think back to hunts when was a poor kid in a poor family growing up in a poor town. Heck, we goose hunted sometimes with fewer guns than hunters because 12 gauge shotguns were not common and the geese were up around 60 yards best case. People died back then when got wet wearing jeans and cotton long underwear. Most of us had green army jackets without liners from the Army Surplus store and was fantastic for carrying a box or two of shotgun shells, your gloves, can of chew, etc. I never had binoculars until was in college. My work boots were my hunting boots and they were not waterproof so spent a lot of days miserable and getting blisters when my two pair of basketball socks got wet.

I can afford better everything now and have zero guilt using optics that make the first and last bit of daylight look like high noon. I use a backpack that makes 100 pounds feel like 70 pounds. I will probably dust off the Model 94 30-30 with iron sights and round nose bullets and whack a whitetail at 50 yards back in the Midwest on the family farm that is only 200 yards to the where the truck is parkerd at some point but out West I will stick with a scoped rifle, rangefinder, GPS, water-shedding clothes that fit well, boots that never leak and fit my foot like a glove, etc. I have not had a blister on my feet or been miserably cold in probably 30 hunts and one of those had the high at -5F.
 
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Gut Shot

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Mar 19, 2015
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Banks of the Big Muddy
I've killed game with guns that cost me $20 and guns that cost $2000+. The game never knew the difference and, at the moment the trigger broke, neither did I. Everyone has to start somewhere and there is nothing wrong with buying what is in your budget to get you out in the field hunting.

That being said, I've upgraded a lot of my gear and there really is a difference between low end gear and middle-of-the-road gear. And a much smaller difference in middle-of-the-road gear and high end gear. I shoot for middle range stuff when it comes to guns and clothing. Optics and packs are somewhere I will spend some extra money. And there are times when high priced stuff is the wrong choice for the situation.

Also I don't buy the latest wiz bang, super camo, gotta-have-it stuff. I can't remember the last time I bought hunting clothes that weren't at least half off. I don't own anything that says "Sitka" or "Kuiu" and it has never kept me from hunting. With two kids outgrowing hunting stuff as fast as I get it for them I try to save money on everything I can. After all, at the end of the day, this is a recreation for most of us.
 

Don Fischer

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Jun 27, 2017
Messages
650
Something some people don't seem to get is that successful hunting does not require high quality gear. I said earlier that blue jean, white t-shirt's and tennis shoes work for me in good weather. In bad weather I shop at the local Bi Mart and get cloth's that work well, just don't cost a lot. As to tools, gun's, knife's and scope's. I've had very nice rifles, inexpensive scope's and cheap knives. I've hunted with L61R Sakos and use a Mossberg Patriot some these days, neither increased or decreased my chance's of success. My all time favorite knife I found hunting, Puma Hunter's Friend. Also lost it hunting. Well finally found new Puma's at Sportsman's Whse but da*ned if I'm paying that much for a knife. Love old Schrade knives, all models and have several. Also have a number of those $15 specials that I carry a lot and they have always worked. Losing one of them is easy as loosing a Puma and the cost to replace isn't near that high. Have a custon knife from many years ago, a Track. Ex got it for my for christmas years ago, one of a kind. I've never carried it hunting even though it's a beautiful knife, don't know why. Actually I don't have it anymore, gave it to my son some yeas ago. Tell you how long ago it was, $65 brand new. It's the knife the old S&W knife's were modeled after but mine had a rosewood handle and brass butt. It's simply not the equipment, it's how you use what you have.
 
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