Kansas Female Hunters Seek Advice

courtks92

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Sep 26, 2017
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18
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San Diego, CA
Hi there,

I'm a 26 year old female hunter hailing from Kansas. Two of my female hunting buddies and I are trying to get into bigger game hunting along with backpacking. Currently, we hunt all species available in Kansas (small game, fowl, deer, and turkeys). However, as we prepare to try and do more out of state hunts, we aren't sure what gear is a "must have" and what gear we should consider "nice but not necessary".

Right now we've all got our own firearms and decent binos. Gear we've been looking at obtaining includes:
- packs (thinking Mystery Ranch or Stone Glacier)
- tripods (for binos and spotting scopes)
- spotting scopes
- GPS
- tents / shelters (to replace the "family" style tents we all grew up with)
- cooler upgrades
- Montana decoys (i.e. big red cow)
- trekking poles
- meat bags (currently we run the Alaskan guide bags but have seen that we might want to upgrade those for backcountry hunts)

What all have you had success with in the past? What purchases do you regret making or which you would have done sooner? If you were on a limited budget for gear (let's say $1,000) what would you pick and why?
 
M

MN Public Hunter

Guest
First off , Welcome ! What animals are you looking to hunt and are you looking to just hunt or hunt for trophy's?
 

courtks92

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Sep 26, 2017
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Location
San Diego, CA
Thanks for the welcome! Truthfully I have a goal of hunting every game animal in North America but that's a super long term goal.

I think our main focus will be deer, elk, and antelope. I'm also pretty interested in bear hunting but the other two not so much. Trophies are nice but we all are definitely more meat in the freezer hunters. I know cow/doe tags are less expensive and we definitely aren't opposed to utilizing those tags to continue to grow as hunters.
 

belly-deep

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Oct 31, 2009
Messages
3,465
I’d put the MR pack, GPS (w/ OnX chip) and spotting scope at the top of my list and in that order.

Unless you’re planning on counting inches. Then I suppose the spotter should be at the top.

I’d rate the cooler upgrade near the bottom. I have a couple good ones now, but I got by for years with a $30 igloo and lots of bags of ice. I’d put the cow decoy near the bottom too.
 

courtks92

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Sep 26, 2017
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Location
San Diego, CA
Any size you'd recommend on the MR pack? We all currently have super light day packs thanks to living in Kansas but know we need something more substantial. One thing we are nervous about with packs is the fact that we don't have anyone near us who carries non-box store packs.

GPS wise I was looking into the Garmin inReach Explorer+ as I have a family member who can get discounts on Garmin products.

Do you have a recommendation on the tripod for the spotting scope? I know I can grab a Vortex tripod for $75 - $150 from Cabela's but I figure there's got to be more out there that I don't know about.
 
M

MN Public Hunter

Guest
Thanks for the welcome! Truthfully I have a goal of hunting every game animal in North America but that's a super long term goal.

I think our main focus will be deer, elk, and antelope. I'm also pretty interested in bear hunting but the other two not so much. Trophies are nice but we all are definitely more meat in the freezer hunters. I know cow/doe tags are less expensive and we definitely aren't opposed to utilizing those tags to continue to grow as hunters.
Awesome...

Honestly if you already have the main equipment, you don't need anything unless you are planning on doing something you don't currently do. If you don't pack camp in on your back currently, but now want too, yeah, you will need packs. I will say onX maps are a must have IMO. You don't need a spotter. You don't need costly coolers. If you are going to pack camp in one thing not on your list is a battery pack to recharge things and I suggest this one...https://www.amazon.com/Portable-Charger-RAVPower-Battery-26800mAh/dp/B012NIQG5E. I nice light tripod would be nice, but again, not required.
 

Hunting Wife

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Almost North Dakota, not quite Canada
If I only had $1000, GPS and pack would be no brainers for what you want to do. Pack size depends on what you plan to haul. Camp? Just quarters? How much weight can you realistically carry?

Most of the big name packs are designed for men and so far I’ve had zero luck finding one that fits me well. I’ve been using the women’s Kelty I’ve had for years for backpacking...it’s gone elk hunting and to Alaska and worked just fine, although it’s noisy if I’m not careful. A few manufacturers are starting to dabble with women’s lines, so I might start searching again. Don’t buy without trying them on, with a load if possible. It’s hard to judge the fit and comfort of an empty pack.

You can get along without most of the other stuff on your list, at least until the stuff you have needs to be replaced or you have spare funds. And for me personally, the cow wouldn’t even make the list.
 

Tradewind

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Aug 19, 2015
Messages
1,802
I'd put a good pair of boots at the top
then the pack
gps
trekking poles
I'm guessing you already have bino's most use 8 or 10 power. I use 12 power and steady them on my trekking poles.

skip the rest unless you start packing in and camping out
I used to bring a spotting scope along, extra weight, now it sits in the safe.
 
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JLS

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Mar 26, 2012
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Somewhere in the basalt rocks
I was going to echo the thought on packs and fitting women. I would probably call Stone Glacier and Seek Outside and visit with them. Plan on 5500 cubic inches if you want to backpack hunt.

Tripods are an easy way to drop a lot of money. I have a Slik, I’ll have to dig it out to see the model. It’s not a pan head type, and it isn’t great for glassing with the spotter, but it does the trick for locating with binos and zooming in with the spotter.

Agree on pack and GPS as top priorities. Good tent would be next. Trekking poles can be found relatively cheap and are a mainstay of my backcountry pack.
 
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kansasdad

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Jul 30, 2011
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Wichita
Scheels in Overland Park has Mystery Ranck packs for you to get your hands on. Upstairs next to the hunting clothing.

Welcome to HuntTalk.
 

courtks92

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Joined
Sep 26, 2017
Messages
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Location
San Diego, CA
Awesome...

Honestly if you already have the main equipment, you don't need anything unless you are planning on doing something you don't currently do. If you don't pack camp in on your back currently, but now want too, yeah, you will need packs. I will say onX maps are a must have IMO. You don't need a spotter. You don't need costly coolers. If you are going to pack camp in one thing not on your list is a battery pack to recharge things and I suggest this one...https://www.amazon.com/Portable-Charger-RAVPower-Battery-26800mAh/dp/B012NIQG5E. I nice light tripod would be nice, but again, not required.
Thanks for the input MN Public Hunter! I definitely agree on onX maps - I've had it the past few years on my cell phone but want to add it to a GPS. My friends and I have tried to come up with gear lists in the past and, while they start out reasonable, we suddenly start adding in crazy dreams of things that just aren't in the budget quite yet.
 

courtks92

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Messages
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Location
San Diego, CA
If I only had $1000, GPS and pack would be no brainers for what you want to do. Pack size depends on what you plan to haul. Camp? Just quarters? How much weight can you realistically carry?

Most of the big name packs are designed for men and so far I’ve had zero luck finding one that fits me well. I’ve been using the women’s Kelty I’ve had for years for backpacking...it’s gone elk hunting and to Alaska and worked just fine, although it’s noisy if I’m not careful. A few manufacturers are starting to dabble with women’s lines, so I might start searching again. Don’t buy without trying them on, with a load if possible. It’s hard to judge the fit and comfort of an empty pack.

You can get along without most of the other stuff on your list, at least until the stuff you have needs to be replaced or you have spare funds. And for me personally, the cow wouldn’t even make the list.
Thanks for the advice Hunting Wife!

On pack size, I'm truly interested in doing some backcountry hunts and wasn't sure exactly how large of a pack is needed. I definitely wouldn't be soloing for those, mainly due to a lack of experience. I wondered about the pack design and how differently it would fit being a woman. I'm making a trip out to Denver this summer to visit some work friends and should have the opportunity to hit up some outdoor stores there that carry several brands to try on.

The cow idea is from my friend who really wants us to try archery antelope in Kansas this year. I've got a bit more budget than my friends (one is still in college and the other works for USFWS) but threw out the $1,000 as I figured that would be the maximum they can spend/save up over a year or two.
 

wytex

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May 17, 2016
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Wyoming
Get a good warm sleeping bag and a pad for it.
Boots are also key, cold feet are miserable in the mountains.
I use a pack frame but don't backpack hunt. My day pack is all I really carry until an animal is down. A good fit would be key though.
GPS is also a great benefit.
We have a wall tent so can't help there with a backpack type tent.
For open country hunting a spotting scope is great but for mountainous elk hunting not as necessary.
Some cheap snowshoes might also come in handy, the few times I've used mine they really made a difference.
For a cooler, one of the marine type by coleman or others work just fine, I love my Yetis but they are expensive, mine were all won or bought via deep discounts. Get a size you can lift with 2 folks when full.

Welcome and hope to see you all over in Wyoming some time.
 

belly-deep

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Messages
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Mystery Ranch is making women’s packs now. Metcalf is the pack size you'd probably want for overnight trips.

Also, REI brand stuff is pretty good if you’re stretching dollars.
 

Big Fin

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Dec 27, 2000
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Bozeman, MT
Hi there,

I'm a 26 year old female hunter hailing from Kansas. Two of my female hunting buddies and I are trying to get into bigger game hunting along with backpacking. Currently, we hunt all species available in Kansas (small game, fowl, deer, and turkeys). However, as we prepare to try and do more out of state hunts, we aren't sure what gear is a "must have" and what gear we should consider "nice but not necessary".

Right now we've all got our own firearms and decent binos. Gear we've been looking at obtaining includes:
- packs (thinking Mystery Ranch or Stone Glacier)
- tripods (for binos and spotting scopes)
- spotting scopes
- GPS
- tents / shelters (to replace the "family" style tents we all grew up with)
- cooler upgrades
- Montana decoys (i.e. big red cow)
- trekking poles
- meat bags (currently we run the Alaskan guide bags but have seen that we might want to upgrade those for backcountry hunts)

What all have you had success with in the past? What purchases do you regret making or which you would have done sooner? If you were on a limited budget for gear (let's say $1,000) what would you pick and why?
Welcome. I would probably get rid of the GPS. I might have laughed at that comment two years ago, but having used the onX APP system the last two years, my GPS collects a lot of dust these days. Maybe save the GPS money and apply it toward other equipment. If you go that route, a lightweight phone charging system is paramount.

Lots of other good options to fill your equipment list, though budgets require prioritization due to the price involved with the best back country gear in some of those categories.

Hope you have some great mountain hunts.
 

dhoshour

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Mar 24, 2018
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North Carolina
You probably don't need them at first and might not at all if the country you hunt is not that amenable to a lot of glassing, but you might consider getting a pair of 15X or 16X binos in place of the spotter. Two lens are a whole lot easier on the eyes. You can get a separate piece that doubles the magnification if you want a 30X look. Or, maybe just one of you carries a spotter for a really close look.

Rather than just run out and buy the binos or spotter, rent both for a weekend from optics4rent.com and see what works best for you. A pair of high-quality Swarovski binos rents for $25/day. Money well spent before you put out hundreds or thousands on glass and end up changing your mind.
 

CampRipleyLF

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Nov 20, 2013
Messages
889
Location
Minnesota
Hi there,

I'm a 26 year old female hunter hailing from Kansas. Two of my female hunting buddies and I are trying to get into bigger game hunting along with backpacking. Currently, we hunt all species available in Kansas (small game, fowl, deer, and turkeys). However, as we prepare to try and do more out of state hunts, we aren't sure what gear is a "must have" and what gear we should consider "nice but not necessary".

Right now we've all got our own firearms and decent binos. Gear we've been looking at obtaining includes:
- packs (thinking Mystery Ranch or Stone Glacier)
- tripods (for binos and spotting scopes)
- spotting scopes
- GPS
- tents / shelters (to replace the "family" style tents we all grew up with)
- cooler upgrades
- Montana decoys (i.e. big red cow)
- trekking poles
- meat bags (currently we run the Alaskan guide bags but have seen that we might want to upgrade those for backcountry hunts)

What all have you had success with in the past? What purchases do you regret making or which you would have done sooner? If you were on a limited budget for gear (let's say $1,000) what would you pick and why?
Caribou Gear makes some great game bags. Of course this is the number one thing you should get with a backpack. I'd lean towards anything greater than 3,000 cubic inches and more like 5,000. Trekking poles you can do without but they are super nice to have. If you can spend the money, I would! Scope is nice and is one the border of being needed and a luxury.... Larger country, being more picky on what you want to shoot are reasons to get one. Decoy is not really needed unless you want to hunt that style. I'd suggest getting a good GPS and onxmap. That combination has changed the game and really makes it easy to hunt the lines when necessary and to know where you are at all times. I'm a fan of Mystery Ranch, so that where I would lean towards..... Good Luck and if you need any help I'm sure someone here will point you in the right direction!
 

BrentD

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Feb 3, 2018
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In the middle
Osprey makes some very good quality packs specifically for women. Check out REI as a source. Depending on where you are in Kansas, a short road trip to a store (call ahead) might be a good idea. There is an REI in Kansas City, I think. Finding someone that knows how to fit you for a pack is probably more important that exactly which brand of pack you end up with.

The core of your backpacking gear is your boots, pack, sleeping bag, and tent, probably in that order. Spend your money carefully on those.

Tripods and spotting scopes are pretty distant options, not just because of cost, but also weight and space issues when backpacking.

FWIW, since there seem to be 3 of you, you might consider two 2-person tents to give you a bit more flexibility and some storage space. A 4-person tent is nice, but if only two people are going on a particular trip, weight becomes an issue.

Good luck!
 
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