On the cheap?

rmyoung1

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Jul 12, 2010
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I thought of this but I honestly just don’t know quite what to expect. I’d really hate to get there and regret not having gear to put me further in if needed. Totally not opposed to truck camping, but would like the ability to go deeper if required.
But just to be honest... 99% of antelope hunting isn’t a “go deeper” proposition. The limited access areas will be limited, most likely, by private land, which means roads. Even the large units dominated by large swaths of public land antelope habitat have county roads, oil & gas roads, etc. If you want to hunt that country effectively, you should drive to different points where you can glass the huntable public land, hike out a ways from the truck to a glassing knob, sit down and find a buck you like. If that fails, return to the truck and drive to the next piece of public you want to hunt and repeat. Antelope hunting means wide open country. If you are hunting a unit with limited access, a good glassing spot will often enable you to glass most of the country available to you.

If you want to buy backpacking equipment, go ahead. I love to backpack and wouldn’t begrudge anyone for getting into it. But if your goal is a successful antelope hunt, I’d spend the money on boots and binoculars. If you bone out your antelope at the kill site, you can bring half of it back to the truck in a daypack you bought at Target (Been there!).

If you think it’ll be antelope in 2019, backcountry mule deer in 2020, and a backpacking hunt for elk in 2021, then I get it. Dive in! If you’re just interested in antelope, though, save $500 on the pack and set it aside for next year’s antelope tag!
 

NEWHunter

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Brookfield, WI
To the OP, I was in your shoes last year. I intentionally pulled a 2nd choice tag in a hard to access WY unit. It was my first time out west and I had no gear. I educated myself as best I could with YouTube, reading, and forums like this. It was a solo hunt and I chose the unit because it had a couple of large chunks of public with limited road access. I got there early and scouted. My target area (waterholes) was 4+ miles from the road. I was going to attempt spending a couple of nights out there but between the water I needed to take (I had a filter etc. but that was for emergencies only) and the low end pack that I had overnighting it wasn’t in the cards.

I anticipated guys coming in through the private (which they did), however, I didn’t anticipate them arriving at daybreak and being jerks (deliberately ran off a buck I was stalking). Two ATVs, a truck, and about a dozen gun shots later and they had cleared out the couple dozen antelope I had scouted 2 days earlier. An FYI on what you may find.

To your question. I got my antelope opening morning and had borrowed a Cabelas pack, which they don’t make anymore, but would probably run about $250 today. I tried to take out my cape quarters and gear in one trip, which was over 80 pounds - after 100 yards I realized that wasn’t going to work.

Ended up making two trips and putting on about 20 miles that day. The country was not flat! It was a rough experience - took everything I had to get out the second time before dark. Wish I would have had a good pack - would the 80 + pound pack out have been doable with a good pack? I don’t know. But I spent $412.50 on a Beartooth this morning on blackovis.

Would I do that trip again alone. Probably not. Will I do it again someday - definitely. If I had to do it all over again I would have spent the money on the pack. Of course if I was in great shape instead of OK shape, I might think differently about my need for the pack. And heed the warning about good boots - I had a nice well worn pair of Danners that I have put many miles on while grouse hunting back in WI with no issues. My feet never hurt so bad after that 20 miles in WY - I lost toenails and gained blisters.

My secondary use for my new pack will be lugging around my double bull and all the gear necessary for my two kids to have a good time in the turkey woods. I’m looking forward to getting all that weight off my shoulders and onto my hips.

Good luck - it’s a ton of fun.
 
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wllm1313

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Dec 9, 2015
Messages
4,227
Location
Aurora, CO
Seems like after this hunt you may or may not hunt every year in the rockies... and if so maybe only here and there?

If that's the case...

Pack, https://www.mysteryranch.com/ws18-terraplane-pack?color=Coyote&size=M&gclid=Cj0KCQjwov3nBRDFARIsANgsdoHXkFS5oLjkDf7Sv2jhx9k90R_nkTMqku6_nyNsumd6VentU9OXCyMaAsP5EALw_wcB

Go on ebay and get ~$100 tent, get a 20 degree bag, and a pad

Shoes... for pronghorn use whatever you have, I got a pair of altra lone peaks per a recommendation of another forum member and those are going to likely be my new pronghorn boots. Might toss a pair of rain boots in the car just in case it gets super muddy while your up there... as long as it's not snowing and making everything a muddy hell you can pronghorn hunt in tennis shoes if you have to.

Honestly, $500-600 will get you everything you need for a pronghorn hunt (provided you have a gun already)
 

SnowyMountaineer

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Joined
Dec 11, 2009
Messages
1,393
Location
WY
But just to be honest... 99% of antelope hunting isn’t a “go deeper” proposition. The limited access areas will be limited, most likely, by private land, which means roads. Even the large units dominated by large swaths of public land antelope habitat have county roads, oil & gas roads, etc. If you want to hunt that country effectively, you should drive to different points where you can glass the huntable public land, hike out a ways from the truck to a glassing knob, sit down and find a buck you like. If that fails, return to the truck and drive to the next piece of public you want to hunt and repeat. Antelope hunting means wide open country. If you are hunting a unit with limited access, a good glassing spot will often enable you to glass most of the country available to you.

If you want to buy backpacking equipment, go ahead. I love to backpack and wouldn’t begrudge anyone for getting into it. But if your goal is a successful antelope hunt, I’d spend the money on boots and binoculars. If you bone out your antelope at the kill site, you can bring half of it back to the truck in a daypack you bought at Target (Been there!).

If you think it’ll be antelope in 2019, backcountry mule deer in 2020, and a backpacking hunt for elk in 2021, then I get it. Dive in! If you’re just interested in antelope, though, save $500 on the pack and set it aside for next year’s antelope tag!
+1 100%
 

Gut Shot

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Mar 19, 2015
Messages
483
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Banks of the Big Muddy
I hiked and camped for years out of an army surplus ALICE pack and old down sleeping bag. You can do it cheap.

You are simply trading money for comfort. Cheap stuff will be heavier and less comfortable to use, and may not last as long (but I still have that old ALICE pack and it still has a lot of use in it.)
 

brownbear932008

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Jul 15, 2011
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Location
Abingdon VA.
Sometimes you think your getting further in only to run into private outfitted traffic ect. If the unit your looking at is a challenge because of private that could very well be the case. Don't over think it antelope are small animals once broken down your not gonna need a huge high dollar top of the line pack for one. Now if you were elk hunting I may feel differently.
Personally I'd have good boots first and day hunt from the truck. I've done it twice first one was within shooting distance of the paved highway and the second was 1/4 mile over the knoll from the pavement both nice animals and both WY units with little public access. Matter of fact both were also leftover tags.
Don't over think it you need little equipment for a speed goat hunt your rifle, good optics, and a reliable mapping system are the key. Good luck can't wait to read your post once successful.
 

Cheater

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Jan 22, 2013
Messages
158
For a starter Antelope I would worry more about gps, optics, learning the gutless method and a good cooler full of ice. The additional gear is great to have for those of us who have accumulated it over the years, but definitely not a necessity.
 

Cheater

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Jan 22, 2013
Messages
158
If you want to save some money, a gps isn’t necessary. Your smart phone with OnX and a good portable charger is all you need.
Ya, I should have clarified, I meant GPS capability. I just use my phone with ONX as well, works great.
 
Joined
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NE Oklahoma
Great info guys. I’ve got the OnX thing covered. I may very well be overthinking this thing too much. I’ve seen plenty of horror stories on the eastern units and hopefully I’m just seeing the worst of it. I just like being as prepare as possible...

I’ll upgrade my boots for sure and think long and hard about a pack-in hunt.
 
Joined
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NJ
Ya, I should have clarified, I meant GPS capability. I just use my phone with ONX as well, works great.
Hi all, please keep in mind that though cell phones with the onxmaps can certainly be useful, they unfortunately will not work everywhere. I hunt SE MT a good bit and in many areas there, the cell phone is useless. Only my handheld Garmin gps unit proves totally reliable with good signal obtained everywhere I go. Next to my boots, I would rate the Garmin gps unit with the onX chip to be the most useful piece of equipment I own.
 

wllm1313

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Aurora, CO
Hi all, please keep in mind that though cell phones with the onxmaps can certainly be useful, they unfortunately will not work everywhere. I hunt SE MT a good bit and in many areas there, the cell phone is useless. Only my handheld Garmin gps unit proves totally reliable with good signal obtained everywhere I go. Next to my boots, I would rate the Garmin gps unit with the onX chip to be the most useful piece of equipment I own.

You don't need service, bro... you're using it wrong.
 
Joined
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You don't need service, bro... you're using it wrong.
Even if you rely on satellites only it does not work nearly as well as a gps unit. There are dead zones where it just can’t pick up the satellites. At least that has been my experience along with others that I have hunted with.
 

wllm1313

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Even if you rely on satellites only it does not work nearly as well as a gps unit. There are dead zones where it just can’t pick up the satellites. At least that has been my experience along with others that I have hunted with.
That probably depends on your specific phone and it's antenna. I've used onx with a IphoneX all over the northern hemisphere, and never had an issue getting the location. Occasionally it will take a second if you are in heavy timber.

107978
 

NEWHunter

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Brookfield, WI
That probably depends on your specific phone and it's antenna. I've used onx with a IphoneX all over the northern hemisphere, and never had an issue getting the location. Occasionally it will take a second if you are in heavy timber.

View attachment 107978
Um wllm1313, I’m not 100% convinced it works everywhere in WY. It would help if you could post a more detailed pic of WY so I can see which units and where you do your 2nd choice antelope hunting. I seem to remember a pic of a little dog next to a pretty good looking lope.
 

wllm1313

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Um wllm1313, I’m not 100% convinced it works everywhere in WY. It would help if you could post a more detailed pic of WY so I can see which units and where you do your 2nd choice antelope hunting. I seem to remember a pic of a little dog next to a pretty good looking lope.

Best spot in the state... from the background in the YouTube videos I think it’s where randy hangs out as well.
(42.8483961, -106.2758931)
 

NEWHunter

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Brookfield, WI
Great info guys. I’ve got the OnX thing covered. I may very well be overthinking this thing too much. I’ve seen plenty of horror stories on the eastern units and hopefully I’m just seeing the worst of it. I just like being as prepare as possible...

I’ll upgrade my boots for sure and think long and hard about a pack-in hunt.
I went through the exact same thought process. Not sure if it was over thinking or just wanting to maximize your opportunity to be successful and avoid becoming a horror story. You probably don’t need to overnight it as you can easily get 5+ miles back in on a day hunt - which should get you past most of the guys that don’t have private access.

A good pack would be very helpful but not necessary. My biggest mistake was that I couldn’t get everything thing out in one trip. I mentioned my crappy pack out earlier in the thread but I also could have shot a very respectable buck 1 minute into the season about 2 miles from the car. But why pack out 2 miles when you could pack out 5 right?

If you pull your tag and would like any additional perspective, shoot me a PM, I’d be happy to help.
 
Joined
Oct 21, 2018
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NE Oklahoma
I went through the exact same thought process. Not sure if it was over thinking or just wanting to maximize your opportunity to be successful and avoid becoming a horror story. You probably don’t need to overnight it as you can easily get 5+ miles back in on a day hunt - which should get you past most of the guys that don’t have private access.

A good pack would be very helpful but not necessary. My biggest mistake was that I couldn’t get everything thing out in one trip. I mentioned my crappy pack out earlier in the thread but I also could have shot a very respectable buck 1 minute into the season about 2 miles from the car. But why pack out 2 miles when you could pack out 5 right?

If you pull your tag and would like any additional perspective, shoot me a PM, I’d be happy to help.

Super generous of you...I may do just that. I’m going solo this first trip as well. (Buddies wouldn’t commit, so I decided to just go alone)
 

Nick_CO

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Dec 20, 2018
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Southern Colorado
Before I ever went on my first backpack hunting trip I was already a longtime backpacker with main objectives of getting to good backcountry fishing locations. Switching from fishing to hunting was pretty easy, i dropped some items and added some items. If I were you I would start backpacking now and figure out what basic gear that you like and works for you. You will get your base pack weight (pack, bag, pad, tent) dialed in and that will make adding the hunting equipment easier. I use all of my same backpacking gear, pack included, for hunting as well "regular" backpacking and I have never had any issues with hauling heavy loads like elk quarters because I dont have a hunting specific pack. I just bring some extra cam straps and make sure weight is distributed properly.

If your first ever backpacking trip with a bunch of new gear is on a hunt, there may be some discouraging moments.
 
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