You might be someone that watches a YouTube hunting video and thinks “I can do that” or you may have friends involved in the sport of hunting and want to join in! Either or, you’re going to need gear and there’s so much out there to choose from! So, where do you start?
*Note: my other blog “10 Essential Pieces of Hunting Equipment You Need to Have” will compliment this blog well.
First, don’t be fooled by price. Price can be an indicator of quality, but not all the time. When looking at clothing, the price can be a hit or miss on quality. A couple of reputable brands like Sitka, Kryptek, and Under Armour are all great hunting clothing brands, but they are on the pricey side. I would reserve my budget on these brands for rain gear layers where it really counts. Boots are another one to look at when it comes to price. I’ve worn Irish Setter brand for about 6 years now and they have done the job well. I did notice I was going through a pair about every 2 – 3 years due to heavy wear and tear from Rocky Mountain hunting trips and the waterproofing got a workout as well. That being said they did what was advertised for mid-range price. Mid-layers and light jackets, and everyday hunting pants can be a fairly low budget item if you are just getting into hunting. Find a camo pattern best suited for your area and buy the good ol’ cotton pants and shirts; for now.
When is comes to optics, pricing and brand name are critical. Your optics are your most important piece of hunting gear. My choice, hands down, is Vortex. You can’t beat their price for the amazing quality. Plus their unconditional lifetime warranty. This is wear you’ll probably spent most of your initial hunting budget, but if you go Vortex, you will not be disappointed.
Choice of weapon can be expensive or necessity. For myself, I dove in head first purchasing a Remington .300 win mag. Straight to the cannon. I’m a guy that likes to use the equipment I buy and I found that the cannon wasn’t overly pleasant to target shoot with. So I downsized to a .270 win and I never looked back. I have shot all sizes of game with it (except Grizzly and Buffalo) in my region and I can go out and shoot an afternoon of rounds without discoloring my shoulder.
Next on the list is trinkets. How many do you need and which ones? Well I would recommend a few. If you are planning on doing multi day trips there should be a few key things in your pack. First is a first aid kit. A basic first aid kit can literally be a life saver. Next, is a good cooking stove. I use a Jetboil which is light, sturdy, and durable. You’ll need to eat, and this will get the job done. Thirdly, is a good skinning knife and bone saw. Look for something that will hold a good edge. It gets really old really fast when you are constantly re-sharpening your knife. Lastly, a headlamp. Headlamps are a very important piece as often you are hunting until dark or shoot something close to dark, so save yourself from taking the long and wrong path back to your truck and be able to quarter up the animal you just put down at last light!
Finally, get out there. Start with cheaper, do the job, basic equipment. Get out there and learn. My first year I wasn’t even able to punch a tag because my inexperience got in the way. Get out in the woods, valleys or wherever you are going and learn. Learn to track, listen, read maps, understand calling, and sleep in a tent. The fresh air, big sky and walking for miles will show you why you are in the animal’s backyard. Soon you will begin to understand animal tendencies, calling tactics, and knowing what fresh tracks look like. There will be plenty of time to upgrade your rifle, buy a better pack and boots, and even find a use for face paint. But looking like a celebrity hunter will not teach you the field knowledge that will create sustainable hunting success.
God bless and good hunting!