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Thread: Dumpster Diver Guide to Sheep Gear on the Cheap!

  1. #1

    Default Dumpster Diver Guide to Sheep Gear on the Cheap!

    I decided that while some people enjoy economic surpluses to buy 10K of gear for sheep hunting that I would put together the Dumpster Diver Guide to Sheep Hunting on the Cheap.

    I would ask respondents to add their two cents to the discussion but I am going to just get started. This is the way that I used to hunt sheep and have worked to upgrade gear but I wanted to give other folk the cheap way to start.

    Eureka Timberline 2 - Scout Tent- A basic Aframe tent that is durable.
    I got mine for $25 at REI rental equiptment sale.

    Sleeping bag- Sierra Designs Down Bag- 20F. I found it at the Recycling center and taped the one rip with duct tape.

    Stove System- Cheap Coleman 442 dual fuel on sale at yard sale for 5$. I put this in a coffee can that I use as stove case and cook pot with small amount of wire that I found.

    Pants- Swedish Army Wool Pants- 9$ at Big Rays. GI Joes in Anchorage has them as well.

    Top- Swedish Army wool sweaters- 3 dollars per. I take two.
    The Army Fleece tops are also good.

    Peanut butter and Pilot bread for food.
    You will hunt hard to change your food.

    Ski poles- From Recycling center. They work as good as treking poles and are free. They can also work as arresting devices.

    PackFrame with waterproof duffel cinched on with river rafting straps.
    Free. from Recycling.

    Other stuff.

    Nomex firefighting gear from Value Village.

    Internal Frame packs from REI rental. Contour iVs for 15 dollars per.

    Cheap Binoculars- 8X30 Steiner Safaris- A really good light porroprism for about 180 dollars on sale. This is a big money item.

    Spotter- B/L Elite 15X45X60 Ed. Found it on sale for 200 dollars. I found my tripod at recycling center.

    Rifle- Stevens 200- 7 mm Remington mag.+ Weaver b/R + Leupold 4X.

    Other miscellanous from yard sales.



  2. #2
    Member oakman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Eagle River, Alaska, United States


    Pretty cool idea to list out other ways of doing things. I have been pretty fortunate in some poker games to make some extra spending money and get good gear for the most part from the beginning. But one thing that really bugs me is when you have $500 to spend on a new spotting scope (or whatever) and you ask about what is the best scope for that much money and all you hear is spend $1700 on the zeiss and just be done with it....

    I can't remember who mentioned it, but I recently saw someone mention using a contractor garbage bag for a pack cover.

    Last year I wanted to have a tarp shelter in case I got caught out late in bad weather. I couldn't bring myself to spend more than $100 on one of the many versions I saw for sale. So I got a $10 camo tarp from Fred Meyer, a few small sections of parachute cord, some extra (very small) tent stakes and made my own. It took me a little practice on my front lawn to get everything set up and make sure it worked good. I was almost disappointed with nothing but good weather during our sheep hunt, I never got to set up my little contraption (1.5# BTW).


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Tigard, OR


    Good reminder of where most of us came from, whether camping or any type of hunting. Many people still get by with this same equipment today. I for one don't take your post as a jab at the other sheep hunting posts, just a reminder when outdoor activities was a simpler time. I've used a number of items you mention. Hopefully others will tell us what simple low cost items they use today, or what worked in the past even though they don't still use that item(s). We all start from somewhere in our outdoor quest.

  4. #4

    Default Other Stuff

    I thought more people would add to the list but I will continue...

    I shot my biggest sheep a 39'7/8ths Wrangell Ram with this outfit.
    I would like to add a couple more details and the biggest caveat.

    rash guard- the lycra blend Underarmor shirts from Walmart.$7 on clearance.

    Crazy Creek Chair- This is really all the pad you need and they are great for glassing. They are light and cheap- $30.00 at SW.

    Blue foam campers pads are also good and you can find them for free.

    A down vest is worth its weight as either a pillow or as a foot warmer. It can make the difference if it gets too nasty.

    Beaver Sports has a clearance rack that often has XL and XXL stuff for less. Check it once in a while. You can also find one in Apocalyse Designs which is also a very good source for gear.

    One thing that I almost always get is a large fanny pack made from cordura from A.D. They are great and are the best gun belt utility pack that is possible.

    200 yards of parachute cord. This is great for all sort of uses.

    Cheap Walmart Drybags. They can hold food without leaving much for scent. You can hang them or stash them away from camp and they work very well.

    Yoga mats are too thin.

    Cous Cous by bulk is a good purchase.
    Metrx when on sale is also good.
    Instant oatmeal is good.

    There is one thing you can't short change.

    You need very good boots. Everything else for sheep hunting can be purchased inexpensively.

    However, you need to buy at least Cabela's Meindls or better for Sheep hunting. This is probably the number one reason sheep hunts fail is bad shoes or cheap boots.

    You can get by with less expensive other gear but good socks are also a great investment. Acrylic hand made are the best.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005


    Army "Dress" pants, the green ones. 60% Polyester/40% wool. 7 bucks at value village

    80% Acrylic 20% wool shirt VV. 5 bucks

    Fleece vest with hood. VV 5 bucks

    Acrylic camo ball cap complete with Remington logo . 25 cents Salvation army

    Camo fleece jacket someone left at my house years ago

    Columbia Merino wool socks. Fred Meyer closeout bin. 5 bucks a pair x 4

    Polypros: 1 buck each tops and bottoms. I have a drawer full.

    Synthetic skivvies like new VV 5 bucks a pair x2

    Pigskin leather gloves: 5 bucks

    Walmart tripod 20 bucks.

    I've used all this gear on 3 sheep hunts. One was 12 day dcua walk in.

    I also picked up a brand spankin new Eureka Solitaire tent/bivy at VV for 15 bucks. Weighs about 2.5 lbs. Haven't used it yet though.

    This year I splurged and bought some sporthill camo pants and gloves. And I think I need to make another trip to VV for a new hunting shirt.

    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

  6. #6

    Default Very resourceful Thomas!

    Very nice way to accumulate things!

    I know when I first started I had a bunch of crap. Big leaky tent, down bag, crappy boots, bad rain gear. My first sheep hunt rained for 7 days with very little let up. Floated with a canoe with raft inside until we got to the river. Pumped up the raft and tied the canoe on behind. Had some gear in the canoe and it flipped in the middle of the river. Pretty sick feeling watching your stuff flow by you and there was nothing you could do! Jumped out in chest deep water to release the canoe. Lost most of our food and a some clothes. Still got to destination and then it started to rain. We had a big tent with tarp over it. The rain never stopped and the inside of the tent was full of water. I don't even think I had a sleeping pad then. We were always wet and at best could only get a smokey fire going. Spent more time drying things out. Learned a lot from that one trip. You MUST have the best boots, sleeping bag, sleeping pad.

    Over the years, I have slowly added to my collection. I bought a north face cat's meow sleeping bag, many different boots over the years and now love the Lowa's, a barney's back pack, a light weight rifle, fleece clothing, good socks, thermarest sleeping pad (may upgrade to a Big Agnes), I bought one of those big poncho type things from Wiggey's for rain gear, a light weight tarp, a north face tent, and just recently a Leica Spotter. I am pretty much set for a long time. Lots of money invested, but worth every penny.

  7. #7
    Member kahahawai's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Sheep hunting on Cheap!

    Wow! you guys got some great ideas on ways to save money, who said sheep hunting was expensive? I really like Snyds idea of the Army dress pants (good idea) but I prefer Air Force blue myself...hehehe. This is great for the youngsters just starting out who want to hunt sheep. I know the feeling, I never had much growing up myself, and if I wanted something nice I had to work all Summer for it. I like to frequent Value village myself, never know what you might find there.

  8. #8
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Eagle River, AK


    I've only got a few things to add, though I have used many of the above ideas.

    -Old Navy wind pants - $10 on clearance. They keep me warm when it's cold, cool when it's hot, and dry almost immediately. They're the only outdoors pants I own, and I like them better than Sporthills or any other expensive option.

    -Pillow case meat bags - .25 cents each at Salvation Army

    -Nikon Spotter XL II - $200 on eBay

    -Nikon Monarch ATB 10x42 binocs - $185 on eBay - like them more than my brother's Swarovski

    As for those who answer the spotting scope questions with the "buy the expensive one" response when the poster clearly said they were on a budget, that gets on my nerves as well. Sometimes a budget is firm, and there is glass out there that will work. Better to be in the mountains with budget gear (minus the suvival stuff such as tent, boots, etc.), than to sit at home and watch the Outdoor Channel.

  9. #9

    Default Great thread

    Great thread Thomas, and great resourcefulness in assembling your initial gear! Shows what can be accomplished with a little motivation and persistence.

    I too am puzzled by posts that say "gotta have" Leicas or Swarovskis...I mean, how did all the old-time hunters get game before those were available??

    On a moose hunt a few years back, I was using Bushnell 8x42s, and the guy I was hunting with had Leicas in the same power....I saw a moose about 3 miles away across a swamp in some timber, and thought it was a bull; my buddy couldn't see antlers at that distance. I said "Do a cow call, and let's see what happens." We cow called, and that moose came straight across the swamp to us...a bull after all, but only about 45 inches, so not legal for us. I gave him a lot of flack about his optics after that.

  10. #10

    Default I think optics are very important, but...

    you don't have to HAVE the top line stuff. I can see where the big spotters (80mm) could save a lot of walking, etc. There is a HUGE weight consideration there though. My partner and I used a nikon xl since we started. That was the only optics I would bring beside my rifle scope. It worked for us, but when you look at the "high" end glass, there is a difference for sure. I believe that all of our eyes are different. What may seem incredible to me, may suck to someone else. I just forked out the dough for a Leica televid 62 this year. I am hoping that this will be the ONLY one I have to buy for a long, long time!

    I ended up adding a quality piece of gear a piece at a time. Eventually you will end up with a good assortment of stuff.

  11. #11

    Default Great Thread...Just getting out there is what matters

    Quote Originally Posted by northway View Post

    I ended up adding a quality piece of gear a piece at a time. Eventually you will end up with a good assortment of stuff.
    To start out with gear that atleast gets you out rather than sitting at home and watching someone else hunt on TV is HUGE. I started backpacking and hunting with what many consider sub-par equipment, but I don't wishing for better gear. I was content with what I had and was just happy to be out in the mountains. Thats what its all about. Since then, like northway, I've accrued some nice stuff. But like Brian said, a day in the mountains with pocket tasco binos, beats a day on the couch saving up some Swarovski binos

  12. #12


    Quote Originally Posted by northway View Post
    I ended up adding a quality piece of gear a piece at a time. Eventually you will end up with a good assortment of stuff.
    Thats it for me. When I came to Alaska I didn't have the money for any of the cool stuff I have today. I hunted with el cheapo K-Mart tent and cotton clothes and a military issued sleeping bag as well as a cheap rifle with cheap binos, heck I went on a 7 day mooe hunt and the only food we brought was 60 hot dogs! Yup 60 boiled hot dogs was our primary food, bought in bulk at Sams Club. Every year I added something new to my arsenal and thankfully made more money as the years went by which allowed me to purchase stuff I could only dream of 13 years ago. I always tell the new to Alaska guys, one step at a time, you cant buy all the stuff in one year!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2005


    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaCub View Post
    Thats it for me. When I came to Alaska I didn't have the money for any of the cool stuff I have today...
    Ya, me too. I even had to sell my guns to put a motor in my old truck so I could make it up the Alcan. Showed up in Fairbanks less than broke. Shot my first Alaska Yukon Bull Moose with borrowed 300 win mag. At that time Sheep hunting was a far away "maybe someday" dream.

    Alaska has been good to me and over the years I've been able to buy some decent stuff. But I still love finding the killer deals on stuff and saving a buck or 2! Like my ol hunting partner Tony used to say... "cheap but effective..."
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

  14. #14


    The internet has been my friend in buying gear many many times, I dig killer deals!

  15. #15
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006


    Not sheep specific, but....

    If you like wool then Value Village (and thrift stores in general) is the place to go.

    I have a several Woolrich and Pendleton shirts from VV. They averaged $6 or $7 each.

  16. #16
    Member garnede's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    soon to be back in Alaska


    Coming from one of those new guys who is still trying to put together quality hunting gear, I realy apperciate this thread. I have bought some quality big ticket items but there are a lot of items that I can not but yet. One thing I have used heavily in the last year and a half that would fall into this thread is a pair of army class A dress gloves. They are light, water resistant, and warm. You can find them cheap at Second Chance or GI Joes and sometimes VV or SA.
    It ain't about the # of pounds of meat we bring back, nor about how much we spent to go do it. Its about seeing what no one else sees.

  17. #17
    Member Rick P's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Palmer Alaska


    Thank you Thomas! thank you! Finally some one else shows how hunting Alaska on a shoe string is not only doable but can be done successfully and comfortably for any species. I have a fixed budget of $400 a year for hunting but still manage to get out after Moose, sheep, small game, a caribou trip about every other year and this year I'm adding bear.

    PS It dose still stick in my craw that when this was brought up a year ago I was called a liar and poo pooed as some poser who doesn't really "hunt Alaska"

    BTW still using a cheapo monocular my Mom and Dad gave me for yule about 5 years ago. Because I spend allot more time in the field I still see more game than most of my freinds with high dollar optics.
    BHA Member
    Bowyer to the forces of light in the land of the midnight sun.
    The 3 fold way: Every step we take as we walk through life effects, our family, our comunity and ourselves. One should walk thoughtfuly.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Eagle River Valley

    Default Awesome thread

    Great thread. As a dedicated sheep hunter and guide I have spent thousands of dollars on top-of-the-line high quality, ultra-light gear. To the point where I am disgusted with myself for spending so much time and money. I ask myself: For what?? I do really enjoy the process of researching, finding, purchasing, field testing and using this gear.

    However, I am gravitating toward simplicity in my gear selection. That is: Only bring the absolute necessity. To extend that theory, spend the very least amount of money. Ultimately, you get back to the way my dad used to hunt sheep. Cook over an open fire, sleep under a tarp, and use a GI surplus chicken feather bag, use a thin closed cell foam pad, and a simple trapper nelson pack frame. Throw in a rifle and a knife and you really don't need much more. Worked successfully for him for 20+ years.

    We are so spoiled and bombarded by gear ads manufacturers and business trying to sell us stuff that we have a warped sense of what it is we really need to have a successful and safe hunt. With some common sense and experience, you can really make due with very little. I do have to compliment Perry on on his thrifty perfectly acceptable and functional clothing choices!

    Personally, I have started to make some of my own gear, such as lightweight synthetic insulated vests, pullovers, and a bivy sack to save money and stick it to the man.

    Here's to stickin' it to the man (ie. big name gear manufacturers and retailers) !!!!!!


  19. #19
    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Eagle River (Home!)


    After many years of going cheap on guns I'm buying two this year, a pistol (for me) and a rifle for my son. Having said that my two guns that I hunt with are a 270 which I purchased for $269.99 at WalMart in I think 1992 or 1993 in Montana (came with a scope) which I replaced for $45 after dragging it tied to my turned over raft last Spring. And a 338 which my father got at an estate auction and gifted to me for my Birthday before the first time I move to Alaska. Best gift I ever got, by the way. They have both treated me very well and have proven to be good guns in Alaska (Bear, Moose and Caribou at least).

  20. #20
    Member trapperrick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Seward, AK


    I admit to being one of the ones that USED to think I had to have every gadget to hit the market. Not anymore; it's just my basic survival stuff, gun, bullets, binocs, etc. Simple is good and I just plain don't need all the extra stuff. I do like my high end optics though. I need a spotting scope and will probably buy the one that cost's my annual salary. My rain gear is Gore Tex, Rocky Gore Tex boots, Gore Tex hat, Under Armour boot socks and thermals. Some things it's just not a good idea to skimp on.

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