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Thread: Spot & Stalk Gear Options

  1. #1
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    Default Spot & Stalk Gear Options

    Hello,

    I was wondering what folks use to rig their gear up for a spot and stalk. I found this older thread but was wondering if there were any additional opinions.

    I plan on using this rig for a few different styles of trips:

    • Spring bears: Working out of a well established base camp with easy road access.
    • Fall caribou : Will be hiking on foot ~10-20 miles into base camp then working out of there.
    • Bird & Rabbit Season: Usually just day trips with easy road access.

    I've basically come up with these options on my own:

    • External Frame Pack or Pack Frame: Essentially unlimited carrying capacity. Allows you to haul a full load of meat out from the kill site on the first trip. No need to lug extra gear into base camp -- just strip the pack you use on the hike in down to the essentials or take off the bag altogether. Downside: Hard to sling a rifle, probably the least agile setup.
    • Robust Daypack: Something like the Badlands 2200. Robust system. The downside is that it is a lot of dead weight (~4 lbs) when hiking into base camp. Another downside is that while you could use it to pack out all the meat in theory, I think you'd probably want an external frame pack back at base camp anyways.
    • Torso Pack w/ shoulder straps: Basically a fanny pack on steroids. Kelty makes one with 750 cu inches capacity and Badlands makes one with 1100 or so plus a hydration bladder. These seem just about weight unlimited and allow you to easily sling a rifle. I would have no problem loading up all the heavy, dense items (like salt) in one of these rigs. However, they are ~3 lbs of dead weight in your ruck on the way in to base camp. The problem is that you cannot take a full load of meat out on the first trip; you could possibly pack out hamburger or tenderloins and then get the external frame from camp for the next loads.
    • Light Daypack: No hip belt. Good for bulky but light items like raingear, sack lunch, fleece, etc. If everything inside is squishy you can sling a gun just fine. I usually use this setup (maybe with a vest) for bird season day hikes. The downside is that it'd be hard to pack out much weight on the first load, so you'd be headed back to base camp to pick up the external frame.
    • Light fanny pack + camelbak + vest: Probably only ~500 cu inches of storage space at the most and hard to carry much, but the least dead weight carrying in and out of base camp. Impossible to pack out meat on the first trip though.

    Have I missed any obvious options? What do you use when spotting and stalking? This season is my first go at big game hunting and I'm trying to put some thought into the logistics. It is a little more complicated than small game day trips!

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I just use my external frame pack for all of my hunting. I can drop it when the actual stalk is taking place, but it's nice to not have to go back to camp to get the larger pack when an animal is down. I don't find it difficult to sling a rifle nor do I experience problems with agility except in the thickest of alders.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    I use just a frame with some water and maybe some peanut butter and crackers inside of one of the pillow case game bags.Bear

    For deer I carry some rope or if more than a mile walk a couple five gallon buckets that I can leave when the stalk begins and then get to put the meat in to carry out.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I can't see any instance where I would want less than a badlands 2200. Everything smaller than that to me is a waste of money. If you slinging your rifle is a problem then check out Eberlestock packs. I have the X1 pack and it does a great job of hauling my rifle and my essentials durring the day. I would never load it into my big pack to take along for use at any sort of a spike camp though. When I am hunting out of a big pack I use it the whole time like Brian says, except that I don't really use frame packs anymore.

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    I dunno if it's "Rigging for Spot and Stalk", or just Hunting, but the old Laska way is to take a FRAME pack, with cord for tying on your meat, etc.

    Put your hunting equipment, like extra knife, stone, saw, game bags, whatever, in a Day Pack with your DAY gear, (Food, Water, Bug Dope, flashlight, safety stuff, rain parka, and who knows?

    Put that onto the FRAME pack, and carry it that way. You can hook your rifle over the frame, if you didn't get one that has the bar on top.

    If you're successful, you have your stuff separate from your meat, in another pack, that you can carry out on top of a meat load, or however you like.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

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    Member B-radford's Avatar
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    I am going to get a Sitka Bivy 45 this year to replace my old pack this year. I like how it can compact down nice and small for just hiking and scouting, but can still carry quite a load for the walk out if needed.

  8. #8

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    I've done so much traditional muzzleloader hunting in recent years that some of the gear has spilled over into my hunting with modern arms. An over-the-shoulder shooting bag, hunting pouch or "possibles bag" such as this is incredibly handy. Ammo, rangefinder, binocs, deer call, whatever is real handy and not scattered into one coat pocket or another, much less out of reach in a pack on my back. Still carry a daypack with it for extra clothes, water, game processing gear or a pack frame for long hunts.

    Yup, call it a man purse if you want, but it's about the handiest thing I've ever taken on a hunt.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by B-radford View Post
    I am going to get a Sitka Bivy 45 this year to replace my old pack this year. I like how it can compact down nice and small for just hiking and scouting, but can still carry quite a load for the walk out if needed.
    Sorry for the mini hijack..

    Don't load it down too much. I broke my Sitka 45bivy packing out a bear hide/skull about a month ago. (strap broke) 80lb+ load, in all fairness, but still makes you go hmm... Luckily I was close to the rig when it failed on me. Picture of broken strap, so you know I'm not full of it.. I sent the pack back for warranty work. We'll see how that works out.


  10. #10
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    Default an option

    for carrying your rifle is the "Kifaru Gun Bearer". it can be attached to almost any back pack/frame. keeps the rifle in front of you; quick release. I find it puts the rifle on my shoulder far quicker than using a sling.
    Gary

  11. #11
    Member B-radford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 270ti View Post
    I sent the pack back for warranty work. We'll see how that works out.
    Let me know how that works out, Mines already in the mail so its too late to cancel.

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    Default Good advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    I just use my external frame pack for all of my hunting. I can drop it when the actual stalk is taking place, but it's nice to not have to go back to camp to get the larger pack when an animal is down. I don't find it difficult to sling a rifle nor do I experience problems with agility except in the thickest of alders.
    Last year my partner and I got a nice moose one our first morning on a "reconnaisance hike"....he (older and wiser) had his wyoming saw, knives, gloves and a couple game bags to get started....I had...NADA. After the celebration of getting a moose was done I was kinda embarassed...the pack frames and etc. weren't even in the boat. I had to hike out and go get the stuff from camp that I told him we wouldn't need since we were just goin to check an area out...leaving him to start on his own while I played catch up. I'll never go on a big game "hike" again without those basics and the frames will be at least in the boat if not on my back. We still got out by a decent hour but could have saved lots of time if I'd been prepared. Luckily he was a pretty gracious guy and let me learn without stating the obvious.

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    I carry a day pack, with all my possibles and food/water and a 10X14 thick plastic tarp with rope.maby 10 lbs total, as much as my rifle. The tarp weighs mere ounces.
    Year round, I drag/slide whole Caribou to where ever my ride is. Sure beats packing loads of meat across Tundra, bogs, snow and such, and saves my back many an ache.With two or three guys its a breeze haulng animals out by the mile if needed.

    I also use it to butcher animals on in sandy places, put a roof over my head if needed, covers my gear and wraps my meats, a very hand item......
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch It View Post
    I'll never go on a big game "hike" again without those basics
    Right On. Take the stuff with you.

    AND, Brian failed to mention,,,,,

    that if you "drop" your pack "when the actual stalk is taking place", be Mighty sure, you can find it again.

    Them things gets lost, reel easy.

    Same thing, when you're relaying with more than one pack.

    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

  15. #15
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Yep packs vanish in a heartbeat! When having my pack build I could have chose any color in the rainbow and went with blue. It isn't bright or anything but if I set it down it is not a super common color in our woods so I can usually find it. I am not a fan of camo for packs at all. How much would it suck to set down all of your gear to go stalk an animal 20 miles in and not be able to find it!!

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    Yep packs vanish in a heartbeat! When having my pack build I could have chose any color in the rainbow and went with blue. It isn't bright or anything but if I set it down it is not a super common color in our woods so I can usually find it. I am not a fan of camo for packs at all. How much would it suck to set down all of your gear to go stalk an animal 20 miles in and not be able to find it!!

    GPS, Don't leave home without it
    Chuck

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    Member B-radford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    not a fan of camo for packs at all.
    i am not a fan of camo alot of things, skinning knifes, hunting rifles. I use to have a sheep hunting partner that used a camo barneys pack, we set it down for a final stock on a ram and it ended up taking us 3 hours to find our packs after we took the ram.

  18. #18
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post

    AND, Brian failed to mention,,,,,

    that if you "drop" your pack "when the actual stalk is taking place", be Mighty sure, you can find it again.
    Good point. I've got to explore some nice mountainsides while looking for my pack on more than one occasion. I now put it on top of the highest rock pile I can find, but still, those things disappear pretty easily.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Good point. I've got to explore some nice mountainsides while looking for my pack on more than one occasion. I now put it on top of the highest rock pile I can find, but still, those things disappear pretty easily.
    Ain't that the truth. A buddy and I spent the best part of a day looking for mine. Had to, because my truck keys were in it.

    I keep a short flag of pink survey tape on the top handle now. I also carry a remnant roll of the stuff in the pack. Whenever the pack comes off, a strip goes high on the nearest limb or grass clump.

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