Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Best use of fun funds for hunting gear/optics setup

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Best use of fun funds for hunting gear/optics setup

    As the title implies, I'm trying to determine how best to spend my money in preparation for this year's hunting season. This also is taking into account the hiking/outdoor gear I already use that isn't hunting specific. Whether I can make due with certain items I already own for this season or if there is a real need to acquire something else intended for hunting. I have an idea of where the priorities should lie, but I value the opinion of others who have more experience than me in knowing what is necessary vs. what is something that can be purchased in future seasons while making use of what I have currently. I also realize a lot of individual factors should be considered so I'll do my best to give info I think is relevant. For the purpose of this exercise i'll say my budget should be approximately $3,000-$4,000. This is certainly going to put a dent in my savings for a down payment on a house, but I like eating meat...so here it goes:

    About me/hunting plans:
    I grew up in AK and have been hiking/climbing/fishing/adventuring/etc. quite some time now, BUT I am new to big game hunting. Last fall I did a lot of hunting for grouse while mountain biking and had a blast, but that is as far as my hunting outings have taken me. My plans for this year include hunting for caribou, goat, deer in PWS, and then possibly sheep/bison (if I were to get incredibly lucky next week!). For caribou, either the DC485 tag and in the CCUA, or further north on a registration hunt if I do not draw anything. For goats, I have applied for tags out of Seward. If I do not draw anything there, then I would go with one of the registration hunts later in the same area (with boat access), or Lake George (air access).

    Gear that I am considering purchasing for hunting (in order of importance for what I'm thinking, also including options I am leaning towards):

    Binoculars (thinking a used/demo pair of 10x42 Swarovski SLC, Vortex Razor, Meopta)
    Range Finder (Leica CRF 900-1200)
    Spotting Scope (Vortex Razor 22x48x65)
    Hunting Pack (Stone Glacier or Kifaru)
    Camo Rain Gear (Kuiu Chugach)
    Camo Softshell Jacket
    Camo Softshell pants/tops

    Gear I currently utilize that could be replaced with hunting specific equivalent:

    Arcteryx Altra 75L pack in RED
    Plenty of wool/polyester base layers with several in earth tones
    Several different pairs of Arcteryx softshell pants that I love and have proved to be bombproof in the mountains (solid grey in color)
    Arcteryx Alpha gore-tex rain jacket in ORANGE
    MARPAT gore-tex rain pants (they are heavy and bulky but durable)
    Marmot Precip rain pants in black

    The types of questions I have been asking myself:
    Is that red Arcteryx pack going to cut it for my plans or does it need to be replaced?
    If it does need to be replaced (which I am thinking should happen), should I invest in a nicer lightweight kifaru/Stone Glacier pack or go cheaper and put the savings into optics?
    Regarding optics, is a spotting scope necessary for goats? If so, suggestions on best way to split the money between binoculars and spotting scope?
    Can I make due with some of the clothes I have in earth tones (arcteryx softshell pants/tops)?
    If I am going to start purchasing camo clothing, what types of pieces are the most important/useful to replace first?

    Hopefully everyone has an accurate idea of what type of suggestions I am looking for now. If you think I missed any bit of useful information that should be considered, please let me know! Hopefully this is a fun exercise for some to consider while everyone is awaiting the draw results in a week. Thank you in advance for any input!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Arctic_Beaver View Post
    As the title implies, I'm trying to determine how best to spend my money in preparation for this year's hunting season. This also is taking into account the hiking/outdoor gear I already use that isn't hunting specific. Whether I can make due with certain items I already own for this season or if there is a real need to acquire something else intended for hunting. I have an idea of where the priorities should lie, but I value the opinion of others who have more experience than me in knowing what is necessary vs. what is something that can be purchased in future seasons while making use of what I have currently. I also realize a lot of individual factors should be considered so I'll do my best to give info I think is relevant. For the purpose of this exercise i'll say my budget should be approximately $3,000-$4,000. This is certainly going to put a dent in my savings for a down payment on a house, but I like eating meat...so here it goes:

    About me/hunting plans:
    I grew up in AK and have been hiking/climbing/fishing/adventuring/etc. quite some time now, BUT I am new to big game hunting. Last fall I did a lot of hunting for grouse while mountain biking and had a blast, but that is as far as my hunting outings have taken me. My plans for this year include hunting for caribou, goat, deer in PWS, and then possibly sheep/bison (if I were to get incredibly lucky next week!). For caribou, either the DC485 tag and in the CCUA, or further north on a registration hunt if I do not draw anything. For goats, I have applied for tags out of Seward. If I do not draw anything there, then I would go with one of the registration hunts later in the same area (with boat access), or Lake George (air access).

    Gear that I am considering purchasing for hunting (in order of importance for what I'm thinking, also including options I am leaning towards):

    Binoculars (thinking a used/demo pair of 10x42 Swarovski SLC, Vortex Razor, Meopta)
    Range Finder (Leica CRF 900-1200)
    Spotting Scope (Vortex Razor 22x48x65)
    Hunting Pack (Stone Glacier or Kifaru)
    Camo Rain Gear (Kuiu Chugach)
    Camo Softshell Jacket
    Camo Softshell pants/tops

    Gear I currently utilize that could be replaced with hunting specific equivalent:

    Arcteryx Altra 75L pack in RED
    Plenty of wool/polyester base layers with several in earth tones
    Several different pairs of Arcteryx softshell pants that I love and have proved to be bombproof in the mountains (solid grey in color)
    Arcteryx Alpha gore-tex rain jacket in ORANGE
    MARPAT gore-tex rain pants (they are heavy and bulky but durable)
    Marmot Precip rain pants in black

    The types of questions I have been asking myself:
    Is that red Arcteryx pack going to cut it for my plans or does it need to be replaced?
    If it does need to be replaced (which I am thinking should happen), should I invest in a nicer lightweight kifaru/Stone Glacier pack or go cheaper and put the savings into optics?
    Regarding optics, is a spotting scope necessary for goats? If so, suggestions on best way to split the money between binoculars and spotting scope?
    Can I make due with some of the clothes I have in earth tones (arcteryx softshell pants/tops)?
    If I am going to start purchasing camo clothing, what types of pieces are the most important/useful to replace first?

    Hopefully everyone has an accurate idea of what type of suggestions I am looking for now. If you think I missed any bit of useful information that should be considered, please let me know! Hopefully this is a fun exercise for some to consider while everyone is awaiting the draw results in a week. Thank you in advance for any input!

    Holy cow you got it covered , just got too be AK tough

    Comment


    • #3
      Ha, probably the most important part! I'm new to hunting, not to Alaska and the outdoors as I mentioned. I think having a bum ankle preventing me from skiing or playing much hockey now may have had an influence on the level of thought I've been putting into my plans recently too!

      Comment


      • #4
        Sounds like you have some pretty good gear already. In my opinion, you don't need to upgrade your clothes to camo just because. Earth tones are great. My rain pants are black, never had an issue. If your gear works, is comfortable, and keeps you dry, I think you're set. Your red pack should be fine if it's comfortable and can handle some weight. How's your boots, tent, sleeping bag?

        Seems like about all you need to upgrade is your optics, and for $3-4,000k, you can get a pretty darn good spotting scope an binos. I bring a spotting scope on goat hunts, and really any hunt that occurs in the mountains. A Leica range finder would be great, I'm hoping to upgrade to one.

        Welp, that's my opinion, good luck with draw results!

        Comment


        • #5
          Don't sweat the camo... I don't wear it often and if I own something camo...it's incidental at best. Earth tone stuff and being smart enough to not run around a lot is sufficient. Animals ping on movement and scent more than color for the most part. My son shot a caribou in a bright yellow rain coat a few years back- it walked within 80 yards of us sitting in the bushes.

          Top shelf optics are nice...but you can get 95% of the optical quality for 20% of the cost. Your choice, but you can do a whole lot of hunting with a pair of Vortex or Nikon binos. Spend the extra cash on a fly-in or a better grade tent.

          FWIW- being able to spend time in the field is the most useful thing, no real substitute for it.
          "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

          Comment


          • #6
            Johnny_reb:
            I've had loads probably up to 60lbs in the arcteryx pack and they still felt good. If I was taking 2 trips to haul a goat out, I think it would be doable. I think the rest of my gear will be adequate so I didn't mention it. Boots I currently use are Salomon Quest GTX, I've been happy with them and they've seen lots of climbing/sidehilling on shale/scree slopes. I replaced my first pair last year which lasted about 5 years before the gore-tex finally gave out. Sleeping bags are the treated down Sierra Designs models, one 25* and one 0*. The 25* bag is about the gets really compact in a dry bag stuff sack. I have 2 REI tents I use regularly; one 3 person 3 season which is about 4.5 lbs, and one 2 person 3 season about 2.5 lbs. I have thought about upgrading to a Hilleberg 2 person at some point, but not sure if it's completely necessary now. Although if I were to get caught out near Resurrection Bay in October/November in nasty stuff, I might think it's a good idea then. Thanks for your input and good luck as well next week!

            Comment


            • #7
              hodgeman:
              So you're telling me my bright orange Arcteryx rain jacket shouldn't be an issue then eh?! Good points about movement when hunting. It seems everyone has a different opinion on optics up here which is making this tough. I've heard get the best you can afford or more along the lines of what you're saying 90%-95% of the performance for a fraction of the price. This is going to be a tough decision.

              I am fortunate enough to have access to a Cessna 180 and ocean boat, and will have plenty of time to scout the areas I plan on hunting before they open. Saving money on camo or high-end optics, would allow me to add another packraft (currently have an Alpacka) like the PR-49 which would open up a lot more possibilities in the future. Since I already have spent a lot of time growing up hiking/backpacking, my take on it is that it's similar but with a rifle and a bit more planning. If I don't come back with anything, at least I still went out hiking!

              Comment


              • #8
                hodgeman has some good points. He's right about the optics, where the high end optics come in, is in situations such as judging critters far away such as sheep. I went with a swaro 20x60x60hd and don't regret it, I can use it for any hunt. I went cheaper with binos (nikon monarchs). they're good for determining if a white rock is a sheep or not, or if a dark rock is a bear, then I pull out the spotter to determine ram/ewe/legality. If your plans are just goat, moose, bou, then probably a moderately priced scope will suit 95% of your needs. If determining legality at a distance will be a necessity, then go with the best you can afford. Bison tag?! don't hold your breath ha! I'm getting that tag!

                Your sleeping bag and boots sound fine. A good pack is important, packing out a critter can mean 100 plus lbs. Personally I go with a barney's, and it hasn't let me down. No experience with an arcertyx pack, but I know they make some good stuff.

                Tents? I literally buy a tent for every situation, mainly because I've seen/heard of them failing in crap conditions. I'll bring anything from a lightweight 3 season to an arctic oven depending on the hunt/location I'm going on and the capacity of the boat/plane I'm taking. Highly variable.

                Comment


                • #9
                  You've got the clothes covered. Camo I believe does more for the human than it does for the critters. It is movement they sopt more so than color. You will never regret the money that you have invested in good optics. Only the money that you've wasted on lesser expensive optics that you end up replacing later. Welcome to the world of hunting. It is a great addiction.

                  Note the red plaid shirt I was wearing in my avatar pic. That is what I was wearing as I stalked him.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Arctic_Beaver View Post
                    hodgeman:
                    So you're telling me my bright orange Arcteryx rain jacket shouldn't be an issue then eh?! Good points about movement when hunting. It seems everyone has a different opinion on optics up here which is making this tough. I've heard get the best you can afford or more along the lines of what you're saying 90%-95% of the performance for a fraction of the price. This is going to be a tough decision.c..... If I don't come back with anything, at least I still went out hiking!
                    It wouldn't be enough of an issue that I'd spend several hundred dollars to replace it. Once it leaks or wears out, replace it with camo or earth tone if you wish. Remember that in much of the rest of the country guys are out stalking and killing critters wearing mandated blaze orange and they still get it done. I also like having something along that is bright colored- especially on road system hunts where other hunters may be close by (DC485 for example) or where you may need to mark the location of something. I spent two hours looking for a camo pack one time- dropped it on the open tundra to start a stalk and when I returned...had a tough time finding it!

                    I understand on the optics thing. I love having good optics but there is a point of diminishing return where the cost exceeds the utility. Money spent on good optics isn't really wasted, but I've never found a hunting situation where the slight differences between a $500 pair of Vortex and a $2500 pair of Swaros was the make or break point on a hunt. Spotters are also not the place to save money- if your hunt calls for a spotter...get a good one. Modern CNC manufacturing has changed the optics business entirely over the last twenty years...today's "mid level" binos and scopes are better that anything available in 1997- even from the three alpha makers' premium line.
                    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      A 75L pack is small and a good billy goat + gear would be at least couple 100lb+ loads. Add rain and a wet hide and it gets real heavy real quick.

                      Vortex Viper binos are solid and much cheaper. They have decent resale value since they have a no questions asked warranty and you can upgrade later.

                      Sig Kilo2000 is a rediculously good LRF for pennies on the dollar compared to leica.

                      I would love to have a high end spotter and when I but with buddies that have swaro we take it. That said my Pentax PF65EDII is compact, reasonably light and has fine glass for well under 1K. I will probably upgrade down the line but it hasn't been a hindrance so far and is a solid midrange starter scope. When I do upgrade it will probably be to 80mm euro glass.

                      Your tent and other gear is fine for most of your plans. I do agree with your assessment of late season coastal goat hunting being a good excuse to pick up a heavier duty 4 season mountaineering tent.

                      Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I may be in the minority here, but I would skip the rangefinder for your initial hunting investments and put the money elsewhere. I use one when bowhunting, but have never used it when hunting with a rifle other than after the shot. I make sure that I'm within a moderate distance (less than 300 yards) where I know that a misestimation of range of +/- 50 yards will not affect whether I'm hitting the vitals or not. If you know your weapon and put more effort into stalking than long-range shooting with the aid of high-tech tools, you'll become a better hunter and have more fun at it anyhow. Rangefinders have their place, but in 30 years of hunting Alaska I've never felt like I missed an opportunity because I wasn't carrying one.

                        I picked up a Stone Glacier last year and am really happy with it so far. I packed a sheep and a goat out of the hills with it in my first season, and it did a great job bearing the weight comfortably. It's not quite as rugged under super heavy loads as a frame pack like a Barney's, but for its weight and bulk it's a solid option. I'm keeping my Barney's, though, and will still use it for things like moose.

                        If you do end up going the Kuiu direction, I wouldn't bother with the softshells. I rarely find use for a softshell jacket when hunting. I do like my softshell pants (earth tone, not camo), but for layering on top I have two layers of merino wool, a treated down jacket, and my rain jacket. A softshell jacket is unnecessary weight and bulk to me.

                        I'd start with a set of Vortex Razor 10x binoculars paired with a Vortex spotting scope. Not being familiar with your particular pack, I can't say whether it's up to the task or not, but I would potentially look there next.

                        Welcome to the hunting family, sir. I wish you luck in next week's draw! (That is, unless you applied for the same tags as me. In that case, I wish you great misfortune.)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You may have already planned such things, but make sure to set aside a few hundred for those other hunting-specific items that you likely never had use for before. If you're mountain hunting, get a set of TAG bags (synthetic game bags), consider the ideal knife situation, and perhaps a satellite communications device like an InReach if you don't already have one.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Harsh

                            Originally posted by Brian M View Post
                            Welcome to the hunting family, sir. I wish you luck in next week's draw! (That is, unless you applied for the same tags as me. In that case, I wish you great misfortune.)

                            Oh, that's harsh. 😁😁
                            Vegetables arenít food, vegetables are what food eats.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Keep the clothing; don't worry about the color. You can do without the rangefinder (IMO); but use the bucks for the best optics you can afford - the Swaro's are primo.

                              Comment

                              Footer Adsense

                              Collapse
                              Working...
                              X