Sitka Mountain Gear
Mountain hunting gear??
Mule Deer
Contributors to this thread:
wisconsinteacher 08-Mar-16
WV Mountaineer 09-Mar-16
axle2axle 09-Mar-16
fisherick 09-Mar-16
WV Mountaineer 09-Mar-16
Jaquomo 10-Mar-16
bigeasygator 10-Mar-16
AlexB 11-Mar-16
I am looking for input on gear needed to hunt in the mountains. My brother-in-law would like to start a yearly tradition of going west to hunt big game. We know that the first year will be the biggest investment for gear. The thought is to buy a wall tent, cots, stove and anything else that is needed to have a comfortable and successful hunt. We are willing to upgrade as time goes on but would rather buy once and cry once.

If you don't mind, what would you recommend for gear for a weeks hunt?

Good rain gear. I have yet to be in the Rockies durning September that I didn't encounter brutal wind and rain. A good pack to hunt out of. Something you can bring meat out on the first trip back. Other than that, it sounds like you are ready. If you are truck camping, about any camp will do. Have a good zero degree bag too. Make sure the camp is wind proofed. God Bless

From: axle2axle
Hey wisconsinteacher,

Once you've nailed down your desired camping gear, shift your thinking to your personal hunting gear. Not knowing anything about the type of hunts you've done in the past, I'll simply tell you what I think would be useful to you on a mountain hunt...and if you already own it great!

X2 on good rain gear, by the way!

Next, consider boots and socks. If you do a lot of flat land hunting using rubber boots, the mountains will destroy your feet if you're not used to this type of strenuous hiking. Buy a good mountain boot (lots of threads here on Bowsite to research them) and consider a heavy weight wool based boot sock (like Thorlo trekking socks) and perhaps a very thin polypropylene liner sock (like Coolmax) underneath to combat blisters. A good, heavy leather mountain boot will take a while to break in find some hilly ground and get them broken in long before your mountain hunt begins.

Next consider layers for your clothing...and get rid of anything made of cotton if you can afford it financially. As they say, "cotton kills," and there is a reason for this. Cotton retains lots of water, takes forever to dry, and feels heavy and clammy when damp. Synthetics on the other hand usually only hold about 1% of their weight of water, dry quickly, retain their warmth even when damp, and feel comfortable on your skin. Higher end products are pricey, but worth every penny on a mountain hunt in terrible weather. Plan on part of your trip being terrible weather.

Probably the item second in importance to your bow on a mountain hunt will be your binoculars. Buy the best glass you can afford. You could spend hours behind glass searching for that monster buck or bull. Cheap glasses will be a pain and make it less likely you'll hang in there long enough to find what you are looking for. The West is a big place...and lots of ground to cover...on foot...and with binoculars. Tripods help too. As an example, Swarovski EL 10X42's run about $2,500 retail...not cheap, but get the job done. Whatever you decide on glass, try to get an exit pupil of about 4 or slightly greater...especially if you are over forty years old. From what I've read, most of us over forty can only dilate our pupils to about very large exit pupil binoculars probably won't be much help in terms of available light to the retina. The idea is to let in the maximum amount of light into your eyes so you can search under shady trees and brush to find that buck or bull...especially at the beginning and end of the day when precious little light is available. When they bed at midday, they can also be very hard to find in the shade without good light-gathering binoculars.

Now to combine glassing with clothing. When you hike to a faraway windswept ridge to glass at first light, you will probably have worked up a pretty good sweat getting there...especially where your back has been covered by your backpack. I like to have a lightweight vest in my pack to put on while glassing at first light...especially in December and January when it can still be in the teens at first light. I also put on heavier gloves, a neck gaiter, and polar fleece "radar" cap. This neutralizes the freezing wind on my back, neck, head and hands so I can glass for the next hour or so in reasonable comfort. Your mileage may vary, but come up with a plan to be able to sit motionless for an hour or so at first light while glassing and be warm enough to get the job done. If you're shaking too much to hold your binoculars still, you won't be able to spot much and will end up be very frustrated. A little planning will take care of this problem.

Also head to the Home Depot or your local farm store, and buy a "closed cell foam" gardening pad. They are usually about an inch thick. Cut it down in size to fit your caboose and use it while sitting on wet ground or jagged rocks. A week long trip is long enough to make your rear plenty sore without it...especially in places like Arizona where there is more rock than soil in many places. This item will "save your ass" literally!

Learn to stalk game. If you've been waiting in treestands as most of your hunting, you will need to sharpen your stalking skills. Don't expect every stalk to come out in the win column. Not usually the case. Plan on failure to be your teacher. You'll gain skill and be having a ball in the process!

Game care once you are successful. Learn how to debone your animal without having to gut it. Lots of videos on this on the web. Deboning will reduce the amount of weight you will have to carry should the kill site be miles from the nearest road or your vehicle/camp. I always carry a large trash bag, clean pillow case, and plenty of sharp stuff for the job. I cut the large trash bag open and lay it near the animal and place the quarters, backstraps, tenderloins, and neck/rib meat on this open bag. Next, debone the quarters onto the bag as well. This takes some time, and the meat will cool as you work. Then place the pillow case inside your backpack and load it with all the deboned meat. Head and antlers go on the outside so the meat never touches anything that will contaminate it. Give the load a free ride back to camp and you're good to go! If it is really steep where you will be hunting, a single trekking pole can help take the load off your knees on the way downhill back to camp!

Electronics. Always have a couple of LED headlamps in your pack. Walking around in the dark in Arizona for example is an eye injury waiting to happen...and headlamps give you a "hands free" capability...especially when deboning an animal in the dark after a late recovery. Carry and learn to use a GPS. Always mark (waypoint) where you park your rig before hiking away in the you can easily find it in the dark coming back late with a fresh load of venison. If you solo hunt, consider carrying a locator beacon (PLB), which you can buy online or at most mountaineering stores. I like the ACR ResQLink products myself.

This should be a pretty good start...I'm sure there are plenty of other Bowsite mountain hunters that can add to this list...but hope this helps in some small way.

Also hope you have a great first trip...and be sure to post some pictures of your success.

All the best, Kevin

From: fisherick
Everything above is 100% on target. Be patience and look for sales/clearances. I upgraded several times and have not paid full price. Look at sites such as Camofire, Serria Trading Post, Steep and Cheap and Cabelas bargain cave. Look at clothing lines (lo-hi) like Cabelas micro tech, Core4, Kuki, and Sitka. Tents and sleeping gear from Cabelas, Kelty, Big Agnes, and Marmoth, etc. Its amazing how much you can save on quality gear. Good luck and have fun.

If you really want to save your money while buying GREAT technical clothing, check out the GEN III ECWCS. The Polartec underwear is the berries. The wind shirt works great down into the 40's with the insulation under it. The soft shell works great to block wind and water that isn't being driven by high winds. Puts you into the low thirty's. The goretex layer works great. The prima-loft jack is WARM and will put you to zero or below comfortably.

It is light. All of it. It is extremely pack-able. All of it. Best of all, it is EXTREMELY breathable. You could easily fit all the described layers in a fanny pack by the time you compress it. It fits every situation you will face. From 80 to minus 8. Wind, rain, snow, and sunshine. You are covered. And, $200 will buy you ever single piece of it if you shop around for it. Don't be fooled. This isn't your daddies surplus gear. It contains the latest and greatest of materials, design, and craftsmanship. Good luck and God Bless

From: Jaquomo
Look for basic camping gear on Craigslist and eBay too. My partner and I bought a used wall tent, used it for elk camp for a month every year for 12 years, sold it for enough to buy another outfit we spotted on Craigslist that included a 10x12 wall tent with internal frame (what we really wanted), Cabelas camp kitchen, two deluxe chairs.

Seven years later we sold all that on Craigslist for more than we paid for it.

So much depends upon your personal preferences. Basics are what you listed. You can get as complicated as you like or keep it simple. Plan on a warm sleeping bag and a good warm pad, even on a cot (cots are cold). Cooking, shelter, comfort are all up to you.

A camp shower is a must. We liked the Zodi instant shower but if you do a search on here you'll find some great ideas for DIY camp showers. A little folding camp table is nice. From there you can start adding everything or nothing. Your personal hunting gear is every bit as important.

From: bigeasygator

I'm assuming by the gear that you've touched on you'll likely be hunting out of a base camp accessible by vehicle? Is that the case?

From: AlexB

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Hi guys! I recommend hunting binocular ATN BINOX-HD 4-16x. I bought this binocular a month ago, binoculars and take it on every hunt. Good Luck!

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