So I'm leaning this post towards gear like camo, clothing, packs and such. Does anyone have a preference on these things, reviews... brands to buy or stay away from. I have binos, rifle, scope and everything. But I haven't hunted since i was younger in the midwest. I just wore carhart bibs and a hoodie or jacket. I'm sure there is lots of different answers, but I'd like to hear some opinions. I plan on hunting pretty much everything I can in western WA. Thanks
It's kind of pointless in my opinion to buy high end camo gear if you are rifle hunting as in WA state you are required to wear 400sq inches of hunter orange. I wear whatever keeps me warm and dry usually carhartts and good waterproof boots (keene) and also try on clothing in the store and see what makes the least amount of noise as you walk . . .
I understand your point there about camo. I also bow hunt as well though. I thought blaze orange was only required for rifle season. But I wouldn't buy high end camo for that short time frame either. But It sounds like my carhartts and hoodie will work fine. Also I was wondering if anyone knows anything about packs? This is where I am a little unaware in this area. I've looked at all the big names, but most are either really expensive or i just dont know anything about this. As of now I was just planning on using my old army ruck (alice)
Okay, I'll throw in a few thoughts since you aren't getting a lot of response. First, I should note that I'm not the world's best hunter, but I do get out when I can - always general rifle seasons.

Your questions are fairly broad. A pack that is good for day hunts near the truck may not be what you need for multi-day excursions and packing animals out. Your Alice pack is good in that you can adjust / modify it for different situations. Most of the high end packs are going to component "systems" for the same reason. The one advantage that they have is load shelf. Since I haven't hunted elk seriously and usually only do day trips, I either use a lightweight daypack or just shove the essentials in my vest, jacket, and pants pockets. I carry snacks / water, minimal fire / shelter / raingear, flashlight, 2 knives, rubber gloves, gps & compass, and a deer drag harness. When I get a deer, I gut it where it drops, drag it to the nearest road using the deer drag, then hike back to my truck for the game cart. I'm sure I'll have to modify this plan when I get a bear or elk and have to quarter it, so I'll probably add a pack board to the truck supplies, but I don't plan to carry it all day.

Most of my hunting gear is camo, but I don't think it matters much for rifle hunting. The main thing is to wear layers and avoid cotton. Even when it is warm in early October, I always wear at least a light base layer in case I get wet (it's Oregon; I always end up wet whether it's raining or not). Good synthetics retain something like 40% of their insulating value when wet; cotton retains none.

You mentioned that you have binoculars, so I won't give advice on brands / models, but I will say that this seems to be the most important piece of hunting gear I own. I use them in the woods to see through brush, I use them in clearcuts to look for deer, and I use them to put horns on animals that I see moving with my naked eye. My binocs retail for about the same as my rifle, and it was money well-spent (cheap optics give me a headache or make me dizzy if I use them for more than a few minutes, and I use mine constantly in the field).

I don't remember what else you asked, so I'll just throw out a few more suggestions. Once you get an animal, that's when the work begins, so it is best to be prepared. Everyone knows to carry a knife, but what about something to attach the tag? What about a small saw or hatchet to split the pelvis? What about tie-downs and a tarp if hauling in / on something other than an open pickup bed? Do you have a place to process it and someone to help if needed? Besides binocs and the stupid $3 deer drag harness mentioned above, my favorite pieces of equipment are my meat grinder and my vacuum packer. Trying to process a deer without these essentials would suck!
One note on packs. probably the best pack i have ever had was actually one of the cheapest packs i've ever bought. Alley Cat army surplus in Boring Oregon has the MARPAT full size packs for pretty darn cheap. I have been very happy with mine and it has served me on more than one hunt. while its big when you need it all it takes is synching everything down and it shrinks pretty well. also it has more than enough room when you need it and is pretty quiet.
If you're going to use military packs for hauling meat, make sure to buy some of the large size 6mil poly bags from u-line lest your gear be covered in blood.

I tend to do a somewhat typical "car hunt". Usually spend the first bit of time driving around with the spotting scope mounted to the door. I drive up onto a ridge and then spend an hour or two scoping things out (usually looking for sign), then displace, and do the same thing. If I see an especially promising spot, I may dismount and go check it out. Usually hunting is a vacation that ends once I kill an animal, so I am never anxious to make a kill.

What I consider necessary to have with you no matter what:

1) A zeroed hunting implement - This is key, only hits count, and only fast clean kills count as hits. Spending time looking for a wounded animal is no fun.

2) Gutting/Butchering tools - Generally this is a knife and a saw. Big animals may need to be cut up before being moved. I've found those oversized survival knives work well as a saw (the back of the blade often has a saw), but are a poor substitute for a good knife. My butchering kit is: Pair of EMT Shears, Box cutter, folding pruning saw, and a skinning knife. Typically a skinning knife has a short wide blade with a small rounded handle so you can run your index finger along the back of the blade. My preference is for carbon steel, also be sure to have a sharpening stone, if you're not cutting you're sharpening. I usually also have some shoulder length disposable gutting gloves, and a set of heavy duty nitrile gloves that I can wear over those and a trash bag.

3) Drag harness, Litter, Rope - Most of these are pretty obvious, for the litter, I have a sheet of HDPE that's 24" wide, and 5' long, I put grommets around the edges every 6 inches, so you put the animal on this, run the rope through the grommets and tie to the harness. It's an easy way to drag the animal out, and keeps it from getting too torn up.

Personal stuff:
Camera - make sure it's got fresh batteries, I dunno why but everytime I make a big kill, the batteries are always dead.

Radio - We usually hunt in packs, radio allows us to span a greater area, and if there are multiple animals we can coordinate. Generally, we usually use this as a safety measure, if you got something in your sights, might want to check where your buddy's are before accidentally shooting one of them.

Water - You need something to drink while you're doing all that walking.

Food - I like trailmix or jerky. Salty food always makes me drink water and stay hydrated.

IFAK - usually just bandaids, a compression bandage, some ibuprofen.

Spotting scope or binoculars - maybe a tripod. I spend a lot of time glassing.

GPS - Again, fresh batteries. I like to record the places I make kills, and also record places where sign is heavy.

Tarp or poncho - I can construct a hide, or more often I use it to put up as shade. I typically hunt coyote and pig, coyotes pick you out by noise, pigs pick you out by smell. Generally, the coyotes will bolt if they hear a vehicle coming, even if you speak too loudly. However if you're sitting up there on a hill they usually care less until you start shooting at them. Pigs start to get pretty excited when the bullets start to fly, but if you're more than 100 yards away or so, they don't know you're there.

I usually try to keep my carry kit as small as possible, back at camp you're going to need a gambrel and more rope to tie up your quarry and start butchering, usually I want running water to wash the meat and tools off, this also helps remove any residual body heat, and helps prepare it for going in the cooler.


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