Let's talk hunting gear

shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior MemberPosts: 5,332 Senior Member
To date, all of my hunting has been from blinds with the longest shot opportunity I've ever had being 200 yards. As such, I've never worried much about gear aside from a good knife, binoculars, and obviously the rifle/scope combo. I don't even own camouflage hunting clothes.

However, with an upcoming antelope hunt, that *might* be changing. I've been doing some research on the following gear, and input is appreciated:

- Laser range finder: How useful are these, really? I probably wouldn't pony up for a fancy one, but a basic model from Redfield or Nikon might be under consideration.

- Shooting sticks: I am probably going to pick up a set of these, are any certain model better than another?

- Camo: I always get a chuckle seeing pics from guided hunts where the client is decked out in Mossy Oak but the guide is right next to him in jeans and red flannel. Do you really need camo?

- Any other gear I should be looking into?
- I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
"It's far easier to start out learning to be precise and then speeding up, than it is having never "mastered" the weapon, and trying to be precise." - Dan C

Replies

  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 6,227 Senior Member
    To date, all of my hunting has been from blinds with the longest shot opportunity I've ever had being 200 yards. As such, I've never worried much about gear aside from a good knife, binoculars, and obviously the rifle/scope combo. I don't even own camouflage hunting clothes.

    However, with an upcoming antelope hunt, that *might* be changing. I've been doing some research on the following gear, and input is appreciated:

    - Laser range finder: How useful are these, really? I probably wouldn't pony up for a fancy one, but a basic model from Redfield or Nikon might be under consideration.

    - Shooting sticks: I am probably going to pick up a set of these, are any certain model better than another?

    - Camo: I always get a chuckle seeing pics from guided hunts where the client is decked out in Mossy Oak but the guide is right next to him in jeans and red flannel. Do you really need camo?

    - Any other gear I should be looking into?

    As I said in my post about your goat chase, get a good range finder. I have a Bushnell something or another. It's supposed to be good to 1500 yards, but on open prairie goats it only works to about 500. Since I don't plan to try shots that long, if I can't range 'em I don't shoot. I have ranged one to nearly 400, though, but passed on the shot. Fortunately, it came to me like I was pulling it on a string, and I was ranging it the entire way. I shot at about 230 yards and its head is now hanging on my wall. Regardless, in my humble opinion, and based on 20+ years of chasing these critters, I put a good range finder on a par with good binoculars as must have gear when hunting antelope. Unless your guide has one, or is really good at estimating ranges in open country, get one. You'll be glad you did.

    As for shooting sticks, I don't see the usefulness of them. Maybe that's because I've never tried them, but I'd rather have a good bipod that I can adjust for prone or sitting/kneeling positions. Just make sure you know how your rifle shoots when using either. I have a 7mag that shoots high when I shoot it from a bipod.

    In Colorado, we HAVE to wear an orange vest and hat, so I kind of agree with your assessment of wearing camo. If you have some you like, wear it, but I wouldn't spend a lot of money on new camo clothing just to hunt antelope.

    Also as I stated in the other post, consider knee and elbow pads, especially if the likelihood of crawling on your belly is high. All you really need is something to keep cactus thorns out of you.

    Good luck!

    [ETA] I always take a day pack with me to stow extra gear, which would be a good place to put any knee/elbow pads, etc. I also carry a canteen full of water. And, last but certainly not least, a camera. If we don't see the pics, it doesn't count. :tooth:
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 7,041 Senior Member
    Laser range finder: absolutely essential in the open country. There is no level of guesswork worth making on an expensive, distance hunt. You won't see me hunt anywhere near home without one, let alone travel without one (to the point that if I ever forgot mine, I would go buy another one and sell it when I returned home).

    Shooting sticks: I'm not a big fan of the ones that are simply unsupported folders. I think they give people a little too much faith in taking unstable, not-much-better-than offhand shots. I've personally witnessed a fairly easy elk shot misplaced when a friend took a standing shot using them. In my opinion, you'd be better off just practicing sitting down and bracing the rifle on your knees or resting the gun on your pack for further shots. For your antelope hunt, a bipod tall enough to get you over the sagebrush, but not so tall that you can't get a good cheek weld, would also be an option.

    Camo: it's a relative need. When I hunt from the ground in close proximity to the game, I do like it purely to avoid becoming a solid patch against a wooded backdrop at close range. I had whitetail in Pennsylvania and at Teach's place in Tennessee that came within 15 yards of me while sitting on the ground using the ASAT camo pattern. It looks like nothing more than intertwined branches and works well in that regard. But for antelope? I literally wore a pair of solid gray pants and a solid tan t-shirt.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • earlyearly Senior Member Posts: 4,950 Senior Member
    Ya I was thinking when I read your other thread it might be hard practicing long shots without a rangefinder.

    Your feet carry the load. Have good boots.
    My thoughts are generally clear. My typing, not so much.
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,714 Senior Member
    Rangefinders are as good as you pay for them. It is actually a handy item for trips, even if you aren't hunting, just to range things and get used to the distances. A 600 yard rangefinder would seem to be great, but a 1000 yard model will be more handy in other situations, like hiking, or even long range shooting for fun. I like my Nikon, but I do wish it was 1000 yards, instead of 600. Look at the Prostaff 7i. Buy once, cry once.

    https://www.nikonsportoptics.com/en/nikon-products/rangefinders/prostaff-7i-laser-rangefinder.html



    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member Posts: 7,570 Senior Member
    Not sure of your hunting experience SS3 but I would suggest spending as much time at the range beforehand, burning ammo for the following reason. Mention has been made by others on making shots from a prone position, using a pack as a rest, using a bipod, kneeling etc.

    If you have never shot like that in the field, it would be good to invest time in practising shooting at various ranges in the positions you are likely to be using. Familiarity with those positions could be the difference between success and failure in my experience.

    Btw, for having the opportunity you get a :yousuck: from me.
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 14,289 Senior Member
    http://www.btibrands.com/product/tac-3/

    I never go afield without my Bog Pod...the tripod is a much more stable affair than the bipod...I don't always need to use it, but I've always got it. I use it for a walking stick when I'm not using it for a rifle rest. It's made all the difference in my success over the last decade or so....
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 18,045 Senior Member
    Sorry Matt, you've experienced my style of hunting first hand, so you know Camo, range finder, shooting sticks etc.. aren't needed by me.

    For your upcoming speed-goat hunt, I'm all for taking the advice given in the earlier replies by folks who actually know what one involves because in all honesty, I haven't a CLUE
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • cpjcpj Senior Member Posts: 38,852 Senior Member
    I'll second a rest. I bought a $10 cheapy at Wally World just to try. It's worth...$10. Granted it works, but you look at it wrong while its extended and you'll bend it. I made some shooting sticks, but those require you to be sitting. Very stable. While the goal this year is to practice more without a rest, 99.9% of my hunting allows me to use one.
    I may invest in a better one this year.

    I'd say money spent on practice ammo would be money well spent. As Alec mentioned, from real life field positions.
    "I'm here for the guns, hunting, and skirt wearing men."
    Zee
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 6,227 Senior Member
    I saw one piece of advice that I thought was worthwhile regarding practicing.

    Practice shooting at a 3 lb. coffee can at various ranges. If you can hit it, you can hit an antelope in the vitals. Let the distance at which you can regularly hit the can from field positions determine the longest shot you take.

    I've never done this, and made some pretty long shots, but it still strikes me as good advice.
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 21,269 Senior Member
    JerryBobCo wrote: »
    I saw one piece of advice that I thought was worthwhile regarding practicing.

    Practice shooting at a 3 lb. coffee can at various ranges. If you can hit it, you can hit an antelope in the vitals. Let the distance at which you can regularly hit the can from field positions determine the longest shot you take.

    I've never done this, and mde some pretty long shots, but it still strikes me as good advice.

    I like that. Makes a lot of sense and you'd get a lot of good, practical practice. Sounds like what I need to do with my Muzzle Loader.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 4,329 Senior Member
    Range finder, I had an old Bushnell, never used it much, long before RF we learned to use the scope to guesstamate the range by how much of the game the reticle covered. It's probably the reason I still have fixed power scopes on a lot of my rifles.

    Sticks, never used them, early on shooting comp. I learned the value of using a sling and practiced all 4 positions, I do like a good solid bi-pod for PD shooting.

    Camo, only for bow, waterfowl, and turkey, in the old days everyone wore a red mackinaw coat.

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 10,162 Senior Member
    I got a Bushnell Scout 1000 "Arc", for elk hunting in CO, it will also give you corrections for shooting uphill or downhill, for rifle or for bow. I have used it some in MN checking our deer stands shooting lanes for range, I use it turkey season for sure so I know my max range, I it is a 4X monocular for when you are walking around and need to see if you are looking at a stump or a rear end, lighter than binoculars and fits in your pocket. If you get one, buy the extra set of batteries at the same time.
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 21,269 Senior Member
    I would like a range finder if I had an opportunity to hunt a different place, but on my lease I've been hunting it so long I know most of the ranges of the shooting lanes. Shooting way up or down the sendero would be the exception because I have never really seriously measured any points past about 400 yards (although there are yellow markers about every 200 yards). But there's a good reason for that, I have never desired to shoot at anything farther than that, or actually even just that far. For one thing, the sendero isn't that wide and if you're going to shoot anything at that range it usually takes a little extra care and time to shoot at anything at those longer range. Game animals rarely stand still that long in that sendero. They are at least walking briskly if not trotting across it. Shooting at those ranges I want them standing still or barely moving at a slow walk. So while nice to have, a range finder is kinda not a necessity and I can spend my money in better ways, like on a set of better binoculars.

    Everyone wants to talk about scope optics. Personally, if I've got a good set of Binos, I can usually get by on a lot less scope, because if I have good binos I don't need to use a scope to ID game, and shouldn't for safety reasons. It's a sighting system, and not meant to supplant a set of binos. Remember what that scope is attached to and you're using it and pointing it at an object you have not yet identified. Remember, if you haven't yet IDd what you're looking at, it may well be a human target.

    I spend 90% of my time looking through Binos and very little time looking through my scope. And with a good set of binos you're using both eyes which gives you a lot clearer view of what you're trying to identify. My present binos are ok and I get by with them, but I would like a clearer set. And a better set would pay off more in low light situations. Mine are usually pretty useless about 10 to 15 minutes before legal shooting time is overm at any distance over say 150 yards anyway.

    From what I've seen, price doesn't always equate to better. I have seen some $25 cheapos that are pretty clear, however they don't usually last and they get out of alignment pretty quick, like in 4 or 5 years or if dropped, where both tubes aren't aligned and you have a split image. Then you have to close one eye to see clearly. These are also pretty useless in low light situations.

    I have seen some good $200 binos that are better than my $70 Nikon 10x25s, especially in low light. However for around the $500-$1000 price range you can have some excellent binos that will last a lifetime and are useful pretty much up almost to pitch dark.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • Johnny rebJohnny reb Member Posts: 414 Member
    My .02 I would definitely get a rangefinder most of the cheaper ones you can cut the range in half of what the stated range finding capability a are. I'm also a fan of shooting sticks I use a bog pod tripod. I'm 6'4 and I can use them standing and can spread them out enough too shoot sitting. They can be almost as stable as a bench. Good luck on you're antelope
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,427 Senior Member
    For sure get a rangefinder. It's SO difficult to estimate range, in wide open spaces.
    Camouflage sure can't hurt.
  • twatwa Senior Member Posts: 2,225 Senior Member
    I have a bushnell range finder.....the only time I use it is for bow hunting and targeting different land marks before an opportunity presents itself. I am not a fan of carrying a ton of gear into the field, a nice light weight rifle I can shoot well is all I need. I have tried carrying sticks into the field and find them cumbersome for my style of hunting. I am a firm believer of good camo that matches the terrain you are hunting. My two cents!!
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