First off, let me start out by getting something out in the open right away – I’m a gear junky and am surely not a fan of junky gear. In my early years of hunting, I had no idea of the importance of quality gear and have formed my beliefs after years of mishaps that could be partially blamed on the use of gear I wasn’t familiar with. The definition of gear when looked up online is this: “implements, tools, or apparatus, especially as used for a particular occupation or activity.”
Especially used for a particular occupation or activity is what stuck with me about this definition. In today’s high tech marketing campaigns even junk gear is being sold as something it isn’t. You will also hear people who say, “I can’t believe the cost of this or that item!” The bottom line is this – for those of us that rely on our gear to stay in the field longer, gear is as important as the weapon we chose to carry.
Let’s start by discussing clothing. Back in my earlier days cotton was about the only thing on the market and because I didn’t know any better or have any other options, it’s what I wore on all my outings. I think to this day, I can still feel some of those bone chilling November days that I still have not yet recovered from. Today’s gear in regards to clothing is simply amazing. My personal favorite line is Sitka Gear. With a skin to shell layering system available, I know I can hunt anywhere in the world while remaining comfortable with any elements Mother Nature could possible throw at me. From Merino Wool to some of the synthetic articles, it’s easy to stay in the field for a much longer period of time and capitalize on the opportunities that come your way from simply being out there longer. When a person has the luxury of being able to head back to a warm house and dry out their clothing, clothing isn’t nearly as important as when you are spending 6-10 days out and have to rely on what you carried in to stay warm and dry. For the people that spend those nights in the field, I would surely say gear would add to their success. I know it does mine.
Another aspect of gear I would like to spend a little time on is our bows and what we choose to put on them. I know we’ve all heard people say practice with what you are going to be using, and yep, I’m going to say it again, “practice with what you are going to be using.” Just last year, a buddy of mine who is a heck of a hunter, wanted to sit one of my stands for deer. We knew there was a giant in the area from our trail cameras and since I had already tagged out he was the only one left with a tag. He climbed in the tree and about an hour later the big buck showed up. The problem was that my buddy had never sat in a stand before and he was really geared up for elk hunting. His bow had 80lbs limbs on it and because of the odd angle or position he was sitting in, he was not able to get his bow back and missed out on an opportunity at a mid 140’s class blacktail. This guy shoots his bow everyday – I call him the world’s strongest man – but having never shot from a stand and not knowing what kind of awkward situations you can sometimes end up in cost him big. In my opinion, there is no reason to shoot that kind of poundage for anything, especially from an elevated platform where you don’t have the leverage you’re used to while shooting on the ground. He now owns a lighter poundage bow and blames that mishap on how cold it was that day… 🙂 If you’re going to hunt from a treestand, shoot from a treestand. If you’re going to hunt from a blind, shoot from a blind. If your going to stalk game, shoot from your knees and always do your practice with the clothes you’ll be using when it’s game time.
In my opinion, it’s better to save your money and buy the best gear you can afford. If you can’t afford the best gear, save a little longer. I personally don’t ever again want to cost myself an opportunity at an animal because my gear failed me or because I failed to purchase the right gear. With so many great gear choices on the market, a little research will take you a long ways. Happy hunting to all…Jody.