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Brad Carter’s Base Hunting Gear List

By far the most asked question for us is what gear we are using. So we thought we’d put together some gear lists and let you know exactly what we’re carrying into the backcountry on our hunts. You’ve probably head the saying: “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” This is particularly true with hunting gear and preferences can be pretty broad. That being said, here is my gear list from this past fall for my earlier season hunts. As the temps drop, my kit changes a little bit but I will publish another post on that.

Brad’s Early Season Gear List:
Pack: 
Exo Mtn Gear k3 4800 Backpack

Camp:
Tent: Hilleberg Enan
Sleeping Bag: Big Agnes Fussel UL Quilt
Sleeping Pad: Big Agnes Q-Core SLX

Kitchen:
Jetboil Zip
Olicamp Titanium Spork
Mtn House and Peak Refuel Meals

Water:
Bladder/Storage: MSR 4L Dromlite Bag
Filter: Katadyn BeFree Gravity Filter
Bottle: Altitude Water Bottle
Backup/Alternative Filter: Sawyer Mini 

Knifes:
Benchmade Grizzly Ridge
Outdoor Edge Onyx

Lighting:
Headlamp: Black Diamond Storm Headlamp
Tent Light: MPowerd Lantern
Browning mini flashlight (backup)

Footwear:
Boots: Crispi Colorado GTX
Socks: Crispi San Juan Socks
Gaiters: Outdoor Research Crocodiles

Clothing:
Sitka Ascent Pant or Costco Travel Pant
Sitka Lightweight Down Hoody
Sitka Heavyweight Down Hoody
Sitka Lightweight Merino Bottoms
Sitka Kelvin Light Hoody
Stormfront Jacket and Pants (Shell)

Game Bags:
Boarmasters

Optics:
Swarovski NL Pure 12×42
Swarovski ATS 65mm
Phone Skope
Iphone 11
Tripod: Slik CF 522
Tripod Head: Promaster SPCH20 CineHead

Cameras:
Sony A6000
Iphone 11
Peak Design Capture Pro Clip 

Miscellaneous:
Glassing Chair: Helinox Chair Zero
Leatherman Multi-tool
Bic Lighter
First Aid Kit
Watch: Garmin Fenix 5
Communication: Garmin Inreach Mini

 

 

Digiscoping: The Best Way to Take Photos & Video through Your Optics

Whether you want to take footage of animals on your hunts, the winter range, or record videos of your long-range steel target shooting, It is easy to capture and share these moments with today’s digiscoping products. Let’s look at a couple of options, the pros and cons and compare custom fit adapters to Universal Adapters. With any of these products, you’ll be taking quality images through your spotting scope or binoculars!

Our Favorite: Phone Skope Kit with Phone Case and Optic Specific Adapter

Phone Skope Digiscoping Kit

Phone Skope is our favorite digiscoping product because it’s easy to use, affordable and very quick to deploy. While Phone skope does offer some universal adapters, I prefer the custom adapters that are made to fit my specific optics that I carry in the field. The phone skope system is composed of 2 parts – a case made for your smartphone, and an adapter that slides over the eyepiece of your optic. These pieces can be purchased separately, so if you purchase a new phone, or a new optic, you can just purchase the part you need. The case detaches from the adapter easily so you can leave your phone in the case all season.

Pros: Easy to use, Affordable, Fast Setup
Cons: Only fits one optic unless you purchase additional adapters (we still think it is worth it). 

Phone Skope on Angled Spotting Scope
Image taken from Above Image – around 150 yards

Universal Adapter:

If you run a variety of optics and don’t want to have separate pieces for all of them, there are also a number of universal adapters on the market. The most user friendly and popular among our staff members is the Tines up Phone Cam Adapter. This adapter works really well and can be fit to any phone case. Using their alignment tool, it’s very easy to attach the adhesive mount that is low profile and easy to use.

Another widely used universal adapter is the Phone Skope Universal Adapter. This adapter is available in 2 sizes to fit a large range of eyepiece diameters. 

Pros: Fits any Optic, you only need one piece of equipment for any optic.
Cons: Not as easy or quick to deploy as the Optic Specific Adapter, bulkier.

As always feel free to reach out if you have any questions about digiscoping or getting setup to take high quality photos and video through your optics!

Don’t Sit at Home This Hunting Season!

It can happen, but it shouldn’t. I’m talking about answering a question with:  “I didn’t draw anything.” Don’t let yourself come into a hunting season with no tags in your pocket. In this article we’ll look at ways to make sure you always have some opportunities to get out and hunt every year.

Get familiar With Your Home State:

The cheapest place to hunt is usually your home state. States also allocate the most tags to residents of their state, so your best and most economical options are going to be close to home. Be familiar with what happens in your state. Many states have over-the-counter opportunities where you can simply purchase a tag; some will only have a limited number of tags so be first to the counter or to the website to purchase them. Other states may not have much for OTC opportunities, so be familiar with the lottery systems of your state and don’t miss application deadlines.

There are many advantages to hunting close to home. Pre-season scouting is easier, travel is less expensive, and sometimes you can sleep in your own bed and still hunt. Know your home state, and those areas close to your home to make sure you have a chance to hunt it.

Mule Deer Buck

Buck taken on an OTC tag.

A Plan and a Budget:

Having an application strategy and plan in place will help you pull the trigger on certain tags when you know you probably won’t draw anything else. Your plan doesn’t have to be 5 years out, but that’s how I plan my hunts. I keep a simple spreadsheet that keeps my point totals, units I’m trying to draw, and how many points I expect it to take to draw that unit. It’s fairly easy to forecast draws in some states with preference point systems, so you can plan accordingly and fill in your gaps with something in your home state, or an OTC hunt somewhere else.

A budget is also important when planning hunts. You can figure how much you’ll pay in applications, OTC tags, and even those big trips that you have to save up for. Set aside some money and you’ll be surprised how soon you can afford some of those hunts you thought you’d never do!

Alaska black bear hunts are a great example of a hunt that doesn’t break the bank! Budget and go on out of state hunts!

OTC Hunting Opportunities:

There are tons of OTC opportunities out there for hunters – many of which have ample public land to play on. You can pick up OTC tags for most species, especially if you’re willing to travel. This can add some cost, but by planning your seasons in advance will help you reach your longer term hunting goals.

Sometimes OTC hunts can be a little crowded, and it can take a few years to really dial in specific areas that you like to hunt or find success. The great thing about a lot of OTC areas is you can scout them and if you don’t like what you see, you don’t have to pay for a tag. Other areas, like migration or rut hunts, it may just take a year or two of hunting to find out about certain areas. Or reach out to someone who has hunted it before or use a hunting consultation service to get an idea about a unit before you go there. Many of these services provide good overall information and will help you narrow down units that will meet your expectations.

Pay To Play:

There are a lot of opportunities out there where you can purchase tags, and access with a bit of cash. These hunts will vary from a few hundred dollars up to as much as you want to spend. Look at landowner tags in states that allow landowners to sell tags like Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, etc. Some states allocate tags to outfitters and you can purchase them directly from them. Other hunts, like some in Canada and Alaska are readily available, but you’ll need to pay for transportation, access or an outfitter to hunt them. All of these tags are typically readily available, but the logistics will need to be planned in advance.

Don’t sit at home next fall without a hunt to go on! Many of these hunts are great, and you can find some good quality, even on crowded and hard to hunt areas. Get familiar with the opportunities around you and you’ll be surprised at what’s available!

 

Nevada Sets Restrictions on Shed Hunting

Over the past few years, shed antler hunting/gathering seasons are becoming more common. arlier this year Colorado implemented a season and this week Nevada followed suit by passing a new season through the legislature that will make gathering shed antlers illegal from Jan 1. – April 30 in Elko, Eureka, Lander, Lincoln, Nye, and White Pine Counties. This impaces the central and eastern parts of the state and has gone into effect immediately.

Nevada’s New Shed Hunting Law:

Link to Bill:  https://www.leg.state.nv.us/Register/2017Register/R134-17A.pdf

Velvet Bull Elk

Application Reminder: Wyoming Elk

Hunt Application Reminder: Wyoming Elk

One of the first western states to accept applications is Wyoming. The application period for Wyoming Non-resident Elk opened Jan 1 and will close on Jan 31st. Wyoming’s elk tag allocations are high with many elk populations exceeding objective.

Remember the price increase this year on almost every Wyoming license/tag. For a full list of license fees, you can visit this link: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Apply-or-Buy/License-Fee-List

To apply for Wyoming Elk, go to: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/apply-or-buy

For more information on how to apply in Wyoming for elk, check out these youtube videos:

Mule Deer buck on Skyline

Utah Approves Additional Deer Season and More

At a recent wildlife board meeting on Nov. 30th, the Utah Wildlife Board approved a few changes to upcoming hunting seasons in Utah. Here are the approved changes:

  • Split Deer season into 2 seasons in nine units. The early season will be 5 days long and coincide with the general elk hunt and will run from October 10 – 14.
  • Utah will now allow elk hunters to hunt all 3 seasons (Archery, Muzzle-loader, Any-Weapon) on Utah’s spike-only and the “Any Bull” general season hunts.
  • They will also add a “cactus buck” management hunt on the Paunsaugunt unit in southern Utah. (Cactus bucks are unable to reproduce, stay in velvet for odd times of the year, and are often not targeted by hunters).

To see more information and more details and comments, visit: https://wildlife.utah.gov/wildlife-news/2136-new-chances-to-hunt-deer-and-elk.html

A little more information:

Split rifle seasons work to spread pressure and cause fewer hunter interactions. The key to making split season effective, is to keep license/tag allocations constant. This typically won’t improve harvest, but will spread the pressure out over time, so hunters in these units should be able to get away from the crowds a little bit better. It will be interesting to see the effect it has in these 9 initial units. The other thing about this hunt is that it will run during the same time period as the general elk hunt, and will allow hunters with both tags, to pursue both animals during their hunt. This could be very attractive to hunters of both species, and will likely alter draw odds for the later hunts on these same units.

Adding management hunts to trophy units is a great way to provide opportunity without impacting trophy quality, which is likely why they implemented this cactus buck hunt on the Paunsaugunt. This will allow bucks who don’t contribute re-productively to the herd to be removed and replaced by more viable deer. Adding hunts like this often provides more opportunity and spreads applications from other units to the management hunts.

Wyoming Fee Changes for 2018

Wyoming to Increase Fees for 2018

Wyoming has announced licence fee changes going into effect Jan 1, 2018. While fees are increasing across the board, the non-resident increases are significantly higher. Non-resident deer tags are increasing from $312 to $374 (regular draw) while residents are seeing a change from $38 to $42.

License fee increases are part of the game and Wyoming hasn’t seen an increase in quite a few years. Wyoming is also one of the most generous states as far as non-resident tag allocation is concerned, and it’s expected that these changes won’t affect drawing odds very much.

For a complete list of fee chances going into affect at the first of the year, view this link:
https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Apply-or-Buy/License-Fee-List/2018-License-Fee-Changes

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment, we’d love to hear it!