Foundational gear - starting a new hunter

elkyinzer

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Helping out a friend I took mentored hunting last fall for the first time. He loved it and is interested in his own gear. I supplied pretty much everything last year.

Let's say budget is $1,000

Obviously this is going to vary with locality and plans. He's in SE PA, is interested in deer (purely for meat hunting) and small game, for now.

Decent pair of lightly insulated hiking boots in $150-$200 range
Remington 870 w/ slug barrel - not sure, but I think used $400 is reasonableish?
Shells, targets, basic range supplies - $50
Summit climbing treestand + harness - $200
Cheap pair of 8x32 binos - $100

Clothes - minimal, required orange and some accessory pieces (some of which I am giving him). Like most normal adults in this part of the country he can piece together some basic cold weather gear (even if most of it is Eagles gear unfortunately)

He has a Buck 110 (groomsman gift from yours truly)
I gave him some game bags
He has coolers
Some other pack basics (rope, flashlight, first aid, knife, backpack), I mean come on, who doesn't have that stuff?

I believe we're on budget, potentially under if shopping used.

It's crazy how minimalist you can get and still go out and hunt successfully. You could easily drop treestand and binos and still kill deer. Maybe that would even improve his woodsman skills at first. But they are so foundational to success in our environment that I can't imagine not teaching him the ropes using them.

Obviously the knowledge carries the most weight, more than any gear a multi-millionare could buy, and for him, will be hard to come by not growing up a hunter. I'm willing to guide him a long for a few years and hopefully launch him off on his own.

I won't tell him yet how much I spend a year on gas, hotels, campgrounds, gear I don't "need", and keeping the wife happy. We'll let him figure that stuff out once he's a full on huntin' addict.

Any other suggestions, things I am missing, other comments?
 

JWP58

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Might even get away with a cheaper smooth bore shotgun. I was pretty surprised with the level of accuracy out of a smooth bore with rifle slugs at 100yds. You can pick up an 870 express for pretty dang cheap (like $250).
 

toadmeister

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If you want them to keep hunting, invest in good layers. I know Sitka is too $ to start with but find a good merino or poly base layer used or on clearance. That pretty much goes for the other layers too.

When I started hunting as a kid, I froze so bad it scared me away for almost 2 decades!

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mvmnts

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Not sure how other guys do it, but I've hunted eastern whitetails out of a treestand for 16 years and never once used binocs. Since you're on such a tight budget, that's $100 you could easily put elsewhere. Now that I have a sweet pair for elk hunting though, I intend to bring mine for deer this year. They might come in handy, but really, it's just more movement in the treestand, and that's probably not a good thing.
 

toadmeister

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Really you could wear your street clothes hunting with a firearm. Just add a blaze orange vest and dress for the weather.

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ezmorningrebel

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I'm not sure how the PA season works around which weapon is being used but if i'm talking to someone in VA who is serious about getting into hunting I always point out that if they spent their money on a muzzleloader instead of a rifle or shotgun they could triple the amount of time they get to hunt deer each year.
 

ChrisS

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I'm not sure how the PA season works around which weapon is being used but if i'm talking to someone in VA who is serious about getting into hunting I always point out that if they spent their money on a muzzleloader instead of a rifle or shotgun they could triple the amount of time they get to hunt deer each year.
Yeah, I have a friend of the family who only hunts with his muzzleloader during regular gun season and the late-muzzle season. He loves it. You only get one shot typically, but it teaches a young or new hunter to be patient for a good shot and not just letting loose with the artillery.

For an 870 though, this is a good deal: Remington Model 870 Express Synthetic Pump-Action Shotgun Package – 2-7x32mm Scope. That'll kill anything in the lower-48. The scope can be upgraded later, but as is it works just fine for eastern deer woods and the vent rib barrel works for pheasant, rabbit, geese, turkeys, ducks, whatever.
 

camelcluch

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I have an older jacket he is welcome too. Nothing fancy just an camo Woolrich I believe. Pay shipping and it's his.
 

toadmeister

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I have an older jacket he is welcome too. Nothing fancy just an camo Woolrich I believe. Pay shipping and it's his.
Awsome idea.

I'll second this by donating something used but good for cost of shipping only.

What size does your freind run? Boot size as well.

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boom

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i have a LARGE scentlock jacket he can have. some realtree camo.
 

boom

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that Buck 110. i hated them as a younger adult. they looked and felt so "cowboy old school". i blame my tacticool knife thing going at the time.

when my Stepdad passed, my mom boxed up a bunch of his old knives to go to goodwill. i found a few, and one was an old 110. i took it home, cleaned it up and put the scariest edge on that thing. what a stout knife!! opened up, it feels like a fixed blade. now when i hunt, i really agonize about which knife to bring..that 110 is ready to go.

i found a 112 with a broken blade..Buck put a new blade on for $10 and i put the same edge on it. aesthetically, i still think they look old school..but damn..i love those things.
 

Stwrt9

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you guys should take a trip to Cabelas together and walk around and go though all the equipment he might need and what he can do without. that way he can get his hands on and try on some stuff. i wouldn't necessarily buy from there cause you can always find it cheaper someplace else but it's nice to get your hands on things. It will also allow him to get familiar with different scenarios for different situations as you explain how what when and where you use particular items.

I'll also go though some of my boxes of clothes and equipment to see what i have that i don't "need" anymore. It's always good to get new hunters started!
 
OP
elkyinzer

elkyinzer

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Some responses to above, tuning in pretty infrequently these days.

First of all, absolutely appreciate the extremely kind generosity from those looking to donate stuff. A lot of truly awesome character on this site. He's not even aware of this thread, so I'll talk to him first. He's not strapped per se, his budget is hypothetical at this point and more just due to us being of young adult age and he has other interests, student loans, dating, travel, etc. My initial honest reaction is to say "give it away to someone harder off". Like I said, I have a lot of gear such that I can loan him most things, until he slowly accumulates his own. I knew going in as a mentor that this would be a 2-3 year proposition at a minimum to get him out on his own, not like I take him once then he goes and figures it all out from there. City boy to Daniel Boone is a long arduous journey my friends.

The 870 (or similar concept) is purely about versatility. Kind of an assumption at this point, that he can get more versatile out of that versus a cheap shotgun and a rifle. One gun he can hunt anything in PA with, and he definitely wants to hunt small game as well as deer and possibly bear. I took him out for small game also this winter, he got a rabbit and got a real kick out of that. Grouse made him look like an idiot. My lab put one up, easiest shot you could ask for, and he just froze. Didn't even get the gun up. He wants another crack at them, haha.

It's amazing, they make this warm weather gear with NFL logos because people like to sit out in the cold/rain/wind for hours on end watching football. And he killed a deer wearing that same gear sitting in 20 degree temps for hours on end, no camo in sight. Hmmm....

Binos, someone said unnecessary. I would kind of tend to agree, but here in PA we have antler point restrictions. Best of luck counting points on a little buck 75 yards away without binos...Also, as he's learning to be a woodsman in his own right, it's just something handy to have. I use mine a lot more scouting than I do actually hunting.
 

boom

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i hunted treestands in TX. an owner let me shoot some cull buck. he described EXACTLY what he considered a cull buck. i brought my binos, everyone else left them at camp. even tho the bucks are coming in close, it is damn important for me to put my binos up to my face to evaluate the animal. i was picking them out in the thickest stuff and looking for that missing browtine, etc.

i never did kill one, since only whoppers came to me..my friends never fired an arrow because they were never sure without binos.
 

LongWayAround

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Might even get away with a cheaper smooth bore shotgun. I was pretty surprised with the level of accuracy out of a smooth bore with rifle slugs at 100yds. You can pick up an 870 express for pretty dang cheap (like $250).

My 870 super mag that I grew up with shot slugs through it's smoothbore horribly. It was roughly Minute Of Deer... I think the rifled barrel is definitely worth having.

I would encourage him to get a good pair of pants made for outdoor activity. Most people have a decent jacket to wear, lots of them only have crappy pants.
 

mvmnts

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i hunted treestands in TX. an owner let me shoot some cull buck. he described EXACTLY what he considered a cull buck. i brought my binos, everyone else left them at camp. even tho the bucks are coming in close, it is damn important for me to put my binos up to my face to evaluate the animal. i was picking them out in the thickest stuff and looking for that missing browtine, etc.

i never did kill one, since only whoppers came to me..my friends never fired an arrow because they were never sure without binos.

That's a great point. I'm hunting public land in CT, so it's "see a deer shoot a deer" style. I might see one deer all week, so I'm not passing on much, I gotta have that meat in the freezer.
 

Murdy

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I rarely use a tree-stand when gun hunting (all the time for bow) and almost never bring binos whitetail hunting (I can see they'd be valuable in the situation described by Boom). I used to use my muzzleloader for most hunting even though I had an 870 with a slug barrel, just preferred the muzzy, so I think that 's a good idea. If you can, leave room in the budget for a decent scope (Minox ZV-3 can be had for $100 or so, I have one on a cheap 30-06, ok scope for the money). For whitetails, I'd pick up a cheap, used rangefinder before I spent money on binos, when I set up on a new stand, I like to range a few trees so I have a good idea of my max range (sometimes it ends even up being farther than I estimated) and it can serve as a monocular.

Also, I think Mossberg makes an aftermarket slug barrel for the 870 that can be had cheaper than a Rem, which might save some money if you can find a used 870.
 

rgroves79

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Good base layers, gloves, and boots. I started out hunting in Gettysburg when I was a kid back in the early 90's and those are 3 things I didnt have and suffered dearly for it. I wore everything I could get on and still walk to the stand and it wasn't enough during late doe season up there.
 
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