Must have equipment for Montana Mule deer hunt

freedom245

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Feb 21, 2022
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I am in the beginning stages of planning a NE Montana mule deer hunt and looking for suggestions on must have equipment on a budget. What equipment should I prioritize my money on. I am guessing optics will be a top priority but then what brand and power. Thank you !
 

bsnedeker

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May 17, 2018
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What are your goals? You don't need much for optics to hunt deer out there, but if you have a goal of shooting a mature deer you are going to want some good glass.
 
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freedom245

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Feb 21, 2022
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Backpack hunt? Truck camp? Budget? Bow, ML, Rifle?
Sorry I should have been a little more descriptive. Backpack, rifle hunt. I have a 270 I am hoping to get away with this year with an older leupold but that is pretty much all I am thinking I have in the way of equipment that is going to be useful on a trip like this. I am a stand sitter in Wisconsin so this is going to be a big change.
 

Flatgo

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your on a budget so i will cut through the crap. NE Montana is prairie so you won't need any high end backpacking equipment. i would suggest good binos and tripod, a spotting probably isn't worth it unless you go high end. Onx or similiar mapping software. Good boots, but probably have or can pick up and adequate pair for a decent price. If on a budget get a cheap day pack and pack frame encase you have to pack one out. clothing is where you can really save money, probably easily get outfitted at Costco for $100.
 

Flatgo

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Not sure the point of Backpacking in North East Montana, not many sections of land to make it beneficial.
 

Btaylor

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The general rule of thumb for putting together a mule deer/elk system is start with boots and pack. There are several great options for each and in both cases, the one that fits your body the best is probably going to be best for you. That said I did my first mule deer and elk hunts only with what I used for hunting deer at home. Got some experience and then set about buying the gear specifically for hunting in big mountains, starting with boots and pack, then sleep system. I'm not hunting normally in areas suitable for doing much glassing so good optics are not on my list but they would be high if I hunted more open country.
 
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freedom245

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Feb 21, 2022
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The general rule of thumb for putting together a mule deer/elk system is start with boots and pack. There are several great options for each and in both cases, the one that fits your body the best is probably going to be best for you. That said I did my first mule deer and elk hunts only with what I used for hunting deer at home. Got some experience and then set about buying the gear specifically for hunting in big mountains, starting with boots and pack, then sleep system. I'm not hunting normally in areas suitable for doing much glassing so good optics are not on my list but they would be high if I hunted more open country.
I was going to start with boots since I know I will be putting some miles on my feet. I heard a lot of good things about Kenetrek but was leaning toward the Crispi just because there is a local retailer where I can try a pair on therefore making sure they are the right fit.
 
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First and foremost...a good pair of boots that fit you well and are well broken in. Good quality, well fitting, broken in boots are a must. Plenty of deer have been taken out west with a .270 with an average scope. You are good there. Glass...sure high end glass is nice but a decent pair of binos with a tripod will get the job done. As mentioned, a lot of your whitetail hunting gear will work for you first trip.
Cover your essentials...shelter, food, clothing, and weapon then head out west and hunt. Your first trip will give you all the answers you need on what gear you may need or more importantly prefer. I'm a midwest whitetail hunter that has been bitten by the western hunting bug and my first couple trips taught me exactly where and how to spend my $$.
 
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freedom245

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Feb 21, 2022
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Swaro binos
T&K bino harness
RRS tripod
Gitzo fluid head
Kowa spotter
Kifaru Pack
Kenetrek boots
Darn Tough socks
First lite merino undies
Head to toe Kuiu everything else

That should get ya started
Thanks for the list! Exactly what I was looking for. Somethings I was looking at already and a few I didn’t think of. Thoughts on what Swarovski’s or Kowa spotting scope?
 

Scoot

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Thanks for the list! Exactly what I was looking for. Somethings I was looking at already and a few I didn’t think of. Thoughts on what Swarovski’s or Kowa spotting scope?
Neither is the least bit necessary, given where you're going.
 

Huntindog45

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you have what you need. an old 270 with an old leupold scope will work just fine. dont buy into all the hype. get stuff to stay warm and dry. optics.. ehhh. a spotting scope is generally worthless, i have a great scope and it sits in the truck 99.9% of the time. seriously. get decent binocs. 10x42 will be all you need. You dont need super high dollar glass. WE WAY OVERTHINK THIS CRAP.
 

Mt Al

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Dec 16, 2017
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Montana
you have what you need. an old 270 with an old leupold scope will work just fine. dont buy into all the hype. get stuff to stay warm and dry. optics.. ehhh. a spotting scope is generally worthless, i have a great scope and it sits in the truck 99.9% of the time. seriously. get decent binocs. 10x42 will be all you need. You dont need super high dollar glass. WE WAY OVERTHINK THIS CRAP.

Agreed, you're good to go with the rifle, get clothes so you're warm and dry and some binos. I used a .270 with a fixed 4x for 20+ years and still wonder why I went with a complex variable scope.

Last time I hunted in NE Montana I slept in the back of my truck, similar trips have slept in the back of a Subaru. Just make sure you can hit your targets at a good poke and stay within those limits. You don't need a spotter, tripod and - I know this is insane and I'm a Sitka fanboy - you don't need any name brand hunting clothes. Just go and have fun and per Huntindog45, don't overthink it like 99% of us do with very little to show for it other than a lighter wallet.

To make it more funner: if you have coyote calling gear, bring it! If you don't, consider a simple wounded rabbit mouth call. If you have a shotgun and like to hunt birds, bring a shotgun because you'll likely see sharpies, pheasants and huns on public land. You might happen upon a prairie dog town also, fun to blast a few. Check out all the block management and google earth is your friend for looking for cover.
 
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