Must have equipment for Montana Mule deer hunt

S.Clancy

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Jan 28, 2015
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1,211
Location
Montana
I would bring a couple spare tires. There's places that are a long ways from anywhere, and it's nice to have 2 spares. I've been puckered up hearing a second tire leaking and no second spare
 

WI in the west

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Apr 4, 2019
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481
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WI
If your used to hunting wisconsin weather you probably have most of what you need. You just got to know how to be smart woth that stuff. As in dont hike around fully dressed in bins and stuff and then get all sweaty and freeze. Id think boots and back pack. Assuming you have some form
Of binoculars that are ok at least. But other then that you got what you need to go and be capapble of the hunt. It might not be as light and efficent a set up as guys that live out there but you got what you need to start and get your feet wet and start building your “western gear” from your experiences.
Id priority boots then backpack and try to get nice ones of those. Youll have the back pack for A long time. And a good pair of boots will last a while to depending on use. I have my crispis for 4 years now and wear them most of the time in the woods. There sjowimg there wear but they were a solid investment that got me by from 2018 until cirrent still. Depending on binos and budget id get a tripod. But if you have $50 binos maybe upgrade to something like a bortex diamond back or something in the $200-$250 range if money is tight and upgrade those down the line
 
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ArcherAdam

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Jun 18, 2019
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251
I never hunted there however if I was in your shoes some things to definitely consider: tire chains, a good puffy jacket/pants, a good wind barrier (could be your rain gear), chapstick since the wind sometimes never stops, and sunglasses. A spotter is definitely questionable imo. Sometimes you may find game that could take someone almost a day to get to. If in the plains, a spotter could be more beneficial than in the mountains. A good bipod could also be of value.

Sent from my SM-G996U using Tapatalk
 

StOutdoors

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Jan 12, 2020
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221
Location
SE USA
To echo what these other guys have said, I think good boots and pack would be my focus if I’m in your shoes, as far as buying gear. 100% agree you don’t need to overthink it from there. As far as boots, I picked up some Crispi’s about a month ago and I’ve been breaking them in every chance I get. Love them and would recommend giving them a hard look.

Instead of researching what gear to buy, potentially beyond what’s been mentioned here, get to know the terrain with Google Earth and OnX. I think OnX is a must once boots are on the ground, and there are typically coupons floating around for ~20% on RS, which isn’t bad.

My only other thought is getting time at the farm/range to shoot your rifle. I’m personally not a fan of trying to kill an animal past 550 meters, but that’s just me. I actually prefer inside ~400m..you have the caliber to kill a muley, but all I’m saying is just know what distance you’re comfortable with…know thy weapon

And staying active/working out is probably not a bad idea 😎
 

southLA

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Jan 10, 2021
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161
According to the longitude, latitude, barometric pressure, prevailing winds, political climate, and average flatbill:cowboy hat ratio in the area, the 6.5 Creedmoor is the perfect deer cartridge for Montana.
 

WCB

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Joined
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
2,173
Tire plug kit and a compressor. Never had a use for chains in Easter MT and hunt there almost every year towards the end of season. Having good tires and using your head prevents need for chains.

Rifle, boots, license, and poop paper
 

Oregonboy

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Sep 19, 2019
Messages
464
Bring a positive mental attitude and a short term memory when it comes to failure. It's easy to let the mountain beat you down. Remember how much you've been looking forward to this hunt and make sure to really enjoy your time out there.
 

Silveroddo

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Joined
Apr 13, 2019
Messages
258
Binos, range finder, onX. Know what you can actually shoot effectively and how to get into a stable position.
Have you applied in previous years? ( I.e. do you have any preference points?)
 

mistermystery

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Aug 26, 2021
Messages
12
If you’re going to be hunting more open country I highly recommend a tripod. Even with average optics a tripod makes a world of difference.
 

BugleMeTimber

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Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
135
Location
Montana
GPS with landowner maps. Lots of private land and your hunt will be over before you know it if you don't know what land you're hunting.
 

Jack321

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Apr 15, 2020
Messages
78
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 !

I did my first trip out west to do a pack hunt out of wall tents in Montanas back country. I'm an IL deer hunter who sits in a stand, so I know exactly what your thinking.

Me, my dad, my cousin and brother all went with 10x42s and my buddy went with 10x50s.

We had two 10x42 Swaro NL Pures (me and my bro), a Vortex Razor 10x42 HDs (my dad) a Vortex Razor 10x42 UHD (cousin) and a Vortex Razor HD 10x50 (buddy).

But believe me, you can get away with "less" premium optics, however AAoptics.com has refurbished Vortex's for 40% off with full warranty. I bought my "backup" Razor HDs for my dad during their Memorial Day sale for $625.

I'll admit, I 'drank the kool-aide' and went ALL out: All new First Lite camo, Swaro NL Pures, Slik Tripod, Suiru VA-5 ball head, Outdoorsman pack, Crispi boots, Swaro Spotter--that I didn't take--got a new scope on my rifle & had to sight the damn thing in in the worst ammo binge in the last 100 years! I researched sleeping pads like Xotherm and 0° sleeping bags. I spent HOURS on RokSlide and months looking at reviews and info, prices, etc.

And I spent a boat load.

I had 2 yrs to prepare. I spent months on RokSlide and kept up on all the sales that I could.

I kept tabs on the "Cheap Stuff That Works" RokSlide thread that has over 50 pages of AWESOME gear that is inexpensive and works.

I religiously watched websites with used/refurbished optics like Adroma, B&H Photo, Camera Land, AAoptics, CamoFire, EuroOptic, Sportsmans Optics, Gunbroker, Craigslist, Facebook Market Place, and box stores like Bass Pro, Cabelas and all others and waited for deals and things in my price range. Having 2 years, I could patiently wait, save and pounce on deals when they came up. My Swaro stuff I burned thru a ton of bday and Xmas gift cards and points and waited for the 12 no payments/interest around the Holiday season.

Some things that I found that were REALLY helpful/inexpensive:

•"Cheap Stuff That Works" RokSlide Forum--Holy crap is there some awesome stuff on that forum (50+ pages of stuff) that's WAY cheaper than brand name stuff ex. Staoptics $14 Bino adapter instead of the $100 Outdoorsman, Eddie Bauer Guide Pro waterproof stretch pants, Portable Solar Charger for $35, Headlamps for $10, or a $35 DWR water resistant Puffy Jacket from 32degrees.com, Costco 150 qt cooler for $35, $25 Alps Bino Harness, Military Surplus GI puffy pants for $5-15 that u can put over ur regular pants and then if it rains put rain gear over the puffy pants, etc. That thread is AWESOME!

•CamoFire.com daily ads--subscribe! I don't get $$ for recommending them it but their Black Ovis sales are great. But almost every month they have camping gear, camo, sleeping systems, etc for decent prices.)

•Craigslist--you may have to wait for deals but they're out there

I spent $$ on all that stuff because I want to make it out west every year and I'm a "buy once, cry once" type of guy. Hunting is my life and outside of work and Family, hunting and shooting is about all I do. I'm a hunting geek and have turned into a gear snob.

The only down side is, I spent all that $$ all that time, $4500 for a guided pack hunt, $10k in gear, $1000 for a MT elk tag, gas and hotels out/back and I didn't even SEE an elk.....

I was pretty bummed.

But it's also not my last time out west. So now that I have all the premo stuff, I really don't have anything to "buy" in the future and now can concentrate on tags & locations the rest of the way. (And my wife's bathroom remodeling she wants to do!)

With all that being said....I was an idiot. I could have had just as much fun with less "gear" and done it WAY cheaper!

You don't need premium gear. And even if you do have premium gear, you could end up like me and not even see an elk!

My dad went the "inexpensive" way. Black Ovis baselayers, Eddie Bauer Guid Pro pants, Cabelas Hoodie and his deer jacket. I loaned him my Vortex Razor binos on a $14 Adapter and a $75 Tripod all bought on AAoptics and Amazon. The only real thing he spent money on was his Kentrek Boots (Crispi's fit my feet better). And he got some rain gear from CamoFire.com and some Pythal Camo that was DWR water resistant on CamoFire. He used his deer/waterfowl headlamp, deer gutting knives, deer backpack, deer rangefinder and regular Costco wool socks. And he spent WAAAAYY less $$ than me. My dad even went out and bought a $320 Savage Axis II in .308 from Walmart on sale and put a $250 Vortex FFP scope on it and loaded it Federal Terminal Ascent 175 gr ammo that was shooting nickle sized groups at 100 yds!

After all of that, I do have to admit I was quite "comfortable" while I was watching the grass grow and the leaves fall off the trees NOT seeing elk! (But so was my dad!) 🤣🤣
 
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Trap

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Dec 18, 2021
Messages
207
I never hunted there however if I was in your shoes some things to definitely consider: tire chains, a good puffy jacket/pants, a good wind barrier (could be your rain gear), chapstick since the wind sometimes never stops, and sunglasses. A spotter is definitely questionable imo. Sometimes you may find game that could take someone almost a day to get to. If in the plains, a spotter could be more beneficial than in the mountains. A good bipod could also be of value.

Sent from my SM-G996U using Tapatalk
Pretty good advice overall but Chapstick and sunglasses?😂 that’s the one thing I never said “man I wish I had my chapstick and sunglasses!” While hunting ne Montana and I lived up there for a few years and have hunted it since the 80’s. I agree with everything else you recommended 👍 That just struck me as funny
 

Trap

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Joined
Dec 18, 2021
Messages
207
According to the longitude, latitude, barometric pressure, prevailing winds, political climate, and average flatbill:cowboy hat ratio in the area, the 6.5 Creedmoor is the perfect deer cartridge for Montana.
There’s not enough flatbills to make that true creedmoor country but there’s enough he can make it work
 

Trap

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Joined
Dec 18, 2021
Messages
207
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?
Short list of essentials for ne Montana
The 270 you have
Truck
Beer
Toilet paper (or if you want to splurge baby wipes
Deer tag
Knife
 
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