When hunting the backcountry, you need great gear and a plan. With only one day before the pack-in, I thought I’d post my gear list (main items) and my hunt plan:
(click the embedded links for more information)
Having two pair of boots for late season hunting is the gold standard. Snow and subfreezing (even subzero) temperatures are the norm. Two pair of boots in camp give you a better chance of having a dry pair every day. Pac boots allow you to remove the liner to dry each night. A good hiking boot gives you something to wear while your Pacs are drying, if the weather moderates, or if you have to backpack a heavy load.
Your clothing system is life & death if you really think about it. You can die in 50 degree weather with poor clothing but thrive in subzero with a good system. The choice is yours. I’ll be wearing First Lite’s gear in a layering system I’ve refined the last few years:
- Base Layers: Mountain Athlete Compression Socks, Red Desert Merino Boxers, Allegheny Merino Bottoms
- Mid Layers: Llano QZ Merino Top Mid-Weight, Chama Button Down Shirt (now available as Labrador Full Zip Sweater), and Kanab Pant
- Outer Layers: Uncompahgre Puffy (you can win this one!), Boundary Stormtight Jacket, and North Branch Pant
For years I’ve used military surplus extreme cold-weather tents, spending hundreds of nights in them. They’ve served me very well but like most products of previous generations, they are relatively heavy. I’ll be taking Seek Outside’s 8-man Ultralight Tipi Tent and XL Titanium Wood Stove on this hunt. The whole system comes in under 14 pounds. This saves enough weight and bulk that I can hunt a week plus with only one pack horse and a saddle horse in the worst kind of weather.
Cooper Firearms Excalibur in 7mm Remington Magnum topped with 4.5-14×40 Leupold V-III. See “Only Accurate Rifles…”
Berger Match Grade Classic Hunter, 168 grain 7mm. I’ve watched these bullets evolve over the years and finally gave them a try. I’ve shot about 50 rounds through two rifles now and can attest they shoot flatter and more accurately than previous bullets I’ve tried. All I need now is to put one in the ribcage of a big mule deer.
A mule deer hunter’s optics will likely determine success or failure. I’ll be using my Swarovski EL Range 8×42 binoculars and my tried & true Swarovski CTC 30×75 spotting scope. I’ve used the ATS 25-50×80 all fall and love it, but my CTS is lighter and shorter so it will be going on this hunt where space and weight are at a premium.
See how all this gear and more performs by following this hunt. As far as a hunt plan, I rarely if ever hunt anywhere I haven’t scouted or hunted before—one key to your success as a big deer hunter:
1) If you’re not already a Rok Blog subscriber, click on “Subscribe to blog” top right of page under Fitness/Other
2) If you haven’t already, “Like” First Lite’s FB page here
3) Post in the comments section below on any day of this hunt (use first and last name or Rokslide forum screen name) . Not a Rokslide member? click here
I’ll draw from those lists within about a week of the last post of this hunt (only Ryan Avery and me know how long this hunt goes, so don’t wait too long to enter.)
Thanks and see you at the trailhead tomorrow.