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September 26, 2007

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The Gear Game

Here is a nice game we can all play, and the worst thing that will happen is that we will spend money. The rules are: Describe an unlikely, but highly useful, piece of hunting gear. Not guns, or boots, or any of the obvious stuff. Second, give the price. Third, give the web site (or email address) of whoever sells it.

These three should get you started.

1. Wiggy's Cagoule
Wiggy makes the best sleeping bags I've ever used, and lots of other useful stuff besides. The cagoule is sort of a raincoat on steroids. It will fit over everything you're wearing, plus your backpack, and comes down to your knees. It's truly wind- and waterproof, and folds up into a package about the size of a large cow turd. The hood is big enough to fit even if you have two heads. $140, wiggys.com.

2. Knives of Alaska Wood Saw
Lets you build a blind or cut a shooting lane quietly, which is much better than whackin' and hackin'. Very light, very strong (no joint) angled handle, 8-inch blade, and cuts like a son of a bitch. $50; knivesofalaska.com.

3. Duluth Monarch Pack
If you had a strong back and were very, very lucky, you could fit Scarlett Johanson in the Monarch. It's made of heavy canvas and leather, and uses shoulder straps, a hip belt, and a tumpline, which you hardly see any more. And if you want a bigger belt or straps than standard, Duluth will put them on there. 6,970 cubic inches, and indestructible. $310; duluthpack.com.

Your turn.


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Bubba ^5 man!
I am with you, let the rich kids spend all their money on that stuff. Looks great on the booth babes anyway! I have a step-daughter going to college next year so frugal is the word of the day for me. Between gifts and some splurging when I was able I have aquired the Bean Boots, headlamp, a decent rain suit and my modest weapons collection. Now as we save for two more college educations I have enough allowance for the aforementioned Snickers bars and a couple boxes of ammo a year along with my license.

Rocky Mtn Hunter

A neat little gadget for hillside hunting. A SLING SHOT and steel ball bearings about 3/8-1/2" diam. Stay about 20 yds below top of ridge or what-ever cliff you may be on and shoot a steel ball with a home-made sling shot down the hillside about 50 to 100 yds. If game (Mulies) there bedded, he will come up and run up hill. If w-tails will head south. But for a few bucks, you can make a good home-made sling shot that works like a dream to scare bedded game up for a shot. Worked for me in Colorado in l993. Cut a Y from a limb, go to tire shop get a used inner tube and a tongue from your old shoe and some string and make the sling shot small enough to fit in your pocket, add a dozen or so balls and you all set. With enough pratice, a good hare weapon or grouse.

Rocky Mtn Hunter

One other handy device. Fear of loosing your ram rod on a B/P rifle. Use a heavy rubber band just behind the front sight around both the bbl and rod and it will not slide out and be lost. Plus it;'s easy to remove for re-loading. Lost rods have happened many times, kinda tough to be 5 miles from camp and no way to load a B/P firearm.A limb wan;t work. 2nd trick, even you don;t need a cane to walk with as I do, carry one( one with flat top) anyway as a staff, makes a great shooting rest.A cane comes in handy for those long climbs up mountain side, can also prevent slipping back down.

Richard Smith

Keep warm with one of these (at
least in camp):


(I have no connection to the company, I just like the idea!)

Joe Nordin

It is a bit more pricey than your standard "rope" harnesses, but if you fall it will not have the effect of a noose or Mrs. Bobbitt... if you know what I mean. There is a camo only one for bowhunters and a reversible one for 10 bucks more, which is most definitely worth it. Sizes small to extra large, $119.99. Sizes 2xl to 3xl, 129.99; www.cabelas.com

Dr. Ralph

Heck bubba, I'm a tightwad too... Grandpa's Gold Pocket watch... free Dad's 1962 Remington 700 30-06...free Buck Zipper... $50.00 Silva Compass... $30.00. $400.00 Zeiss scope, $150.00 Timberland Gore-Tex boots, army surplus camo... and when I go West I drive and take one of my friends who has been twenty years straight as a guide.

Dr. Ralph

Oh I almost forgot, my Mag Lite was a present from the TWRA for getting a perfect score on the Hunter Safety Course and my latex gloves are free, or at the very least a tax write-off.


Dr. Ralph

Wish I had my grandad's railroad approved Hamilton 992B! He lost it deer hunting after he retired!
Almost bought a Zeiss one time, right after we sold our house. The 3X9 Leep-a-long I'm shooting now was $98 NIB! Heck, at that time, Parker/Hale bolt .270 was only about three hundred + tax!
Skinning knife - cost of 1 Nicholson file and a bottle of BC Tru-oil.
Gutting cradle - about forteen bucks worth of scrap wood after building home.
Lopping shears - Ace Hardware ($19.95 I think)
Adjustable sling for rifle - $5 farmers bundle from TSC and $1.95 brass buckle.
Ammo carrier on butt of rifle - Two 50 cent Chicago screws and a piece of a pal's scrap leather
Block and tackle for lifting deer - fence stretcher found in garbage and fifty feet of 3/8 grass rope @ 12 cents a foot (even the lock still works!)
Hand axe for 4-wheeler - gift from a pal that comes up and hunts each fall
Case 61051 LSSP folding pocket knife - found in garbage
Guess the most expensive thing I use while hunting is my Honda 4-wheeler.



I'm going to suggest a good "turkey" vest. Obviously good for carrying huge numbers of turkey calls. However, I can also carry everything I need for a day in the woods bowhunting for deer. I've got a tactical looking thing from Cabelas that has several pockets just the right size for a couple of grunts, rattle bag, binoculars, rangefinder, jerky and granola bars, a headlamp, first-aid, any tools or extra broadheads, and rope. It also has a padded to make leaning against trees more comfortable. The fold down seat's nice for hunting from a makeshift blind and can be removed when sitting in my climber-stand. Most importantly, it even distributes the weight so my shoulders don't get tired. The only downside I can see is that it might be hard to belly crawl with it on.

Trae B.

the thing about the best gear is you use them to make something easier.but you need to learn to improvise ducttape,and a wire clothes hanger if you can't think of at least ten things to do with each you aint been outside long enough.clothes hangers can be used to lash together tent poles, hang a pot over a fire,fend off a grizzly bear.one time I even saw someone hang their clothes on them.for duct tape go find the book "one thousand uses of duct tape and wd40" its a real book no kidding.by the way a leatherman is one of the best knives ive ever had,for a fixed blade knife I like my old gerber had it ten years still looks new.

silence dogood

for anyone wondering pipe or ciggerete smoke aint never scared a deer away from me but its best not to smoke when hunting I burned my nose one time aiming at a deer the rifle pushed my ciggerette up I lost that deer because I hollared.

Trae B.

oh yea i forgot you have to have a lucky hunting hat or underwear or something.and rubber bands are very usefull

Scott in Ohio

Ditto the poultry shears, electrical tape and gatoraid bottle.
QUESTION 1: Read a few places about a gutting cradle. - What the heck is that??? Anyone have plans on how to build one?? Do you really need one for whitetails?
QUESTION 2: In another F&S blog with a hunting knife test, the author was adamant about "NO gut hooks" on your huntng knife. Here I was about to go out and buy one because of how handy my buddy's was at camp last fall skinning around the legs. What are your thoughts?
QUESTION 3: Dave P. - in an earlier blog comment or F&S article, you mentioned that hunters should NOT sling their rifles if they want to shoot more game. Why???

Thanks all!

Walt Smith

tube of crazy glue and a roll of electric tape in case you happen to cut yourself miles from nowhere.Also a good multi-tool,Fixed BLADE knife,20'good nylon rope and a couple pair of laytex gloves.


Scott in Ohio

1. A gutting cradle looks kinda like a saw horse. Extend the legs beyond the top of the saw horse and use 1X4's (2 per side, it ain't gotta be deep) from end to end. Roll deer into it belly up. You can gut them standing up instead of wallowing around on the ground or trying to work around everything while they're hanging from a tree! Probably wouldn't cost $25 in material!

2. Gut hook just gets in the way.
Creates a weak point in the blade and...How you gonna sharpen it? You want one, go for it! It's your money and your tool! I'll just use my ol' Case and two fingers!

3. I dunno! I never sling my rifles even though they all have slings! It's uncomfortable on my shoulder and I always feel like I'm about to drop my gun!


Mike Diehl

All my rifles have slings. I only use them when I need two hands for climbing or for packing/dragging out my deer.


Every time I go out on a hunt, I carry a waterproof container packed with matches, a bar of flint & steel and of course my buck knife. Thats just a small part of my pack but you always have a back-up when something goes wrong.


Dr. Ralph

I have slings on all my rifles so I can wrap it around my elbow when shooting. It really improves my aim, but I never carry a weapon on my shoulder.



I've tried several times to do the sling thing when I shoot, even had guys with military background show me how, one was even a USMC Ret DI. I am so lucky, only sand bags keep me from shaking!! (a lot!!!)


Scott in Ohio

Bubba, Mike and Dr. Ralph:

Thanks for your input.

Gary Burchner

Good Afternoon, Sir,
I have a somewhat unrelated question: Is the 7.62 x 51 (7.62 NATO) round IDENTICAL to the .308 Winchester round? I always thought it was IDENTICAL. However, I recently purchased an ENFIELD A-2 from AIM Inc. and they specifically stated to use ONLY 7.62 NATO ammo.

Perhaps this was simply because so many ENFIELDS are .303 CALIBER. I'm not sure now and would like an 'experts' opinion.

Thank you.
Gary Burchner
Fallentimber, PA 16639-6716

Scott in Ohio

favorite gear:

1. Kershaw Task Master shears for cleaning game birds.

2. Woolrich red plaid lined wool pants. These are the best!

Neal from Alabama

If you need a sling that really grips your shoulder, try the Quake Claw.


I used a binocular cover last season called the Bino-Shield from Crooked Horn Outfitters. I won't go afield without one again.
1. It covers and protects the entire bino, including both front and rear lenses. Don't need lens caps at all.
2. It hold the binos tight against your chest...even when crawling.
3. You don't need the expensive bino-harness, a regular neck strap works better.
Because I overheat in the morning climbing up my steep Idaho Mule Deer/elk mountains, I climb without my heavy coat on. With a bino-harness you have to put your arms though two loops, then the back piece over you head and down your back. It's a pain and the straps always twist. Then, when I get to my sitting spot, I have to take all that off, put my coat on, then re-do the bino-harness all over again. With just a regular neck strap, I leave it on, put on my coat, lift the neck strap over the collar and zip the coat..done! Easy! Watch the video. It is that easy.

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