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New to Hunting

By Russ Van Orman

Welcome to Hunting!


This is our new-to-hunting section. The staff at Deep Countree has had many requests to start a page for people who are novices to the sport of hunting.


One question that people have asked us is: “How do we get started?” This article will answer your basic, “How do I get started” questions.


First, hunting in most cases is not a sport of instant gratification. What do I mean by this? Hunting big A first deergame (elk, deer, moose etc...) doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you will be successful in harvesting an animal every year. Every seasoned hunter has experienced a season or more where game was not harvested.


However, if you go hunting with the attitude that "I am here to enjoy the outdoors, see some beautiful country, enjoy the camaraderie of my hunting buddies and possibly harvest an animal," then this is the sport for you. 


If you want a higher chance of success, then in most cases hunting smaller game (rabbits, pheasants, squirrels, etc...) would offer you more opportunities to harvest game.


There are several methods to harvest your game:


·       Traditional Bow hunting

·       Compound Bow hunting

·       Cross Bow hunting

·       Traditional Muzzle Loader hunting

·       In-Line Muzzle Loader hunting

·       Rifle hunting

·       Shotgun hunting


There are many types of hunting:


·       Big Game (deer, elk, bear, hogs, water buffalo, etc…)

·       Small Game (rabbits, pheasants, squirrels, grouse, etc…)

·       Waterfowl (ducks and geese, etc… )

·       Varmint (coyotes, prairie dogs, ground hogs etc…)


**Please note that each state has laws and regulations governing methods of hunting, types of hunting, when and where hunting is allowed.


This is just a partial list but covers the major types and methods of hunting. 


In this issue we will assume that you have decided to rifle hunt for large game. Many of the items discussed below will apply to the other types and methods of hunting and harvesting game; in future issues we will discuss these.


So you have decided to start your new sport of hunting. Let’s start with some basics!


      1. Every hunter should take a hunter safety class.


Most state conservation departments and gun clubs offer hunter safety classes which are either free or charge a nominal fee.  Some states, such as Colorado, require you to take hunter safety course regardless of age before you can purchase a hunting license.


During your hunter safety class, you’ll cover gun handling, first aid, etc… The primary focus will be handling and using your firearm safely in the field.


Please check each state's conservation or fish and wildlife departments website for hunter safety classes, wildlife regulations, and hunting license costs.  


2. Basic gear to start hunting and cost:


·       Rifles come in many different calibers.


I would recommend a 30-06. It is a good all around caliber that can be used for deer, elk, hogs, and black bear. Ammunition is readily available and comes in variety of bullet weights depending on your type of hunting. We will discuss this in future issues.

Kimber and Savage riflesThe cost of a rifle can range from $300 to over $2,000 or more for a custom made hunting rifle.  For starting out, I would recommend spending around $300 to $700 for a rifle, depending on your budget.


Here is a partial list of rifle makes:









·       Optics allow you to see and identify the game you are hunting and provide a method to make accurate and ethical shot placement on your game.

Two types of optics should be considered, binoculars and a scope for your rifle.


Depending on where you are hunting, binoculars are must. If you’re hunting out West for elk, antelope and deer, the most successful hunting method is spotting your game then sneaking (stalking) close enough to make an ethical shot.


I have hunted deer for years without binoculars in the East and Midwest because the majority of hunting is done from above ground stands that are located near a food source or on a trail.


Binoculars can be a great asset Nikon and Stiener Binocularswhen hunting deer back East especially when trying to identifying a buck in the middle of a three hundred acre field.


The cost of binoculars ranges from $100 to over $3000. Like most things in life, you get what you pay for.   Therefore, spending $300 to $700 would provide you with a decent pair of binoculars.

Some common binocular makes are:


           A Scope, in my opinion, is a requirement when 

when hunting big game.

In many places, such as upstate New York, you are not allowed to hunt deer with a rifle. Hunting with a shotgun is the norm. With a scope on your shotgun, it is possible to harvest deer out to 150 yards.


Scopes come in different powers. There are fixed power scopes and variable power scopes. With a fixed power scope, you cannot adjust the magnification (power). A variable power scope allows you to adjust the magnification as needed depending on the terrain and cover. The most common type of scope is a variable 3 X 9, which is a good all around choice. For thick cover, a low power fixed or low power variable, 1.5 X 4, scope is recommended.


The scope you purchase should be shock proof, waterproof and fog proof.


The cost for a rifle scope can range from $100 to over $2000.  A good rule of thumb to follow is if you spend $300 for your rifle you should at a minimum spend $300 for the scope. 


With that being said, Leupold has come out with a new line of scopes. You can purchase a Redfield scope for around $200 which is shock proof, waterproof, fog proof and comes with a lifetime guarantee.  That is really hard to beat.


Here is a partial list of Scope makes:



Cabela’s online catalog has great comparison charts for both binoculars and scopes. I find this very useful.


·       Clothing is very important.  If you’re wet, cold, or over-heated you will not have fun. The majority of hunting is done in fall when the temperature and weather can vary depending on where and when you are hunting.


Let’s start from the feet up because if your feet are cold or blistered you will not enjoy yourself.


A good pair of boots should fit snuggly, but not tight. When standing or walking downhill your toes should not hit or touch the end of the boot. Your heel should not move up or down while walking in the boot. Try the boots on with a medium to heavy weight wool sock with liner sock to determine the best fit.


Any boot (leather/nylon) you purchase should be waterproof and breathable.  The amount of insulation (Thinsulate) in the boot will be dependant on where and when you will be hunting. The larger the number of Thinsulate in grams the warmer the boot will be (200 grams Hunting Bootscompared to 1000 grams).  In most cases 400 to 800 grams of Thinsulate should offer your feet plenty of protection. However, if you will be hunting from a stand in very cold temperatures, then opt for boots with 1000 grams or more of Thinsulate. Boots with scent control cost about $10 more and are well worth the price.


If you will be hunting in swampy areas or are concerned with scent control, a rubber or rubber and neoprene boot will work well in this environment. I don’t recommend these boots if you’re going to walking long distances.


Socks should be medium to heavy weight wool hunting socks with sock liners that wick the sweat away from your feet.  Sock liners prevent blisters, too.


Costs for a pair boots can range from $80 to $300. Cabela’s has some great choices and with a sale you can purchase a great pair of boots for less than $100.


Costs for socks with liners will be approximately $15 to $20 a pair. A good rule of thumb is to have one pair for each day you are hunting.


Here is a partial list of boot makes:


Muck (rubber/neoprene)


      Red Wing
      Cabela's brand

Outer clothing should be quiet, waterproof and breathable.


Hunting coats can come in two different styles, jacket or parka.  Both come in insulated or un-insulated styles. I prefer an un-insulated parka, because I can layer underneath it.  I recommend purchasing your jacket or parka one size larger than you normally wear to provide for layering. Your coat should have plenty of pockets to store gear and snacks.


Cabela’s and Browning both offer three-in-one and Gortex Fleece Hunting clotheseven seven-in-one parkas in which the liners can be removed for warmer days and worn in colder days.  


Hunting pants come in several different styles that are either insulated or un-insulated. Here again, I would recommend purchasing an un-insulated pant a size or two larger than you normally wear to allow for layering underneath.


Costs for a hunting coat range from $100 to $300. However, a good coat can be purchased for around $150. Hunting pants will range from $80 to $200. A great pair of pants can be purchased for around $120.


A partial list of hunting coats and pant makes include:



Under Armour




            Gloves and mittens should be quiet,waterproof,
            and breathable.  I would recommend one pair  
            of gloves for everyday hunting and one
            additional pair of mittens for when the weather
            becomes colder.


                            Costs for gloves and mittens will range
           from $25 to $50 a pair. A good pair of gloves or
           mittens can be purchased for around $35 each.

           Hats are a preference. I prefer a fleece hat with
           Scent-lock so I can cover my ears when it
           becomes cold.

  Costs for a hat will range from $10 to $50.   My hat cost around $20.  


An orange vest to go over your hunting coat is a must. This is a safety precaution.  Most states Oranage Fleece vest with Fleece hat & Glovesrequire you to wear a vest with so many square inches of safety orange. Even if it is not required by your state, purchase one and wear it. It is cheap insurance against an accidental shooting. The vest should be made out of a quiet material.


      Costs for a fleece safety vest are around $30 to $50.


I like to wear a windproof fleece sweater under my parka that I can zip up or down depending on the weather. If it gets really cold, I put a fleece vest over this. Under this layer, I wear an insulated undershirt that is breathable and wicks sweat away. Under my pants, I wear insulated long-johns that breath and wick the sweat away from my body, too. My final layer consists of antibacterial underwear that will wick the sweat away from my body.


Costs for windproof fleece sweater $70 to $100.


Costs for fleece vest $30 to $50.


Cost of insulated undershirts/long-johns will run $50 to $100.


Cost of antibacterial underwear will be $10 to $20 per piece.


   A hunting knife is a very important piece of equipment. You will use this primarily for field-Hunting Knives with Knive Sharpenerdressing your game. I would recommend a knife with a non-slip handle which is 3 to 3 ½ inches in length.


Costs can range from $30 to $300 depending on the maker and steel quality. A great starter knife can be purchased for around $50.


A partial list of hunting knife makes includes:



   A fanny pack or backpack can be useful depending on where you are hunting. If you are hunting from a tree stand and are close to camp, then this is a nice to have. However, if you are hiking back into the woods or wilderness for a long period of time, then this is a must have.  One thing to keep in mind is the larger the pack, the more stuff (gear) they seem to accumulate. When you purchase a backpack, choose one that will accommodate the type of hunting you will be doing.  If you purchase one, be sure it is waterproof and the outer shell is made out of fleece (quiet material).


Costs of a Fanny back or Backpack will range from $30 to $300. I would recommend starting with a Fanny pack for around $75.


A partial list of makes:


Cabela's Brand


    A GPS is a necessity depending on where you will be hunting. If you’re hunting out West or any area that is considered wilderness, a GPS is a valued piece of equipment. If you’re hunting in sight of a farm house or road it isn’t a requirement, but is nice to have.  A GPS will not only guide you back to your car or camp, you can also mark where your tree stand is and mark where you left your harvested game.


GPS costs can range from $100 to $400. A basic GPS can be purchased for around $150.


A partial list of GPS makes:





. Miscellaneous gear (not required)


      Two way Radios

      Collapsible saw


 *Minimum Total Gear costs to get started:


$300 Rifle and Scope (Remington is offering a rifle with a scope through Cabela’s at this great price)


$100 Boots with 400 grams of thinsulate, waterproof, breathable.


  $75 Wool Socks and liners (5 pairs)


$150 Parka waterproof, breathable, fleece


$100 Pants waterproof, breathable, fleece


  $75 Fleece windproof sweater


  $25 Fleece vest


$100 Insulated underwear that wicks sweat away; includes top and bottom.


 $75 Antibacterial underwear that wicks sweat away from the body (5 sets)


$75 Fleece waterproof breathable mittens and hat.


 $50 Hunting knife


*Total cost: $1050 of gear


*The total cost here is an estimate. The cost is based on mid–range gear. The cost would be less expensive if based solely on lower-end gear. Please remember how you treat the gear will determine how long it will last. The majority of my gear is 10 to 15 years old.  Every year I update a portion of my gear or clothing as needed. So remember, the initial outlay may seem expensive; however, you will have this gear for a long time.  


In the next issue of Deep Countree, the New-to-Hunting page will cover how to choose a place to A successful hunthunt and how to lower your initial start-up costs for your new sport of hunting.


Please remember to contact us for any hunting or shooting related questions via the Contact US page.

***Please read Preparing for Your Hunt for more great information in this issue of Deep Countree***