Heading Out West
It is hard to believe we are half way through August already and the cooler nights are getting me excited for another fall! Although most people are waiting for the Oct 1 bow opener in Michigan, there is a sizeable group of people waiting on the September bow opener (my self included) out west in states like Wyoming, Colorado, and Montana.
With only a half a month to wait now it is the time to be thinking about the products you may want to purchase for your trip. Western hunts are much different than our tree stand hunts we do here in Michigan, and though most of our equipment will work well in both places, there are some products you may want to think about to make your trip easier and more successful. Below are some of the products we can help you with.
1) Optics: A good set of binoculars and a spotting scope can save you hours and hours of walking and help you fill your tags. When heading West I prefer a set of 10x42 binoculars for my glassing and use a 20x-60x spotting scope to size up the trophy caliber animals. One thing to be noted with is the quality of the glass in either binoculars or spotting scopes is the less quality the glass is the more eye fatigue will set in. My personal favorites for the money are a set of Styrka S7 binoculars and spotting scope, but we do offer Vortex as well.
2) Clothing: Having the right set of clothing for the hunt you are on can make or break your hunting experience. If you are cold and/or wet your hunt will quickly go from a dream hunt to wishing you were back home. Clothing designed for the tree stand hunter is designed differently than those hiking up and down mountains. Having clothing that is extremely breathable while hiking and then insulating layers to add on while glassing or taking a break will help make your hunt more enjoyable. Looking into a full system of clothing is more important than any single one piece.
We can help you build these systems depending on the time of year you are hunting and the location. For my mule deer/elk hunt in Wyoming this year my clothing goes as following.
Sitka's core light weight base layers: These will help pull moisture away from the body. keeping me cool while moving and warm while stationary.
Sitka's Timberline pant: I chose this pant for several reasons. The first being the built in knee pads. There is nothing worse than a pin cushion cactus to the knee! Also, they have reinforced knee and butt areas that are 100% water proof. This will keep me dry whether I'm stalking or sitting on a log glassing. These pants are also extremely comfortable for the weather we will be hunting which can swing from low 30's to mid 70's in the same day.
Sitka's Mountain Vest: A good vest is always needed in my opinion and this vest is built with Gore wind stop. Having Wind Stopper is important to keep your core from loosing valuable heat, especially in the high winds of the mountains.
Sitka's Kelvin Active coat: I chose this as my insulation piece. It is built with 80 grams of Alpha insulation. This will help when sitting on a rock outcrop for hours while glassing then pack down to nothing while stalking or walking to the next vantage point. The Kelvin active coat combined with the Mountain vest for a good blend of Gore wind stop and insulation is a great layering piece to stay warm.
3) Back Pack: Which pack to get really depends on the type of hunting you will be doing. If your hunting out of a base camp a good day pack is all you might need but if you plan on setting up spike camps a larger pack is recommended. Remember you will need to quarter and pack out your game if successful! We have both types of packs if you are in need. The accent 12 is a great day pack and the Bivy 30 is great for packing out game or extended stays.
4) Boots: Make sure you have a good set of boots that are broken in before you head out there. Hot spots and blisters for a week are not much fun and will ruin the hunt for even the toughest of hunters. We carry several pairs of boots from Danner. Look into the High Grounds or the Gila's. Both are great boots! The Gila is designed for a little more rugged terrain and has a stiffer sole. Because of this they need a little more time to break in.
5) Calls: If your chasing elk with or without a guide having at least one cow call in your pocket is a great idea and if your like me, a DIY'er, a good bugle can help you find the herd. We carry a good assortment of DUEL elk calls to help you out.
6) Arrows/broadheads: Although most arrow and broadhead combinations will work for most North American game there are a few things I look for when choosing the combination for larger game. With arrows I like a small diameter arrow to help with wind drift and penetration. I believe the arrow is the number one factor for this followed by the broadhead and then the amount of weight you are pulling. Some good arrows to look at are Victory VAP TKO's, Black Eagle Deep Impact, and Easton's FMJ and Axis line in the 4 or 5mm.
If you ask a hundred people about broadheads you will get a hundred opinions. I prefer to stick with 1.5 inch or less cut for elk. I mostly recommend a fixed blade like a G5 striker, muzzy trocar, or Dirt Nap. With mule deer and antelope where my shot are longer and more open terrain I do like a mechanical such as a Slick Trick Raptor Trick, Grim Reaper Pro series or a rage hypodermic.
I know I am counting down the days until September and if you are too hopefully we can help you be as prepared as possible before you leave! If you are still waiting on October yet, I hope this blog gets you day dreaming of planning your next dream hunt or even about the big buck up north!
- Dustin Miedema
- Brandon Miedema