High-tech hunting and fishing

I made a pretty major purchase recently: some top-notch rain gear that carried a price tag that had me wondering about finance rates and whether I was buying a used pickup truck instead of Gore-Tex camo.

It’s pretty out of character for me, but this time it was a necessary leap into the world of high-tech hunting fashion. I’m heading to Washington next week for a Roosevelt elk hunt, and it will be wet. The only real question is whether it will be rain or snow. The hunt itself will be tough enough on my body; we’ll be hunting the high country with Mount St. Helens off in the distance and living in a tent for a week. Some level of comfort, such as being dry, will be necessary to keep me going.

Paula gave me the go-ahead new rain gear, and the fact I ran it by her first tells you what kind of price tag I was dealing with. I took it as a good sign; she apparently doesn’t want me to die of hypothermia out there, especially with the Southern Zone deer season approaching and Paula hell-bent on taking down her first buck.

I’ver never been caught up in – or maybe, as many hunting buddies claim, I just haven’t taken advantage of – the latest and greatest when it comes to hunting and fishing gear, choosing instead to go with what has worked for the past 40 years or so. My hunting clothing typically consists of Woolrich pants and coat, time-tested and sent to a seamstress every couple years to repair tears from barbed-wire fences. One year I really got hung up on a fence and had to resort to duct tape to get me through the season. But it was pretty breezy on the day the mishap occurred until I got home that night to make the repairs.

Too, while I might wash my hunting clothes in scent-free detergent and spray down before heading to my stand (yes, I do use treestands), I’m more a fan of simply hanging my clothes in a friend’s dairy barn. GPS units? Nope. When I hunted the big woods of the Adirondacks I used a compass. No batteries necessary.

I’ve never understood how guys can “sight in” their rifles every year, clicking and clicking on their scopes until they’re dialed in for another season. I can’t recall the last time I moved my Leupold on my Remington .270 – it’s been at least 25 years.

To be honest, my gear lineup is a mix of new and old. A rangefinder for bowhunting but also, on occasion, military camo in the spring turkey woods. Kenetrek boots that have been worth every penny in comfort and durability, but an old Buck knife that has served me well since I was in my 20s. I carry an iPhone afield, sure, but on the trout stream if I’m not toting a fly rod I’ll likely have an old, yellow Eagle Claw spinning rod whose reel seat is worn and whose tip has been replaced at least once, maybe twice. My small game vest carried as much 

Bottom line, if it works, I see no reason to change. I’m not sure that philosophy has ever cost me a deer or turkey, because I’m comfortable out there. But I know it hasn’t cost me as much as it could have in terms of dollars and cents. 

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