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Friday, May 22, 2009

11 Tips How to get Hunting Gear on a Limited Budget

Image credit jenn_jenn
Buying hunting gear can be very expensive. I have always found ways to go hunting with out spending an outrageous amount of cash on my gear (Ok I splurge once and a while). Now being a new father the pocket book is all but closed when it comes to my hunting budget. More then ever I have to use the tricks I’ve leaned to get around this hurdle, so I can get out in the field and do what I love HUNT. I wanted to share these tips on how to hunt on a limited budget with everyone.

1. The best way to find deals on quality hunting equipment at big box hunting stores is to shop after the season is over, or four to six months before it starts.

For instance last year I found a portable deer stand marked down 25% shortly after deer hunting season was over. I thought it was a great deal, but there were three of them left so I waited it out until April and got the last one for over 50% off.

2. Watch for big sales at the big box hunting stores. Once and a while you can find a great sale at these places no mater what time of year it is. I suggest joining the mailing lists of these bigger stores. This way you will know when the sales are happing. Be careful though they really know what catches your eye and you may want to buy something you don’t need.

This past turkey hunting season was my first turkey season so I needed to get camo gear. I looked around every where and never found anything priced with in my budget. Then one day I got a flyer in the mail from my local big box hunting store. Sale on camo 50% off. I sure took advantage of this.

3. Don’t for get to shop around and compare prices at all stores and on line (Big hunting and fishing stores, general sports stores, small sports and hunting stores, department stores). Some times you need to do this for the last few items you can’t find any where else for a good deal, or before a season so you can get your budget in order. You will be surprised at the price differences you can find form store to store.

Way before turkey season this year I went on a little road trip from store to store to see what the prices were on the gear I needed. When I was all finished I knew what to buy where.

4. Some of the Big box hunting stores have credit cards you can apply for which allow you to earn cash back to their store.

I’ve never done this one, but I have used similar types of credit card promotions. They seem to work well. Just be careful as always with Credit cards.

5. Ask for gift cards to hunting stores for all of your special occasions birthdays, holidays etc... This way you can get what you want. To maximize the amount you have on your gift cards use tips 1-3.

Two or three muzzle load seasons ago I needed to get a gun. I had actually saved up enough in gift cards I only had to pay 40 bucks for my brand new gun. I got a new gun and didn’t break the budget at all or even come close.

6. This time of year at least in the northern states it is garage sale time. This is one place I over looked in the past. It doesn’t happen too often, but once and a while you run across some hunting gear at a garage sale.

I never use to go to garage sales until just this last year when my wife was pregnant with our son. We needed to find deals on all sorts of things I didn’t know existed. Along the way I found a few things at a couple garage sales. Then we hit the jack pot one of the sales was filled with hunting gear new and used. I got a couple of things and wished I would have gotten more.

7. News paper and Craig’s List these are two great spots to find deals on gear. Lots of times you can find really good deals, but it’s not always exactly what you are looking for. The key to this one is to be persistent. Eventually you will find something you need.

I personally haven’t found the right deal form these resources yet. Judging by the amount of stuff out there I know I’m bound to find the deal I’m looking for one of these days. (Deer stand and new rubber boots are on the list this year)

8. Getting gear at pawn shops. You can find really good deals on used gear. Be careful and make sure research what you need (especially guns) before you go to pawn shops.

I have been with friends when looking for guns at pawn shops, and if you look around you will definitely find a good deal.

9. Going to gun auctions is a great place to get a deal on guns, gear, and ammunition. OK maybe not ammunition these days, but you could get good deals in the past. One thing to keep in mind it is easy to get caught up in the fun of bidding, so make sure you keep with in your budget.

I have won two guns at the auctions I’ve been too. Both have been pretty good deals. There have also been a couple of deals I wish I would have gotten in on. I have also seen some used guns go for only a few dollars less then a brand new one (make sure to do your research).

10. Use things you have for other types of hunting, or other outdoor activities.
For about six years I used my snowboarding boots for deer hunting. They just happened to be the warmest boost I had ever owned. I would walk out to my deer stand with to boot over my shoulder and change in to them right before I went up the tree. Now I finally broke down and got a new pair of deer hunting boots (this is one of the times I splurged). Oh my new boots are now the warmest boots I own.

11. Talk with friends and relitives. This might just be your best resource. They may know someone who is selling old gear at a good price. They could have some of their old gear they want to sell. Some times they have extra gear you can barrow, or they may even give it to you.

Over the years I have barrowed gear from friends and family. They are always willing to help. Just remember to help them out in return. Do something nice for them like mow their lawn, or help them with a construction project.

I hope these tips will help you get out in to the field and hunt.


Ben G.
Other tips


Arbor said...

Those are some really good tips, and I think that everyone is looking to save a little money these days.

Kristine Shreve said...

Great tips and smart ones too. Spending the time and doing the research and being patient can really pay off.

The Downeast Duck Hunter said...

Your last item for me has become the best avenue for many of my outdoor additions. I'm in several professions that ask me to deal with many people on a level that requires a high degree of interpersonal skill. Most usually I find myself in a discussion about hunting, and then opportunity knocks. Fortunately, the recession hasn't kicked down the door to my checkbook so I can usually pick up some very nice things from time to time. Surprisingly, I have many people who are looking to unload (figuratively speaking) their firearms.

You run a very well thought out and organized blog, I look forward to reading it in the future.

Chris said...

I have used my duck hunting jacket in the turkey woods for a number of years. The pattern actually matches up with the cover very well and the turkeys certainly haven't complained. These companies are always pushing the latest and greatest and we forget it wasn't too long ago that gramps just went hunting in flannel.

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