We received this email last week, and felt like it was a good chance for Guy, Ike, and Brandon Mason to offer some feedback all in one place. In the future, submit your emails with questions for us to firstname.lastname@example.org and will do our best to answer them. If you want your questions fast tracked to the front word them well and ask questions that will benefit every "Western Hunt Rookie" or newbie.
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I live in Louisiana and have been hunting ducks and deer since i was 5 years old. I also am inspired every time i venture out west for ski trips or summer vacations and am planning my first western big game hunt this fall in colorado. The amount of gear to acquire is a bit intimidating and I trust your staff's opinion. i am struggling with pack options (looking at eberlestock x2 vs. x1) and spotting scope tripod type (i have a nikon 16x48 pro staff) to bring out West. Also, do you ever carry a pistol with you while in bear country or rely on common sense and your 300 wsm? Sincere thanks for the advice as I do have great confidence in your insight and experience. Thanks again and keep up the good work with the eastman brand.-Hardin
I'm glad to hear you are giving the Western hunting experience a go. I agree, the gear can be a bit intimidating at first. Here are my suggestions, as for a backpack, I would go with the Eberlestock X1. The X1 has the built in gun scabbard which I find very useful not only for my gun, but it makes for a great padded, easy to access pocket for my spotting scope as well. Just tuck the tail of the scabbard back into the pack and you won't even know it's there. As for a tripod, I would look into the Cullmann line-up of tripods.
Cullmann is a German company that makes some very high quality, yet very affordable tripods that I have personally had very good luck with in the past. I would probably start with an aluminum tripod that extends out to at least four feet to start with. These will be the most available and economical solutions to get you started.
As for the bear situation, I hardly ever carry a pistol when I am hunting, and if I do, only while bowhunting in grizzly bear country. Black bears are not very aggressive at all, and 99% of them will flee with a holler or a rock thrown their way. On a rifle hunt, I just rely on my .300 WSM to get me out of a "jam" with a bear if I find myself in one. Black bears are one of those things, that can seem intimidating until you have been around them enough to get a touch more comfortable with the situation.
I hope this helps to get you started in the right direction on your first hunt. Best of luck to you, and let us know how you do on the hunt.
Take care and be safe.
Thanks for reaching out to us and for the kind words. I am always very excited when I hear someone is willing to try their hand at western hunting. I would agree with Brandon on the pack choice and the tripod choices. Bog-Pod has some very good options for smaller tripods, especially if you are looking at something smaller then the CLD-3S as well.
As for hunting in bear country it depends on what you are defining as bear country. Up here in Northwest Wyoming we have black bears and grizzly bears. The grizzly bears are the ones that you need to take special precautions with. If you are looking at hunting Colorado where there are only black bears it is less of a concern. In Colorado I would personally just rely on my rifle for security and safety. If you were to hunt in grizzly county you will need to take special precautions above and beyond the rifle. I would suggest not hunting in grizzly country (Northern-western Wyoming, Eastern Idaho and Western Montana) until you have a few years of hunting out west under your belt. There is enough to learn and take precautions without having the added headache of the grizzly bear. Hope this helps. Good luck this fall and let me know how it turns out.
Thanks for the email. Great to hear that you're venturing out West for a hunt. I'd seriously look at Eberlestock's Blue Widow pack. This pack will haul anything you need to haul, plus collapses down into a small daypack. I use this on all of my hunts and it is killer.
For the spotting scope tripod, we use the BOG-POD tripods because of their modularity. You can switch heads on them and they are durable. I prefer the CLD-3S and I use it for the spotting scope and also for shooting sticks during rifle season. It works very well with the Blue Widow pack as well...almost as if they were designed for each other. You'll enjoy Colorado. Lots of great opportunities in that state!
Lets hear it, how would you help this hunter out?