By Zach Lazzari | Photos by Ryan McSparran
Unless you are bundled up with a late season cow tag, the western hunting season has passed and it’s time to prepare for next year. The holidays are a perfect time to shop deals and gear up for next year. Before long we will have spring bear, a summer of fishing and archery season will approach in the blink of an eye. Take stock of the previous season and make your list to Santa with the intention of improving your gear and your game for next year.
New Game Bags
If you were lucky enough to harvest an animal this season, your game bags may be need of replacement. Caribou game bags are durable, breathable and they can last for more than a single season if treated properly. Throw out the old cheesecloth and make the jump to a really hearty game bag that will protect your meat in the field.
Gerber Field Knife
I’m not advocating for any specific brand when it comes to knives as they all have merits. I field dressed an entire mule deer with the little blade on my Leatherman this past season. The Gerber Vital Big knife is, however, a different beast. The replaceable blades are perfect for working on an elk, moose, bear or other large critter in the field.
When your knife blade dulls, skinning and processing becomes a serious chore. If you’re like me, the sharpening stone is usually lost somewhere in the truck and you push the limits of your primary blade. Having an ultra sharp replacement blade helps you skin and process any animal with precision from start to finish.
Elk Hunting Course
Elk hunters always stand to benefit from new knowledge and study. Utilizing an elk hunting course that works through strategy, calling and setups is a create way to spend your time in the off-season. Several quality online based programs are available and there is plenty of literature in print. Elk101 tops the list in popularity and serves as an excellent resource for elk hunters at all skill levels.
The invention of the binocular harness has been a game changer. It protects your valuable glass while keeping the binos handy on your chest. A standalone bino harness is an excellent choice or a combination bino and rangefinder pouch is a great idea for bowhunters and folks ranging frequently throughout the day. If your hunter is still hanging loose binoculars from a neck strap, this is a no-brainer.
Upgrade Your Glass?
Lastly, consider taking a big leap and upgrading your glass. This involves a hefty purchase and is best done as a team rather than a surprise as glass is something worth researching and testing before you make the purchase. Binoculars, rangefinders, rifle scopes and spotting scopes are all critical in the field. Adding accessories like tripods and protective cases and covers is also an easy upgrade for any hunter.