It seems as if there is always some piece of gear to upgrade or fix. In today’s world, nothing is cheap. If it is cheap, it probably sucks. Here are a few ideas to get you on the hunt without totally breaking the bank:
Buy used: People are always selling the gear they don't want anymore. If it is in good condition at a good price, jump on it. Bows are one of the prime examples. You can buy a top of the line, brand new bow for $1500, or you can find a bow a few years old for half the price. Keep your eye on Craigslist, ArcheryTalk, Camofire, or any other garage sale/discount site. I bought a used bow for $300 that was $800 when it was new.
Be the seller: Americans seem to have this habit of accumulating stuff. Look around at what you have and determine if you actually use it. If not, consider selling the item and make a buck towards what you will use.
Build your own: There are certain items you can easily make. I built my own binocular harness out of a military surplus canteen pouch and suspenders. Worked awesome for years! I also made my own bugle tube out of a whiffle ball bat and duct tape. I called in a 370 bull with that tube. Get creative! Sure, it might not look as sexy. But last I checked, sexy doesn't kill elk.
Plan hunting into your budget: If you have a hunting category planned into your budget, there is no guilt when you use those funds for that special piece of gear. Plan ahead to responsibly afford what you want. Avoid recklessly spending and draining the bank. It makes your gear less enjoyable to use when you are stressed about funds!
Don't buy top of the line: Marketing is designed to suck you in and play on your emotions. Watch out! Except for extreme circumstances, we never need the top-priced item. Typically, you want to spend somewhere in the middle. The most expensive option is way more than the average hunter needs. The cheapest option is typically a piece of crap. Find that middle ground where your dollar goes the farthest and you don't break the bank. Don't let all the fancy marketing fool you.
At the end of the day, you can only afford what you can afford. Grandpa got it done back in the day with his lever action .30-30 and classic wool pants. You can too. Gear doesn't make the hunter. Most gear upgrades increase convenience or comfort but are not mandatory for success. Dave Ramsey points out that money is 20% numbers and 80% behavior. Just like marketing, don't let "keeping up with the Joneses" get you. Learn to be content. (Yes, I am speaking to myself here too!)
- Jess Patrick