You could spend your life savings on hunting gear in the blink of an eye, or you can be a cheapskate while still getting the job done.
Let’s face it; hunting is probably one of the most expensive hobbies you can get into. Purchasing guns, bows, stands, camouflage clothes, and other hunting gear quickly adds up.
If you are just getting into hunting, you may want to hold off on buying the high-end stuff. Spending hundreds on gear only to find out it’s not what you thought it would be is a bad idea.
Luckily, there is a much cheaper route. It will take a watchful eye and some searching, but you can hunt on a very modest budget.
Guns and Bows
This is where the bulk of your money will go. Weapons of any kind are just expensive, especially if they recently hit the market.
It is often best to try to buy these in the off-season, or right at the end of the hunting season, if you want either to be new. You can generally get them around 20% off as they prepare to make room for the new line of bows for the next year.
Going to pawn shops or looking around on virtual sale groups is another great option; you can sometimes score a nice deal on a gently used firearm or bow.
If you truly just want a cheap, functional bow, you can always find someone getting rid of the old original compound bows. They are bulky, heavy, and loud, but they’re built to last.
My first bow was a original Bear Whitetail Hunter. It was 30 years old when my dad bought it for me at a yard sale. Some slight cable adjustments and a new string were all it needed before I was flinging arrows downrange.
Stay away from the big stores like Cabela’s and Bass Pro when it comes to finding cheap camo. They generally only carry higher-priced name-brand items.
Places like Wal-Mart carry some really cheap camo clothing. You can get yourself a pair of pants, a shirt, hat, mask, and gloves for around $50. Same Mossy Oak pattern as the big boys, but at a way more affordable price tag.
If you watch towards the end of the season, you can clean up on the excess when it all goes on clearance.
Blinds and Stands
If you don’t have the money for a blind, you can make one very easily. I have made quite a few blinds out of a few saplings and some camouflage burlap. You really don’t even need the burlap, as you can use pine bows or other items to make an all-natural blind.
Older tree stands can be picked up at yard sales and other similar places. They may be heavier and less comfortable to sit in, but they will get you up in a tree.
When purchasing a used stand just make sure to inspect it thoroughly. Look for heavy spots of rust and other wear that might it unsafe to use.
I recently got an old lock-on stand for free. An older gentleman from my work was cleaning out his garage and found it. He asked if I wanted it; after purchasing some new straps, it is now a permanent stand on one of my properties.
The only other thing you will truly need is a decent pack. Honestly, you can use any old backpack, but I would try to find something with waist and chest straps. Nothing sucks worse than a long haul with a poorly designed pack slapping around on your back all day.
I have used the same camo Fieldline Big Game pack I bought years ago on sale for 20 bucks. It is comfortable, has plenty of storage, and the bottom even unzips off into a waist pack.
Anything else you will need, such as calls, scent control sprays, and other odds and ends, can be bought at your leisure. These are usually the cheapest of the lot and, if taken care of, rarely need to be replaced.
I have been hunting on a budget for years. The things I have may not be top of the line, but they get the job done. In the end, that’s all that truly matters.
I mean, honestly, not too long ago, no one had any of the stuff we think of as necessities today. All they needed was a flannel shirt, some wool pants, good boots, and a gun. Hunters then were just as successful in that as we are today.