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A 10 Step Guide to Buying Hunting Gear to Maximize Your Budget

Gear Buying Guide 2Article contributed by T. Wansleben

It has begun, the catalogs have arrived full of new products, you see decoys, jackets, bows and you need it all because this season it’s time to get serious, new gear is a must and nothing’s going stop you.

Ok now pause, take a deep breath and drift back down to reality because the truth is you can’t afford all that gear and honestly you don’t need it. With all the never-ending sales fliers and relentless emails advertising deep discounts it can be an exhausting task to not blow the bank on a bunch of junk that seemed like a good deal. The following ten steps will help you figure out what you really need and how to strategically buy it.

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  1. Make a List. This is critical, it should have been started during last season or right when it ended, when your mind is fresh as to what gear underperformed or needed to be replaced. If six months have passed and your gear list is still a pipedream, then go through your equipment now and start one.
  2. Stick to the List. This is critical especially when you go to Cabela’s, Bass Pro or any other big store where it’s easy to get distracted by the “bargain deal”. Resist the urge; only buy what is on your list.  We all have gadgets, hats, lures etc. that were such a great deal we couldn’t pass it up only to watch them collect dust.  If you added the cost of all those “great deals” up you might have been able to buy a new gun.
  3. Don’t Over-analyze. When you see a good prices for an item on your list buy it! Yes you may be able to find it for a few bucks cheaper somewhere else but is the 3 hours of your time spent scanning the internet to save ten bucks worth it? If you are like me you will drive your spouse mad by mining for the sale.
  4. Know the Shipping Fees. Shipping is expensive and charges to mail decoys or ammo can turn a sale item back to retail price.  Look for discounted shipping or free shipping which can often be a sale in itself.
  5. Check eBay or Craigslist. If it’s something that can have a ding in it like decoys or be slightly used like a canoe rack these sites are the way to go. Other items, like clothes, are better left to buying new.
  6. Don’t Compromise Quality for a Sale. Let’s face it there is a lot of cheap gear out there and we’ve all bought into it, bad clothes that got us wet, decoys that needed Selson blue to prevent the paint flaking off and calls that no matter how well they were tuned deserved to be buried.  I’ve learned that being cheap, especially on clothing, costs more in the long run.  Quality gear may not go on sale and there is a reason why, it performs and people know it.
  7. Know Your Size. Visit big box stores to try on clothing/footwear to see what size fits you best.  There’s nothing worse than wasting money on shipping charges because you ordered a large when you should have ordered a medium.
  8. Use Your Friends. We all have the gear junky friend who is constantly online searching for the latest and greatest. Tell them what you need and they will find the deal for you.
  9. Wait Until Next Year. I know this is the most hated bit of advice, but do you really need another ½ dozen mallard decoys when your waders have more shoe goo than neoprene?  For expensive products like tents and guns plan to save for a year and don’t stray.
  10. Just Buy It! If you are going crazy checking for sales on the Avian X full body goose decoys and you can’t get anything done at work then you are better off just buying it, even if you can’t afford it.  Your obsessive compulsive sale checking is driving everyone in your life nuts and it has to stop.  Free yourself from this torture and right click until you see order confirmed.  A wave of tranquility will soon overtake you, and the world will return to normal.  Was it a wise purchase financially, No, but psychologically YES because you got what you wanted and that feels good.

10 Step Hunting Gear Buying Guide

Stick with this 10 step program and you can’t go wrong.

2 thoughts on “A 10 Step Guide to Buying Hunting Gear to Maximize Your Budget

  • I liked when you talked bout making a list when buying hunting gear. It makes sense that doing this can help you make sure you have all you need to have a good time and to get something good. I can see how taking your time to do your homework can help you find the best store to buy from and make sure the quality and prices are good.

  • Great read and very well explained. I believe in professionals so this is a very useful article for everyone. Many thanks for your share.


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