Designed specifically for ultralight hunters and guides, the Mountain Caper knife is a lightweight caping knife that weighs a mere 22 grams. Peeling the lips, ears, and nose is a breeze with the nimble blade and skeletonized handle. The ultra-premium S90V stainless steel makes sharpening something you do after the hunt, not during. The Mountain Caper is perfect for those who weigh their gear in grams, and it is destined to become a staple in any hunter’s pack.
Designed as an all-purpose mountain hunting knife, the Skeleton Ovis Hunter gets the job done fast and efficiently. Its upswept blade and fine point make it extremely versatile and ready for any task you may throw its way.
"I first handled a Kestrel knife in 2016 when a buddy received one as a tip from his client on a guided hunt. We used it that very same day to skin a cow elk, and from that moment on, I knew I would be purchasing one. A few weeks later, one arrived in the mail and was ready for use. After using it to skin, quarter, and debone a whole elk without having to sharpen it, I knew I had found the knife that would never leave my pack. I now own the whole set of Kestrel knives, and their performance always exceeds my expectations.
My favorite model is the Mountain Caper. It is extremely light and is the best knife
I have ever used to cape an animal. The point of the blade is small enough to work
around all the tight spots and is strong enough that you don’t have to
worry about the blade breaking. Last year, I caped three elk and two deer
with it and only had to sharpen it twice."
– Isaiah Joner, Hunt Advisor and Outfitter Specialist
Mountain Caper Specs:
Skeleton Ovis Hunter Specs:
MSRP: Mountain Caper – $129.99; Skeleton Ovis Hunter – $159.99
For more information, go to www.kestrelknives.com.
The Halon X crossover bow is built to perform in the field or on the range. Measuring 35" axle to axle, the Halon X features a perimeter weighted minicrosscentric cam system that generates speeds up to 330 fps.
"I've been completely immersed in the archery industry for the better part of the last two decades. The innovation in bow design during that period has been unprecedented in terms of increasing speed, accuracy, and shootability while decreasing hand shock, noise, and overall size of the weapon. It's a great time to be an archer whether you are brand new to the sport or a 35+ year participant like myself.
After shooting the Halon X from Mathews for nearly a year, I couldn’t help but tell all of my archery friends about how well it balanced, aimed, and shot in my hands. It shot so well that I wasn’t sure I should even trust my own results with the bow, so I enlisted the opinion of my shooting mentor and elk hunting Guru, Dan Evans, for an opinion that was more qualified than my own. After cycling a ton of arrows through it, he and I agreed that it is an incredible balance of forgiveness and precision that is wrapped up in a package that is still ideal to carry as a hunting bow.
The Halon X is the best bow I've ever pointed at fur or foam. Give this thing a test
drive at your local dealer and it’s likely that you'll have a hard time not leaving with
one in your hands. I loved mine so much, I bought a second one this year so I could
have two. I've only had identical bows twice in my archery career, and the last time
I did it was over 10 years ago. In short, I'm a believer!"
– Jerrod Lile, Huntin' Fool CEO and Hunt Advisor
For more information, go to www.mathewsinc.com.
The Huskemaw Advantage is best described as the most precise, quick, and userfriendly system pre-validated in a known environment. The Huskemaw scope is built to withstand years of use and provide reliable functionality in all field conditions. The “Heart” of the Huskemaw Advantage is the turret, which is now available in a patented dual stack interlocking configuration.
Eliminate the Guess: The HO ballistic compensation technology is the first to use proven drop data specific to your rifle and ammunition. Additionally, Huskemaw’s patented windage-enabled technology is engraved above corresponding distances in yards. These turrets, used in conjunction with the Huskemaw Hunt Smart Reticle, make an unbeatable combination. Dual stack turrets can be utilized on both the Huskemaw Blue Diamond and Tactical scope models.
Endless Combinations: The interlocking turret design provides a multitude of options. Outer turrets can be calibrated for local shooting, while the inner turrets can be built for hunts far away from home. They can be engraved for different elevations and temperatures. There is valid data 2,000 feet above and below each set elevation and 20 degrees Fahrenheit above and below each set temperature. Dual stacked turrets can also be engraved for different bullets/loads, continuous revolutions for extremely long-range shooting, MOA, meters, or a blend of the above. Essentially, one dual stack turret can handle shooting environments from 4,000 to 12,000 feet and temperatures from 10 to 70 degrees. Determining a correct firing solution is the most important factor to an accurate “one shot,” long-range hit, and the Huskemaw Advantage can provide precision accuracy quickly and easily.
"As a western hunter, you have undoubtedly found yourself in a unit that is home to
a wide range of elevations and temperatures. This Dual Stack turret from Huskemaw
allows you to have two quick options at the data you need to make a calculated
shot. For those who want even more flexibility, you can run an MOA turret on
one turret and a quick-dial yardage turret on the other. It’s the ideal solution for a
western hunter, and I’ve had great luck using it on my rifle and muzzleloader hunts
over the past few years!"
– Austin Atkinson, Huntin' Fool Professional Hunt Advisor
Huskemaw Blue Diamond Dual Stack Interlocking Turret – $124.99
Huskemaw 5-30x56 Tactical Dual Stack Interlocking Turret – $149.99
For more information, go to www.huskemawoptics.com.
The Thor GTX was designed exclusively for the North American market and was tested in the rugged mountains of the West. This boot has a minimalistic feel but is capable of conquering any mountain. The Thor GTX is the perfect option for those looking for an early season, ultra lightweight boot with a stiffer flex of climbing any grade of terrain. The exclusive Crispi sole is designed to handle any type of grade thrown at it.
The Thor GTX is a non-insulated, super-breathable boot, but it is still waterproof thanks to the Gore-Tex® lining.
"I first handled the Crispi Thor boots at the Salt Lake Expo in 2017 and immediately
knew it was a pair of boots I had to add to my collection. They arrived just in
time to use for spring bear season. I was amazed at how comfortable they were
straight out of the box. The softer rubber soles made them great for stalking
conditions, but they were still stiff and ‘grippy’ enough to allow me to motor
up steep slopes. Only a week after unboxing them, I put them to the test on a
14-mile round-trip scouting trip with about a 45 lb. pack and a couple thousand
feet in elevation gain and loss. Even on steep sidehills, they provided enough
ankle support to keep me from rolling my ankle. A boot with a build like the Thor
that can handle various types of terrain with little to no break-in period should be
in every hunter’s arsenal. The look of this boot does not disappoint, much like its
comfort. I would rank this as a very ideal boot for early to mid-season hunts with
warmer temperatures. Crispi has done a great job of releasing multiple new styles
of boots that are geared for hunters."
– Isaiah Joner, Huntin’ Fool Hunt Advisor
For more information, go to www.crispius.com.
When you're already the boot guides swear by, you continue to work on making it even better. That's why we've added our new rock solid, one-piece, vulcanized rubber K-73 outsole to the boot that already keeps sheep up at night. Tough hunts mean traversing glaciers and navigating scree fields with ridiculous weight on your back and just enough air to catch your breath. That's when staying upright becomes everything. These boots are made in Italy.
MSRP: 400 gram insulate – $525; non-insulated – $480
For more information, go to www.kenetrek.com.
The Hilleberg Akto has become the go-to choice for hunters who need an allseason, tough but light solo tent. It has proven itself on hunts in Alaska, all over the western U.S. and Canada, and in Asia and in weather conditions from fair to full-on storm. Although not much heavier than a bivy bag, the Akto offers spacious, all-season shelter for the solo hunter (or the hunter who just wants his own room). It is easy to pitch (the inner and outer tents are connected for quick, simultaneous set up), has Hilleberg’s Kerlon 1200 outer tent fabric with an impressive 26.5 lb. tear strength, 9 mm DAC poles, and a packed size small enough to fit into a side pocket on many packs. That is all at a packed weight of 3 lbs. 12 oz.
"I tried numerous backpacking tents out there before purchasing my Hilleberg
Akto almost 10 years ago. I have used and abused this tent on every backpack
hunt I’ve been on, and I almost always have it in my truck for the just-in-case
moment. Because of the performance I have experienced with my Akto, Hilleberg
is the only brand of lightweight backpacking tent I have purchased since that
time. The last place you’ll want problems is 6+ miles in with a limited amount of
gear to change out. It's for this reason that I consider the Akto the best bang for
my buck when it comes to strength versus weight ratio. I never head into the
backcountry without it!"
– Garth Jenson, Professional Hunt Advisor
For more information, go to www.hilleberg.com.
Even though I enjoy hunting with a bow and arrow and consider the more primitive methods of hunting to be very rewarding, I also consider myself an opportunist and jump at the chance to take advantage of new products that will help me have the best chance at success. Many states have recently adopted regulations allowing the use of magnifying scopes mounted atop muzzleloaders during muzzleloader seasons. Coupled with the technology behind the new black powder substitutes and projectiles, the long-range craze is reaching the muzzleloader market and it’s worth taking a closer look at.
Knowing that New Mexico has very few restrictions on muzzleloader specifications, I applied for and drew a late season muzzleloader-only elk permit last year. I knew the rugged, steep terrain would warrant the use of a long-range firearm that would be capable of a cross-canyon shot. While there are many choices for muzzleloaders in today’s market, I was intrigued by the new .45 caliber muzzleloader produced by Best of the West in Cody, Wyoming and decided that would be my setup for my New Mexico hunt.
This muzzleloader uses a custom ballistictipped bullet with a high BC and does not use a sabot to eliminate the inaccuracies associated with conventional plastic sabots. The priming system is one of the most convenient and easy-to-use setups I’ve ever seen. Large rifle primers are held by the patent-pending Express Priming System using brass cartridge holders. You can carry up to five primers in the magazine, much like you would with a centerfire rifle. The side discharge muzzle brake helps reduce most of the recoil from the the heavy load of Blackhorn 209 powder, and it weighs in at under 10.5 lbs., scope included.
After battling unusually warm temps and turning up very few mature bulls, I glassed up a small group of bulls on the last day of my New Mexico hunt and tried to close the distance and get on the same hillside as the 6-point in the group. It became next to impossible to pick out his body in the brush once I got within shooting distance. I knew my only clear shot I would have on him would be from behind me and across the first draw. I dropped down the hill and picked my way through the brush to get a clear view of the bull and watched him bed down in the shade. The angle-compensated range read 603 yards on my rangefinder and there was no crosswind to speak of, so I knew this was my opportunity. I dialed the scope up 19.6 MOA to the printed yardage on the turret and took a few practice squeezes, holding level on the bedded bull. After working the bolt and letting the primer and powder do their job, I was overjoyed to see my first New Mexico bull topple over down the hill. The 327 grain bullet had passed through the bull’s chest completely, and my hunt was over.
The standard system includes the muzzleloader, 4-16x42 Huskemaw Optics scope, short starter, custom turret, 24 bullets, priming inserts, powder tubes, reprimer tool, hard case, and more.
MSRP: $5,495 (Standard System)
For more information, go to www.thebestofthewest.net.
Introducing the Schnee's Timberline mountain boot for your next light and fast adventure. Schnee’s has taken the core features of their legendary Beartooth™ collection and dialed back the rigidity for a smoother and more flexible ride. This boot has a new Vibram Circuma outsole with open and opposing height lugs for maximum traction on a lighter weight outsole. The boot is also 100% waterproof with OutDry technology.
Made in northern Italy, Schnee's boots are handcrafted with care and precision using only the finest materials and based upon state-of-theart engineering. We have a very simple mission – to provide the world's most discerning customers with only the very best. For us, that means the highest quality, longest lasting, best value, best fitting, and best performing boots available anywhere in the world.
"I bought my first pair of Schnee's Pac boots for winter logging nearly 30
years ago. Few occupations are harder on boots than what I was doing at
that time, and I was extremely pleased with the comfort and durability of
the boot and the customer service of the brand. In light of that, I knew
their new Timberline boot would be an excellent choice for my hunts that
start early and run through mid-October. After spending a good portion of
my fall in them, I couldn’t be happier. My first reaction when I slipped the
Timberline on was that it felt incredibly lightweight and nimble while still
feeling like a very legit hunting boot that was capable of handling any hunt
you wanted to throw at it. I found the softer, more flexible sole to be quiet
enough for archery stalks, and those attributes in a boot cause less foot
fatigue for me. I'd highly recommend the Timberline to anyone looking for
an uninsulated, lightweight, yet rugged boot that makes your feet happy
every time you slip them on for your next adventure."
– Jerrod Lile, Huntin’ Fool CEO and Professional Hunt Advisor
For more information, go to www.schnees.com.
The F1 Mainframe will haul any man-portable load with the same alacrity and a lot more comfort (and it’s quieter) than a giant freighter frame. However, unlike any other pack system, from this load-bearing workhorse, you can build a true ultra-light pack simply by adding one of our bags, such as the F2 Transformer, F65 Little Big Top, or A6SB Batwing Pouch.
The Mainframe can function as a freight pack or a daypack and can transform to a meat hauler within seconds. With our solid NT7 or 1000-denier nylon fabric, depending on your color choice, coupled with our ultra-light Intex II aluminum frame, the Mainframe shaves off pounds while maintaining superior strength and comfort.
Mainframe Pack Features:
"External frame packs have been around for decades, but the Mainframe by
Eberlestock is a reinvention of the classic design that has proved it is worth its weight
in gold for me on several hunts this year. The ergonomic shape and extremely comfy
hip belt and shoulder straps make the pack feel as if it is not there when you are
traveling light to go pack out heavy loads. For heavy loads of bone-in and boned-out
meat, I used the J-Type zip-on dry bag on the frame. The J-Type bag, like many other
bags in the Eberlestock line, zips onto the Mainframe with two long vertical zippers.
The combined weight of this system was less than five pounds, but I feel it would
easily handle loads in excess of 100 pounds (if you’re able to do so). I packed out one
of my bull elk solo with this pack and assisted a friend packing out a big, mature mule
deer that we skinned for a life-size cape. In addition to the J-Type bag, I used the Spike
Camp Duffel and the F2 Transformer. In each case, I simply chose the best companion
for the Mainframe pack for the particular application I needed. This is truly the first
modular system I’ve found that allows for quick and easy transformations from one
pack style to the next."
— Jerrod Lile
MSRP: F1 Mainframe - $189
For more information, go to www.eberlestock.com.