I am possibly in the market for a new pack for western hunting. Coming from the midwest, we generally carry standard style back packs or day packs with just basic hunting tools, not full frame packs for hauling large amounts of gear and/or game meat. I really have no idea where to start, or what I should be looking for.

I will be antelope hunting this fall, and while I probably dont need a nice pack for that, I plan on doing more and more western hunting in the future. Mule deer, elk, hopefully sheep someday, etc.

One of my main concerns is carrying a rifle on or in a pack. What do you guys do, strap to the side or slide into a scabbard? My concern, with a scabbard is how do they work with scopes with target style adjustment dials? These are pretty high profile and I can see them becoming caught on material when trying to pull the rifle out for usage. Also with high profile knobs, I can see them being easier to bang around and potentially damaging the scope or loss of zero.

Also, how big of a pack do people use? Frame packs I assume? Any recommendations for a good starter pack would be appreciated.