By Tracy Breen
-- Times are tough, and most of us have at least one or two hunting items on our Christmas lists. If you’re like me, however, you don’t want to let a whole lot of room for guesswork when it comes to other folks shopping for your hunting gear. If you have a loved one who’s looking for a last-minute gift idea for you, or if you might be doing a little shopping for yourself, what follows is a brief rundown of some items you might want to find under your tree.
And just in case your shoppers are on a tight budget, I’ve included a few stocking stuffers that cost less than $50.
Merry Christmas and big bucks to you in 2010!
If you’re an avid bowhunter, you have probably climbed into your treestand and didn’t have a place to hang your quiver or bow. The new Zen quiver from Athens Archery solves this problem. The quiver has a built-in hook can be screwed into a tree, doubling as a bow holder. With the Zen quiver, you no longer have to worry about bringing a screw-in hook with you. Four-arrow or six-arrow models are available.
Hips Targets has a new model called the X2 that is constructed from a new foam formula called Endurance Foam, created just for archery. It combines enhanced stopping power with self-healing properties that provide for easy arrow removal.
These layers are subjected to a heat-welding process that fuses them into a single arrow-stopping block. The solid design ensures there is friction on all surfaces of the arrow for greater stopping ability than stacked layers.
This solid construction also minimizes slithering that results with most layered targets when shot with broadheads. Hips Targets and MasterTarget have teamed up to produce a target with faces made from MasterTarget’s patented Durashot material. These faces are rugged, waterproof and UV resistant.
The X2 provides over 150 aiming points on every target. The large number of aiming points allows the archer to use the entire target for thousands of shots.
When hunting or fishing off the beaten path, cell phone towers tend to be few and far between. And while statistics show that hunting is a relatively safe pasttime, accidents can happen. If you fall out of a treestand, break a leg or slip into water, you could be in serious trouble.
There’s a new device called SPOT that solves that problem. SPOT is a personal satellite messenger that can be used virtually anywhere. I used one while hunting elk in New Mexico. You can use the OK button if you want to tell your wife or friend that everything is going well. The unit sends will send an email stating that you are okay and listing your GPS coordinates on a Google Earth map.
If you get in trouble, you can hit the 9-1-1 button to send a signal to local authorities with your exact location. You can even pay a little extra to be evacuated by helicopter, which is a great service if you’re in rugged country.
I was fortunate in New Mexico in that I never had to use the 9-1-1 button, but I sent my wife several OK messages. She said she appreciated knowing that I was doing well even though we couldn’t communicate by phone.
THE WARM BAG
The Warm Bag was designed for hunters who are tired of getting cold. Whether it’s the middle of October or late December, the Warm Bag will keep you warm.
With a waterproof, windproof outer shell and a fleece inner liner, the Warm Bag keeps you warm and dry. When a shot presents itself, your muscles will be warm, relaxed and ready. The Warm Bag features large interior pockets for your essentials as well as an outside chest pocket for your rangefinder.
The drawstring neck keeps the cold wind out and your body heat in. When the moment of truth arrives, simply unzip the arm holes in the front and make the shot.
The oversized stuff sack allows you to carry the Warm Bag with other necessary items. The hood is included. How warm does the Warm Bag keep you? In a recent test, a hunter stayed outside for a long period of time in Wisconsin during a cold snap. It was -6 degrees (Fahrenheit) outside the Warm Bag and almost 69 degrees inside the bag. If they sold a pillow with this thing, I would never see a deer again.
Most serious deer hunters try to eliminate as much human odor as they can while hunting. One of the best ways to keep human odor at a minimum is to wear Scent-Lok garments.
The new Scent-Lok Vertigo camo patterns not only control odors, but they keep you hidden as well. You can disappear into the landscape to fool the nose and eyes of even the smartest old whitetail.
Vertigo Grey features high-contrast light and dark regions that mimic the canopy view of trees, foliage and a typical overcast sky from the animal’s perspective, ultimately helping to destroy the hunter’s outline. Vertigo Grey has a dramatic effect on improving hunter concealment even at ground level and in hunting situations where the human silhouette can be detected by animals.
Vertigo Tan was developed to help conceal hunters at lower sight angles where more trees, branches and earth terrain are in view. Vertigo Tan is ideal for hunters who need concealment on the ground while maintaining the silhouette-busting, high-contrast light and dark areas of the Vertigo line. Vertigo Tan works well in elevated stands, too.
ASAT 3-D LEAFY SNOWSUIT
If you hunt deer in the late season when there is snow on the ground or if you enjoy predator hunting in the winter, ASAT Camo has a new 3-D leafy suit that is white, dark grey and light grey that will blend in perfectly with the winter landscape.
The 3-D leaves help break up the human outline and gently blow in the breeze, helping you to disappear. Simply slip the Vanish-Pro 3-D leafy snow suit over your warm clothes and you’re ready to hunt.
ROSCOBY RISER CAM
Shooting a whitetail with a bow is hard enough without adding the complication of a video camera. But what can an avid bowhunter do if he wants to film his hunts?
The Roscoby Riser Cam is a lightweight video camera that screws into the stabilizer bracket on almost any bow. Simply screw it in, turn it on and hit record. With the Roscoby Cam, everything that occurs during the hunt is recorded. As the bowhunter comes to draw and shoots, the entire scene is caught on film for the bowhunter and his buddies to watch over and over. The Roscoby Cam can also be attached to a gun.
$50 OR LESS
DOINKER CHUBBY HUNTER
A quality stabilizer can help reduce bow recoil and noise and helps archers shoot more accurately. Many people think a stabilizer is just for reducing noise and vibration, but they do a great job of keeping bows balanced and steady.
Tournament shooters have stabilizers on their bows as long as a broom handle for this reason. Although long stabilizers aren’t practical in the field, having a 6-10 inch model can really make a difference. The Chubby Hunter from Doinker is a great option. The Chubby Hunter has a weight in the front of the stabilizer that reduces vibration and keeps the bow balanced while in the hunter’s hand.
CAJUN BOWFISHING KIT
Almost anyone can participate in bowfishing, but not many archers take it up because of lack of equipment knowledge.
There are always lots of carp and gar pike to shoot at, regardless of where you live, and getting started is inexpensive. There are several bowfishing kits on the market like this one from Cajun Archery that includes the reel, the arrow and the tip. The only thing you need to purchase is an inexpensive bow from a garage sale. Bowfishing keeps your archery skills honed and your muscles strong — not to mention it’s a load of fun.
HOOK AND HOIST SYSTEM
A product doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to be great. One example is the Pine Ridge Archery Hook and Hoist System. If you hunt from a climber or any type of treestand, getting your gun or bow safely up to your hunting position can be a major undertaking. The Hook and Hoist system is a device that can be attached to your treestand. It includes a 30-foot rope and has a small hook that you can clip onto your bow or gun to lower or raise your weapon.
Once you’re settled in, the hooks can double as equipment hangers, thus solving two problems. The system can help you get your weapon up the tree and can help keep your favorite accessories within easy reach.
Duravanes is constantly striving to make vanes that can take a beating, steer an arrow and are easy to apply. They hit a home run this year with the new Fusion vane. The Fusion vane sports a 2-inch, high-profile design based on the increasingly popular footprint of today’s short vane designs.
With a profile similar to a traditional shield cut, the modified silhouette increases the surface area of the most critical point to the vanes’ anatomy. This unique design minimizes crosswind interference while maximizing broadhead flight and arrow stabilization.
Two distinctly different proprietary polymers are used for the base and the vane. They are then fused during the manufacturing process. By employing a soft suction-fit base and a durable and responsive tapered blade, Fusion vanes are uniquely flexible, forgiving, and easy to fletch.
Fusion vanes look great and can steer arrows shot from today’s hottest speed bows.
EP Hunting, a brand new broadhead company, has introduced a revolutionary new broadhead called the Reign
The broadhead is made entirely of stainless steel and utilizes SWIVELTECH Technology. The large blade is held in place during flight by a ball bearing. A pendulum motion allows it to maneuver between and around bone as it passes through an animal.
If one blade comes into contact with bone, the entire blade assembly swings to the opposite side, allowing the head to pass by the bone. The SHATTERHEAD tip features four blades that start cutting on impact. The steep angle on the tip is designed to split or explode bone outward like a mushrooming bullet. Between the bone-shattering tip and the blade that weaves and bobs its way around the chest cavity like a seasoned boxer, you’ll end up with a radical new broadhead that is said to penetrate deep and will surely catch on with bowhunters who enjoying trying new broadhead designs.
We’ve all tried rattling at one time or another, but most of us don’t rattle as often as we could, largely because we don’t like carrying big bulky antlers into the woods.
Knight & Hale Game Calls have solved this problem with their Pack Rack rattling system. The Pack Rack consists of two small disks with small knobs around the perimeters. It’s made of lightweight plastic and weighs just a few ounces, but big, realistic sound comes from this small package.
Whether imitating an aggressive all-out fight or early season sparring, the Pack Rack creates realistic sound with little effort and no smashed knuckles. Best of all, it fits easily into any fanny pack or backpack.
MUZZY PHANTOM-MX 85
Muzzy built the compact and aerodynamic 100-grain Phantom-MX for hunters wanting a traditional style with superior penetration, and it delivered. Now, Muzzy has designed a lighter, faster broadhead option: the new 85-grain Phantom-MX, which features the same unbeatable and superior flight as its larger relative.
With unfailing accuracy, the 85-grain, 2-blade Phantom-MX consistently packs a deadly punch no matter the conditions. The ultra-tough .040" thick blade with its 1 1/8" cutting diameter cuts instantly on impact to drive deep through thick skin and bone getting the job done. The blade is easily re-sharpened as desired.