I have a couple of gorgeous mule deer on my wall that I never would have tagged had it not been for shooting sticks. The same goes for my best elk and a laundry list of game taken in Africa.
Shooting sticks come in many varieties, but the common denominator is that all sticks provide an added measure of stability in the field and can dramatically increase the effective range of any hunter when they’re used the right way.
This is the year of the riflescope. Optics companies have figured out that there’s just not much they can do to improve a 10x42 binocular. Sure, they can add a laser rangefinder, or enhance the optical coatings or rubber armor. But when an open-hinge body or a softer eyecup passes for innovation, we have reached the latter days of progress.
I would be willing to bet my last brick of .22LR that most of the hunters who initially complained about laser rangefinders now tote one in their pack. But their inner workings remain a mystery to most. And a hunter who doesn’t understand what makes a rangefinder tick will not get peak performance from his unit.
Trying new loads in your rifle is always a good idea—you might discover that your groups shrink to a satisfying ragged hole by experimenting this way. But the cost of a box of premium ammo is significant. Here's one way to vet whether a box is potentially worth investing in.
If you want to critique your shooting form or just post cool footage onto your YouTube page, Replay has two cameras that can help. The 1080 Mini and the Prime X have features have a handful of features that will make them well fit for the shooting world.
The cameras are super portable, they vibrate when turned on (so you won't have to stop and check to make sure its recording), and they come with a picatinny mount. The Mini version is a 5-megapixel camera and will retail for $199. The larger version is a 16-megapixel camera and has a 3.5-hour batter life.
Seaduck decoys have come a long ways in the last few years, and these new dekes from Avery are the latest evolution. The Greenhead Gear decoys are foam-filled, which means they should be able to eat some steel and keep floating. As seaduck hunters know, their hunting gear is going to take a beating. This is especially true for decoys that draw in low flying birds that often take more than one shell to kill. So, give these dekes a shot the next time you head out for seaducks.
Features are the name of the game when it comes to new hunting packs and Alps' Crossfire has plenty of them. It sports a vented mesh back panel, a frame system, and a detachable accessory pocket. It also features a gun or bow carrier, a blaze orange pack cover, and more compression straps than you'll need. This should make for a solid day pack for any type of big-game hunter. Expect it to retail for about $90 to $100.
This is one of the brand-new full-featured, roof prism binos we saw for well under $200. Again, this one has the phase-coated BaK-4 prism and fully multi-coated lenses; it’s also waterproof, rugged, comes in 8x42 or 10x42, and has a full lifetime warranty—all for around $150. But while we were looking for new bargains, we spotted an old friend, the Porro prism BX-1 Yosemite, which goes for around $75. If you think you can’t get decent binos for so little money, you need to look through these. In the past, Porros fell out of favor for being too big and clunky, but that’s not what you get here. The Yosemite gives you an incredible-for-the-price image in a quite compact package. It comes in 6x30, 8x30, and 10x30, be we especially love the 6x for its big field of view and bright picture—perfect for bowhunting or for still-hunting the big woods, where you don’t need a lot of magnification.
This new knife from Buck is being marketed as 'tactical' but it could just as easily find its home in a hunter's pack. It has an aluminum handle and a blade of 154CM steel. The most interesting feature on this new knife is the locking system. This system makes the knife very strong and allows it open quickly. It will retail for about $125.
This 4-inch, drop-point knife from SOG was one of the most innovative products of SHOT Show. It has a stainless steel blade and and an injection-molded handle. But the most intriguing feature is the 6 LED lights that give you 90 minutes of burn time. If you've ever found your deer after dark just as your headlamp batteries were dying, you'll fully appreciate the intelligent design of the SOG Bladelight Hunt.