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.
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 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.
It's not a switch blade, but you can definitely open the new SOG Zoom with one hand. The 4-inch, drop-point blade is made of AUS steel and the handle is made of aluminum. The safety is designed to keep the knife from opening in your pocket. It will retail for about $100.
Nightforce was able to keep the costs down on its new SHV (Shooter, Hunter, Varminter) by utilizing simpler controls, employing a less complex manufacturing process, and by reducing the overbuilding that goes into their tactical scopes. The SHV will stand up to any kind of sane treatment, but you can’t break rocks with it, or chock truck tires, or beat recalcitrant mules, as you can with the higher-priced Nightforces.
The XTR 2 Series is Burris' latest push into the tactical scope market. This series of scopes has a wide range of magnification options, from 1-5 to 8-40, and includes a ton of features. The scope in the video is a first focal plan mil scope, but it utilizes a donut-shaped reticle feature on the second focal plane. This reticle doesn't change sizes as you zoom up or down in magnification. The scope also includes an offset mount and a red dot sight.