New High-Tech Hunting Gear Roundup

Technology has pervaded every aspect of our lives, from the office and the home to how we entertain ourselves--and even how we hunt. The latter is a source of consternation among traditionalists, but for the modern deer hunter willing to embrace the cutting-edge gear manufacturers produce each year, the hunting experience can be richer, safer, and ultimately more productive.

Riflescopes
▶ Internal improvements, better coatings and glass, and increased offerings in range-­compensating reticles have made it so that many riflescopes cost as much as, if not more than, the gun they ride atop. However, for the hunter who understands "you can't shoot it if you can't see it," the cost is worth it, particularly when improved light transmission can mean making the shot during those first few or final critical moments of shooting light.
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Top Pick**_
The Nikon Monarch 2.5-10x42 BDC provides a 4x mag range and excellent low-light performance. The BDC reticle aids in shot placement at multiple distances. ($430)

Clothing
▶ In order to stay mentally sharp, physically protected, and functioning efficiently when the elements turn brutal, quality hunting garb is critical. The best of today's technologically advanced garments are made from materials that are quiet and lightweight yet durable, and that keep moisture and cold out. They're not cheap, but a good set can last for years. When the weather turns bad, you won't question the investment.

**Top Pick **
Columbia Trophy Shot jacket and bibs, with thermal reflective technology, retain heat without bulk. (jacket: $200, bibs: $200)

ARs
▶ The increasing availability of AR rifles in deer-thumping calibers (.243, 7mm/08, .30 Remington AR, 6.8 SPC, .308 Win., and most recently, .300 AAC Blackout and .300 Whisper) is making them more attractive to our nation's legions of whitetail chasers. Combine that with a recoil-managing semi-auto action, the availability of a collapsible stock for portability, a battle-proven design that can take a beating in the field, and enough rails and aftermarket options to configure your gun to specific needs, and you have one unbeatable deer rifle.

**Top Pick **
The Ambush 6.8 Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity is an AR designed specifically for hunters, with a camo finish and an indexable forend. ($1,799)

GPS
▶ Erase the worry of being unable to find your stand in the dark with a modern handheld GPS unit. Today's models acquire satellites faster and lock on to them better for pinpoint accuracy, even in cover. They allow you to mark where you parked, and where your buck finally expired. Never again worry about getting lost, even at night, when setting off to track wounded game.

**Top Pick **
The Garmin Fenix GPS watch is just hitting the market and offers all the features of a full-service handheld unit, but in a far more convenient form. ($400)

Binocular-Rangefinder
▶ A good bino is a must for any deer hunter intent on glassing brushy hillsides for bedded deer or sizing up a buck that just stepped out at the other end of the bean field. A rangefinder is critical for judging how far away the animal actually is. With several models available and more to come, look for binoculars that also function as rangefinders. They eliminate fumbling from one to the other as a whitetail appears, and they cut down on the amount of gear you need to carry.

**Top Pick **
The Swarovski EL Range pairs unmatched optical quality with extremely fast and accurate ranging capabilities. The design is ergonomic, and the unit weighs just 32 ounces. ($2,979)

Apps
▶ Smartphones aren't just for checking e-mails or texting your BFF. There are a number of apps--many of them free--that can help you track your fellow hunters; keep tabs on the wind; get precise weather forecasts for your area; mark stands, trails, and other important features; and much more. While it doesn't replace a serious GPS for navigating the backcountry (yet), a GPS app can be used to find your way in an area with sufficient cell coverage.

**Top Pick **
Cabela's Recon Hunt allows hunters to view maps and satellite images, mark boundaries, view weather forecasts and moon phases, and more. (free)