I’m starting to get that gaunt stare and hollow cheeks that are my own sort of seasonal affective disorder. You probably have it, too. You’ve been hunting hard for a couple of weeks, you are missing meals and not so diligent about personal hygiene.

You are so familiar with your hunting gear that you can find everything in your pockets and pack in total darkness.

Familiarity breeds contempt, not only with neighbors but also with hunting gear, so I’m taking a mid-season break to propose a few inventions that would help all hunters be happier, healthier and more effective.
In no particular order, here they are:

Periscoping Rangefinder
Laser rangefinders have become essential gear, but they have a design flaw. They require that you contort your body to get a clear line of sight to your target. In some cases, that means you have to risk spooking game to get a range reading, showing your head and at least one hand. What if rangefinders had an extended eyepiece with a prism so that you could literally find a range around a corner? I’m thinking of the sort of extension that submarine periscopes use to see from below the water’s surface. A periscope rangefinder would allow us to range targets undetected around corners, over obstructions and in tall grass.
Bow Release with Built-In Grunt Tube**
Bowhunters rely on grunt tubes to stop a buck in order to get a standing shot, but in the moment of truth, it can be hard to wrangle a tube, draw your bow and get a sight picture. I’d like to see a bow release with a built-in grunt tube. The release is already right at your face, and it would be a cinch to simply blow on the tube just before releasing the arrow. Design challenge: add a snort/wheeze call to the built-in grunt tube.

Urine-Scented Wind Dope
A friend of mine uses scented baby powder in a little squeeze bottle to determine wind direction. I laughed at him when I first saw it. “They’re going to spook when they smell that perfume,” I told him, but his response was that if the wind is heading their direction, he’s already been busted. I have a different take. What if the wind-doping powder could be supplemented with a natural scent, either moss or earth or–even better–synthesized deer urine?

Subtending Stickers
Sometimes you don’t have time or space to shoot a target with a rangefinder — I’m thinking archery antelope on the open plains or still-hunting whitetails in cover. In those cases, it’s nice to have another means to determine distance. I propose a series of vinyl stickers that could be pasted to a bow’s riser or limb. The stickers would be precisely sized to represent the size of an average buck whitetail (or pronghorn, or elk) at known distances. It’s called subtending, and the job of the hunter is to match the size of the sticker with the real animal to estimate the distance. It might take some work to get this down, but in the moment of truth, a subtending aide sure beats guessing the distance.

Those are just a few of my ideas. What are yours? What inventions would you propose to make your hunting both more satisfying and successful?

Photo: Chauncey Davis