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by Brenda Potts 21. February 2012 10:34
Brenda Potts

For the past few months we have attended several shows (including ATA, SHOT and Eastern Sports Show) and reviewed hundreds of products. Many great innovations caught my eye but two are at the top of my list. I cannot decide which is my favorite so I am declaring a tie. First place is shared by X-Steps from JWJ Outdoors and the TreeBlind from Nature Blinds.

TreeBlinds. Combine the creative talents and imagination of a Hollywood set designer with his passion for hunting and you get one of the coolest ground blinds ever created. Nature Blinds is producing a ground blind that looks so much like a tree, even its creator has been fooled when taking hunters to the stand. The outer surface mimics the texture of real bark. Animals don't seem to notice the blind as Mr. Whitetail, Larry Weishuhn attested, "Deer were just a few feet away from us and never even looked at the blind."  Texas Outfitter Mike Stroff also believes in the blind's qualities stating," It's so quiet and soundproof inside, we can talk on camera with deer 10 yards away... incredible!" The folks from Nature Blinds also explained how the insulating qualities of this blind can bring the temps inside the blind up to a comfortable level with just the body heat of the individuals inside, while the outside temps are near freezing. The patented window system is one of the best I have ever seen in a ground blind.

While we are on the subject of ground blinds there were a couple more worth noting.

D.I.R.T. (Do It Right Treeblinds) If you are looking for a semi permanent box blind but don't want to build the thing from scratch, try ordering one of the "pre-fabricated" blinds from D.I.R.T. Many times, once a big box blind like this is built and set in place, it never moves. Which may or may not be a good thing. But with these blinds you can take them apart and rebuild them without having to be a carpenter. Which is right up my alley since my carpentry skills are a bit lacking, but after looking it over inside and out, I'm sure I could easily put this together with a little help. They attest that "If you can carry a sheet of plywood to your hunting spot, you can set up a D.I.R.T."

Snap Lock Hunting Blinds. For those interested in a relatively portable ground blind that is a step up from the fabric pop ups, the Snap Lock Blind has weather resistant, insulating qualities. This blind can easily be assembled without tools. It is lightweight and comes in 2 sizes. The blind can be fastened to a wooden floor for even more stability.

Several other products make my list of new and notable.

Night Com UV. Although they don't advertise this potential use, the Night Com UV flashlight  from  Streamlight has an ultraviolet LED that enhances blood trails. It works best when the blood is fresh. The flashlight is super bright on its highest setting, water resistant and of rugged construction. I have been a Streamlight flashlight fan ever since receiving one of their keychain lights called the Nano Light. This tiny flashlight has "saved the night" many times and is practically indestructible, made of machined aircraft-grade aluminum with anodized finish. I know I will never be without one!

Little Mule. How many times could I have used this! When it comes to deer hunting, I can do pretty much all of it on my own with the exception of dragging the deer out of the woods. This product makes that arduous task a breeze. The inventor has loaded the Little Mule with features including Kevlar tires, a built in winch, front and rear lights and an optional hitch making the cart capable of attaching to the back of your ATV once you get the ensemble back to the vehicle.

The Turkey Nightmare. I would love to try this invention for bowhunting turkeys. I also have a young grandson who hasn't quite grasped the concept of "Don't move." Maybe this would help!


Cyclops Flare Spotlight Review

by Justin Zarr 13. October 2011 14:35
Justin Zarr

Flashlights are one of those pieces of gear that most of us forget about until we need them the most.  Whether we're changing a flat tire on the side of the road or helping a buddy track out a wounded deer, having a good, dependable light is a must.  While I've owned a number of flashlights of all shapes and sizes in my life, the Cyclops Flare is my current favorite.

This particular spotlight has already proven itself extremely handy this fall as I used it during an evening track job with my hunting partner Mike Willand.  Even with two other guys both with flashlights in hand, the Flare outshined them both and allowed me to see the blood trail yards ahead of everyone else.

With 3 high output LED bulbs the Flare puts out 193 lumens of bright white light.  For those of you keeping score at home, that's a LOT of light.  By comparison my 3 D-Cell Mag Lite with Krypton bulb, which has been my go-to light for a number of years, only puts out somewhere around 20 lumens of light. (Current figures using the newest methods for measuring lumens are currently unavailable on Mag Lite's website).

This picture shows the beam of light emmited from a 3 D-cell Mag Lite.  The photo was taken on my deck, and the deer target is 23 yards away.

This photo, taken in the exact same spot, shows the beam of light emmitted from the 193 lumen Cyclops Flare light.  A noticable improvement, wouldn't you say?

The 3 high powered LED lights provide the 193 lumen output of the Cyclops Flare.  The additional 6 low power green LEDs located around the outside of the light provide a good amount of light for scanning the immediate area in front of you.

Using the high power LED bulbs the Cyclops will burn for an impressive 3.5 hours.  By switching down to the 6 low power green LED bulbs you can squeeze out 100 hours of burn time.  The green lights are good for viewing the immediate area when you don't need the brightest of bright lights.  They're also good for find your way to your stand in the dark if you dont' want to alert game, or other hunters, to your presence.

The Cyclops Flare runs off 6 AA batteries which, nicely enough, are included with the light.

Aside from it's just it's sheer brightness I've become a big fan of the Cyclops' ergonomic handle.  Using the always-on lock switch I can turn the light on, and pan the area I'm exploring with ease. 

All in all, I've been extremely impressed with the Flare so far.  I've had it for a few months now and used it a handful of times and walked away impressed every time.  Hopefully I can put it to good use this fall on a few more blood trails.

If you're looking for a new flashlight for not just hunting purposes, but any purpose, check out the Flare.  With a $50 retail cost you can't go wrong.

The Cyclops Flare spotlight - a great bargain at just $50.

Primos Hunting Light Series - The Perfect Flashlights for Hunters?

by Justin Zarr 26. February 2009 14:36
Justin Zarr

For many years the standard Maglite has ruled the roost for the majority of hunters.  I've owned more D-Cell Maglites and Mini-Maglites than I can even recall, half of them which mysteriously ended up in the black abyss of flashlight oblivion, the other half of which the flashlight gnomes made off with while I slept.  While on the hunt (no pun intended) for a new light I ran across the new Hunting Light Series from Primos.

The first thing that caught my eye on these new lights was their brightness in comparison to their size.  While the standard Maglite does a great job for what it is, carrying around a 4, 5, or 6 cell Maglite can be a real pain.  The largest of the Primos Hunting Lights is the PH-6 which runs on 6 AA batteries and puts out a whopping 220 lumens.  On the brightest setting the PH-6 has a continuous burn time of 10 hours, and 18 hours on the low setting.  By comparison, a 4 D-Cell Maglite with standard Krypton lamp puts out 122 lumens with a run time of 9-10 hours.  So you're looking at nearly twice the brightness with the same continuous run time in a considerably smaller package.  Even the monster 6 cell Maglite with Xenon lamp only puts out 12 more lumens than the PH-6.

Stepping down one size in the Hunting Light Series is the PH-2 which is comparable in size to a Mini Maglite 2 AA model.  The PH-2 uses the same AA batteries and has a 90 lumen rating and 6 hour burn time compared to the Mini Maglite's 15 lumens and 5 hour run time.  One additional feature of the PH-2 that I like over the Mini Maglite is the push-button on/off switch located on the back of  the light.  I know from using my Mini Maglite all season that it can be a pain to turn it on or off using the twist switch when you've only got one free hand - especially with gloves on.  The PH-2 also features a rubber "bite guard" which allows you to hold the light in your mouth easily when you need both hands.

The smallest model in the new Primos lineup is the PH-1.  This light uses a single AA battery, has a bright 90 lumen rating, and 3 hour burn time.  The coolest feature about this light is that it comes with a metal hat clip for use when walking in or out of your stands in the dark.  What I like about this is that you can use the light to walk into your stand, then take it off your hat and use it if needed once you get into your stand.  This will really come in handy next fall when we're filming hunts, as setting the camera up in the dark can be a pain in the butt.  While you can always take a traditional headlamp off and use it as a flashlight, having the rubber bite-guard  definitely puts the PH-1 near the top of my list of gear additions for this fall.

The Hunting Light series from Primos should be available in May, and as soon as they are released you can bet we'll have them in stock and ready for sale here at  Suggested retail costs are as follows:

  • PH-6 - $54.99
  • PH-2 - $34.99
  • PH-1 - $29.99

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