The 2nd day of the 2009 ATA Show found me wandering the halls with several members of the Bowhunting.com staff, looking for any cool new products that caught our attention. While there were definitely a lot of new products to look at, not too many of them really wowed us. However, we did find a few that we think are going to do very well this year.
One of the first products we saw was the StepBrother from SwiveLimb Treestands. Another extremely simple product that serves a great purpose, the StepBrother is a durable injection-molded handle that slides over your screw-in tree steps and provides a secure handle that rotates for screwing them in. No more gloves getting caught up as you turn the step, and no more sore hands from screwing in steps all day. With an MSRP of only $9.99 this product is affordable, and should be part of your stand-hanging gear for this summer.
SwiveLimb also had another cool little product called the TreWinch. Designed specifically for hunters who go into the woods on their own, the TreWinch ratchets securely to a tree and includes a 30 foot rope and carabineer that supports up to 300 lbs. This can be used for a variety of tasks including hosting deer to let them hang overnight, lifting animals from the bottom of a ravine or ditch, lifting a feeder, or anything else you may not be able to lift on your own. The next time you're out hunting on your own and you need to drag that 250 lb buck up a hillside you may be wishing you had a TreWinch with you!
The next item that caught my eye was a big Jim Shockey banner hanging down from the Alpine Archery booth. I’ll admit that I’m a Shockey fan (how can you not think the guy is cool??) so I figured I would check out what was going on. What I found was a new Jim Shockey Signature Series bow from Alpine, in Jim’s signature flat black riser and camo limbs. Unfortunately this bow isn’t finalized yet so there were no specifics available. As I learn more this spring I’ll make sure to bring you an update.
The Jim Shockey Signature Series bow from Alpine - more details coming soon!
Speaking on this product not being ready yet, I still don’t understand why the ATA show is so early in the year. People are just finishing up their busiest time of the year, some of us are still hunting, and manufacturers barely have time to get working prototypes available to show to dealers and the media. Why this show can’t be moved until February or March, I have no idea. It would give everyone time to get things in better shape before releasing them to the public. The only thing I can think of that benefits anyone are the print publications who are 3-4 months out from the time they get the info until it hits the press. But since print is dying, who cares? The Internet is the future of everything, and why the hunting industry keeps fighting that is beyond me!
But alas, I digress. Two other items I found at the Alpine booth that are new for this year are fully camo cover Soft-Loc quivers (no more black rods or mounting brackets), and a cool little wind checking device on a stretch cord with a handy carabineer. The quivers are available in a variety of camo patterns including Mathews exclusive Lost Camo for you Mathews fans.
After I left the Alpine booth I headed over to Stealth Cam to check out what’s new for this year. Todd has really sparked my trail camera curiosity as of late so I couldn’t resist.
The first thing that caught my eye is the new Prowler HD. This is the first trail camera (that I know of anyways) that takes HD video – both in day and night. Although it’s not full 1080 HD, it is 760 which is a lot better than the standard 640x480 that we’re used to. The Prowler HD also features an 8.0 mega pixel sensor for still images that are in a widescreen format. And the best part? Both the physical size and the price of the Prowler unit have been reduced for 2009!
Also new from Stealth are two new Jim Shockey Signature Series cameras. I guess Mr. Shockey has his hands in a lot of things these days! The new Sniper Pro is a standard flash 8.0 mega pixel camera while the Sniper IR is an infrared camera with 30 foot flash range and a 5.0 mega pixel sensor. The Sniper IR also does standard definition video (640x480) as well, which the Sniper Pro does not.
Around the corner from Stealth Cam I ran into my buddy Scott Bakken at the Bohning Archery booth. Scott and his brother David finished 2nd in this year’s Campbell Outdoor Challenge Whitetail Archery Qualifying event, taking the largest archery whitetail in Challenge history. I’ve seen the footage, and let me tell you it’s AWESOME! Check out the new episodes of the Campbell Outdoor Challenge airing on Versus now, Wednesdays at noon Central Time. You can also see Scott’s footage on the upcoming Bowhunting.com promo DVD which will be out later this summer.
New from Bohning for this year is a fletching jig that allows you fletch your Blazer vanes at a perfect 3* right offset every time. This jig is super easy to use and features an oversized rotational knob with a secure locking mechanism so you don’t have to guess whether you’re locked in or not. Yet another simple product that’s cheap, easy to use, and very effective. That certainly seems to be the trend in bowhunting gear this year.
Speaking of easy-to-use products I stopped by and visited with Andrew Hooyman at Hooyman Saws for a bit as well. The original Hooyman saw was one of our biggest sellers for this year, and we’re really excited about the improvements they’ve made for this year and the new 10’ model that will be released shortly as well. Todd is going to bring you more information about that product, but I did want to mention the new carrying case that’s available for the original units. This handy case can be attached to your belt, your pack, or even to your treestand so your Hooyman is always within arm’s reach.
After Hooyman my next stop was to see James and Barbara McGovern over at Rinehart Targets. New for this year is a Polar Bear target which has been added to Rinehart’s already huge lineup of popular 3-D targets. The Polar Bear is 60" tall, 23" wide, and simulates a 300 lb live animal.
One cool thing about the ATA show is the ability to shoot a variety of new bows that you may not get to shoot at your local shop or dealer. I took advantage of the lanes to shoot a few bows and one of my favorites was the new Ross Carnivore. As you may know, Ross archery was acquired by Bowtech several months back and the two companies have combined their technologies to improve their line of already impressive bows.
The most unique feature of the Carnivore is the hybrid cam system featuring the "Krank" system which provides an ultra-smooth draw cycle. I originally picked up my Diamond Marquis because of it’s smooth-drawing single cam but I think the Carnivore has it beat. This bow shoots great, is available in 3 different axle-to-axle lengths, 50/60/70 lb peak draw weights, and has an IBO rating of 310-318 fps. I’m hoping to get my hands on one for some additional testing and reviews so check back for more info on this great new bow.
Good friend, Bowtech staffer, and Bowhunting.com member Greg Staggs showing off the new Ross Carnivore.
Another product that I really liked, even though it’s not "new" (it was released last year) is the String Splitter from Sterner Duttera. The String Splitter is a peep-sight with an open bottom end which allows in more light during those critical low-light bowhunting situations. You simply line up the top of your pin guard with the arch of the String Splitter, settle your pin, and shoot. The String Splitter is available in 6 different sizes and 4 different colors so there’s something for everyone. The most popular version is the "Mini" with a ¼" opening. The Mini weighs in at 20 grains so it may be a bit on the heavy side for your speed freaks, but I’m willing to sacrifice a few FPS for better low-light shooting any day.
Trophy Taker, best known for their popular line of dropaway arrow rests, has acquired Shuttle T-Lock broadheads and released a new straight-blade head for this year called the Terminal T-Lock. The coolest thing about this head is that it uses the same ferrule as the popular T-Lock so all you need to do is purchase new blades if you want to switch heads. It’s only available in a 100 grain version with a 1 1/16" cutting diameter for this year, with more options likely to be available in 2010.
Another new product I have really enjoyed the past several seasons is the odor-eliminating storage products from ScenTote. For this year they have improved their entire line of soft storage bags with a new rip-stop material, which is good for those of us who are hard on our gear!
Also new for this year is an odor-eliminating bow case that is designed to allow storage of a bow with quiver attached, and features plenty of pockets to carry additional gear with you.
The changing mat from ScenTote is another great new product that is simple and to be honest I’m surprised someone didn’t think of this earlier! It’s a simple waterproof mat that you can stand on when getting changed in the field, which means no more standing on your storage bin lids, floor mats, old jackets, or trying to do a one-legged balancing act in the dark! The changing mat comes with all new ScenTote soft storage bags which have an external zippered compartment for storage, which is good considering it will probably get pretty dirty throughout the course of a season!
The ScenTote changing mat - ingenious!
The last product I want to mention in this blog is the new apparel from Sitka Gear. Since it was released a few seasons ago I’ve always wanted to get some of their stuff, and this year I just might. Sitka has teamed up with W.L. Gore (as in Gore-Tex) to feature their new Omnifade camo patter. This pattern was digitally created to blend into any terrain and be nearly invisible to ungulates (like deer). I won’t go into too much detail in this blog, but check out their videos at www.thescienceofnothing.com to see for yourself. They’re a bit long, but they’re well worth the watch. I have to admit, it’s nice to see camo technology evolving to be more effective in the field, not just on the store shelves!
New for this year from Sitka are several new lines including the StormFront gear for severe weather protection, and the Kelvin line featuring Primaloft insulation. Primaloft is super lightweight and extremely warm. I also have to mention the new line containing Ardica technology, which utilizes a lithium-ion battery to heat panels of the garment and keep you toasty warm on stand. Although I’m not so sure about the new "Dutch Oven", this looks like a pretty nice vest!
Now for two honorable mentions to some cool people we met during this year’s show.
First, noted outdoor writer and TV personality Mr. Greg Miller. Greg is a super cool guy who can kill big deer with the best of them, and has a great sense of humor. He didn’t even mind us razzing him a little about a buddy of ours who is a Greg Miller impersonator on the side. And the scary part is, they only live 10 miles from each other! Coincidence, or long-lost relatives? You decide!
Mike with the REAL Greg Miller.
Johnny "Fake Greg Miller". Scary, isn't it??
And finally this guy, I’m sorry I have no idea who he is even though he was signing autographs at the Muzzy booth, with one of the coolest sweatshirts I’ve ever seen. I have no idea if he knows Jim Shockey or not, but just the premise of "Jim Shockey Mows My Lawn" makes me laugh.
I do have more info to post on new cameras from Cuddeback and Moultrie, a cool new broadhead called the "Reign", some more info on the new Muddy Outdoors climbing sticks and improvements to their safety harness, new Aftershock broadheads, a new sight and improved Montec from G5, and cool new flashlights from Primos but I’ll have to do that tomorrow. Check back for updates!