LAST UPDATED: May 1st, 2015
When Stan began bowhunting deer inn IL over 40 years ago he climbed into a tree and stood on a limb. He didn’t own a treestand yet, they were not on the market. In those days, if you wanted to be in a “treestand” you nailed some boards in place. On my first venture into bowhunting nearly 30 years ago I didn’t have a rangefinder so I stepped off yardages and made slash marks in nearby tree trunks to estimate shot distances. I threw my recurve bow over my shoulder and climbed into the treestand with a flashlight in one pocket and a knife in the other. No pull-up rope; no safety harness; no extra gear or pack full of gadgets.
Fast forward to today and neither one of us gets into a treestand without a safety vest. We both carry fanny packs filled with essential gear, and manufactured treestands come in nearly every shape and size you could want. The advancements in gear for bowhunters have provided us with many new gadgets to better our experience and improve our chances at filling tags. My intern, Alli Armstrong, took a walk through the aisles of the ATA show in search of the latest and greatest new gadgets and gear. We certainly can’t write about every new product at the show, but we did hand-pick a few favorites. Here are some of the items she found.
The Raider 600A from Redfield is a lightweight and compact option when looking for a new rangefinder. This rangefinder has a maximum range of 600 yards and regardless of the angle, this rangefinder will automatically compensate for the yardage you need to be shooting. I always carry a rangefinder when I’m hunting, especially bow hunting, because it’s crucial to know your yardage in order to make an accurate and ethical shot. When I range an animal before I shoot I have more confidence in my shot because I feel better about my ability to place the arrow where it needs to be. This rangefinder is easy to just put in your pocket or backpack. And, because it is lightweight, you’ll never know it’s there.
The TargetFace is a great new product that’s designed to be pinned to block targets or put over the top of bag targets. The bag TargetFace features life-like pictures of game animals printed on durable, waterproof vinyl canvas. Each target has a front and a back. The block TargetFace is printed on durable, waterproof corrugated plastic and is also double-sided. The TargetFace also has a variety of game animals such as deer, turkey, elk, boar, coyote, alligator, waterfowl, and small game to choose from. They can also customize a TargetFace for you so you can practice on that buck you’ve caught on trail camera this year….pretty cool!
Bowfinger Archery Mounts
Bowfinger Archery has two really cool types of mounts that can attach to your bow. One is the Bowfinger 2.0, which is a camera mounting system. With this system you can video your own hunt without the heavy equipment or high dollar cameras. The mount can be folded different ways to get the angle you want and can be attached to just about any camera with a threaded tripod mounting hole.
The 2nd mount is the Bowfinger 3.0, which is a smart phone mounting system. You can video your hunts as they’re happening and share them with your friends. Both of these products are manufactured in the USA.
Newcomer RealGear has a very clever and helpful product called the S.M.A.R.T. System Holder, which is designed to hold your phone. This system will clip to your safety harness with a hook and loop anchor that is attached to a coiled lanyard; allowing a 30-inch range of motion. The coiled lanyard is attached to a frame that is made to fit iPhones and can also fit a wide variety of phones and phone cases. This ensures that your phone is secure. There are no more worries of dropping it out of the tree stand and you don’t have to shuffle around to put your phone away when game comes by. Even though sometimes I don’t like to admit it, I’ve been caught trying to do something with my phone while deer are coming into sight. I have also dropped my phone out of my tree stand on multiple occasions. If I had the S.M.A.R.T. System Holder I wouldn’t have to worry about it.
Victory Archery’s bright pink arrows really caught my eye. Once I went into the booth and learned about their Pink Arrow Project I like them even more! A portion of every dozen arrows sold goes directly to the National Breast Cancer Foundation through this project. These arrows are just as great as the VForce arrows, only they come in pink. This may look like a product for women and girls but guys should be more than happy to shoot these too since they will be supporting such a good cause. Not only are these Victory Arrows a great product but they go to a great cause.
Little D Designs
It’s hard to find great looking wildlife inspired jewelry that is still unique and stylish, but Little D Designs has done just that. Their booth really got my attention with their beautiful jewelry for both men and women and the story behind Little D Designs touched my heart. Little D Designs was inspired by Drake Taylor. In November 2012, Drake lost his battle with Moya Moya, a complication associated with his MOPD type 2 dwarfism. To keep Drake’s passion for hunting and the outdoors alive, BigHeartsOutdoors.org was started as a nonprofit organization to provide access to outdoor family experiences for special needs children and young adults.
Lone Wolf Climber Treestand
Lone Wolf’s new Wide Flip-Top Climber “Combo” is a great stand for all day hunters thanks to its roomy design and comfortable padded seat. This climber has a big 30” x 19.5” platform with a wider stance and a roomy 14” x 12” seat. The comfortable foam padded seat reminds me of a gel seat and is mounted higher up so you’re ready to get into position. And it flips up so it’s out of your way when you need it to be. The stand is just 21 pounds, is easy to hang, has a pivoting sit and climb bar, and includes backpack straps and a bungee strap.
Tink’s Hot Shot
Tink’s has just come out with a new product called Hot Shot. It’s a newly designed misting lure that is one of the best I’ve seen. The Hot Shots come in several different scents including #69 Doe-In-Rut, #1 Doe-P, Power Moose, Trophy Buck, Glazed Donut, Predator Mist, and Sweet Weed. These lures are silent so they won’t scare away your game, have a consistent spray, and they can even spray upside down. Additionally, the Hot Shot is eco- friendly, it doesn’t waste any lure, and isn’t watered down. When sprayed, the Hot Shot has a long-range attraction and a powerful mist.
Hunter Safety System Elite Harness
The Elite Safety Harness from Hunter Safety System has a great new design. I know how important safety is, especially in the tree stand, and you’ll never find me in the tree stand without a safety harness. The Elite Harness has a design that is more functional and comfortable for hunters. The fabric on this harness is much softer and quieter than before. There are a total of eight pockets to store your gear including two deep-well pockets, two accessory pockets, two hand warmer pockets and two zippered pockets. Another great feature of this harness is its accessory straps to keep your rangefinder and binoculars ready when you need them, but out of your way when it’s time to shoot.
The scouting cameras from Stealthcam are now armed with the brand-new advanced technology of the ZX7 Processor. This technology is definitely going to give you the upper hand on that roaming buck you’ve been trying to keep track of. The Processor has great new features like its 5 digit external LCD counter, longer battery life, and faster trigger speeds. Some cameras take time to program, but with the Quick Set option you can get in and out quickly to reduce the amount of scent left behind. Several of Stealthcam’s new cameras have the ZX7 Processor including the HD Professional, the Shadow, the Unit X Ops, the Skout No Glo, the Unit X, and the Skout 7. These cameras are light weight and smaller so they’re easier to pack than most cameras.
For more information about the ATA show and the manufacturers exhibiting at the show visit www.archerytrade.org.