Going to SHOT Show every year is exciting because you get to see all the new gear before it’s officially on the market. Being an avid waterfowler, I’m particularly interested in gear and equipment that goose and duck hunters would be curious about. Here’s some of the best from SHOT Show 2017 for waterfowlers.
Bogs Ranger Hunting Boots
My heart rate elevated a little when I saw the new Bogs Ranger Hunting Boots (http://www.bogsfootwear.com/shop/style/71630.html.) I was in the market for some new boots and they were on my hit list for SHOT Show.
The new 16” Bogs™ Ranger Boots offer durability and protection in the most rugged of hunting conditions. Lined with 7mm of Neo-Tech™ Lite and Bogs Max-Wick™ lining to achieve warmth without bulk, the Ranger provides more insulation than other brands’ “lite” boots while weighing in at a mere 2.6 lbs per boot. The heel kick on the back makes it easy to get them off. Comfort rated from temperate to -40˚F or sub-zero. The foundation sits on a thermo-molded EVA midsole with a self-cleaning 6mm deep lug outsole. Scent Combat series combined with biotechnology activates to fight unwanted odors and Rebound technology in outsole provides extra comfort. The price won’t break the bank either. Available in Realtree and Mossy Oak.
Hunting boots may be a misnomer. My initial intention for these boots was spring turkey and snow goose hunting, but I have an idea that I’ll be wearing the boots a lot during early season fishing forays, too.
Benelli Super Black Eagle 3
The biggest announcement at SHOT Show was the unveiling of Benelli’s new Super Black Eagle 3. I’m not sure how Benelli could improve on the Super Vinci that I currently shoot, but they claim they have. Benelli design engineers have spent nearly 10 years in development of the SBE3 with a focus on three areas of critical importance to the serious waterfowler: Improved ergonomics, intuitive, flawless functionality and an updated design. I think they succeeded.
The core of Benelli’s SBE3 is still the Inertia Driven® operating system, but there are enough design and ergonomic touches that the gun definitely has a new feel to it. It’s lighter weight, has even less recoil, handles better and emphasizes shooter comfort. It’s a softer-kicking, user-friendlier version of the original with new accents on the receiver. Some of the new features were borrowed from the Benelli Ethos, like the easy locking detent in the bolt assembly. An improved ComforTech stock and the trademark rubber chevrons that redirect recoil are much improved over the previous two versions and the SBE3 features a larger, softer cheek pad. The new oversized bolt and safety makes them easier to find and use with wet gloves on. The pistol grip is deeper allowing more control and trigger access. Other improvements include a slenderized, enhanced forearm, enlarged loading port for smooth feeding and a redesigned carrier/lifter that speeds performance. The capper, literally, is a new triangular ergonomic magazine cap.
The new SBE3 comes in at a very manageable 7 pounds and can cycle 2-3/4, 3 and 3-1/2 shell as fast as you can load ‘em. The cryogenically treated steel barrel produces stellar shot patterns with a variety of loads. The SBE3 is available in a synthetic black model, Realtree Max-5 and Optifade Timber. www.benelliusa.com
Mossy Oak Waterfowling Accessories
The folks at Mossy Oak Hunting Accessories rolled out a number of new accessories at SHOT. They weren’t earth shattering, but they sure would make waterfowl hunting a lot easier and likely put a few more birds on the strap. One fairly simple product that caught my eye was their new Texas-rigs with Diamond Grip and Flat-Belly No-Roll Anchors. I just experienced some difficulties on the Arkansas River when my friend was constantly chasing his Texas-rigged decoys down the river. I had similar issues hunting in windy Wyoming. A change in direction or a sudden gust of wind and my decoys would be piled up on shore or in an unwanted cluster. Mossy Oak’s new anchors would eliminate that problem. Made from eco-friendly cast iron both the Diamond-Grip and No-Roll Egg Sinkers provide better holding power in current or rough seas. The anchors come rigged on 400-pound monofilament with rounded snap swivels in weights from 4 to 12 ounces and lengths from 36- to 60-inches in 6 and 12 packs. The anchors can also be purchased unrigged and Mossy Oak offers Texas-style rigging kits so you can make your own complete with carabineers, swivels, crimps and mono.
Someone was thinking when they designed the new Mossy Oak Drawdown Timber Bag. Most backpacks aren’t designed for waterfowling. This one is, right from the molded waterproof base to the easily accessible shell box carrier that’s reachable when the bag is hanging. The large main compartment features waterproof, heavy-duty, oversized zippers, a fleece-lined internal valuables pocket and an internal choke tube holder. The quick disconnect shoulder straps store in the back pad so the backpack can be used as a blind bag. Dual Integrated game straps connect to form a single fully functional game hauler. The backpack features a sturdy face handle for horizontal use as a blind-style bag. Fold-down front pocket allows for organization when the backpack is being used as a timber bag with dual position zippers. The grab handle is detachable so you can hang the pack from a limb or branch and the hip belt wraps around tree trunks when needed. Shell loops on the outside of the bag keep goose loads or light loads for cripples handy. The 900D PVC lined polyester material gives the pack the rigidity and durability that all waterfowlers look for. 20” H x 15” W x 11” D. Available in Mossy Oak Bottomland and Blades.
Mossy Oak’s new Glade Bind Bag incorporates many of the same features used in the Drawdown Timber Bag, like the molded waterproof base. External pockets make getting to important gear quick and easy. The molded sunglass holder is a godsend when switching from shooting glasses to sunglasses. Internal pockets are perfect for licenses, keys, and valuables. One of the nicest features is the ability to carry the bag and your cased gun as one unit. A gun case can be attached to the side of the bag using a sleeve and straps system so you can carry your bag and gun in one hand and decoys in the other. Shell loops allow quick access to specialty loads. Made with 900D-coated construction for durability and strength. Available in Mossy Oak Blades and Bottomlands. 14.5” H x 8.5” W x 9.5” D. www.mossyoakhunt.com
Compass 360 Waders
Compass 360 is the new kid on the block and is making waves with waterfowlers. These days I find myself needing two pair of waders to get through the waterfowling season. A lightweight breathable pair is perfect during the majority of the season, but when things get nasty the warmth of neoprene is nice. Compass 360’s Deadfall™ Breathable Camo Boot-Foot Waders and Duratek™ 5 mm Dura-Stretch Camo Boot-Foot Waders will keep you dry, comfortable and hunting throughout the season. The 4-ply nylon upper and 4-ply double reinforced knees and shins in the Deadfall waders are just what the doctor ordered for waterfowlers who are rough on waders. The Deadfall waders offer durable comfort, mobility, and breathability that will keep you dry from the sweltering weather experienced on opening day until there is a little frost on the pumpkin. That’s when you’ll appreciate the 1,200 gram Thinsulate insulated modified ankle fit boots and fleece-lined chest hand-warmer pocket. A comfortable fit is assured with fully adjustable elastic suspenders and adjustable web wading belt both with quick release buckles. Puncture resistant Tripwire™ PU boot protection strips help Deadfall waders stand up to the kind of punishment waterfowlers dish out. A flip out security pocket and expandable chest pocket keeps gear at the ready. Available in men’s whole sizes 7 to 13 in Realtree MAX-5.
Compass 360 touts their Duratek™ 5 mm Dura-Stretch Camo Boot–Foot Waders as an ice bustin’ and mud slogging battleship with feet. That’s music to a late-season waterfowler’s ears. Using triple sealed seam technology and constructed of rugged 5 mm neoprene covered with a puncture resistant Dura-Span stretch nylon shell; these are the waders you want to have on during extreme waterfowling weather in the waning days of the season. Tough oversized, reinforced kneepads, puncture resistant Tripwire™ PU boot protection strips and warm 1200 gram Thinsulate insulated ankle-fit rubber boots insure you’ll be ready when the last migrants arrive. Deep chest hand-warmer pocket with handy shell loops, front waist storage pocket, expandable chest call pocket, adjustable, study web wading belt with D-ring attachment point and adjustable neoprene and web suspenders with quick release buckles insure nothing was left to chance. Available in men’s whole sizes 7 to 13 in Realtree MAX-5 and Mossy Oak Bottomland. www.Compass360gear.com
More and more waterfowlers are filming their hunts. And why not? Who wouldn’t want to relive the bevy of cans that came boring into the decoys with their feet dangling or the time the entire flock of a 1,000 screeching snows all tried to land on the “X” in the decoy spread. It’s never been easier with Tactacam 4.0.
All you do is attach the Tactacam 4.0 to your shotgun, push the power on auto record button to start recording. Push the button again when you want to stop recording. It’s that simple. The Tactacam 4.0 is easy-to-use, mounts easily on any shotgun and doesn’t interfere with your hunting. The Tactacam is water resistant and submersible to 10 feet, which is important to waterfowlers.
The Tactacam 4.0 is compatible with the Tactacam App which allows you to connect to your camera from your smart phone to turn it on and off, view photos and videos and transfer them to your device for easy sharing with your friends or on social media. Tactacam 4.0 also features 5x zoom, 2.7k HD video, low light sensor and a 360-degree microphone. Combined with Tactacam’s newly designed shell, quick- change mode button, external battery indicator and rugged water resistant construction and you’re ready to record this season’s action. The camera is rugged, built to perform and will stand up to the rigors of your hunt. One-touch operation with vibration indicator allows for easy camera operation. Built with an ultra high quality lens and low-light sensor that’s perfect for waterfowlers. Instead of using a fisheye lens that pushes the images away, Tactacam uses a unique lens design providing a view similar to what you see with the human eye. Tactacam 4.0 also now features an improved 5x zoom to bring the birds even closer. Those bluebills will look like they’re landing in your lap! Contact: www.tactacam.com.
Arctic Shield Outdoors SPEEDZ XL Layout Blind
Arctic Shield is one of my favorite companies because they have a lot of great gear for waterfowling and it’s reasonably priced. Arctic Shield’s new SPEEDZ XL Layout Blind is no exception. It has a bunch of features that only waterfowlers who have spent hours laying in a frozen, picked cornfield, can really appreciate. The SpeedZ XL Layout Blind has an adjustable backrest that has multiple positions from nearly flat to upright. Made of durable 600D polyester, using Retain™ heat retention technology in the adjustable head pillow, inner comfort pad and cover makes it possible to spend hours contentedly in the field. The zippered rear storage pocket comes in handy for hiding vacuum bottles, lunch, clothing and extra shells. A heavy-duty aluminum frame provides support, but the blind only weighs 12 pounds. The adjustable shoulder and cinch straps make it highly portable and simple to get in and out of the field. The see-though concealment mesh on the flip-over cover allows you to keep an eye on birds as they approach. Vegetation straps let you add local foliage. Realtree MAX-5 camouflage. The blind with backrest and mat is a roomy 82” x 22” x 14”. The cover measures 78” X 27” x 13”. To learn more about Arctic Shield’s complete line of waterfowling products visit www.arcticshieldoutdoors.com
Avian-X is always on the cutting edge of decoy design and development and 2017 is no exception. Proof is their new Avian-X’s full-body AXP and AXF Speckle Belly Fusion decoys. Avian-X Specks are molded from an advanced rubberized material and sport infallible, non-chip paint (AXP) and durable flocking (AXF) – not to mention the best motion stake system on the market, which works equally well on bare ground, in stubble or shallow water settings. The new Avian-X Specks are also compatible with Avian-X’s all new X-Stands. The decoys are available in Fusion Packs that include 3 feeders, 2 walkers and 1 sentry pose and a 6-slot bag in flocked and painted versions. The new decoys are the coup de grace for luring these sometimes chatty, but often aloof, white-fronts into sure shooting range. The decoys measure 21” L x 10” W x 14” H.
Sleeper Canada goose shells have become a larger and larger component of my late-season goose spread. Why? The more I study winter Canadas the more I see the majority of geese flat to the ground in a sleeper pose. Decoys like the new Avian-X AXP and AXF Canada Goose Sleeper Shells complete the illusion. Available in both painted (AXP) and fully flocked (AXF) versions, these one-piece stackable shells perfectly portray sleeping or resting geese. Molded from Avian-X’s advanced rubberized material and finished with incredibly realistic paint that will not chip, their deep relief and detail result in the spot-on realism that Avian-X is known for– a decoy that is nearly impossible to discern from the real thing. The perfect compliment to the Avian-X’s AXP and AXF Honker Shells featuring multi-position heads released last year, new AXP and AXF one-piece Sleeper Shells can also be mixed in with Avian-X full-body decoys, completing the ultimate, highly compelling, space-saving late-season spread. They provide a more natural appearance to any decoy spread, but it’s especially critical when working hard-hunted, late-season honkers. Available in six one-piece stackable shells. Slightly oversized at 23”L x 12”W x 8”H.
Variables like frozen ground, uneven terrain, monster spreads and differing decoy styles can make setting a convincing decoy spread a laborious task that can take hours. Problem solved. The all-new Avian-X X-Stand Motion Decoy Support System is a motion-decoy support system that holds any four full-body Avian-X duck or goose decoys that accept a stake. X-Stands can easily be collapsed for storage and transport, then quickly unfolded to form an X for decoy placement. Each X-Stand consists of two, 48-inch long U-shaped sections of powder-coated steel that articulate in the middle. Each corner is 16 inches high and has the same four-way stake end as the single stakes that come with the decoys. The result? Four full-body decoys with unrestricted movement deployed with record setting speed and efficiency. Kit contains six X-Stands to hold a total of 24 decoys. Made of durable, powder-coated steel, the X-Stand Motion Decoy Support System eliminates drilling and hammering motion stakes and facilitates rapid decoy placement and pick-up and easy storage and transport. For more information visit www.avian-x.com.
Flambeau Outdoors Gun Case
Flambeau Outdoors (www.flambeau.com) unveiled a new Soft Floating Gun Case that is good news for waterfowlers who are always dealing with moisture. The case features a Zerust liner that emits an odorless, harmless vapor around the shotgun to naturally form a protective layer around exposed, clean metal surfaces to help stop rust and corrosion. The 52-inch case is made using durable water-resistant 600D polyester (PU) coated construction with a nylon lining with foam padding. Available in Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Blades.