whatsnew By: Staff | August, 17
Venture Bucket Pack - $69.99
Quick-Shot Synthetic Shotgun Holster - $39.99
• Pockets for up to five boxes of shotgun shells (up to 3 inches)
• Dual insulated water bottle holders
• Combo unit comes with 5-gallon green bucket and Big Bear Silent Spin bucket lid seat
• Available option: Quick-Shot Shotgun Holster
This is one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?” products. How many times have you had to take a break from juggling or for rearranging your armload of gear on the way to your dove field? The Venture Bucket Pack allows you to transport all of that – except for your gun – while keeping your hands free. It’s as simple as it looks: a 5-gallon plastic bucket with camouflaged fabric cover that features gear pockets, D-rings and a padded harness for carrying on your back. This will take the drudgery out of getting not only to the dove field but also to the deer or duck blinds, ice fishing hotspots, turkey woods and so on.
The optional shotgun holster rides on the bucket or on the hip as it supports the weight of the shotgun while the hunter is waiting at the ready. Think of blockers at the end of a pheasant field, clay shooters awaiting their turns, grouse hunters taking a break or waterfowl hunters in knee-high water.
$179.99 to $209.99
• Lightweight hunting/hiking boot
• Available sizes: 8-12, 13, 14 in D and EE widths
• Heights: 7 or 9 inches
• 400 grams Primoloft insulation available in 9-inch model
The Ravines are just the thing we were looking for: a lightweight boot that will be kind to our feet when we hunt in extreme heat conditions. You can read about their specs at the Irish Setter website. We want you to know we’ve never found a more comfortable boot. Period. Our criterion for judging boots hinges on the answer to a simple question: At the end of the day, are our feet as happy to be wearing them as they were at the beginning? With the Ravine, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” On our first two days of testing we wore the boots for over 20 hours, and our feet came up smiling. We’ve worn them for walking, working, hanging around, tromping to soccer games and driving. The boots feel so good they might become our first stringers.
Podster – $199.99
• Backpack cooler
• 14.25-quart capacity = 7.5 pounds of ice with 12, 12-ounce cans
• Length: 15 inches, width: 9 inches, height: 15 inches
• Dry weight = 3.6 pounds; maximum load = 28.5 pounds
This is the daypack-size version of ORCA’s Pod cooler. It has most of the same features such as padded shoulder straps, cross-chest adjustable T-strap and plenty of MOLLE webbing for keeping important gear handy. We found this to be the perfect size for a full day away from camp with plenty of room for several water bottles, a full lunch, some treats and a nice afternoon snack. Of course, the Podster can be used just about anywhere; some of the colors it comes in are bright and lively, as one might want at family picnics, the beach, when tailgating, etc. We must comment on two things. First, don’t let the zipper lubricating instructions confuse you. To avoid a greasy mess, just put a little of the lubrication at each end of the zipper, not along its entire length. Second, the top of our test model would not stay open, forcing us to hold it with one hand while loading it with the other. We brought that to the attention of the folks at ORCA who responded, “We are working to make the next production of the Podster to open and stand like the Pod.”
Robust Men’s Hunting Pants - $145
• Great fit
• Finest quality cotton
• Cordura leg fronts and trim
• Multiple pockets
The Robust Men’s Hunting Pants are great for upland hunters in most terrains.
We found them to be very comfortable with a much better fit compared to other upland pants on the market and lightweight – less than half the weight of the denim version of upland pants.
Gaston Glock Style uses 98 percent finest quality cotton and 2 percent spandex. The Cordura on the front part of the pants repels brush well.
The pants have many pockets, including two on the back with zippers to secure valuables like wallets and two leg pockets with button flap closures and an integrated knife pocket. Cordura trim on the pockets adds to their stylish appearance.
They are available in men’s regular fit, small to 4XL or men’s stocky fit, small to large.
Gun Camera – $695
• Four target settings: clays, flying birds, ground game, paper targets
• 4.5 inches long by 1.25 inches in diameter
• Weight including mounting bracket: 5.5 ounces
• Comes with 12-gauge over-under bracket
The ShotKam is a high-tech shooting tutorial device that allows the user to examine shooting moments to see what was done right or done wrong. A reticle in the replay picture shows the point of aim relative to the target. Depending on the target setting selected, the unit will switch on with the closing of the action (clays) or a bump to the gun’s forearm (flying or ground game). It will enter “sleep mode” after a variable number of seconds of inactivity. Once the unit senses the gun’s recoil, it only saves the video from the critical time just before, during and after the shot. There is also a laser feature that can be turned on for indoor practice of gun mount and swing. Other over-under mounting brackets are available for 20-, 28- and .410-gauges. A side-by-side bracket is also available for 12-gauge.
We found the ShotKam to live up to expectations. To be able to replay hits, misses and “almost misses” in slow motion is like having an electronic shooting coach. Plus it’s fun to use!
Pathfinder Tracking & Training System - $399.99
• 9-mile line-of-sight range
• Stimulation levels: 1-100
• Nick and constant stimulation
• Audible tone
• Fully waterproof
• Two-second update rate
• Geo-fence option
• Offline maps
• Tracking-only mode
• For dogs as small as 35 pounds
• Tracks up to 21 dogs or hunters
• Utilizes Google Maps
• Maps of hunts sent to home computers
As the photo shows, three components make the Dogtra Pathfinder work: the collar, the connector and the smartphone. The smartphone, of course, is not included. The connector looks like the controller for most other electronic collars. It is the little black box with the antenna and neck strap. But it’s not used to control anything. Once it’s switched on, it functions kind of like the wireless router you might have at your home. The satellite (the collar in this case) sends signals to the router (the connector). In turn, it sends the signals to the computer (phone) empowering it to do things.
The first thing that impressed us about the Pathfinder was its ease of use. How easy? Twice, first when notifying us the testing unit was on its way and then immediately after we told her it had arrived, the Dogtra rep told us a technician would be happy to help us figure out the directions. But we wanted to try for ourselves – and we’ve never found a tracker collar easier to set up and operate. Getting up and running was as easy as downloading the app and switching on the collar and connector. The setup is simple, especially if you are only tracking a single dog. Plus, once the user downloads the app, the Pathfinder works without using cellular data. There are no extra navigation packages to purchase.
We also liked how the collar vibrates when the dog is on point. We’ve wondered if, as has been speculated, over time birds have become “hunter-engineered” to run away from the “Point!” beep of electronic collars. If so, this feature will help counter that tendency.
Finally, once we returned home and downloaded the afternoon’s run into Google Earth, we were surprised to see how closely the dog had stayed next to us, even when we couldn’t see it, compared to how far it roamed when wearing a bell. This would seem to confirm a theory among trainers that dogs wearing beepers or bells count on them to be “reverse check cords,” roaming farther and farther away until the handler can no longer hear them and calls them back.
The Maps feature gives up-to-date terrain and satellite views. The compass shows the dog’s direction of movement and distance from the handler. The e-collar function can be disabled anytime, if preferred.
The app is available at both the App Store (iPhones) and Google Play (Android phones).