Best New Cold-Weather Deer Gear
When you?re down to just a few bitter-cold weeks left to fill your tag, here?s some of the gear that will help you stay warm long enough to get the job done.
I've always admired the deer hunters who pull their trophies from the frosty forests of the late season. One consistent factor I've noticed in talking with them is an orientation toward gear — the specialized gear that can make or break a late-season hunt. This neat equipment is always evolving and I've looked over and picked out some of the outstanding new cold-weather deer gear for this season. Get it and get your deer!
Heater Body Suit And Coveralls
The single best new piece of bowhunting gear I've discovered in years — effective at not just helping me kill bucks, but bringing the joy back into bowhunting during its grimmest days — is the Heater Body Suit.
For those not in the know, the HBS is like a sleeping bag with legs. You tote it into the woods wearing light clothing so you don't sweat. Then you zip it on over your clothing once in your stand. When a deer approaches, you can silently unzip it from the inside to grab your weapon. Shoulder straps keep it from falling off your shoulders.
This is a great item that keeps you cozy in the worst conditions, and I no longer will hunt without one once it gets much below freezing. It has other benefits, like its great camo effectiveness and the fact that it hides your hand movements (they're inside the suit and out of sight.)
In recent years there have been improvements such as the EZ Series, which zips all the way down one leg and makes it easier to get the suit on and off. Major improvements for this year include the Coverall Series. These are single-layer fabric covers with optional water and wind barriers that increase the effectiveness and versatility of the suit. Coverall patterns include Waterfowler, Snow White, Blaze Orange and Skyline Horizon. Backland Adrenaline is new this year in the suit series; Skyline patterns are also available. The suits sell for $319 and the coveralls for $90. Contact www.heaterbodysuit.com.
Scent Lok: Camo ClimaFleece And ThunderTek Series
Scent Lok's ever-popular BaseSlayers series has been further improved with the all-new camo version of ClimaFleece. The new ClimaFleece has many of the same great features as the original ClimaFleece, including a half-zipper design, the "ClimaFleece Thermal Zip-T" that regulates body temperatures and is easy to get on and off. Like the original ClimaFleece bottoms, the new camo version offers a comfort stretch design that fits snugly to the body for ease of movement and extra heat retention. The tops and bottoms will be available in the new Mossy Oak Treestand pattern and in Realtree AP.
The BaseSlayers series contains great accessories, including the new Reversible Skull Cap, Reversible ClimaFleece Skull Cap, the Ultralight Headcover and the ClimaFleece Thermal Headcover.
Scent Lok's newest outerwear, the ThunderTek Series, is offered in several styles, each with unique features and benefits to accommodate a variety of weather conditions.
The key ingredient in all of Scent-Lok's insulated products is the PrimaLoft insulation. The specially treated and water-resistant fibers help form a dynamic insulating structure, keeping hunters warmer on cold and wet days in the stand.
The premier item in the assortment is the 4x4 Quattro parka and pant. This product features Scent-Lok in both the outer waterproof shell as well as the removable zip-out TimberFleece inner jacket and pant. Hunters can now experience the highest level of odor control with this two-layer approach to scent control.
In addition, Scent-Lok will also offer an upgraded model of the standard insulated parka and bib, also with Primaloft insulation. PrimaLoft is a premier insulation that is lighter than most insulating materials and provides superior warmth and comfort, even under soggy, wet conditions.
ThunderTek garments include the 4x4 Quattro jacket ($270); Insulated Parka ($160); and Insulated Bibs ($150). For more info, contact www.scentlok.com.
Ameristep Intimidator Blind
Late season was made for ground-blind hunting, and Ameristep's Intimidator blind is one of the best portable, quick-set-up blinds for the purpose.
The new hub-style Signature Series Intimidator features cutting-edge, Micro-Tech fabric that creates a comfortable and quiet hunting experience. The fabric eliminates shine and all excess noise with its dull fleece finish. The strap-free, fully adjustable camo mesh window system offers a 360-degree view that allows you to shoot in any direction. The blinds also have a reinforced shadow guard lining that eliminates shadows and silhouettes.
Other features include an electronic game call speaker window, three sealed camera ports, ground skirt to keep elements out and scent in, reflective orange safety system, noise-free magnetic window curtain, blind shelf for keeping gear at close reach, removable floor, camo backpack with padded straps with bow and gun holder carry system, shoot-through mesh windows, stubble pockets for concealment, and stakes and high-wind tie-down ropes.
The Intimidator is 60 inches square by 67 inches tall when set up — pack dimensions are 8 by 43 inches. It's available in Mossy Oak BreakUp and Realtree AP HD, and retails for $300. For more information, contact www.ameristep.com.
Wolverine Xtreme Boots
In the late season, what's more important than keeping your feet warm? For extreme conditions you want extreme boots, and it doesn't get more extreme than 1,000-gram Thinsulate Ultra insulation. Wolverine's Ridgeline Xtreme 9-inch boot helps protect feet in extremely cold conditions, allowing hunters to enjoy the season despite bone-chilling temperatures. The breathable Gore-Tex waterproof/breathable lining guarantees dry feet, while the removable full-cushion insole and compression-molded EVA midsole adds comfort. The Kodiak waterproof Nubuck leather and Cordura upper is available in a variety of camo patterns. The Ridgeline also comes in a 7-inch style with 400-gram Thinsulate Ultra insulation. Contact www.wolverinebootsandshoes.com.
Browning Transitions Series
When you're wearing the right gear, you'll be comfortable in the most severe conditions. If Mother Nature decides to kick up a blizzard or deliver a downpour, you'll be prepared with the most innovative, feature-packed Browning apparel ever.
The new Browning Transitions Series is sure to appeal to deer hunters who go to late-season extremes. The Transitions Series was created out of necessity with three primary objectives — to do more with less by eliminating weight and bulk while improving performance; be backpack-friendly by placing pockets where they can be easily accessed when wearing a pack; and finally, to revitalize the time-proven concept of layering. In the Transitions Series, Browning addresses the three major components of a layering system, namely the Base Layer or NTS (Next To Skin), the Middle Layer, referred to as the Insulation layer, and Outer or Protection Layer. Garments for each category have been created using the latest fabrics and design technologies that take layering to the next level.
NTS comes in both the lightweight Compression Fit for warmer days, and the heavier Arctic Weight for colder days. The NTS system has two purposes: the form-fitting design wicks moisture away from your body to keep you dry and comfortable, and NTS features the Browning OdorSmart Anti-Microbial technology from VisaEndurance.
The second layer in the Browning Transitions Series is the Insulation Layer. Offered is the new ScentSmart Shirt, T-Shirt and Pant. ScentSmart is also powered by VisaEndurance technology and represents the next generation of scent control performance. ScentSmart from VisaEndurance utilizes a revolutionary new molecule embedded in the garment that adsorbs human scent, preventing odor from escaping out into the atmosphere.
The next component of the Insulation Layer is the wind-resistant, lightweight, fast-drying and extremely breathable 4X Microfleece Jacket and Pant. The backpack-friendly design of these garments allows easy access to pockets. This fleece is four times more wind-resistant than traditional fleece. Because of this, 4X can function equally well as an insulation layer or as stand-alone outerwear.
The third and outermost layer in the Browning Transitions Series is the Protection Layer. Leading off the Protection Layer is the new Quest Gore-Tex Soft Shell Jacket and Pant. These revolutionary garments represent the "flagship" of the Transitions series. The fabric features a tough, three-layer construction that resists tears and abrasion yet still manages to remain soft and quiet.
Last in the Protection Layer is the Gore-Tex Storm Parka. With the new Browning Gore-Tex Storm Parka, you get the added protection and warmth of a parka-length garment. It combines a lightweight Gore-Tex laminate fabrication with lofty Thermore insulation, and a warm brushed tricot lining with OdorSmart antimicrobial treatment to kill odor-causing bacteria. For more information, visit www.browning.com.
Cabela's Outfitter Pro Snowshoes
Late-season deer hunters in the far North are faced with the most extreme conditions of all, including areas inaccessible because of deep snow. Here's your passport to these areas — top-quality snowshoes engineered with the finest materials and components by the leading supplier of snowshoes to the U.S. military's elite Special Operations Forces.
The virtually indestructible Easton frames are constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum for unbeatable strength without excess weight. And the durable reinforced deck is made of featherweight Nytex, the same material used to craft heavily punished Arctic dock bumpers. An innovative ratchet-buckle binding, the same binding preferred by the military for its secure fit on extra-large boots, offers easy adjustment while wearing gloves. Plus, it lets the shoes pack flat for ultra compact transport. Stainless-steel All-Trac toe crampons combine with patented stainless steel heel cleats for the aggressive traction needed to climb or descend even the steepest terrain. The cost? Just $140. For more information, visit www.cabelas.com.
Mike Strandlund is editor of Bowhunting World magazine and www.bowhuntingworld.com and is a member of the National Bowhunters Hall of Fame.
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