Bestul and I just returned from the Archery Trade Association show in Louisville, Kentucky. In the hubbub of these events–with all the meetings, and press luncheons, and bumping into friends and colleagues–the only way to get anything done is to narrow your focus. So for the most part we honed in on the new flagship bows for 2013 and will be posting a full report soon.

But in between shooting bows and standing on line to shoot bows, we did manage to hunt down a handful of really innovative accessories for the coming season. Here are three to start with:

X-Stand Hang-On (pictured above)
MSRP: $249 for stand and bracket; $369 for stand and 4 sticks

This company made a big splash a couple years back with its ultralight X-1 Climber, winning an F&S Best of the Best Award in 2011. This year, they have a new hang-on stand that weighs just 10 pounds, despite its fairly roomy 31×21-inch platform. What’s more, it includes a slick mounting bracket that, once strapped to the tree, allows you to attach the stand in seconds with a simple pin. You can buy several brackets, put them up in different places, and use one stand to hunt all those spots. And as if that weren’t enough, the stand also has built-in attachment points for the company’s climbing sticks, which weigh a very wispy 2.5 pounds each. The stand and 4 sticks all nestle together into a packable package that weighs just 20 pounds.

Ol’ Man The Drone Climbing Stand
MSRP: $399

The new Drone is the only climbing stand on the market that lets you adjust the length of both cables–and thus the angle of both platforms–as you climb, with your full weight on the stand. This is a real breakthrough. There isn’t a hardcore climbing-stand hunter who hasn’t always wanted this ability, because we have all at some point attached a climber to the bottom of a tree at the wrong angle and wound up standing on an awkwardly inclined or decline platform, feeling like the stand wants to pitch us out of the tree. With The Drone, you can make the adjustments on the fly. It ain’t cheap but it also pack down as flat as a pizza box, weighs just 22 pounds, and is comfortable to sit it. Check out the video below to see how it works.

Primos Waggin’ Whitetail
MSRP: $65

The Waggin’ Whitetail is a remote-control tail that can be attached to any deer decoy and made to swish from up to 40 yards away. Bottom line: It’s a huge jump in realism compared to the standard deer tails so many of us attach hoping the wind will activate; instead, they too often either don’t move or just list in a steady breeze. The motion of the Waggin’ Whitetail is very lifelike (check out the short video clip), and it sends the message to real deer that all is right in the world of your “buck.”