**New L.L. Bean Winshooter's Dressing Kit
My vote for the handiest bird-hunting item as SHOT goes to the new L.L. Bean Wingshooter's dressing kit, which includes a perfectly-designed bird and trout knife made of good 'ol 1095 carbon steel and canvas Micarta handles. The shears are built for stout and have a built-in bone notch and a ball at the end of the scissor blade for sliding under skin. --Chad Love.
Wolverine Blake Upland Boot
This new 9-inch uninsulated boot from Wolverine features a waterproof full-grain upper, Goodyear Welt construction (which allows the boot to be re-soled), a traditional wedge outsole, an air cell footbed, and a wicking mesh lining. –John Taranto
DT Systems’ H20 1800 Plus E-Collar Several e-collar companies introduced new products at SHOT, including the H2O 1800 Plus in Longleaf Fatal Flight camo, from D.T. Systems. The 1800 plus is fully waterproof, has up a one-mile range, a floating transmitter, is expandable to two or three-dog systems and has 16 levels of both nick and continuous stimulation. –CL
Federal Black Cloud Close Range
Expanding upon their popular Black Cloud line of waterfowl ammo, Federal is introducing five 3-inch Close Range loads, “engineered to put more pellets on targets 20 to 30 yards away.” Two 1-ounce 20-gauge loads come with 2s and 4s. Three 1 1/4-ounce 12-gauge loads will be available with 2s, 3s and 4s. The 20-gauge loads clock 1350 fps, while the 12-gauge loads hit 1450.
Dokken Pro6 Leash Dokken has introduced a unique new twist on the standard leash with its innovative Pro6, which is billed as “five leashes in one.” The lead can be used as a standard leash snapped into a collar, a slip lead, a halter leash, a waist halter and can be attached around the trainer’s waist for hands-free walking. –CL
Tanglefree Wigeon Decoys Waterfowlers looking to add some diversity to their field spread have a new full-body wigeon decoy from Tanglefree decoys. The 16-inch decoys come in a four-pack with two drakes and two hens, two upright and two feeders. –CL
Tri-Tronics Nightrazor Headlamp The new Nightrazor from Tri-Tronics will certainly be of interest to houndsmen and duck hunters. This 180-lumen headlamp has four levels of intensity and is cordless, rechargeable, waterproof, weighs less than six ounces, and depending on brightness mode can run up to 40 hours._ –CL_
Flamin’ Bois d’Arch Cajun Squeal Mallard Call If the beautiful new Flamin’ Bois d’ Arch Cajun squeal duck call from Haydel’s Game Calls sounds as good as it looks, it’ll be a winner. This classic double reed call is turned from a chunk of Bois d’ Arch, or bodark, hedge apple, or horseapple, depending on your local patois for the ubiquitous tree. –CL
Mud River’s New Kennel Cover Mud River has introduced a new, non-insulated version of its bulletproof and highly-recommended line of kennel covers. Mud River kennel covers are pricey, and worth every penny. –CL
Sitka’s New Optifade Concealment Marsh Camo Line Sitka made a SHOT splash this year with its new lineup of Optifade Concealment Marsh camo pattern gear, and of particular interest to duck hunters is its “Hudson” waterfowling jacket, which sports two chest pockets, two shell pockets, Primaloft insulation and a Gore-Tex shell. –CL
Cell-Phone Friendly Hand Muffler Face it, we’re a texting nation, and this new camo muff from Jacob Ash features a handy-dandy clear plastic window so you can keep Tweeting from the duck blind no matter how nasty, wet and cold it gets. –CL
Northern Guide Bootfoot Breathable Waders Tired of sweating to death in your neoprene waders on those warm early-season (and increasingly late-season) hunts? Taking a page from the breathable fishing waders market, Waterfowl Wading Systems has introduced its new Northern Guide Bootfoot breathable waders. These waders feature a Max4 camo pattern, a 240 denier outer shell with 480-denier on the knees and seat and 1,200 grams of Thinsulate in the boot. –CL
L.L. Bean Redesigned Technical Upland Boot L.L. Bean has redesigned and reintroduced its revolutionary Technical Upland Boot for 2012. First introduced in 2010, Bean’s space-age super boot quickly garnered rave reviews from upland hunters and a coveted F&S “Best of the Best” award, but L.L. Bean temporarily took the boot off the market last year in order to correct a minor design issue. Featuring the same one-twist BOA closure system and Superfabric construction of the original, the L.L. Bean Technical Upland Boot will be available later this year. –CL
SportDOG Snack Bars Performance Snack Bars are a new in-the-field canine nutrition supplement from SportDOG. When used before, during and after a hunt, SportDOG says this high-carbohydrate, low-protein bar will boost both your dog’s energy level and recovery time. –CL
**SportDOG Upland Hunter 1875 E-Collar
SportDOG’s new Upland Hunter 1875 has a one-mile range, seven levels of momentary and continuous stimulation, two-hour charge time, vibration and tone modes, a “you won’t lose me” bright orange finish and the correct breed of pointing dog on the package… –CL
Arno Bernard Porcupine Bird Knife Looking for a sweet, heirloom-quality bird knife? The Porcupine from South African knifemaker Arno Bernard features a 2 ¾-inch blade of Bohler N690 stainless steel and pinned warthog ivory scales. –CL
Engel 12V Cooler/Freezer You can keep your game and fish frozen while on the road with this 12V cooler/freezer from Engel. The unit features airtight seals, high-density insulation and a low-amperage, high efficiency compressor that freezes down to 0 degrees while drawing minimal power from 12-volt vehicle batteries. –CL
**Browning Buckmark Training Bumpers
Are they gimmicky? Yes. Are they probably a bit overpriced? Yes. Are they cool, anyway? Of course. The new Buckmark training bumpers from Browning. Your dog won’t care, but you’ll look cool throwing marks for him with these things. –CL
Irish Setter 801 Havoc Upland Hunting Boots Irish Setter has a new boot for upland hunters in its “Havoc” line. The non-insulated 801 Havoc features USA-produced and tanned leather, Gore-Tex bootie and Irish Setter’s Flexlock hand-sewn construction In addition, the Havoc features something called Cushin Comfort Tongue Technology, which Irish Setter claims minimizes the uncomfortable pressure some hunters feel from unpadded boot tongues. The 801 has a height of nine inches and weighs three pounds, 10 ounces. –CL
Buck 490 Ergohunter Waterfowler Waterfowl and upland hunters looking for a functional bird knife have a new option from Buck in the 490 Ergohunter Waterfowler. Featuring a 2 ½ inch hollow-ground Wharncliffe blade of 420HC steel and an ergonomic (ergo the name…) Alcryn rubber handle, the Ergohunter is, according to Buck, designed to excel at bird-dressing chores with much efficiency and little waste. –CL
Under Armour Upland Apparel
Under Armour is joining the upland fray this fall with its new Upland Prey line of apparel. The collection includes a shirt, vest, jacket (pictured), and pants._ –JT_
Dogtra’s The Edge Collar Dogtra introduced a new collar as well. The Edge boasts a location light on the collar with four selectable colors and can be expanded up to four dogs. It has nick, constant and vibration modes, two-hour rapid charge batteries and an LCD screen that displays stimulation level, mode and a battery life. _ –CL_
Rocky Waterfowl Apparel
Rocky is getting back into the waterfowl apparel business with the introduction of several new pieces for 2012, including 5mm neoprene MudSox waders and hip boots; a waterproof and insulated jacket; a wind-resistant quarter-zip fleece pullover; and a fleece liner pant.
“Fanning” a gobbler is an effective tactic when hunting wary and stubborn birds, and the Fan-Tom makes it easier than ever. A silk fan mounted to a plastic frame and steel stake is raised and lowered by yanking on a pull cord up to 100 feet away. You can even detach the silk fan and add a real one.
Petsafe Lickable Dog Treat and Training Aid It may look like roll-on deodorant for dogs (and may even work as such), but the “Lickety Stik” from Petsafe is billed as a lickable dog treat and training aid. Petsafe claims over 500 licks per bottle, and it comes in three flavors: chicken, liver and bacon. –CL
Final Approach Up-N-At-Em Blind Seat
Fat, old, lazy and hungover waterfowlers rejoice! No longer will you have to sit up from your layout blind under your own power. This new spring-loaded blind seat will help prop you up the next time someone yells “take ’em!” –JT
While the SHOT Show has taken a tactical shooting turn, there are still some great products for bird hunters. Here are the best gear items we found this year.