Winchester...Bows? The signage says it all: Winchester is going into the bowhunting business. With compound bows in the $499 to $799 price range and crossbows costing$699-$899, the company wants to offer bows that are reasonable in cost but stay true to Winchester's commitment to quality. Included in the new line is a bow designed for women. --Mike Toth.
The “H” in SHOT is for “Hunting,” and there’s plenty of hunting gear on display–especially deer gear. Jay Cassell and Mike Toth wandered the aisles of the show looking for the most interesting and innovative deer hunting equipment for the year. Here’s what they found. Rocky Long Range Boots Rocky has new Long Range boots, in a number of different styles. All have new aggressive outsoles that grip like glue and shed mud quickly. Models are available from non-insulated to 800 mm, in RealTree AP, MossyOak Breakup, or all leather. Base price is $169. Rocky also has a new line of Long-Range clothing, including the incredibly comfortable Mountain Stalker Hybrid, with an insulated core, non-insulated sleeves, and a covered neck zip. Price – $129. _–Jay Cassell_
Winchester Lead Free Rifled Slug Specially designed for California hog hunters who prefer (or already own) smoothbore slug guns but must adhere to the state’s non-toxic ammo law, these 2 ¾-inch, ¾-ounce zinc slugs have a 1450 fps muzzle velocity. Winchester says they will be less than half the cost of modern high-end slugs, and that accuracy will remain the same as lead slugs. –Mike Toth
**Ontario Knives
With a large selection of survival and tactical knives (check out their Blackbird Sk-5 survival knife made out of 154 cm stainless steel), Ontario knives now has a complete line of traditional hunting knives, made by one of their divisions, Queen Cutlery. Who wouldn’t want to own one of these beautiful folders, with aged honey stag bone handles? Prices for most of their traditional knives run about $75. _–Jay Cassell_
Primos X Cam Blackout Will Primos shows his new X Cam Blackout, which emits no light and is virtually undetectable to game (thereby decreasing the chance of altering their patterns) when mounted properly. A 2 ½-inch color screen allows you to view images on the spot–i.e. on the way to your stand that morning. $299. —Mike Toth
Ameristep Carnivore Ground Blind Ameristep has added to its already huge line of hunting blinds with the new Carnivore Ground Blind, made of tough poly cotton that is said to not only be quiet and durable, but doesn’t glare in sunlight. (I’ll have to check that out this hunting season, though I will say that the blind didn’t seem to glare on the floor of the SHOT show.) The hub-style blind, which has a fiberglass framework to help it withstand heavy winds, comes in a custom backpack, features 180-degree viewing and magnetic shooting windows, plus there’s a ground skirt to keep debris out of the blind. The Carnivore measures 74 inches wide, by 67 inches tall; pack size is 9×47 inches, weight is 22 pounds. $400, from _–Jay Cassell_
Hunters Specialties Scent-A-Way Tek 4 Line Hunters Specialties is getting into scent-less tactical base layers for both men and women in a big way, with its new Scent-A-Way Tek 4 line. It’s kind of tough to tell if this stuff really works by looking at it on the SHOT show floor, so I’m having some shipped to me so I can try it out next deer season. The company says that this line of clothing has 33% more silver in it than other silver-based scentless clothing, and if that’s the case, I’m guessing it will control odor really well. It’s available in heavy and light weights, in RealTree HD, champagne and black. Socks, briefs, gloves and headnets are also available. Prices run from $13 (briefs, gloves) to $50 (long-sleeve mock top.) _–Jay Cassell_
Vero Vellini Retractable Slings Karen Lutto demonstrates Vero Vellini’s new automatic retractable rifle sling, which quickly takes up slack whenever you remove the rifle from your shoulder. $159. Also new are neoprene-backed leather slings, which eliminate slip when the gun is shouldered. $139-$169. If you’ve ever had a rifle sling catch on brush or slip down your arm, you know why Vero Vellini developed these. _–Mike Toth_
Sitka Fanatic Jacket & Bibs Sitka, which has a deserved reputation for quality hunting clothing, this year came out with the Fanatic Jacket and Bibs, featuring their Optifade Forest concealment pattern. The first thing that caught my eye on the jacket, aside from one of the best camouflage patterns out there, was the diagonal zipper. By placing the zipper in such a manner, Sitka was able to add a front handwarmer or ‘kangaroo’ pocket, so you can keep your ungloved hands warm. As a bowhunter, I think is a great idea, as I really don’t like wearing gloves — too bulky. The jacket also has a grunt tube slot and rangefinder pocket. The bibs, not shown, have what the company calls ‘aggressive’ articulated knees. With 130-grain Primaloft insulation, Windstopper fabric, wrist gaskets, and a removable hood, the Fanatic jacket goes for $269; the bibs for $329. Sizes range from small to 3XL _–Jay Cassell_
Buck Knives PakLite Field Master Deer hunters should like this new entry from Buck Knives. Called the Model 141 Buck PakLite Field Master, it’s a kit that includes three complete skeletal knives: a 3 ½-inch skinner, a 2 ½-inch modified caper, and a 4-inch guthook. All three knives are made of 420hc steel. Everything comes in a heavy-duty nylon sheath, with a retention strap to hold all the pieces in place. Total weight is only 12ounces. I’m being optimistic here, but I’ve asked the company to send me a 141 for next deer season, just in case I get something. It’s a good idea; instead of carrying a bunch of knives in various sheaths, just take this three-in-one kit and you’re good to go. Price is only $85. _–Jay Cassell_
**Prios Competitor’s Vest for Women
Prois, a Gunnison, Colorado-based company that makes some of the best women’s hunting clothing on the planet, has come out with a new shooter’s vest – the Competitor’s Vest, which retails for $139. It’s totally functional, with well-placed pockets and magnetic closures, plus mesh for hot-weather shooting. I also took a look at their new Pro-Edition Mossy Oak Soft-Shell jacket (pictured–$220), pants ($170), and vest ($170). Made of microfleece, and with drop handwarmer pockets between the shoulder blades, lumbar compartments across the lower back, plus deep-set hand pockets with closures, the jacket has a removable hood with visor and convenient arm pockets. _–Jay Cassell_
Winchester…Bows? The signage says it all: Winchester is going into the bowhunting business. With compound bows in the $499 to $799 price range and crossbows costing$699-$899, the company wants to offer bows that are reasonable in cost but stay true to Winchester’s commitment to quality. Included in the new line is a bow designed for women. –Mike Toth
LaCrosse Alpha Boots LaCrosse’s line of Alpha boots has long been popular with hunters. Me, I like them because they’re tough, they last, they keep my feet and calves dry, plus they’re scent-free (I wear them when I go to my treestand). Now the company has added to the line with new, lightweight Alpha Mudlites, featuring nylon-weave outers, neoprene inners, and a perforated poly foam lining. The soles are configured differently than their predecessors, to offer more support and to shed mud with ease. There’s a kick-off area in the back, and the front is reinforced, as that is where boots tend to take a beating; plus there’s a rear gusset. The boots are offered in different weights, from 3 1/2 to 7mm, in camouflage, black, and brown . Youth sizes are available; all are priced reasonably, from $109 to $139. _–Jay Cassell_
Carry-Lite High-Def Decoys Carry-Lite has introduced a new line of ultra-realistic decoys that utilize high-definition imagery. A fade-resistant fabric “skin” with an animal image printed on it is fitted over the decoy body. This 11-pound buck has removable antlers and legs and comes with a florescent orange carrying bag. $199; –Mike Toth
LL Bean Technical Big Game Vest At LL Bean, the big news is the new, lightweight, water-resistant Technical Big Game vest. With more than 400 square inches of fluorescent orange, it’s completely adjustable, with one size fitting all. You can store a ton of stuff in the detachable backpack; plus there are other, different-sized pockets all over the place, including a handy electronics pockets. The shoulder is padded. $130, from _–Jay Cassell_
Moultrie Three-Way Trail Cam Moultrie’s new line of mini game cameras includes two that can be programmed for three different recording applications. The Game Spy M-80 and M-100 (shown) can be set up as a heat-triggered infrared game camera, a time-lapse plot camera, or as a daytime plot cam and nighttime infrared cam. The cams are operated by AA batteries and can take up to 3,600 images in one day. $149-$199; –Mike Toth