Game Getters
High-tech solutions to cold blood trails
By Keith McCafferty The cedar swamp that crowds the banks of Michigan's Manistee River is eerie country-"gnarled roots, twisted paths, and pointed spires that stand as brooding silhouettes. There's a plot of grass here graced by a single tombstone. Nearby, a deer had left its last drop of blood after my friend Martin's arrow had found its mark. At least, we could find no more in the milky circle cast by my headlamp. We searched for the deer that warm night until the batteries gave out, then returned to find it dead the next morning, at the end of a thin blood trail, no more than 75 yards from the stone. It smelled when we butchered it, and it smelled on the plate. We ate it anyway because those were poor times. But had we carried a high-tech tracking aid like the ones available today, we would have found Martin's buck before it spoiled. A Brighter, Hotter Trail
Gerber's new Carnivore blood tracking light ($60; 800-950-6161; utilizes a cluster of colored LED bulbs calibrated to cause blood drops to "blink-¿ or appear to "jump off the ground.-¿ My tests with it showed that a blood trail could actually be easier to follow at night than in low light. That makes this product ideal when the trail goes cold at dusk. Field & Stream Online Editors
Another good option is a heat-sensing device, such as the Game Finder ($225; 800-459-3463;, which analyzes heat sources and displays a bar graph essentially telling the hunter whether his search is hot or cold. By slowly scanning the Game Finder from side to side, you can locate a dead deer that hasn’t lost its body heat from as far as several hundred yards away. Either can be a great help if you commonly get shots when the light is waning, leaving little time to track a wounded animal before darkness falls. One of these can save your hunt, or at the very least make your venison taste a lot sweeter. Field & Stream Online Editors
Bow Hunting Guide: 2006
Buy the Right Gear
If you need bow hunting gear, this is the right place to start. We’ve got reviews and field test reports on the latest bows, boots, broadhead, tree stands, and more.
Gear Review: New bows for 2006 We test six new bows from Hoyt, Matthews, PSE, Diamond, Bear, and Reflex, and break down the pros and cons of each. If you’re shopping for a bow this season, read this article. Click here for the story
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The Best New Boots for Bow Hunters Happy feet will keep you hunting longer. So don’t lug hefty “all-season-¿ boots into the warm early-season deer woods. Instead, keep your feet cool with lightweight, breathable models. Here are six great choices. Click here for the story
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The Best Broadheads of 2006 A bad broadhead can cost you a deer when a broadside animal takes a step quartering toward you just as you shoot, when your arrow nicks a rib on its way to the vitals, or when you make a slightly shaky shot. These six models, when used correctly, should help you avoid these problems. Click here for the story
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Tree Stands: This year’s best fixed-position models Fixed-position stands have not been considered particularly stealthy in the past, but today’s portable hang-ons, with vastly improved fastening systems, can be put up in virtual silence. Here are six great models: Click here for the story
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Gear Review: Two high-tech solutions to cold blood trails The Gerber Carnivore uses LED lights to make old blood appear brighter in low light. The Game Finder scans the woods for your downed deer’s body heat. Keith McCafferty reviews both. Click here for the story
Field & Stream Online Editors