Recently, while piling my hunting equipment on the dining room table, it hit me that I am an electronic hunter. Not only must I carry extra bullets/arrows, but also extra batteries. We have so many hunting accessories, and they all play a major role in our enjoyment, safety, and the success of our hunt.
Let’s take a look at some of the electronics that we take or should be taking with us to the woods each season.
Our No. 1 item is the gun and, yes, there used to be two electronic guns, not too long ago. Remington introduced a rifle early in the 2000s that had a battery-operated trigger, but its life was short, and it was discontinued. Shortly after, Connecticut Valley Arms (CVA) came out with the Electra .50-caliber black powder muzzleloader rifle that did away with the 209 ignition primer and replaced it with a nine-volt lithium operated battery that produced the igniting spark. But this, too, was also discontinued.
In the past, when we needed a better look and a more accurate aim at our game, we’d equip our rifles/shotguns/bows with telescopic sights and used binoculars to identify our targets. But today, both these optics have been upgraded with battery-operated enhancements. Two good examples are the new Konus 7280 M30 series 4.5-16x40mm rifle scope. It has an engraved reticle, built in anti-canting bubble system, 30mm tube that allows more light for those low-light conditions we often encounter in the woods. And what really caught my eye was the 7280’s ultra-blue illumination for dark targets. I used one of these blue lit reticles on my bear hunt in the deep dark woods of Maine, and I had no problem sighting in on the black bodies of the bears (I didn’t shoot any). The 7280 comes in a black matt finish and is waterproof. Retail prices average around $300 (www.konusscopes.com).
No need to carry binoculars and a rangefinder separately anymore because Bushnell’s new Fusion 1600 ARC 10 x 42 has combined them. This unique combination of half binoculars and half rangefinder has both a bow and rifle mode, built in angle range compensation, range from 10 to 1,600 yards and they are fully RainGuard coated. Once you glass that big fellow and decide he is the one you want on the den wall, just click the range-finding mode and you will know exactly how far away he is. Average retail price is around $899 (www.bushnell.com).
Speaking of bowhunters, they, too, have entered the electronic hunting age with a number of battery-operated products to help them be more successful when pursuing the elusive whitetail. The people at TruGlo have a new electronic archery sight called the PWR-Dot with a Steady-Dot technology that is designed to improve your accuracy and produce tighter shot groups. It mounts easily on all bows and easily adjusts with one hand. Other features include glow-in-the-dark yardage tape, it is water and shock resistant and has a fast target acquisition aiming dot. You also have a choice of red or green dot. Average retail price is $148 (www.truglo.com).
Now that the crossbow is legal for big-game hunting in New York, TruGlo recently introduced its 4×32 Illuminated Dual Color (red/green) Reticle Crossbow Scope. It is a durable, shock- and scratch-resistant scope with fully coated lenses, a non-reflective finish and has a special range-finding and trajectory-compensating reticle. Average retail price is $113.99.
Depending upon where you place your tree stand or blind, finding it before daylight can sometimes be a problem, especially when it is a new location. Things definitely look different in the dark. Now our electronic hunter can rely on getting in there quickly and quietly with the Gorilla Eye Tree Stand Light. When you put up your stand/blind, you attach this light to it. Then come morning, when you enter the woods in the dark and are within 100 yards of the stand, you activate the red locator light with the multifunction remote and the red light, which does not alert deer, will flash for 10 seconds. Average retail price for the Eye is under $30 (www.gorillatreestands.com).
Gorilla’s also got another battery-operated hunting accessory that can come in handy for those of us that are sitters, the Eye Trail Spy. How many times have you been surprised by an incoming deer while sitting in your tree stand\blind? This new “Spy” is a monitoring game sensory system that instantly alerts you when game is identified and detected from up to 80 feet. Using universal frequency technology, multiple sensors send signals to a handheld remote that game is near.
The monitor has a pivoting tree bracket with a six-foot strap, allowing the sensor to pivot in any direction, and it can be attached to any tree up to 22 inches in diameter. Other features include an infrared game sensor for 110 degrees of remote game detection, handheld remote with visual LED alert or auditory alert with a transmit distance up to 100 yards, a built-in flashlight and it is rain resistant. This unit would also benefit those who are hard of hearing.
In addition to deer hunting, think what this can do for you on nighttime coyote/predator hunts and/or for those wild turkeys that come in silent. Average retail prices are $29.99 for the single unit and $49.99 for Spy kit.
Probably the hottest hunting accessory in the past decade, and one that is still growing, is the trail camera. What could be better for the busy life that most of us live than to have a 24/7 eye in the deer woods. These cameras will tell you what is in your deer woods, the time they are moving, all just by viewing the film.
One of the newer entries in the trail cam market that I was impressed with is the PlotWatcher Pro. Introduced this year this unit saves images directly to a video format which allow you to view it immediately without having to wait for images to load into your computer. You can review them in forward and reverse and also choose your replay speed. The unit operates on four or eight AA batteries, which will last for four months. That means you can get up to one million images on one set of batteries. And if you want to use an external battery, the Pro has an external power port.
Other features include a 2.5 LCD on board camera setup, video aiming and camera status messages and it accepts add-on telephoto and wide angle lenses. In addition, it will give you air temperatures, moon-phases and all the video is stored on an SD Card. Average retail price is $219.99. Watch demo videos at day6outdoors.com.
Getting turned around in the woods, especially in a new area you are hunting, is not uncommon, which is why a compass and a map should be in your pocket or backpack. But in today’s world of electronics, there are several other aids to get you in and out of the woods. Since 1894, Brunton has been guiding hunters through the woods with its line of hand-held compasses, but now has added a new way to get you back to your starting point by the shortest, most direct route — the Get-Back GPS. This rechargeable unit allows you to mark and store three waypoints. When you park your vehicle, enter location in the Get-Back. Then when you are finished hunting, just bring up the waypoint and follow the route out. And it will even tell you how far you have to go in feet or kilometers.
The Get-Back measures just 2 3⁄4 x 1 1⁄2 x 1⁄2 inches, has a beep indicator when within 30 feet of your destination, is powered by a rechargeable battery with up to 12 hours of continuous use and a digital compass. Average retail price is $75 (www.bruntonhunting.com).
For a long time now, I have wanted to video some of my turkey and deer hunts and carried a regular video camera afield with me. But I soon found out that trying to do that alone or even with a second person can be difficult. Far too often our motions/noise trying to set up the camera alerted and drove off the game.
But getting your hunting experience videotaped has just got a lot easier with the JonesCam ION HD Advantage camera . Developed by Michael Jones, this tiny cam weighs just 2.5 ounces and measures 3 x 1 1⁄4 inches and can be mounted on a helmet, goggles, cap visor, gun, and bow or as a handheld camcorder. Its hands-free versatility is endless.
The JonesCam comes with a removable eight GB SDHC card, and you can transfer clips via a supplied USB cable. It is waterproof to 20 feet, shockproof and its touch-the-button on/off switch is simply foolproof. The technical specifications are: three mega pixels, 1280×720 resolution, and a working temperature from minus-23 to 104 degrees. Instead of telling your friends about that big Adirondack 10-pointer you shot, why not let them relive the moment when you show them the video taken on your “pocket” cam. The JonesCam retails with accessories for $189, or if you add a 130-degree lens, it sells for $209 (www.JonesCam.tv).
For some time now, I have wanted to video-tape my hunts and put the clips out on my blog, but I have not been successful with regular camcorders. Now, however, I believe I will be able to do it with the JonesCam. I will let you know when I produce and premiere my first video.
Don’t forget your batteries.
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