Best New Hunting Gear for 2014: Part 1

“Now then, please take your gear, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me” Genesis 27:3 NASB

ATA Show

This was an interesting trade show season. Normally, there is a great deal of hype about a select number of new products at both the ATA (Archery Trade Association) and SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, & Outdoor Trade) shows. This year, I never hear the big anticipatory chatter about new bows, rifles, etc. There were some new and noteworthy products for sure, just nothing on the excitement level of years past. If I had to describe this year’s crop of new products, smaller and lighter are the two words which immediately come to mind. Today I will post highlights from the ATA Show and tomorrow from SHOT.

For all the Rage shooters, the company is slimming down its line of products. They have done away with the traditional three-blade head for a radical new design. Their Hypodermic line of heads is getting a great deal of attention for its effectiveness and will likely gain a large share of the Rage

The new Helios fletching system demonstrates its stability during simulated crosswind tests

The new Helios fletching system demonstrates its stability during simulated crosswind tests

business. If you didn’t know, Rage and Muzzy and merged this last year. The partnerships is great as it brings some of the best in business together for archery product design. The Helios, a new lighted fletching and nock design, under the Nockturnal brand, is pretty slick and should not only provide more stable arrow flight but the arrow’s path will remain unmistakable in flight. Muzzy maintains the line with the solid, value priced, and effective broadhead designs which continue to dominate the fixed blade market.


Tenzing revolutionized the pack industry a few years ago and they continue to release new products. This year, a couple of new packs for bowhunters bearing the Archer’s Choice name are hitting the market. TC1260_FRONT VIEWSmall, lightweight, and highly efficient make them perfect for treestand hunters. I am most excited about their new turkey vest and turkey pack. Both are extremely lightweight and very well thought out in terms of function. They turkey pack

Tenzing's new Turkey Pack. An even lighter, though equally effective turkey vest (minus the legs, etc) is also available.

Tenzing’s new Turkey Pack. An even lighter, though equally effective turkey vest (minus the legs, etc) is also available.

includes a set of adjustable, kick-out legs allowing you to sit up anywhere and maintain back support. The turkey pack will be equally at functional with predator hunters and maybe even some deer hunters. A new fanny pack, the 721, may be the best compact fanny pack for hunters ever made; it includes a built in hand-muff for those cold days.

Tenzing's new TF721 fanny pack with built in hand muff and warmer pocket.

Tenzing’s new TF721 fanny pack with built in hand muff and warmer pocket.

Tribe Archery, founded by industry veteran and traditional bowhunter Heath Painter, is a new line of traditional bows geared toward youth and hunters. With all the attention being places on building faster and more expensive compound bows, Heath has chosen to get back to basics. He is producing quality bows at prices allowing anyone to get into the traditional game. DSC_0184He has recurves and longbows in a variety of lengths and poundage options as well as colors designed to appeal to today’s youth. Heath has always been passionate about helping kids and so this venture is really just an extension of who he has always been. The bows are selling FAST and are being sold across the country, even in Hawaii, at variety of retailers and big box stores. I am hoping to hunt with one this fall.

FangSeries_Main_03The new Fang 3 and Fang 4 releases (for three finger or four) from TRU Ball are the latest in a long line of innovative release products. The releases feature a Full Containment System (FCS) with a hook-style jaw that allows the archer to push the FCS slide forward to lock the release on the D-loop, for use in a hands free hunting situation or pull the FCS slide back for repetitive shooting. The releases also provide the ability to shoot with no sensitivity spring for the lightest possible setting or a medium and heavy spring, included in the package, for heavier sensitivity settings. As with other TRU Ball releases, the independent trigger travel adjustment screw allows numerous different settings as desired by the archer.

Millennium Treestands have made introduced some new and redesigned DSC_0175products this year. They have taken their already lightweight M100 hang on stand and turned it into the M100U. It has an improved platform design and other new features which make it 20% lighter; it weighs only 11.5 pounds yet retains all the comfort of the original. A new, optional shooting rail, is also available for gun hunters or those wanting to add a camo screen.

Other new products include two 7-pound chairs; one a tripod style chair and the other a swivel chair. Both should be right at home inside a blind and both come drilled for Millennium’s new shooting stick mount, perfect for crossbow or gun hunters.

Hawk hang-on

Hawk hang-on

Probably some of the biggest hype of the ATA surrounded the

Hawk's numerous accessories for treestand hunters.

Hawk’s numerous accessories for treestand hunters.

introduction of a new company and their release of new products designed to hunt from above. Hawk has a number of treestand styles, from climbers, to hang-ons and sticks, to ladders stands, to fit anyone’s preferred method of hunting. Their new climbing sticks are innovative and lightweight; the step design provides an extra measure of slip-free safety and security. A great deal of thought went into their many accessories for the treestand hunter. Their accessories really shine in the “that’s just what I’ve needed” or the “why didn’t I think of that” categories. Here is a link to the new Hawk catalog.

First Lite, known for their Merino wool base layer products have answered the call to produce more performance based outer garments. I had a chance to try out their new insulated hunting jacket, the Uncompahgre Puffy, at the show and didn’t want to take it off. There is no doubt, when used with an appropriate layering system, this jacket will keep you warm and dry anywhere you plan to go. Their Boundary Stormtight jacket is another solid product. It lacks the heavy insulation of the Uncompahgre but will no doubt keep you dry. It is lightweight and cut for shooters. Add an appropriate layering system underneath and you won’t likely need anything more than this jacket to keep the weather out except in the harshest cold environments.  DSC_0170

Rocky Boots have come out with several new designs. They have a new, very lightweight rubber boot rated to a -40F comfort level with almost zero bulk, The secret is a new heat reflective technology inside the boot eliminating the need for bulky and heavy insulation, Your own body heat is reflected back into the boot and trapped. Look for these ultra comfortable, lightweight boots soon.

Tomorrow I will continue with Part Two and my SHOT Show review.

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