The SHOT Show isn’t the only trade show that happens in January. The Archery Trade Association (ATA) Show gathers everyone involved in the archery and bowhunting business each year, and is not open to the public. Despite its strict attendance guidelines, it is a huge event with thousands of attendees. It was held in Nashville, Tennessee this year in the second week of January. I always enjoy walking the many aisles of this show, looking for new and nifty products that bowhunters will find interesting and useful.
Each year, I find a few products that make me say, “Aha! Why didn’t anyone think of that before?” and a few that make me think, I hope they didn’t invest their life savings into that idea. There are winners and losers of course, and I will let the losers die a natural death, but here are eight products that I predict will be winners.
Crooked Horn Outfitters two-beam Trail Light
Climbing in and out of a treestand in the dark can be a dangerous endeavor. You have no hands available for a flashlight, and a light attached to your cap points where your head points and can actually impede vision outside the area of the beam. The folks at Crooked Horn Outfitters came up with a two-beam light that clips to a pocket or the strap of your backpack. You can adjust one beam up and one down for targeted illumination, to make climbing into your treestand safer and easier.
Hurricane Safety Systems Treestand PowerSTEP
On the subject of treestand safety, a new company entered the arena with some products that will definitely impact treestand safety at your most vulnerable point. Nearly 80 percent of falls from treestands occur when transferring from the climbing apparatus to the stand, or from the stand to the sticks. Hurricane Safety Systems offers a step and a handle called the PowerSTEP that significantly reduced your chances of falling during the transition. The step attaches easily to the sticks or ladder, and the handle straps to the tree above the stand. Installing these two items to your treestand will help increase your odds of making it home safe and sound.
Nikon Aculon Rangefinder
Nikon has always been a leader in providing quality optics at a midrange price point. The new Aculon Rangefinder takes that to a new level. The small size of the Aculon makes it easy to drop into a pocket, but still offer quality glass and ranges out to 550 yards. Its simple, one-button operation is easy to use. Anyone looking to take the plunge on their first rangefinder cannot go wrong with this one priced at $169.
Scent Killer Gold For Her
The growing number of women who have taken up hunting created a market for a Scent Killer Gold hygiene kit just for women. Scent Killer has long been a leader in soaps and shampoos that smash body odor, but women have never been excited about the way their hair looks and feel after using a shampoo designed to kill odor with little thought to looks. Wildlife Research Center now offers the Scent Killer Gold For Her line, which includes salon-quality shampoo and conditioner, along with a body wash. All have the odor-killing properties of the original Scent Killer. The number of women hunters has grown by 43 percent in the past 10 years and continues to grow. I expect to see more products like this directed at women hunters.
When I first saw the Gear Grappler, I admit I was a little skeptical. I thought it was just for retrieving things dropped from a treestand, and I couldn’t really remember being faced with that problem often enough to carry an additional tool for that purpose. But as the enthusiastic inventor went through his spiel, I caught his excitement. This tool offers tangle-free storage for your 30-foot haul rope, a super-powerful magnet for retrieving items from the ground (he picked up a hammer with it), and several more uses—including the ability to accurately throw it and pull a troublesome limb towards you to cut it off or tie it out of the way. This could also be done from the ground to help trim shooting lanes by allowing you to pull down branches you couldn’t otherwise reach. As if that wasn’t enough, the Gear Grappler doubles as a waterproof match carrier. Think of it as a multi-tool for the treestand hunter.
Cuddeback C123 trail camera
Cuddeback has long been a leader in game cameras. This year they went one step further with the introduction of a camera that offers interchangeable flash cartridges. By removing four screws, you can switch between white flash, black flash, and infrared with little trouble. Pull one out and snap a new one in place. The model C123 comes packaged with one of each. The camera is also very small, which helps it avoid detection by game animals and thieves.
Core4Element Elevation Jacket
We all run into the issue of trying to get to our hunting spot without becoming overheated, then sitting for hours without getting too cold. Tired of hauling in a coat under one arm while walking to your stand? Core4Element has the answer. The Elevation Jacket is filled with a goose down that is treated to be waterproof and has a tough outer shell that flexes and bends enough that you can cram the entire parka in a stuff sack smaller than a football. Drop it into your backpack for easy portability, and use when you want it. When you take it out of the bag, it quickly regains its loft and keeps you warm.
Real Avid Multi-Cutter
Carrying too much gear around with me has always been a problem. I don’t like to go into the woods without a saw, a brush trimmer, a knife, and so on. Real Avid has introduced something called the Multi-cutter that does it all, and it all folds down into a Leatherman-like tool that doesn’t take up much room in your pack. The ability to fold a limb-cutting tool down into a small package is reason enough for me to want one of these—but the Multi-cutter further kicks it up a notch. It also includes a step-starter and a small knife and saw that will work in a pinch. Overall, it looks like a great idea.
There you have it—eight cool new products introduced at the ATA Show. I am sure you will be seeing more about many of them. The most successful new products are those that either solve a problem or fill a need, and these eight certainly fit that bill.
Follow Bernie’s bowhunting adventures on his blog, bowhuntingroad.com.