I’m not much of a gadget guy normally, but I do admit to taking too much stuff into the woods with me when I go hunting. My pack has the essentials that I would normally need during a day’s hunting, plus a few things that would make life easier, and safer, in the event of an emergency.
I have come across a few nifty things that make the life of a hunter easier, safer and even more fun. Here’s a rundown of four things that I recommend you have along when you hunt.
1. Gear hangers
Every treestand hunter understands the importance of having your bow and other gear within easy reach. You might need to reach for a rangefinder, grunt call, or rattling antlers. Of course, the importance of having your bow or gun within easy reach cannot be understated. You want to be able to ready for the shot with a minimum of movement and noise. Things can happen fast and many a deer has escaped with its life because a weapon wasn’t within easy reach, the hunter made a noise when he grabbed it, or he was seen turning to grab a weapon.
By the same token, other accessories that you may or may not need during the course of the day should be handy. Bow and gun hangers such as the ones made by Realtree, Hawk Hunting, and Primos are essential items. They position your bow or gun right at your fingertips. The Hybrid Trio hanger by Hawk is the best gadget I have found for hooking several things to the tree. It is rubber-coated, has three hangers in one, and is so sharp it screws into the tree fast and easy.
Most treestand hunters are wearing a safety harness these days. Today’s harnesses are easy to put on and comfortable. But most falls from treestands occur when transferring from the climbing mechanism into the stand or from the stand to the climbing device. A harness doesn’t do you much good at that point. Hunter Safety Systems offers a product called the “Lifeline” that keeps your harness attached to the tree from the moment you leave the ground to go up until you come back down. This strong rope has a clevis attached with a prussic knot. The knot slides easily up and down the rope as you ascend or descend, but it holds fast if you fall.
I have a friend who fell while entering his treestand. He is now in a wheelchair for the remainder of his life, dependent on others to take care of many of his daily needs. I can’t help but thing if only he would have had the Lifeline available to him, he may still be climbing trees and doing the things he loves during the deer season.
3. Rush Cam
This is a gadget for those who enjoy watching their hunts over and over again. If you don’t want to carry a full-size video camera to the woods with you and mount it on a tree arm of some sort, the Rush Cam may be an option for you. Most point-of-view cameras such as the GoPro have super-wide-angle lenses so if you mount them to your bow, the deer you are shooting looks like it’s a long way off and you are lucky to see the arrow impact the deer at all.
The Rush Cam is made by Covert, the game camera people, and it does not have a wide-angle lens so your immediate surroundings do not look like they are off in the distance. It captures video in 1080p HD and records on a micro SD card. The package comes with several mounting and attachment devices so you can mount it about anywhere you want it including bow, gun, or hat. I mounted mine on the bow’s stabilizer so it is always pointing where the bow is pointing.
I enjoy recording my hunts, but so often I have found that I end up making a choice between getting the shot or getting some video and when it comes to those options, I will choose to shoot the deer every time. A bow-mounted camera allows me to get both better than ever before. I will be using the Rush Cam a lot on future hunts.
4. An archery tool box
This is not really one gadget but a collection of key items that can make or break a hunt. My box is always in the truck, whether I am hunting a mile from home or a thousand miles from home. It has saved me a long drive to town and a long wait in the lobby of an archery shop a few times. In my box are items that can easily be fixed or replaced when hunting. It includes an extra peep sight, string loops, broadheads, field tips, vanes, a hex wrench set, super glue, and tape
If you are a bowhunter, and especially if you travel to hunt, you will be so glad you put a kit together and hauled it around with you. The first time you use it, you will realize how much of a time-saver it is.
No doubt there are more gadgets that you could add to this list. But these are the four that come to the front of my mind that I rely on each time I go hunting. What do you always carry with you?
Follow Bernie’s bowhunting adventures on his blog, bowhuntingroad.com.
Images courtesy Bernie Barringer