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Gear & Accessories

Wildfowl’s Editors Pick The Best Gear For Fall 2017

by Joe Genzel   |  October 25th, 2017 0

Here are 17 must-have items every waterfowler will want to check out for this fall.

Choosing the right gear is always a challenge, primarily because there are so many great items out there for waterfowlers. We’ve made the choosing a little easier this fall by narrowing the field for you. Here are some of the great guns, gear and accessories that caught our eye this season.

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Mallard Mashup

Cabela’s Northern Flight decoys have proven to be a durable and reliable option for those of us obsessed with late-season greenheads. The new full-bodies have feeder head positions and the oversize design and vibrant paint colors offer high visibility, especially when the sun shines. Includes four drakes (two feeder, two uprights) and two hens (one feeder, one upright). $110 | cabelas.com

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Live in the Shadows

Waterfowlers have long loved Shadow Grass, and the recent update to Blades made the pattern even more effective, and popular. Three-dimensional shadows and life-like blades of grass add depth and realism that fools ducks and geese. As the official camouflage of Ducks Unlimited, Mossy Oak will work with the conservation organization to improve and enhance waterfowl habitat. mossyoak.com

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The X-Factor

Another nasty load from Hevi-Shot, Hevi-X is straight tungsten so you can expect better knockdown power at longer distances than steel. It’s available in 12- and 20-gauge BBs, 2s and 4s, and can run out the muzzle at up to 1,500 fps. Plus, the price is pretty darn good for a high-end metal like tungsten. $29-$40 | hevishot.com

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Hot Item, Hot deal

Beretta is running a killer deal from now until Nov. 30. Buy an A400 Xtreme, A350 Xtrema or A300 Outlander, and you’ll receive up to $150 in free Beretta gear. And you might as well buy this little 20-gauge (one of our favorites from last season) too. Gas-operated, the A400 Lite handles light loads out of the box, so there’s no need to break it in with heavyweight turkey ammo. The KickOff Plus stock tames recoil, and the proprietary steelium barrel with its OptimaChoke HP tubes will put a devastating pattern on birds. The new digital GunPod2 in the pistol grip tracks how many rounds have gone through the gun, miles walked and more. $1,600 | berettausa.com

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Mean on Green

Fasteel is the blue-collar workhorse of duck loads, and we’ve shot 3½” 1s and 2s on big geese for years with great results. Made with clean premium powders and steel in a smattering of offerings for 12 and 20 gauges, this load delivers death at a reasonable price. $14-$22 | kentgamebore.com

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Training for Dummies

Tom Dokken engineered the DeadFowl Trainer to make sure your ducks are delivered to hand in one piece. The hard head encourages bird dogs to grab the dummy  by its soft middle. Inject scent into the body for a more realistic training session. A Power Throw Grip allows for long tosses into the field or pond when your dog is ready to fetch beyond the decoys. $25 | deadfowltrainer.com

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The Right Hide

This 3-D camo is the gold standard when it comes to covering up everything from homemade blinds to boats or pits. It breaks up hard edges, allowing anything it covers to blend into the surroundings. The material is waterproof and UV-treated for long life. The non-glare treatment won’t wear off, and you won’t have to spend as much time and effort brushing in. $75 (8’x20’) | camounlimited.com

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Candid Camera

If you want to catch all those great shots during the season on video (and see where you’re missing ducks), GunCam is an excellent option. The camera mounts to any 12-, 20- or 28-gauge shotgun and will record up to 2.5 hours on the internal battery and up to eight hours with an external power back up. A superimposed cross hair shows exactly where the shot string is traveling in full HD 1080p video. This is an awesome tool to settle those “who shot the banded bird debate” too. Plus, you can use it on the clays range before the opener for improved accuracy. $250 | tachyoninc.com

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Pump It Up

We still love pumps and always take them on road trips, because they just don’t fail. Made in Turkey, the Stoeger P3500 comes with a 26- or 28-inch barrel and screw-in chokes. The stepped rib is a nice feature that normally is found on pricier guns. A synthetic stock and forend add to the P3500’s durability. Included shims adjust for a never-miss fit. $449 | stoegerindustries.com

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Fatal Flights

Static spreads spook ducks, so on days with little wind, the Fatal Front mallard floaters by Mojo are your best friend. Built with a deployable folding keel, this decoy will provide added movement in light or no wind when the keel is folded in. Fold it back out for days when a steady breeze blows. Color-shifting paint schemes mimic the movement of a drake mallard’s head, and hi-definition feathering with natural preening poses make this decoy a can’t-miss for big migration days. $90 (6-pk) | mojooutdoors.com

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Bad Bird Medicine

Modified uniform patterns crush birds, particularly when they can reach out to 50 yards. Patternmaster’s Anaconda Mid-Range (.715”) harnesses gas from the shell being fired and applies pressure to the wad, creating a tighter pattern upon exit, keeping the shot string together longer. $60 | patternmaster.com

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Chow Time

Speak with the developers at Victor, and you quickly learn why WILDFOWL editors feed their retrievers Victor. Calorie- and nutrient-dense, Hi-Pro Plus derives 83 percent of its protein from meat, poultry and fish. It’s also free of unwanted corn, soy and gluten, plus it’s naturally formulated with added vitamins, minerals and trace nutrients. $45 (40-lb) | victorpetfood.com

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Access Granted

You finally found a big honker feed, and the farmer gives you the go-ahead but doesn’t want any trucks or 4x4s rutting up his field. That’s a bummer, unless you have the Honker Hauler, which is collapsible and lightweight with room for four- to five-dozen full-body goose decoys. With 26” diameter pneumatic 300-pound rated wheels, the HH can traverse mud-sucked fields with ease. This is also a must-have for public-land hunters who make long walks for ducks. The HH is available in a DIY model, a without wheels option and standard, where all materials are delivered to your door. $150-$449 | decoycartz.com

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Tree-Huggers Take Notice

Timber hunters rejoice: The Pro Drive X Series TD was built for you. The Timber Deck is low to the water, making entry and exit easy, which we know hard core green timber hunters will appreciate. It has a heavy-duty front bumper, extended front deck, non-skid subfloor, rear seat with storage and LED navigation lights. It also comes with a multi-position gun box. The hull is built with .125-gauge aluminum and 1”x2” ribs running the length of the boat and 2”x2” floor and side wall braces. $6,495 | prodriveoutboards.com

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Double the Fun

We’ve wrecked Arkansas greenheads with this double-barreled beast. CZ’s 12-gauge O/U will handle 3½-inch magnums with manageable recoil. The safety clicks on each time the gun is opened for extra security in the blind. Plus, Realtree Max-5 keeps it hidden, and ejectors toss the empties for fast reloads. CZ’s extended chokes put your pattern on-target. $930 | cz-usa.com

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Mobile Decoy Home

Sometimes the difference between a great duck mash up and getting skunked is mobility. With 80 connection points and 32 stainless steel clips, the Decoy Raft allows you to set the rig before you’re even on the water, and pick up quick when you’re off the X. The large mesh mat only needs a single anchor, and the raft has become a go-to item for sea duck and diver hunters on big water because they no longer must deal with tangles from long lines. It works equally well in small potholes for puddlers. $250 | decoyraft.com

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Best of Both Worlds

A hunting/domestic dog hybrid, the D.T. Systems CC 360 has a 360-yard range and 16 stim levels, plus a training tone “beep” option. The CC charges in two hours, is waterproof and has a built-in battery savings mode and auto safety shutoff, so you won’t run out of juice when Fido runs the first blind retrieve of the season. $120 | dtsystems.com

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