October 29, 2021
Tetra Hearing – Waterfowl AlphaShields
One of the reasons we love waterfowl hunting is the social aspect, and conventional hearing protection limits our ability to hear whispered jokes across the blind. As a result, we say “huh” much more than we should. But modern hearing protection, like that offered by TETRA Hearing, allows you to be protected and be a part of the conversation. TETRA’s patent-pending Specialized Target Optimization is the world’s first hearing technology designed to optimize hearing for hunters in their specific hunting environments. The Waterfowl AlphaShield uses a similar chip that you’d find in premium hearing aids, but offers digital noise reduction to protect you from harmful sounds such as loud calling and shotgun blasts. Give the gift of preserving your loved one’s hearing this season with a set of Tetra’s Waterfowl AlphaShields.
$700 | tetrahearing.com
Polaris Ranger - XP 1000 Waterfowl Edition
To conquer the duck hole, the Ranger XP 1000 Waterfowl Edition is built with high mounted air intakes and a sealed electrical system that laughs at water crossings. Arched A-arms provide 14 inches of ground clearance, and lets Polaris stuff 29 inch Pro Armor Mud XC Tires on the Ranger to all but guarantee forward motion in the loosest terrain. True, on-demand AWD automatically engages all four wheels to give you instant traction in mud so you can get in and out of those hard-to-reach duck holes.
$20,199 and up | ranger.polaris.com
Yeti - Panga Backpack 28
Some of the best hunts occur on ducky days: when the wind is plentiful and the rain comes in buckets. The Panga Backpack 28 is built for rough service, with a ThickSkin Shell constructed of high-density nylon and thick TPU lamination to fight off damage from thorn bushes and boat bottoms. The ergonomic DryHaul shoulder straps offer plenty of comfort on long hikes, with removable chest straps and waist belt that provide added stability for rough crossings. Don’t worry about a dunking as the Hydrolock zipper and U-Dock end provide a completely airtight seal.
$299 | yeti.com
Quack Rack - Elite Rear Rack
Quack Rack takes an innovative approach to getting more out of your ATV with unique storage solutions that allow hunters to carry more decoys, more efficiently. The Elite Rear Rack was their first product, and it became an instant hit with waterfowl junkies. The Rear Rack is designed for the bed of your UTV, letting you carry all of your gear from Point-A to the X. Using their patented decoy and equipment hauling system with seven carabiner attachment points and four decoy line retainers per side, you can haul ovefr 15 dozen decoys using any common Texas Rig. The spacious upper basket gives you a place to haul larger gear and doubles the available cargo space.
$1,649 | quackrack.com
Recent unrest has upended the real estate market, and those parcels you’ve hunted for years just might have new owners. Boundaries between private and public land often lack visible markers. Having a good mapping software can open up new areas to you, and ensure you’re where you should be. Apps like OnX Maps give you access to up to date info on property boundaries, and can even provide a foot in the door you need to get permission. They also have a brand new feature showing crop distribution to put you on the X faster. The software also takes advantage of the GPS in your mobile device, which works offline, so you can save waypoints way beyond the grid.
Premium/year: $29; Elite/year: $99 | onxmaps.com
Can-Am - Commander XT
Can-Am drew on 10 years of rider-focused heritage when it built the all-new 2021 Commander XT. No matter the trail, terrain or condition, this machine’s ready to tackle it all, with more than a foot of ground clearance and 15 inches of suspension travel for greater handling in all riding conditions. The 100 horsepower Rotax engine delivers legendary power and torque, controlled by a constantly variable transmission that reacts in an instant to put plenty of power on the ground. The Commander XT offers 2,000 pounds of towing capacity, with category-leading 29.5 x 45.2 x 10.6 inch dumping cargo box capacity so you can get your blind-building materials out to the back slough with ease. A 4,500-pound winch with roller fairlead is stored inside a heavy-duty bumper to deal with obstacles along the way.
$18,999 and up | can-am.brp.com
Rig ‘Em Right - Mudslinger Floating Backpack
Blind bags are great, but the single strap doesn’t lend itself to carrying heavy loads over any sort of distance. The interiors often lack organization, making the contents a jumbled mess. For hunters carrying a lot of gear more than 50 yards from the truck, a backpack is the right choice. Models like the Rig ‘Em Right Mudslinger Floating Backpack provide a comfortable suspension system and plenty of organization so you can be ready when the clock strikes legal. The molded EVA bottom keeps water out, while providing enough rigidity to keep the bag upright. Thoughtful features like a built-in sunglasses case keep your shades at the ready, an easy-access front ammo pocket allows for quick reloading, and a thermos holder keeps your go-juice handy.
Optifade Marsh $149, Realtree Max5 $139 | rigemright.com
Pelican - Cargo Cases
Pelican’s Cargo Cases offer weatherproof storage for bulky items, but are less permanent than truck bed drawer systems. The roto-molded containers are perfect for keeping bulky gear out of the elements without taking up cab space on road trips. Go ahead and stuff your waders, jackets, and few flats of shells in a couple cases and follow the migration. These Cargo Cases were designed in conjunction with mounting systems for truck beds and roof racks, so you can keep them loaded with gear and be ready to hit the road in minutes.
$249 and up | pelican.com
Gundog Grind - Wildfowl Dark Roast
The new Wildfowl Edition Dark Roast from Gundog Grind Coffee is proof that your morning joe can indeed taste better than the old hunting sock used to filter it. This bold but smooth blend is full of flavor that will stand out in the pill line, during a pre-hunt breakfast at the club or in the blind from your favorite Yeti. This is coffee for hunters by hunters. Dollars from this awesome brand goes straight to conservation, too!
$15 | gundoggrind.com
ALPS OutdoorZ - Snow Goose Chair
Let’s face it: backboards suck. After a couple of hours, your neck hurts and you’re looking for excuses to adjust the spread just so you can walk around a bit. The Snow Goose Chair from ALPS OutdoorZ provides the low profile that snow goose hunters need to stay concealed amongst the decoys, while offering plenty of comfort. This folding recliner suspends the hunter above the ground at the optimal angle for watching the sky, while making it easy to rise for the shot.
$139 | alpsoutdoorz.com
MTM Case-Guard - Dual Gauge Shotshell Cases
One of my pet peeves is shotshell boxes falling apart inside my blind bag, spilling shells everywhere. The best way I’ve found to combat that is using the excellent hard plastic shotshell cases from MTM Case-Guard. These plastic boxes stand up to hard use, and don’t disintegrate at the first drop of water like cardboard. I can set the open box down next to me whether I’m in a layout boat, layout blind, or sitting in the marsh and have them at the ready while being protected. The Dual Gauge Shotshell Cases will fit 3-inch 12, 16, and 20 gauge shells by inserting the included grid.
$5 | mtmcase-gard.com
ESP - Stealth Hearing Protection
Once your hearing is degraded, there’s no way to get it back. Shield it while you can with the best protection you can afford. Custom-fit digital hearing protection from ESP can enhance your senses out in the field, while ensuring shotgun blasts and loud calling don’t have a detrimental effect. The enhanced intelligent algorithms in the ESP Stealth identify unwanted background noises without suppressing the sounds you want to hear, protecting your hearing from noises over 90 decibels. The omnidirectional microphone picks up sounds from all around you, so you won’t be surprised by that mallard coming in from behind.
$2,100 | espamerica.com
Some software, like Basemap, can make planning your hunt easier than ever. Going onto the app and turning on a layer gives you detailed season dates and past season harvest data for whatever state and species you are interested in. The Habitat Range layers will show you exactly where your quarry lives in the unit you are hunting, so you can cut down on windshield time in unfamiliar areas. There’s even layers for wildfires so you can avoid recently burned sections when scouting. Basemap also provides valuable information about property lines, showing you where private land stops and public land begins.
Basic: Free; Hunt Research: $10/year; Pro: $30/year | basemap.com
Mallard View Outdoors - Ice Eaters
When the hole closes up, the ducks go packing. Keep them around longer with an ice eater. These devices utilize powerful motors to drive propellers that circulate water from the bottom, where it is warmer, to the top. This will keep the pond open when the bottom falls out of the thermometer. As a bonus, the churning water puts plenty of motion in the spread for added realism. The Mallard View Outdoors models are also more energy efficient than most on the market, saving gas in the generator for longer run times. Kits come with just about everything you need to keep the ice away this winter.
3/4 Horsepower $739 and up, 1 Horsepower $779 and up | mallardviewoutdoors.com
Quack Rack - Swamp Stool
The older I get, the more I appreciate a good seat out in the marsh. Unfortunately, most stools only last a season or so before rusting, bending, or otherwise becoming useless. Quack Rack set out to end this vicious cycle with the introduction of the QR Swamp Stool. Built from 1/8-inch 5052 marine-grade aluminum with a textured powder coat finish, they believe this is the last seat you’ll ever have to buy. The 32-inch height offers plenty of versatility for varying water depths, and works well on dry land, too. Retractable feet provide plenty of traction in mud, water, and other loose substrates.
$159 | quackrack.com
Yamaha - Wolverine RMAX2 1000 XT-R
Yamaha’s new Wolverine RMAX2 1000 XT-R delivers class-leading power to get you through the woods and to the water in no time flat. Its new, powerful 999cc DOHC, eight-valve, parallel twin engine delivers 108 horsepower with legendary Yamaha durability. The XT-R Package adds Maxxis Carnivore tires, heavy-duty WARN winch, and an advanced suspension system to tackle extreme terrain. The Wolverine RMAX2 1000 XT-R features a solid and durable frame that is designed to provide superior off-road confidence. Along with its class-leading suspension, 30-inch tires and an optimized wheelbase provide a balanced contact-to-ground feel in extreme terrain. The On-Command three-way locking differential provides 2WD, 4WD, and full differential-locked 4WD to keep your momentum now matter how sloppy the trail gets.
$22,199 | yamahamotorsports.com
ALPS OutdoorZ - Pit Blind Bag
While some folks prefer to be hyper-organized with everything tucked neatly into it’s own little pocket or cubby, others like to throw everything in and go. ALPS OutdoorZ designed the Pit Blind Bag for the latter. The Pit Blind Bag features a large pop-open main compartment that is capable of swallowing plenty of gear, while providing easy access later. The spacious main section features a removable divider that provides some organization if needed, but gets out of the way to stuff bulky items like jackets as the day warms and you shed layers.
$69 | alpsoutdoorz.com
Benchmade - 15006 Steep Country
After a particularly long day at work, I drove off with my knife still resting on my truck’s bumper. I was about a mile down the road when I realized, and I pulled a rather irresponsible U-turn to go back and get it. As I approached the yard, I watched in horror as my cherished knife was repeatedly run over by rush hour traffic. Despite the parade of cars that went over it, the only damage was some road rash on the handle. I’ve been a big believer in Benchmade ever since, and now own several more. The newly redesigned 15006 Steep Country features a 3.5-inch fixed blade that’s just right for breasting out ducks and geese, as well as breaking down big game. Enhanced texture on the Santoprene handle ensures your hand stays put even during high-volume snow goose cleaning sessions.
$130 | benchmade.com