December 25, 2003

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

While this is a little late to be considered a Christmas wish list, I couldnt help jotting down a few of my thoughts on the growing market of outdoor equipment. I thought battery powered socks and electronic fillet knifes were hi-tech but after shopping around a bit for some holiday gifts I must say that we hunters and fishers have a plethora of new wave gadgets meant to help us catch or fish, bag our game and lighten our wallets.

1.) Scent Lock clothing There are a number of manufacturers out there offering the new wave of odor-free camouflage clothing to help hunters evade the sensitive noses of deer. I have a set of these wonderful inventions and trust me they do work. But the clothes line has come a long way (mine is just a stretch suit that goes over my normal hunting clothes) and now they have parkas, bibs and all the cold-weather clothes a hunter could ask for. I just wish they would make every day clothes with scent lock, but then again if a person doesnt take a shower or use deodorant, they probably wont invest in scent lock clothes, as they are rather pricey.

2.) Waders with a zipper Obviously this was invented by a man, probably one with a small bladder. Anyone that duck hunts or does any fly fishing knows the value of this new improvement.

3.) Vibrating ice fishing pole Just insert the batteries in the handle of the smallish rod and turn the power on. The slight action of the vibration is supposed to attract fish by creating a jigging effect for the lure. I laughed at this one a bit, but then again I used to sit on a bucket and freeze to death before I upgraded to the ice tent, so maybe in a couple years Ill give in to this fad as well.

4.) Digital camera binoculars Im not sure about these, as pictures are proof and Im sure there are plenty of hunters out there that would prefer to tell their story than show it with a picture, unless the binocular magnification can transform that basket eight-pointer into the trophy wall hanger that you told everyone you saw.

5.) Game finder / bionic ear Here are a couple pieces of technology that I believe I could use, and if not I have some family members that I could wrap them up for and re-gift to if I didnt really like them. The bionic ear, is what it sounds like, (nice pun aye?) a hearing aid for the hunter to help them pickup the light foot falls of that far away deer. Of course unless it drowns out the crashing cannonade of stampeding squirrels next to your tree, it wont do me much good. The game finder on the other hand, now thats a piece of technology I could handle (if I had a spare $300 bucks laying around). This hand-held viewer helps the hunter find his downed game by picking up its body heat. Special lights also assist in tracking a blood trail. Of course if a guy simply makes sure the deer is dead before he leaves to get the truck, we wont need one of these.

6.) Cab enclosure, ATV handle mittens Last but not least are two accessories for those of us who, either dont have four-wheel drive or have too new a truck to take into the brush to get to the tree stand. These two items allow the use of a four-wheeler in the winter. More than once I missed out on a deer because my eyes were frozen shut or my hands were too numb to grip my rifle from the five-minute ride on the four-wheeler getting to my hunting spot. The mittens look like an over-sized set of welding gloves that go past the elbow offering warmth and comfort to the extremities so often frozen out on the ride. And if you dont want to wear your snow suit and goggles back to the stand, shell out the extra bucks and get the total enclosure for the ATV. I bet theyve got a little heater that will plug into the cigarette lighter. Then all youll be missing is a set of windshield wipers and a hood ornament.

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