Hunting Guide: Gearing up for the hunt
Posted: November 15, 2012
WINCHESTER — When hunters head outdoors to their favorite hunting spots, they want to find any edge that keeps them from ending the season empty-handed.
And because staying safe, staying warm and having a variety of items to help make the hunting experience more productive is essential, then Gander Mountain Hardlines Zone Manager Jerry McClanahan said there’s plenty of items that both men — as well as women — hunters can find at the Winchester area store located near Kernstown.
One of the newer innovations for tree stands is going to more lightweight materials. McClanahan said many of the newer model tree stands still provide a sturdy vantage point but they’re built to be much lighter for convenience and portability.
The Gorilla Silverback Hybrid Light HX, that sells for $229, is one of the more popular new tree stands.
“They’re light and they’re easier to carry out into the woods — and they’re comfortable,” said McClanahan of the Gorilla Silverback stand that weighs just 23 pounds. “They have great seating when it comes to padding and the size of [the seat] but also they’re light enough that when you have to haul it on your back out to your tree it’s not cumbersome.”
McClanahan said that one of the things that can’t be overlooked when it comes to tree stands is safety, and he said the store offers several types of harnesses for both men and women.
The Hunter Safety Systems Pro Series vest harness, that sells for $149-$169, is a new item that offers hunters more convenience than just a basic harness.
“It’s that safety net if you do fall out of a tree stand,” McClanahan said. “The harness protects you from falling to the ground. They zip it up like a vest as opposed to having to go through all the straps. Everything is built into the vest itself.
“So many more women are getting into the sport than I’ve recognized in the past which is a nice positive thing and the manufacturers are developing things that are female friendly with color and it’s built and framed for a woman as well,” added Gander Mountain general manager Flavian Gray. “They’re focusing on ladies items and items that are geared towards women.”
Cameras are also popular items and there are several types that feature motion sensors. Hunters can put these in their hunting areas so they can see the deer that frequent their area.
One new feature with the motion-detecting devices is black LED cameras ($159-$220) that keep the red light of the camera hidden from view.
Gray said the cameras are also more compact which helps conceal them from not only wildlife but provides a much lower profile that can help deter theft.
“It’s mainly about hiding the camera — the unit itself when deer come by,” said Gray. “In infared cameras you have the red dot and some believe that the deer can actually see that.”
Along with the motion-detecting cameras that allow hunters to see what’s in the woods when they can’t be there themselves, Gander Mountain also offers several range-finding, laser-guided optics that range in price from $179 to $339.
“It helps you see the exact distance that the animal is away from you,” McClanahan said. “They’re small, they’re light and they’re easily put into your hunting pack. The benefit is huge.
“It’s a huge tool when you’re out hunting because it takes the guess work out of how far away that deer is. Instead of your educated guess, it’s actually a laser device that precisely measures the distance.”
While some of the new technology can help hunters find their deer, the Midland XTC Wearable Video Camera ($260) mounts right on the bow and provides HD video (in 1080p) of the hunt itself.
“No more of the ‘one that got away,’” McClanahan said. “You actually have video of your hunt and can show other people how you took down your animal. We didn’t have any products that mounted right to the equipment last year. This actually mounts right to the equipment so whatever you’re aiming at that’s what it’s viewing. It also allows you to download your hunts to YouTube. It also comes with different mounts — a tree mount, a bow mount and a visor mount that mounts to your hat.”
Although hunters look for every edge to spot their deer, they always strive to stay undetected with various scent-blocking items.
From clothing items to detergents that mask the human scent, McClanahan said Gander Mountain offers a wide variety of items from apparel to common every-day items hunters use.
“We have clothing with scent blocking built in so as you perspire it puts up a barrier and doesn’t allow the scent to get out,” McClanahan said. “We have toothepaste, body wash, shampoo — anything that you use in your normal day we have that product to eliminate odor. It gives you that edge when you’re in the field so the deer can’t pick up your scent.”
McClanahan said Gander Mountain has also nearly doubled the size of its shoe department, offering various types of hunting boots for different weather conditions. He said many of the top-selling boots have different levels of Thinsulate, making some more appropriate for warmer days while others are designed for colder, winter days.
“We’re offering a wider range of insulated boots,” he said. “We have boots featuring light and heavy insulation.”
Gander Mountain also carries many boot accessories like insulators ($49) that can cover your feet while you’re in the woods or in a tree stand to protect your feet from the wind and rain, and there’s also boot drying machines ($34-$60).
For the extra-frigid days there’s also Nordic Gear battery-heated lectra socks ($25.99) as well as heated footbeds — or insoles ($11.99).
“[The insulators] are for when you’re sitting in the stand or standing in the field,” Gray said. “It’s not intended that you walk around in these but it’s for warmth and keeping your feet dry and comfortable. It’s capturing 90 percent of your body heat within the boot. It’s all about keeping warm.”
For more information on any of the items listed above, go to GanderMountain.com
— Contact Robert Stocks at email@example.com
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