Yesterday we walked the floor of the 2012 SHOT Show in Las Vegas in search of cool new guns and ammunition. We’d need a week’s worth of time (maybe more) to highlight everything, but we saw quite a few cool new products. Today we turned our focus to hunting accessories—optics, trail cameras, decoys, blinds—you name it. Here’s a look at some of what we found.
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1 | Tru-Glo Sights
The generic term “red dot sight” might not be the best description any more. Tru-Glo has made some modifications to its Triton line of dot sights, giving the user the option of three different-color dots to choose from, depending on the lighting situation. These sights offer the choice of a red, green or blue dot. The blue, for example, doesn’t produce the “halo” effect that a red dot can create in low light. The Triton 20mm Tri-Color sight is compact and sold standard with both high bases (good for ARs) and low bases for turkey and slug guns. It’s equipped with tool-less windage and elevation adjustments, unlimited eye relief, and is waterproof, fog proof, and shock resistant.
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2 | Weston Sportsman's Advantage Vacuum Sealer
The Realtree Outfitters line of game processing equipment provides commercial-grade quality and is easy to use. This year, Weston added to its line of grinders, sausage stuffers and meat slicers with the new Sportsman’s Advantage vacuum sealer. Many hunters have found that it’s easy to overheat (and ruin) standard vacuum sealers with the repetitive use involved while processing and freezing big game. This sealer is designed specifically for prolonged use. It’s fan-cooled and has a 200-watt heating element for sealing the freezer bags. The folks at the Weston booth reported demonstrating it more than 90 times yesterday without a hiccup.
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3 | Duck Commander Calls
Duck Commander calls are a standard in many-a-blind bag across the country, and some of the calls highlighted to us this year were the triple-reed Triple Threat (polycarbonate) and Mach 3 (acrylic). These calls were actually introduced in 2011. They produce a deeper, raspier sound, and with three reeds, getting them to stick is tough—regardless of how many breakfast burritos you’ve eaten that morning, or how big a plug of tobacco you’re chewing.
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4 | Skull Hooker
Many hunters are turning to European skull mounts to display their trophies. The mounts are economical, don’t take up much room, and not too difficult to create yourself. One drawback with them, however, has been displaying them. The Skull Hooker offers a simple solution. It hangs securely from a wall, and hooks into the back of the skull. It’s fully adjustable for positioning, and is offered in several styles and sizes.
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5 | Ducks and Bucks Blind
The Buck Up blind from Ducks and Bucks offers a semi-portable, elevated option for ground blind hunters. The blind is setup on a collapsible platform that weighs 95 pounds and can be rolled into a new area. It offers an affordable alternative to elevated shooting houses with a roomy interior and water-resistant fabric.
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6 | Tanglefree Decoys
Tanglefree has really stepped up its game when it comes to realistic duck and goose decoys. This year they added full-body wigeon and pintails to its Pro Series line of decoys, as well as foam-filled divers to its Migration Edition. If you’ve done much hunting for bluebills, canvasbacks, redheads or sea ducks, you know those birds commit low to the water, and hitting decoys with stray pellets is just part of the game. With these foam-filled versions, you don’t have to worry about sinking them.
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7 | Mojo Outdoors Decoys
Mojo Outdoors has a new line of turkey-fan motion decoys designed for the “new” technique of fanning gobblers (more on those in Steve Hickoff’s Turkey Blog). For duck hunters, Mojo has addressed the hassle of packing spinning-wing decoys to the blind with its new Waterfowl Backpack. The pack has pockets designed to carry the decoys themselves, stakes, wings and batteries.
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8 | FINAL APPROACH BLIND SEAT
Being a little slow on the draw when sitting up to shoot from a laydown blind can cost you ducks. Final Approach has introduced its spring-assist Up-N-At-Em Blind Seat to address this problem. The seat is padded and comfortable and works in any full-sized layout blind.
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9 | Battenfeld Technologies Wheeler Engineering
The Battenfeld Technologies Wheeler Engineering Professional Laser Bore Sighter helps you quickly and easily bore-sight your rifle with precision. The green laser beam is bright (we could see it from across the room in the Sands Expo Center), and the unit connects to your rifle’s muzzle with magnets, preventing any risk of damage to the rifling. The units are calibrated at the factory to ensure the best bore/optic alignment possible.
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10 | Hunter's Specialties Predator Caller
The Hunter’s Specialties Johnny Stewart Executioner Predator Caller is loaded with features and functions. It has 100 preloaded sounds with 4 GB of internal memory and can play two sounds at once. The wireless remote has a range of 300 yards. It features three play-back modes including Standard, Sound Shuffle and Custom. The keypad and base have a LCD display with real-time clock, standard timer and power save. The volume selection of zero to 50 can be adjusted while in mute. The caller includes 16 programmable presets as well as an omni-directional speaker with adjustable amp power output of either 9 watt or 18 watt. Additional features include an external audio jack and integrated GPS.
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11 | Realtree Zippo Hand Warmer
Zippo’s award-winning, all-metal hand warmer is now available in Realtree AP. The Realtree Zippo Hand Warmer is ideal for keeping your hands warm, comfortable and functional during the coldest of hunts. Its sleek, compact design allows it to fit easily into pockets, gloves and pants. The Hand Warmer comes with a burner and uses Zippo Premium Lighter Fluid (sold separately) to produce 10 times the heat as traditional models.
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12 | Evolved Harvest Mean Bean Crush
Evolved Harvest Mean Bean Crush contains an all-legume mix of soybean, lablab and cowpeas, making it a great option for your next warm-season food plot. This mix delivers a fast-growing food plot, which can be planted in spring, summer or fall. If you’re planting in an area with grass competition, you can spray the area with grass-specific herbicide without hurting the food plot mix. Mean Bean Crush produces a lot of forage for deer to help with antler development, and it’s backed by Lee and Tiffany Lakosky as part of their Crush line.
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13 | Bad Boy Buggies Ambush
SHOT Show attendees were blown away with Bad Boy Buggies new Ambush. The Ambush, seen here in Realtree AP Snow, combines the best features of both an electric- and gas-powered ATV. Available in the summer 2012 in a variety of Realtree patterns, the Ambush boasts a 48-volt electric drivetrain and a 16 hp, 480cc V-twin gas engine, either of which can operate the vehicle independently in two-wheel drive operation or in tandem four-wheel drive power. With a range of up to 100 miles, the Ambush provides hunters with the ability to go on longer hunting excursions where both extended range and low-noise, odorless operation are required for a successful hunt.
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14 | Leica Trinovid
Leica introduced its updated Trinovid premium entry level binoculars at the show. The first Trinovids were known for their innovative prism design and optical performance. These newest models, available in 8x42 BR and 10x42 BR, feature a rugged design that will stand up to the wear and tear of the hunt. The fully featured Trinovids maintain Leica's high standard for exceptional engineering while providing superior value and performance. Magnesium housing makes the Trinovid extremely lightweight, yet durable enough to handle rugged conditions thanks to the rubber armouring. The 42mm objective lens delivers optimal light for viewing, even in less than optimal conditions.
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15 | Swarovski EL Range Binoculars
Swarovski EL Range 10x42 Bino -- Swarovski combines high-quality optical lenses with precise range measurements in the rangefinding EL Range 10x42 Bino. The range finder has one of the highest transmission values available. The EL’s extremely wide-view field and low weight makes it ideal for your hunt. These Swarovski hunting binos have proven coating quality and are optimized for laser technology.
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16 | Bushnell HuntTrack
In an era when GPS units were getting more and more complex and feature-rich, Bushnell took a completely different approach with its TrackBack units. The concept was simple: A GPS that you turned on when you left your vehicle and then used it to navigate back. No waypoints. No bells or whistles. It was wildly popular.
In 2012, Bushnell is unveiling the HuntTrack. The HuntTrack is a slightly more complex unit but offers only those features that hunters want and nothing more than they truly need. The unit will store 25 locations, has a sunrise, moonrise, sunset, moonset times, temperature and time display, digital compass and will log up to 48 hours of trail data. Turn on the unit in the morning, hike out a new location all day and then connect the unit to your computer. Overlay the data onto Google Earth and you can see exactly where you travelled – a terrific feature for those who hunt large areas of public lands.
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17 | Nikon
It seems Nikon has adopted a clear approach to 2012: affordable clarity. Many of Nikon’s new offerings for 2012 are value-focused. The new Monarch 3 binocular, for example, features fully multicoated lenses, a rubber armor body, great light transmission and a superb image. And they sell for less than $250. The Monarch 3 is available in 8X42 and 10X42 options.
Two more value-focused offerings for 2012 are the new Prostaff 3 and Prostaff 5 rangefinders. The Prostaff 3 has a 550-yard ranging capability, multicoated optics, ranges in .5-yard increments out to 99.5 yards and is extremely compact. The Prostaff 5 has a 600-yard ranging capability, switchable display that changes the LED color for easier viewing against varying backgrounds displays in .1-yard increments. Both units are offered in Realtree AP.