Like many hunters, I fish. Funny thing is, a lot of my fishing in a given year is during downtime in hunting camp. And because I travel so much to do both, my gear takes a beating. This is true for my sunglasses, too.
Though I didn't fish on my recent trip to South Dakota (3,464.6 round-trip miles by truck, bus, plane and several other vehicles to and from the Aberdeen airport), I hunted pheasants mornings and afternoons and took my pair of Skeleton Optics Scout Realtree Xtra Edition Sunglasses along.
The best way to field test a new product is to use that gear. Period. A long road trip adds to the challenge. As travel goes, a zippered hard case comes with the glasses, which I simply slipped into my carry-on bag (twice tagged by and surrendered to airline officials as I boarded little jets).
Hunting with a handful of different dog breeds, through birdy brush, swamp and edge cover, my new pair took a beating. As is typical of me, I once forgot they were on my fleeced head, and the sunspecs took a flight to the ground when I reached for a dead ringneck. No damage done. Well, at least not to the sunglasses.
Full disclosure: It'd be nice if I can avoid losing this pair, as I (1) like them, and (2) have worn them on a successful hunt (adding to the nostalgia factor we have for gear). I'd like to hold onto them long enough to fish and turkey hunt with them this coming spring. Wish me luck.
Steve Hickoff is Realtree.com's editorial director and turkey hunting editor. He’s been beaten by more birds than he can remember. Still he kills enough to eat well, and fool with beards, spurs and fans until the next season. Pennsylvania born and raised, Maine is his home base now. A full-time outdoor communicator with a couple university writing degrees, he chases spring gobblers and fall flocks around the country.