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Outdoor Journal: New items can help improve deer hunting

Thursday, October 31, 2013
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It’s that time of year when local gun shops and hunting departments in sporting goods stores are filled with deer hunters browsing for something to add to their hunting equipment, and I stress that “need” should not be a factor.

Many hunters have probably already been roaming the Northern Zone woods, where firearms season opened last Saturday, and need to replace something. But most hunters are also always looking for something to enhance their chances for success and/or adding comfort to their time in the woods. Once again, I’ve found several “must have” items to improve my deer hunting. Let me share them with you.

Stay in touch

Communication in the woods, especially for those roaming the Adirondacks, is very important for success, and more importantly, safety.

Cell phone service can be spotty in the Adirondacks, and Midland’s new GXT895 36-Mile Two-Way Radio is the way to stay in touch with your fellow hunters, hikers, etc. When that 200-plus-pound, eight-point Adirondack deer goes down three miles from your vehicle, you’ll be glad to have this radio in your pocket.

These units feature 42 channels, 142 privacy codes, a 36-mile range, 10 call alerts and VOX (five levels) for easy voice activation and NOAA weather alert capabil­ities. The GTX895 package includes two radios, belt clips, headsets, rechargeable battery packs, desktop charger, AC adapter and owner’s manual. MSRP is $90 (www.midlandusa.com).

Blinding your game

The key to successful deer, turkey and goose hunting is stealth and concealment. Ameristep’s new 3D Leafy Tent Chair Blind series provides both.

It is built on a lightweight, port­able frame that allows it to be quickly picked up, moved and set up easily. Covered in the new Realtree Xtra camo pattern and 3D ReLeaf mesh exterior, they blend into tree-lines, woodlots and hedgerows. In addition they have zippered windows, lightweight one-piece, chair-in-blind construction.

They are offered in one- and two-person dimensions, 20 inches wide x 17 inches deep with a seat height of 35 inches, weigh about 10 pounds; and 56 inches wide x 21 inches deep, seat height 37 inches, weight about 17 pounds.

Both are one-piece with a pull-over blind attached to the chair and come with a case with shoulder straps. These two blinds, especially the larger, are ideal for bringing along that young hunter. No assembly required. They’re ready to hunt. Sure beats sitting on the ground. MSRP is $150 and $200, according to dealers (www.ameristep.com).

Cold feet

Thermacell, the people that keep me from getting bug bites in the woods, recently introduced Heated Insoles to keep feet warm in the woods and on the hard water.

They’re a rechargeable foot warmer that operates by wireless remote control without wires or external batteries, and provide up to 2,500 hours using high tech wireless thermal technology.

Each charge lasts five hours on the medium heat setting. The power comes from the rechargeable built-in lithium-ion polymer batteries embedded in the foot warmer insoles, and can be recharged up to 500 times. There are three temperature settings (no heat, 100 degrees and 111 degrees). MSRP is $135 (www.thermacell.com).

Coyote calling

I’ve come to the decision that calling coyotes and other pred­ators is best done with an electronic caller. And after viewing the video on the new Johnny Stewart Exec­utioner, I’m thoroughly convinced that it’s the most advanced predator caller I’ve ever listened to.

Its calls are the most realistic I’ve ever heard. It has three calling modes — standard; sound shuffle, which randomly changes the sound segments; and custom sequence, which plays calls designed by the user.

This unit comes with 100 Johnny Stewart sounds with 16 pre-sets on the remote and 16 on the base. The unit can be placed up to 300 yards from the hunter, who can still operate the remote, and that means it will take the coyotes’ eyes off the hunter. It operates in all audio formats, including 24- or 32- bit, and has 4 GB of internal storage.

The keypad and base both have an LCD display with a clock, strand timer, power- save and 0-50 volume control. You can set the standard in sound/speaker quality with an omni-directional speaker and adjustable amp power output of either nine- or 18-watt for long range calling using eight AA or eight C cell batteries. This is the way to hunt coyotes — goodbye mouth call. MSRP $490 (www.hunterspec.com).

Block the wind

Earlier this month, I went to the opening of the new Bass Pro Shop in Utica and saw quite a few things I’d like to take into the woods with me. Among them, the RedHead Technical Windproof Fleece Full Zip Jacket.

It’s a three-layer, bonded, windproof, fleece breathable jacket that blocks the wind. It has a reverse coil, full-front zipper with a “zipper garage” to protect your face when fully zipped. There are also two front storm-flap covered zippered slash pockets for hand warmers and storage.

It also has hidden spandex cuffs to keep the cold from migrating up your arms, and it is machine washable. You will be glad to have one when the north wind whips through that tree stand or duck blind. MSRP is $70 (www.bassproshops.com).

Light up the woods

I was once a hunter who believed a flashlight is a flashlight and I guess that was true then, but it isn’t any more. The flashlight I now carry in the woods is the Bushnell HD Torch.

There’s no flashlight that delivers a comparable level of radiant intensity of brightness. The Torch produces a perfectly uniform square pattern of light that completely illuminates every inch of its range with a bright, clean light that offers superior image definition.

The 165-lumen output lasts for up to 1.5 hours on two three-volt lithium batteries that are included. MSRP $70 (www.bushnell.com).

To see what this light will do, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJh8W6iaqQ8.

New gun

I’ve only owned one.223-caliber, and it was a sporting (AR) rifle. But when the state firearms law started changing, I got rid of it. I’ve always wanted to replace it with a regular .223 rifle, and decided to do it now.

My choice is the Century Arms M85 Mini Mauser Bolt Action with Monte Carlo stock. I chose it because of its big brother, the M70 standard-bolt action in .270-caliber. It’s very accurate, and I took a trophy antelope with one in Wyoming.

Both of these Mausers were made by European premiere firearms manufacturer Zastava Arms, which has been building guns for 160 years. My reasons (my wife calls them excuses) for this addition are to take a Pennsylvania Eastern, Texas Rio Grande, Florida Osceola and, if possible, a Wyoming Merriam turkey, which would complete my eighth National Wild Turkey Federation Grand Slam.

Let’s call it a recent add to my Bucket List.

The Mini Mauser has a 20.07-inch cold-forged barrel, receiver and floor plate. The bolt, firing pin and bolt stop are made of solid steel to ensure years of reliability and accuracy, and it weighs 6.2 pounds.

My ammunition choice is going to be Federal’s 62-grain Fusion, which will not only surprise the turkeys, but also a New York state whitetail and perhaps even a Flor­ida wild boar. MSRP is $450 (www.-centuryarms.com).

 
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