|by John C. Krull
Gun Week Production Manager
For the last several years I've tried to suggest gift ideas that would be appreciated by the hunter, huntress, outdoors person, or the nature lover on your Christmas gift list. Well, here we go again. I think that I have selected some really good ideas that are sure to put a smile on that special someone's face. You might think that your outdoors person has everything, but try these ideas out.
It's the rare outdoors person who never gets cold. Warming up can be difficult. When afield, do you sit in your car and wait for the heater to get warm? Or maybe you're one of those who luckily has a nearby cabin or a trailer to get warm in. Now, there's a quick and easy way to heat yourself up, with little or no shelter. It's Mr. Heater.
This is a combination heater/cooker from Mr. Heater Corp. (2685 East 79th St, Dept. GWK, Cleveland, OH 44104; 800-251-0001; www.mrheater.com) that can be used in sheds, on the patio, garage or, as I plan to use it, in the back of my Explorer truck. I've already had the opportunity to use it in my garage while I was out there cutting up some wood one night on my table saw. This heater is not meant for indoor use.
While I do have a separate portable stove to heat food and water, Mr. Heater also serves as a stove when laid on its side. It gets hot, quick, and outperforms the stove that I have.
Mr. Heater is fueled by either a 14-ounce or 16-ounce disposable propane fuel tank. It has three settings for 8,000, 12,000 or 14,000 BTUs with a safety shutoff. Mr. Heater has a one-year warranty, but I'm sure that unless you abuse it you won't have to take advantage of-the warranty. Mr. Heater weighs just 4 pounds, making it lightweight, compact, and very durable. You should be able to find this and other Mr. Heater products at your local sporting goods store. If not, you can get it from Cabela's. The suggested retail price of this Mr. Heater model is $49.99.
Mr. Heater Corp. makes several other models of heaters for outdoor or garage type use. Some attach directly to a refillable propane tank and others hookup with a hose. One unit that I hope I'll get to try out maybe next year is their new Portable Buddy Heater. This unit can be used in vehicles, tents, hunting blinds and other enclosed areas and can be fueled by either 1-pound tanks or with a hose to the 20-pound refillable tanks. Visit their website to see the full line.
I always enjoy hunting videos and they make good presents. I've got a bunch of them and have watched them over and over again. Hunter's Specialties Inc. (6000 Huntington Court, NE, Dept. GWK, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402; 319-395-0321; www.hunterspec.com) has four new videos this year. Here they are one by one.
Prime Time Bucks 4
One of the really fantastic episodes is seeing a Montana whitetail buck, weighing 300 pounds, with 20 scoreable points, taken at about 200 yards with a rifle by Bill Jordan of RealTree Outdoors. Some people think that I have the job of a lifetime, while I think that people like Jordan really do.
Another episode shows Alex Rutledge of the Hunter's Specialties staff on the third day of his hunt, hunting in a hay field from behind rolled bails of hay. The fun part about this hunt is that while this monster buck is coming into shooting range his decoy falls over. This mishap never phased the 8-point buck who continued to approach to within bow shooting range for a successful hunt by Rutledge.
For those really boring nights, sit back, relax and enjoy some deer hunting that is really thrilling.
Racks of the Rockies
Wayne Carlton-of Carlton Calls-takes us through these 85 breath-taking and heart-stopping minutes. Carlton takes us to New Mexico, Oregon and Arkansas-for the first elk hunt in that state in 160 years.
The first hunt is on the Vermejo Park Ranch that is 600,000 acres-with no fences-and has an elk population of 12,000. David Forbes, co-owner of Hunter's Specialties, goes along on this rugged hunt. While you are able to drive reasonably close, there is still lots of hiking and climbing involved in elk hunting. The guide here is Floyd Sanders, an experienced guide and elk caller. I held my breath along with Forbes while he was at full draw waiting for his bull to get close enough for a shot. Forbes ends his hunt with a truly magnificent animal just before the rain started. This was followed by several more intriguing hunts.
People have asked why I like my Savage Model 24s so much. Well, it gives me a close shot and a far shot, whichever presents itself. Stewart in some of the video carries two guns-a shotgun and a rifle-for the near shot or the far shot. He says that he likes to call them in close so that you "have the dirt kicked on you when the animal turns to run away."
Wimberley likes to use sticks as a portable rest, which he does quite effectively.
I kept waiting for them to say what calibers they favored but the subject never came up. I would also have liked to know the guns, scopes and other equipment that was being used.
The two men disagree somewhat on whether the best way to call is with an electronic call or a mouth call. Personally I like the electronic one. Every varmint hunter will really enjoy this 60 minutes of action.
Buck Gardner, who is the champion of champions at duck calling, takes you across the country to wherever webbed feet are searching for water.
And there is a Canadian hunt with Gardner that is really packed with lots of action.
Each video sells for $10.99, and can be purchased at your local sporting goods store.
|Seal Skinz Socks and Gloves
Wet feet are the worst thing that can happen to you in the field. They can really ruin your day. But even if your boots fail you, there is a way to keep your feet dry. Seal Skinz is the answer. Seal Skinz's unique moisture vapor transpiration (MVT) is designed to keep your hands (they make gloves, too) and feet dry.
They are made with a three-layer system, with the outer layer of nylon/Lycra spandex for durability. The waterproof MVT membrane lets perspiration out while preventing water from coming in. And the inner layer of DuPont Coolmax Performance Fabric wicks perspiration away from the skin. With the socks they suggest that you wear a pair of synthetic or wool socks under the Seal Skinz, and that under no condition you should wear cotton socks under them.
I sat watching a video with my Seal Skinz gloved hand in a bucket of water for 15 minutes waiting for the water to get to my hand, which it never did.
I've reported, on Rocky Boots in the past and always found them to be more than I expected. This year my beagle decided that the hunting boots I had been wearing for the last 10 years or so were to be retired-by eating one of them. I gave Joe Hanning a call at Rocky and explained my situation and asked if he could help. A couple of weeks later I received what I consider the best boots I have ever owned. These are the SnowStalker Extreme. They are waterproof and well insulated with 1,000 grams of Thinsulate.
Rocky's Asystec Moisture Escape system keeps water away from your feet. These are 12-inch-high boots (my old ones were 9 inches) and give an extra amount of support that I appreciate. While being much bulkier than my old boots, they weigh no more than the old ones did, about 1° pounds each in size 8.
Their tread is real aggressive, with a Heellock designed to prevent slippage. The lacing starts out with regular eyelets, with hooks used for lacing the top half of the boot. They have a leather pull strap for ease of putting on. I guess that Nikki really did me a favor by eating one of my old boots. The retail price is $169 and they're well worth it. See your local sporting goods store, including Dicks and Footwear Shops, or try the Bass Pro Shop catalog for these and the rest of the Rocky Boot line. To contact Rocky write them at: Rocky Shoes and Boots Inc., 39 East Canal St., Dept. GWK, Nelsonville, OH 45764 or call 800-769-2229 for a retailer near you. Their website is www.rockyboots.com.
|Walker's Game Ear
The competitive shooter found out years ago the importance of ear protection, but this is something that the average hunter has grossly ignored. Part of the reason was that ear muffs or ear plugs didn't allow you to hear the sounds in the woods while wearing them. That problem has been solved by Walker's Game Ear. This is a unit similar to a hearing aid that weighs just of an ounce and fits behind your ear. It can be used with or without eye glasses, and once you put it on, it isn't even noticeable.
The Walker's Ear can increase your hearing as much as 7 times its normal level. Also provided is an ear plug (one of those foam plugs that expand to fit the ear) for the other ear to protect you from the sound of the gun blast. You probably don't notice the impact on your ear when the shot goes off with the adrenaline that is flowing when it is time to shoot, but you might notice a ringing or not being able to hear your buddies right after a shot has been taken. This is the beginning of serious hearing loss.
A new feature of the Walker's Game Ear is its AFT (Adjustable Frequency Tuning). You can set the Game Ear to your own specific level of hearing. The Ear uses a #13 battery, at least one extra of which I suggest you carry with you. You don't want it going dead when you need it most. This is a precision instrument and should be treated as such. You want to clean it with a small amount of antiseptic mouthwash. Never get it wet and avoid dropping it.
Walker's Game Ear retails for $199. Your hearing is worth a lot more than that. If you can't find one at your local sporting goods store, try the Cabela's catalog.
To contact the company, write them at: Walker's Game Ear Inc., PO Box 1069, Dept. GWK, Media, PA 19063 or call them at: 800-424-1069. Their website is www.walkersgameear.com.
The Buck Hustler is another product from the Mr. Heater people. This is a unit powered by a tank of propane gas to heat your lure scent to better distribute it into the air to attract those big bucks.
The Buck Hustler has a scent cup that holds 6 ounces of lure diluted with distilled water, about 1/3rd lure to 2/3rds water, but never more than a 50/50 mixture. Distilled water acts as a catalyst to carry the vapor which is produced. The flame produced heats the prepared lure mixture to 125 to 145 degrees (F). You can pre-mix your favorite lure with the water at home and carry it to the field in pre-measured glass or plastic bottles. The 6 ounces can last for as much as 10 hours before it completely evaporates. The heating of the lure sends it out a long range into the woods, just like a hot cup of coffee on a cold winter day. Besides being used to attract deer it can also be used for bear, elk, moose, boar, fox, and coyote. The Buck Hustler retails for $49.99.
We've all seen those Hot Hands packages at the checkout counter. I've always just put them in my pockets. They work, but only help keep your hands warm. The people at HeatMax Inc. (PO Box 1098, Dept. GWK, Wise, VA 24293; 800-432-8629, website: www.heatmax.com) have come up with several new ways to help you stay warm.
The Heated Mitten is a mitten with a fold-back thumb and mitten cap, which secures with Velcro, and has a pouch to hold the air-activated HotHands. All you do to activate the heating action is open the sealed package, shake it and insert it into the mitten pouch. This should keep your hands warm for 8 to 10 hours. Retail price is $19.99.
The Heated Belt is a unit that holds two HotHands heaters in the lower part of your back above the waist, about kidney level. This will provide body warmth where you need it. Retail price is $14.95.
Now the one that I like the most-the 3-in-1 Heated Muff. This one can be used as a handmuff, a fanny pack, or a seat cushion. I think when I'm hunting from the ground I'll use it as the muff, and as a seat cushion to sit upon in my tree stand. There are larger versions of the heating elements to use in the handmuff. The top has a zippered pouch separate from the hand compartment. It can be used to hold your wallet, accessories or extra HotHands warmers. I should be able to stay nice and warm this year. All of these products are available in Advantage Camo. Now if I just don't fall asleep and miss that buck. Retail price is $19.99.
Lansky Sharpeners has been an innovator in the knife sharpening field since 1979. Now, they've done it again with new sharpeners that are knife-specific. Several knife companies currently produce knife blades with their own unique type of serrated blades-Cold Steel®, Spyderco®, and Gerber® are just three of these companies.
Unless you want your serrated blade to become useless or a straight, normal type blade you will need one of these Lansky Sharpeners. While these knives cut very well when new, their serrated blades are difficult or impossible to sharpen by traditional methods such as bench stones.
Lansky has just introduced three new, pocket-handy Crock Stick® sharpeners designed to sharpen all the most common serrated blades.
The Crock Stick® Cold Steel® Sharpener is designed with special grooves that exactly match the proprietary mini-serrations found on Cold Steel blades. The Crock Stick® Spyder matches the unique serrations found on Spyderco knives. And the Crock Stick® Multi-Sharpener is designed to match the serrations found on Gerber knives and other brands with similar patterns.
All three of these sharpeners also will sharpen regular as well as serrated blades, and each has a special groove for sharpening fish hooks and other pointed objects. These Crock Stick sharpeners have a key chain and easy-to-grip safety end caps that won't catch in your pocket. All this for a price of just about $7 each.
For more information or a free catalog, contact Lansky Sharpeners, PO Box 50830, Dept. GWK, Las Vegas, NV 89016. Phone: 702-361-7511. Fax: 702-896-9511. On-line: www.lansky.com.
|MTM Field Case
When I go to the range I go for the day. I take several guns, a chronograph, a spotting scope, lots of ammo, a range finder, along with targets, paper and pencils, screwdrivers and cleaning equipment.
The ammo goes into an MTM Sportsman's Dry box; the cleaning equipment, tools and accessories go into my MTM Shooter's Accessory Box topped with the Rifle & Shotgun
The dimensions of this box are 20.7 x 12.75 inches by 8.75 inches tall. It has a removable tray with eggshell foam in the top of the lid and in the tray. Below the tray is a generous amount of room for your earmuffs, shooting glasses and whatever else you don't want to get crushed or damaged. There are two strong latches and a sturdy carrying handle. The lid can even be locked with a padlock for secure storage.
If you aren't going to the range I'm sure that you can think of several other uses for this MTM utility box. Retail price of the MTM Sportsman's Utility Case is $26.15.
MTM also makes boxes for storage of any caliber of ammo, arrow cases, broadhead boxes, reloading accessories, and handgun cases.
For a copy of their catalog contact them at: MTM Molded Products Company, PO Box 13117, Dept. GWK, Dayton, OH 45413-0117; or call them at: 800-543-0548. Their website is www.mtmcase-gard.com.
This Life Jacket isn't one that you'll see on a boat. Well maybe you will, but it is a handgun or long-gun lock that covers the complete action of the gun. Mogul Company LLC (500 N. Kimball Road, Suite 109, Dept. GWK, Southlake, TX 76092; 888-800-0087; www.life-jacket.com) has produced a different type of gun lock. With the entire action covered, there is no access to the trigger and it even prevents the slide from being actuated.
The Life Jacket secures the gun within a durable polycarbonate shell that can withstand the weight of a one-ton truck. A tight fitting, high-density foam interior protects the gun's finish. When the Life Jacket is closed and locked on a firearm, a lip on the closing edge overlaps the seam to deter prying the unit open.
A stainless steel key lock discourages tampering while allowing simple and immediate access to the gunowner. Same-keyed locks are available for law enforcement use. I, for one, own more than one gun and would like to be able to take advantage of this single key function. I'm going to have to ask them about that. The retail price for the Life Jacket is $19.95.
I just talked with Jeffrey Cady at Life Jacket and he tells me that the Life Jackets are shipped in master cartons of six, which are all keyed the same. You should look for a number on the key to be assured that they are keyed the same or you can have them ordered this way for you.
Cady also informed me that some airlines consider the Life Jacket suitable to fulfill the requirement of having your gun in a locked container when you check it though in your baggage while traveling. Be sure to check with the airline that you are using at the time so as to prevent delays.
I always have a problem with the order of the products that I review. I don't want any company to think that I put them last because I felt any less about their product than the ones, that were listed first. I think that Hunters Specialties will understand and not feel bad about being last because I did review their videos at the beginning of this article.
The True Talker and the Primetime Rattling Bag is a combo pack from Hunter's Specialties.
The True Talker is a deer call that allows you to produce all six deer vocal characteristics. Unlike others that allow the control of only 3 sound ingredients-pitch, tone, and duration-the True Talker adds the factors of intensity, cadence and inflection. It's all made possible by the Talker's hardwood reed assembly and flexible finer membrane. Preset memory bands help you quickly and easily find and produce the desired sound at the proper moment without disassembling the call or pushing any potentially noise-making buttons. I'm looking forward to trying this baby out. An adjustable lanyard allows around-the-neck carry.
The Primetime Rattling Bag is a Realtree camo bag with a black elastic silencer band. The Bag contains select hardwood and special "Battling Buck" rods for unmatched realism. I've tried it and it sounds like the real thing with authentic sounds of two bucks battling it out. The Rattling Bag should be irresistible for those big bucks looking for some action. Retail price of the combo pack is $28.99.
|Those are my selections for this year. I hope that I've been of some help. You just might want to go out and buy yourself a present.
When you contact any of these manufacturers about their products be sure to tell them that John at Gun Week sent you.
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