A Way of Life in the USA

Hunting is a way of life in the United States, and we are here to help you be as successful on the hunt as possible.

Category Archives for Equipment Guides

Hunter Carrying a Rifle

The Best Hunting Rifle on the Market

  • February 7, 2018 /

Hunter Carrying a RifleHunting wild game is not only a popular sport but is also an important way of life. Are you new to the hunting scene and are searching for your first rifle? Are you searching for the best gift for your loved one and want to find the best rifle? Do you not know much about rifles and are shopping for one? Or, are you an expert but simply want to compare price and quality and brand? In this article, we will take you through the many factors to consider when shopping for the right rifle, the best brands out there and the best rifles for most genres of wild game hunting. We will include the typical pricing and the best hunting rifle under $1,000.00 and under $500.00. This will be the gold mine of hunting rifle information for everyone from the beginner to the expert.

Use the table of contents below to jump to the sections that interest you the most.

Rifle Buying Considerations

Starting off, you should determine what type of game are you going to be hunting.

This is critically important when searching for the perfect hunting rifle. Why? Because the type of game you are hunting will narrow down on the choices in rifles to choose. This determines the few selections of bullets to purchase and then narrows down the options of cartridges to buy. All of these factors contribute to choosing the best rifle for your needs. If you are new to the rifle world, then remember that the type of cartridge you need will limit the choices of rifles to buy. It’s a great big circle that all feeds within itself.

If that doesn’t make perfect sense, let us continue to explain. Ammunition is a crucial step to picking out the right shotgun or rifle. Continuing on with the deer hunting scenario, let’s assume that you’re shopping for a rifle to hunt deer. As always, you have to consider the kill. You don’t want to choose the type of ammunition that will only cause the deer to suffer for a long period of time. There are some sad cases where the animal gets shot and wanders off into the woods, never to be seen again. Most likely, the animal eventually dies from its wounds and the hunter never finds the animal. Wild game hunters always take extra precautions to ensure that this doesn’t happen. It simply isn’t a humane way to take the life of an animal. You want to be sure to choose the the ammunition that is big enough and powerful enough to kill the deer quickly and humanely, on the spot. The less the animal has to suffer, the better.

On the other hand, if you are hunting smaller animals such as rabbits or raccoons, you wouldn’t use the same ammunition as you would for the larger animals such as deer or elk. Although the ammunition that you would use for the deer would kill the animal quickly, it would likely destroy or blow away all of the muscle and meat. Well, that defeats the purpose of the hunt! Not only does it become a waste of meat and meal for you, it becomes a waste for the animal as it had to die for no reason.

Another factor to consider while shopping for the perfect hunting rifle is the size and comfort. If you’re searching for a hunting rifle for your thirteen year old son, the larger guns are probably not the best options. (As I’m sure that you would agree.) But as with anything, it’s wise to try it out for size. Hold the rifle and measure out the comfort level. Does it sit well in your shoulder? Does it sit comfortable in length to your arms? Is it too heavy for you to hold steady and easy? Do you like the materials? Do the materials feel comfortable against your skin? Can you see through the sights well? And finally, is the rifle easy enough to use?

When shopping for your thirteen year old son, the more simplistic the rifle is, the better. There’s no need for extra functions and complicated technology for his first rifle. Just learning to operate it will be challenging enough!

The third factor to consider is the type of action you’re desiring. Are you a seasoned hunter and searching for the latest in technology with hunting rifles? Or do you prefer the basic operating rifle? Are you searching for a single shot rifle that has the reputation of being the classic hunting tool? Or do you prefer to hunt with a repeating rifle?

With the single shot rifle, are you wanting the rolling block action, trapdoor action or the break-open action? Keep in mind, if you’re a beginner, that each of these actions offers different ways in which the ammunition is loaded and unloaded. It all comes down to your personal preference. Perhaps you’re an expert and know exactly what you want and prefer but just need to know what the latest styles and prices are. Many hunters insist that the single shot is the best choice for wild game hunting. It challenges your markmanship and creates a more fulfilling experience while in the hunting game.

Repeating rifles offer a different experience. They also come with several actions depending on your preference. To name a few of them, there is the lever action rifles, automatic rifles, bolt-action rifles, and the pumping action rifles. Typically, the lever action and pumping action guns still require some manual labor in loading and unloading ammunition. However, the automatic rifles unload and load cartridges without any need of manual assistance.

There are plenty of good options for your action choice, but bolt action rifles are the most common and practical for the majority of hunting situations.

The fourth factor that you should include is the budget. How much are you willing or not willing to spend on a hunter’s rifle? If you walk into the store with a fixed budget, this will automatically limit the choices within a smaller realm.

Finally, the fifth factor, stems from the fourth factor. Once you have a fixed budget, you should determine the type of brands to look into. Sometimes a fixed budget will completely eliminate certain brands since some are more expensive than others. However, there are many brands that are well worth every penny and are built to last a lifetime and then some. We will cover the best brands and also the best brands for each type of wild game hunting.

Best Hunting Rifle Brands

Winchester

Rifle CartridgesThe popular rifle and ammunition brand, Winchester, has been around since 1866. In fact, they are celebrating the company’s 150th anniversary this year! In honor of that, the company has created the Winchester Repeating Arms Model 73. It resembles the famous 1873 original rifle that earned the phrase, “The Gun that Won the West”. Completed with an antique finish, classic steel plate and round barrel, it is a definite blast to the past.

Needless to say, Winchester is one of the most popular brands in the hunting rifle world. With a brand that has been around for 150 years, it’s safe to say that it has a genuine quality that is worth every penny. Their products are made to last.

Browning

Browning is a rifle company that has been in operation and business since 1880. Started by John Browning, it has produced trusted and reliable products time and time again. The company even has a connection to Winchester. In the mid 1880’s, Browning and Winchester teamed up for nineteen years and created several models of rifles. Browning has been a loved hunting brand for many, many years and for the years to come.

Remington

Remington is the third hunting rifle brand that we love to speak highly of. This company has been around for since 1816. Yes, that is 200 years of operation that they will be celebrating this year. Remington is known for having created some of the best firearms and rifles such as the classic Model 700 and Model 870. According to Remington, those models have been not only their best sellers but overall best sellers in the firearm industry. As of today, the proven best selling Remington rifle has been the Versa Max. It’s excellent for duck and goose hunting or any other waterfowl game. Remington proudly announces their love for the American spirit all the time. There’s no doubt that this passionate attitude has contributed to the company’s success throughout the years. Let’s face it: two centuries is a long time to be in business!

Weatherby

Weatherby is also becoming more popular among the hunting rifle crowd. This company didn’t emerge until the 1940’s when Roy Weatherby started to develop new technology for the optimal rifle performance. He worked to design a more humane method of hunting with a one-shot kill. It was his belief that smaller, lightweight bullets would travel faster thus creating the higher capability of killing with the first shot. Furthermore, when 1957 rolled around, he introduced the country to the Mark V. This prized rifle supported his super fast, efficient and lightweight bullets. Thus, the Weatherby rifle company is known for producing rifles of this manner. Whenever someone mentions the Mark V, the name “Weatherby” should immediately cross your mind. This brand may not be as old and seasoned as Remington, Browning, Winchester and other classic brands, but it certainly holds its own in the market of hunting rifles, efficiency and quality.

Kimber

Kimber is a great brand that is loved by experienced and seasoned shooters of all kinds. Known for their sturdy yet reliable pistols, they also take great pride in their rifles and shotguns. It’s their mission to ensure that the latest in shooter technology is implemented in their products. Most of their hunting rifles are lighter than the average which means that it will have a stronger recoil. Naturally, if you are an inexperienced rifleman or have a smaller build, this brand may not be the wisest choice for hunting rifles and shotguns. However, for the experienced and seasoned huntsman, the Kimber brand just may be the one to win you over.

Cooper Firearms of Montana

Our sixth brand overview is of Cooper Firearms of Montana, Inc. This company is incredibly young compared to the others. Founded in 1990, the Cooper brand actually has roots to the Kimber company. Former Kimber employees decided to branch off and create their own designs and custom shooters. Fairly quickly, their good reputation grew as the proven accuracy and careful designs impressed one person after another. They became known for their Model 21 “Varmint Extreme”. For the varmint hunters out there, this created a huge demand and boosted the new company’s brand and reputation. A few years later in 2005, two new varmint rifle designs emerged that became an instant success. The “Phoenix” was a higher tech, synthetic version of the original design, the “Montana Varminter”. The other one, the “Jackson Squirrel Rifle” is known to be the biggest name and brand of all the squirrel rifles out there. So, long story short, don’t always judge a younger company as being less valuable. The Cooper brand has grown into a reliable and treasured name in the shooter communities.

Ruger

Ruger is another big name in the hunting and sportsman communities. The company was founded in 1949 as Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. Beginning with a lump sum of $50,000.00, the new shooter business wasn’t expected to survive. However, against all odds, it did. They are known for producing guns, pistols, revolvers and rifles that are just as strong, valuable and reliable as those of their competitors. Many hunters remain loyal and faithful to the Ruger brand due to these great qualities.

Savage

The Savage Arms Company has an interesting backstory. It was opened in 1894 in New York by Jamaican native, Arthur Savage. His contributions to firearm technology created new avenues for gunman, hunters and manufacturers alike. He invented a new type of rifle. Known as the Model 99, it had the first lever action with the whole operation encased within a steel receiver. It was considered a marvel during the turn of the twentieth century. The newly invented Model 99 showcased a rotary magazine that had a counter to display the amount of bullets that remained in the receiver. This was firearm technology that had yet to be seen in its time. Not only did Savage offer this remarkable firearm technology, but he also offered affordability to the common person.

To this day, Savage continues to offer the latest in firearm technology and leading the brand through one amazing product after another. There’s no doubt as to why so many hunters rely on the Savage brand.

Mossberg

Mossberg has been around since 1919. They have the reputation for providing firearms with the leading, state-of-the-art technology. On their website, they proudly boast about their pump shotguns and firearms. They point out that their pump shotguns and rifles that are bought by the United States government easily match the proper Mil-S-3443 specifications and regulations. It’s safe to say that their hunting rifles are also built to last and offer the newest technological advances. It’s a brand that is worth looking into!

Smith & Wesson

Smith & Wesson is the world’s leading manufacturer for handguns and pistols. The mention of their name makes a person automatically think of self-defense tools and weapons. A brand can’t become more successful than that! The company also has an interesting history like some of the other previous brands that we have mentioned.

Top Hunting RiflesFounded in 1852, Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson teamed up in Norwich, Connecticut. Smith & Wesson was born. It was their intention to create and market a lever action repeating handgun that would operate on a self-contained cartridge. Although the idea was grand, it didn’t financially support the famous duo. The business started to suffer tremendously. In order to keep from completely collapsing under financial woes, they sold the company to a clothing manufacturer. Ironically, this manufacturer was named Oliver Winchester. Do you recognize that name in the rifle industry? You should since we mentioned their company earlier in this article. Using Smith and Wesson’s original lever action idea, Winchester evolved his company into the infamous Winchester Repeating Arms Co. (Isn’t it amazing how all of these brands are woven and connected in some form or another?)

Ultimately, Smith and Wesson didn’t give up and successfully produced the world’s first fully self-contained cartridge revolver. After placing patents on this revolver, it prevented other manufacturers and companies from stealing and producing their designs and ideas again. This new revolver technology put them on the map as a superior manufacturer in the firearm market.

Once the success of the fully self-contained revolver had introduced the world to a new way of firearm practices, they knew that in order to stay on the top, they needed to invent a new design and market it relentlessly. That’s when they created the famous Model 3 American and introduced it to the market in 1870. It was the first large caliber cartridge revolver and became an instant success.

In terms of hunting in today’s world, Smith & Wesson rifles are popular in hog and wild boar hunting. All products branded with their name are guaranteed to be a hit.

In summary, these ten brands we have listed for quality hunting rifles are only a few among many! There are still many more great brands and names in hunting rifles. These ten are the most popular brands. (They weren’t listed in any particular order.) For those that are new to the hunting and firearm world, we hope that reading about the different brands has given you a new insight. Now let’s move on to looking at specific rifles for specific games and wildlife. Depending on what type of game you intend to hunt, you want the best rifle for the hunt.

Best Deer Hunting Rifle

There are many rifles that would easily be considered the best of the best when it comes to deer hunting. However, we have chosen only one in order to make it easier for you! In our opinion, the top four best rifle brands for deer hunting are Winchester Repeating Arms, Savage Arms, Weatherby, Inc., and Remington.

Mule DeerAssuming that most of your deer shots will be taken in the brush or at closer range, we have selected the Winchester Model 64 Lever Action rifle. This deer rifle would be excellent for making those early morning shots when the dew is still freshly frozen on the ground.

With a caliber of .30-30, it has a 24 inch barrel and weighs a light 7.4 pounds. It has sights that are post front/adjustable rear. This is a breach-loading rifle that holds five shells. The shells are loaded through the top and also unloaded in the same way. This particular hunting rifle is constructed of a beautifully, rich black walnut wood. It isn’t typically used for shooting long ranges. It works best and most accurately when shots are made within 200 yards.

As far as pricing goes, it is generally listed for $1,199.00 on the Gander Mountain website. However, it should be noted that this particular rifle is hard to find brand new. It’s well worth every penny and will last many years.

What do other customers have to say about the Winchester Model 64 Lever Action?

Searching around customer reviews, everyone seems to be pleased with this deer hunting rifle. Many boasted on the incredible performance during deer hunting in the brush and how it delivered a humane, clean kill for the deer. There was only one negative drawback that was mentioned about the Winchester Model 64. It isn’t advised to use a top-mounting scope since the loading and unloading chamber is located nearby. Just stick to the sights with this one as they work perfectly for close range shots anyway.

Best Elk Hunting Rifle

Best Elk Hunting Rifle OptionsWhile shopping for the perfect elk hunting rifle, there are a few qualities to consider. First, you have to think of the terrain and amount of travel needed to be taken by foot. Do you want to tote a heavy rifle for miles into the backcountry? No, we don’t think so. You will want to look into rifles that are light weighted. However, don’t let the preference of lightweight rifles sway you from the necessity of handling larger calibers. It’s your challenge to find the perfect elk hunting rifle that is lightweight but can also accurately shoot those long distance ranges. As with everything in life, your choice needs to be a balanced one. Finally, as always, you should consider your budget. What are you willing to pay and what are you not willing to pay?

For the best elk hunting rifle, we have chosen the Browning BLR Lightweight ‘81 Model. Priced at $1,229.99 on the Browning website, it is a lever action rifle has an aluminum alloy stock, a 20 inch barrel but with an overall length of 40 inches. It has a rotary bolt locking system and a detachable magazine. The barrel has a matte finish, and the stock comes with a satin finish. Another handy detail about the Browning BLR Lightweight ‘81 Model is that it’s available with a curved pistol-grip and a straight-grip. It also has a take-down version that is super cool. With the take-down version, it allows you to have easy transportation or simple storage space. The take-down mechanism is so simple that some hunters have been known to hike with their Browning BLR Lightweight in the duffle bag! How does the take-down work? It’s really easy. With one flip of the finger lever, you twist the receiver and barrel to 90 degrees and boom! You have separated the rifle into two parts.

The Browning BLR Lightweight ‘81 weighs a light seven pounds. Don’t let the lightweight fool you though! This rifle is tough and packs a powerful punch! It’s great for use in the tree stand to the camouflaged blind hidden on the ground. This rifle offers many great qualities that would make this purchase to be a wonderful investment for the serious elk hunter.

Best Hog Hunting Rifle

We believe, by far, that the best hog hunting rifle is the Weatherby Vanguard S2 Hog Reaper .308. Otherwise known by most hog hunters as the Weatherby Hog Reaper, this rifle is a beast when it comes to hunting hogs and wild boars! Even better? The price tag is not too shabby! Priced at a low $659.99 on www.gunsamerica.com, it is a popular rifle for the hog hunting community. This beauty comes with a 20 inch barrel and weighs a total of seven pounds. It is a bolt action rifle that is easy to operate. It sports an edgy design with its hog skull camouflage on the stock of the rifle.

So what do the customers say about the Weatherby Hog Reaper rifle?

For starters, they love the accuracy of this hog hunting rifle. In fact, they love the fact that Weatherby offers the rifle a SUB_MOA accuracy guarantee! For the seasoned hunters out there, you know what a big deal this is. Many customers exclaimed that they were able to take down wild game within 250 yards and with one shot. Now, that is some impressive accuracy! Others stated that the shorter barrel allowed them to move more quickly, especially in hunting down pesky hogs that love to move fast.

If you’re looking for the perfect rifle to accompany you on your hog hunting trip, the Weatherby Vanguard S2 Hog Reaper .308 is our choice for the best one.

Best Varmint Rifle

Are you shopping for the best varmint rifle? Do you live in the country and are overwhelmed with annoying varmints and critters that pose a threat to your home, farm and other animals or gardens? Don’t worry because we have found the best of the best in varmint rifles.

The Savage Model 40 Varmint Hunter Centerfire Rifle is considered one of the best in varmint rifles. Priced at $499.99 on Gander Mountain’s website, it is a real deal! It is a single shot rifle that is for the sharp shooter in the family. It’s a 24 inch barrel length rifle that is sturdy and well made. The barrel is somewhat heavy and comes with a target crown that is created and designed to enhance accuracy. After all, it’s important for a single shot rifle to have excellent accuracy! It also has an adjustable AccuTrigger that is standard across the board, a stock that has a laminated finish and a blued barrel and receiver. It has a caliber of .22 Hornet and comfortable stability is provided with the beavertail shape. You can’t find much better varmint rifles than those that offer pinpoint accuracy with single shot capabilities!

What are the customers saying about the Savage Model 40 Varmint Hunter?

Out of the many reviews of the Savage Model 40 Varmint Hunter, nearly all of them comment on the pinpoint accuracy of the single shot rifle. So many are in awe of its shot accuracy. For those of you that love single shooters, this will be a rifle that you will want to place on your wish list!

Best Long Range Hunting Rifle

Phew, what a challenging question! There are so many great, long range rifles to choose from; however, we will only post the best. There isn’t any denying that long range hunting is something that takes years of practice in order to become proficient at it. You have to have a really great eye, a steady hand, knowledge about the best rifles, cartridges, caliber, wind movements and speed and much more. It requires a lot of patience as well as immaculate skill. For some, it is a joy to have such a challenge while for others, long range hunting is a tedious task that is merely performed out of necessity rather than sport or game. Once you move all of the important details in long range shooting and hunting, you learn of the qualities to look for in the perfect long range rifle.

A great long range hunting rifle that is also easy on the wallet is the Remington 700 ADL 7mm Mag Bolt-Action Centerfire Rifle. At Academy Sporting Goods, it is priced at an inexpensive $379.99! It has many nice features such as an X-Mark Pro trigger and a 3 + 1 round capacity. It comes with a carbon steel barrel complete with a matte finish and a jet black stock. The rifle has a barrel length of 26 inches and weighs in at 7.6 pounds.

What are customers saying about the Remington 700 ADL 7mm Mag Bolt-Action Centerfire Rifle?

When you browse through the customer reviews, there are nothing but good words spoken about this long range hunting rifle. Many enjoy the fact that the ADL version is much cheaper than the next version up from it. (Let’s just say that the non-ADL version is in the pricing range of $4,000.00.) Customers remarked that it has a smooth operation and accurate shot with long range targets. The only downside that was mentioned by a customer was the action seemed too small for his taste. However, the other reviewers didn’t have a single complaint. Everyone else stated that it is a great rifle for a great price.

Best Hunting Rifle Under $500

When it comes to working for our hard-earned money, we always want the best for our buck! If you’re looking for a great hunting rifle but have a budget of under $500.00, don’t worry. We have already found the best hunting rifle for your budget.

We have chosen the Ruger American Rifle to be the best hunting rifle for a low budget. It is priced at a low $399.99 at Cabela’s. This black beauty is a bolt action rifle that comes with many great qualities for such a great price. It has a free-floating barrel that measures to 22 inches in length. The rifle itself weighs a light six pounds and has a Marksman adjustable trigger pull. It has a flush fit rotary magazine and fits comfortably into nearly any shoulder. As for the grip, it has a soft rubber pad that effectively reduces the recoil. It even has a Power Bedding block system that locks the receiver and causes the barrel to free float. This enables it to have remarkable accuracy. And finally, the scope bases are included.

With an affordable price, attractive black design and many features, this is undeniably the best hunting rifle choice for under $500.00.

What do other users have to say about the Ruger American Rifle?

Since this rifle has a 4.8 star review on Cabela’s website, there aren’t any negative reviews to find! Everyone loves this rifle and wrote that it has offered them great experiences, accuracy and efficiency all while going easy on their wallet.

Best Hunting Rifle Under $1000

We have researched the best hunting rifle for under $1,000.00 and came across a very popular brand that hunters can’t seem to stop talking about. It is the Remington Model 783. Now, not only is this rifle under a $1,000.00 but it is also under $500.00! It’s listed for a reasonable, inexpensive price of $399.00.

If you have your budget set for under $1,000.00, you will want to check this out. The Remington Model 783 is a bolt action rifle that has a black synthetic stock that is made up of high nylon fiber. This material ensures that is extremely sturdy and durable. It comes with Remington’s latest technology, the new CrossFire trigger system. This gives the hunter the adjustable freedom to best match his preferences. It’s also made with a steel detachable magazine that comes with a steel latch. Finally, the magnum calibers can hold three rounds and the standard calibers have a four round.

What are the customers saying about the Remington Model 783?

The customers absolutely loved the Remington Model 783. They were completely impressed with Remington’s quality for a low price of $399.00. Many customers and hunters stated that this was the first hunting rifle for their teenage son or daughter while others stated that it was a reliable rifle for all of their hunting trips.

Conclusion

We hope that you have a better idea of what is on the market for hunting rifles. From the best brands to the best prices, we covered the basics. It’s time to get out there and find your perfect hunting rifle!

Use the Best Gloves While Hunting to Load Your Weapon

Reviews of the Best Hunting Gloves of 2018

  • February 7, 2018 /

Use the Best Gloves While Hunting to Load Your WeaponWhen you buy a regular pair of gloves, there isn’t really a whole lot to think about. Mostly, you’re concerned with style and an appropriate level of thickness for the weather conditions and what you’ll be doing while wearing them. You can pretty much just drop by any store and grab whatever looks good.

More thought needs to be put into the selection of a good pair of hunting gloves, however. There are numerous different ways to hunt, and just as many types of gloves optimized for each method. Then you have to think about the conditions that you’ll be in and what materials are most suitable. And while it’s not a consideration for everyone, style may come into play too as you look for a pair that matches up with the rest of your hunting outfit.

In this guide, we’ll first cover the most basic factors to look at when deciding what gloves will work best for you, such as material and common designs. We’ll also give an overview of specialized gloves used for specific types of hunting, such as the tabs that bow hunters sometimes prefer to use. We’ll then finish by providing our recommendations on the best pair of gloves available on Amazon in six different categories — lightweight, bow hunting, duck hunting, waterproof, cold weather and the best overall pair of all-around gloves that everyone should keep on hand.

Hunting Glove Materials

Cotton

The natural fiber most commonly used in clothing, you’ll find that many types of gloves are at least partially made from cotton. Cotton is ubiquitous because it is soft, warm, breathable, strong and natural. It doesn’t cause allergies and won’t irritate the skin like some man-made materials can. The downside? For hunters, it’s that it sops up moisture and takes a long time to dry. If you find yourself in the rain or slip in a stream, you could be stuck with soaked gloves for a long period of time.

Gore-Tex

Gore-Tex is a man-made synthetic fabric that is a stretched version of the same material that makes up Teflon. It is waterproof, and it is technically breathable, allowing water vapor from the skin to pass through without allowing exterior water in. In practice, however, Gore-Tex has always had problems with ventilation. It is more prized for its use in repelling water than it is for its ventilation qualities.

Leather

Made from animal hide, leather is a fashion staple and is used in many different applications. As far as gloves go, they are a better choice for cold conditions as they are highly insulating and windproof. In warm conditions they may be too hot and have poor ventilation. They will also need to be kept up with leather conditioner if they are exposed to the elements and to game.

Neoprene / Rubber

Neoprene is a synthetic rubber that is highly flexible. It is also protective of the skin without being heavy, is an excellent insulator and repels water. It also holds up much longer than standard rubber does. The only real issue with it is that it is not at all breathable.

Polar Fleece

Polar fleece was developed specifically as a man-made alternative to wool. It uses synthetic polyester fibers to simulate the look and texture of wool. It repels nearly all water, holding only about 1% of its own weight, yet it is still machine washable. And it is made mostly from recycled plastics, making it a viable and eco-friendly alternative to wool for those with allergies and those who live a vegan lifestyle. The only real issues with it are that it is not at all windproof, and that it very quickly generates static electricity, meaning constant annoying little shocks if you are touching a rifle or other metal gear all the time.

Wool

Wool is very durable and flexible, is a great insulator, is protective against cuts and scratching and cannot light on fire. It would be the perfect natural fabric if not for the fact that it tends to be scratchy and uncomfortable. Most gloves will treat it to make it more comfortable to wear, however, as well as removing the sheep smell that sometimes accompanies it. But even with treatment, a number of people have wool allergies and cannot have it next to their skin. Special care must also be taken when cleaning it, as it shrinks easily and becomes brittle when it is wet.

Hunting Glove Designs

Cold Weather Gloves

Buck in Cold Winter Weather

The last thing you want to have happen on the hunt is not being able to effectively use your weapon when you finally find your prey because you don’t have gloves that are appropriate for the conditions you are in!

The hardest job that a glove has to do is actually keeping your hands warm! This is because your extremities tend to be the coldest part of the body, as blood has to travel the farthest to get to them and requires the most effort from the heart to pump out. A “cold weather glove” can be defined simply as a glove that is designed to actually trap most of your emitted body heat and get your hands warm if you put them in cold. You will find that with most lighter gloves, if you put your hands in cold, they will never get adequately warm. It takes a thick material combined with a good thick liner to do that trick, but of course those two things come at the cost of hand mobility and dexterity.
Such gloves may be good for low temperatures, but that does not also automatically mean they are good in wind. Stopping wind is simply a matter of adding lightweight material, however, so if wind chill is a factor there is always the option of adding either a liner or something over top of the gloves.

One final consideration about cold weather gloves. The tightest fit does not necessarily guarantee the warmest glove. It’s more about the quality and thickness of the liner. You’ll want some space around the fingers not just for optimal heat retention, but also to ensure that circulation doesn’t get cut off to your finger. If there’s no blood in the area, you won’t generate any body heat there!

Falconry Gloves

The standard falconers glove covers the fist and wrist at the very least, if not part of the forearm as well. You may see them referred to as a gauntlet if they cover a good portion of the forearm. These gloves are almost always made of a heavy leather, most frequently buckskin or moose. There are certain special parts to these gloves specific to handling birds that you won’t see on other glove types, such as a D-ring near the palm and a tassle by the wrist. It’s very important to clean and condition these gloves as they will become stiff with exposure to the bodily fluids from the kills of the falcon.

Fingerless Gloves

There is some overlap in this category with shooter’s gloves, although a shooter’s glove may very well have most or all of the fingers in place. Hunters generally choose these for enhanced finger dexterity in their various tasks and for handling and firing their weapon. The downside, of course, is exposure to the cold in such conditions. In cold weather, hunters may carry a pair of light fingerless gloves to switch to temporarily when needed, and wear a heavier pair of regular gloves at all other times.

Full Finger Gloves

These are general-purpose gloves that have full, insulated fingers. You’ll see an extremely wide variety of these, and they mostly differ in the materials used. They commonly combine materials so that the fingers are made of a lighter material to improve dexterity and the ability to feel things through the glove.

Lightweight Gloves

Lightweight gloves are generally made from cotton, fleece or neoprene. The focus here is on a less dense and heavy glove, but usually with the trade-off of being less protective and less warm. These generally do not have insulation and will not be well-suited to handling the bodily fluids of game, unless they are fully made of neoprene.

Mittens

The classic mitten design is actually very popular among hunters who are in the colder climes. The ones specifically designed for hunters usually have pop-tops that allow you to quickly free your fingers without completely taking the mitten off.

Riding Gloves

Horseback hunters need their own special gloves adapted to both riding and shooting. Riding gloves are usually on the thicker side to prevent damage to the hands while holding reins, but the fingertips may be made from a lighter material to provide better dexterity and sense of touch with the rider’s weapon of choice.

Shooting Gloves

Shooting gloves designed for different seasons will have different features, and you’ll also want different types of gloves depending on what weapon you are using. Warmer seasons call for lighter gloves that are well ventilated and have adjustable straps for the most snug possible fit. The cooler seasons add on insulation, but you’ll still want a flexible and responsive material on the fingers and thumbs.

As far as your choice of weapons go, bowhunting will always require a more flexible material, regardless of the weather conditions. These gloves are usually made of a particularly light and supple deerskin that are thicker on the three middle fingers so that an added tab is not necessary.

Tabs

Some bowhunters prefer tabs to full gloves. These are a small protective device that covers only the needed fingers when shooting, and are usually made of leather.

Obviously, the major downside here is that this offers the hand no protection whatsoever in cold or wet conditions. While tabs are much more commonly found in competitive target shooting, some bowhunters do swear by them over standard gloves. The most common design of tabs is called “can’t pinch,” and as the name indicates it provides just enough friction between your fingers and the arrow to allow you to hold it without pinching it during the draw. There are more advanced tabs that add features such as Velcro finger straps and spacer pads. You can even get a hybrid tab-glove, usually called a “mitt,” which adds fingerstalls that replicate the function of fingers on a standard shooting glove.

Hunting Glove Sizes

Hunting gloves generally come in the generic range of sizes that other glove types do — small, medium, large, x-large and so on. To determine your glove size, simply wrap a tape measure around your hand just below your knuckles. For men, if the measurement is seven inches or less, you need an extra small set of gloves. For each added inch, step up one glove size. For example, eight inches would be a small, nine would be a medium, ten would be a large, and so on. For women, use the same standard, except each size is reduced an inch (so six inches for an extra small, seven inches for a small, and so on). Each glove manufacturer may have their own individual sizing chart which may be a little different, but you can use this as a solid rule of thumb to fall back on if they do not provide one.

Stretching and shrinking also have to be taken into account. A pair of cotton gloves, for example, may shrink when washed if they are not pre-shrunk by the manufacturer. On the other hand, a pair of leather gloves that are a bit too tight will eventually stretch to more comfortably fit the hand of the wearer.

Scent

One thing that hunters often overlook in a glove is scent. The smell of leather, for example, can provide a warning to an animal. However, the larger problem is with scent of both handled materials and handled game seeping into the glove. Some companies are now incorporating an activated-carbon odor eliminating system into their products. Materials that block scent are also usually anti-microbial to prevent transmission of disease or the attraction of bacteria by accumulated animal bodily fluids.

The Best Gloves for Cold Winter Weather

Heat Factory Pop Top MittensIn cold weather, your first concern is keeping warm, and for that purpose mittens are by far the best as they tuck the fingers together for added heat. Of course, they’re also the worst option for dexterity. The Heat Factory Pop-Top Mittens with Glove Liners combine the best of both worlds with a pop-top that folds back into a Thinsulate glove liner when added precision is required. Need precision with added warmth? The killer feature of these gloves is that you can tuck a hand warmer into a special pocket underneath the fingers!

The gloves are made from fleece, with small magnets sewn on to hold the mitten top in place when it is folded back. The magnets are designed to make almost no noise whatsoever when they are attached and detached. If you buy the gloves new, they’ll come packed with one pair of heat warmers that are good for roughly 10 hours. The pocket is sized for the warmers that are manufactured by Heat Factory, but you may be able to fit other brands of warmers of a similar size in. Watch out for warmers that are too small for the pocket, however, as they will most likely bunch up and not provide even warmth across all the fingers.

The gloves are also sealed at the bottom with an elastic cuff to keep snow and rain out, and rubber on the palm improves grip. The mitten top repels water, and the underlying fleece on the glove portion will also naturally shed most water, so these are very good for wet conditions.

A great bonus of buying these gloves is that they are versatile enough to be used for a wide variety of outdoor activities in a different range of climates, from skiing to photography. One thing that they are not well suited for is riding a bicycle, however. As the base glove material is fleece, when the mitten top is pulled back there is very little protection from the wind. Expect the glove portion to be more like the thickness of a wool glove liner than of an actual full-sized glove. They’re also not made of the most durable and aren’t suited to rough applications where there will be a lot of constant friction. For most cold weather hunting scenarios, however, these gloves will cover all the bases for you. Shop for these gloves now.

The Best Gloves for Duck Hunting

Glacier Decoy Camo GloveWith duck hunting, it’s all about handling decoys. This means placing them in and fishing them out of water repeatedly, which in turn means your primary concern is going to be a long, waterproof glove. You’ll also want something well insulated, as the water you are plunging your hands into is likely going to feel much colder than the ambient temperature.

Neoprene is the material of choice for the Glacier Decoy Gloves, and the 2mm thickness employed here will completely repel water. The design covers you up to the elbow to ensure that you stay dry when retrieving decoys. The Max 4 and Max 5 camo patterns give you a couple of different options that are both well-suited to the reedy waterside terrain. The gloves can pull double duty for a number of different tasks including ice fishing, or even old-school clothes washing if you’re in a rustic cabin or some other setting where you don’t have a washing machine available. Any task that requires submerging your arms in water up to the elbow is one that these gloves can potentially handle.

There are a couple of important points to consider about these gloves, however. The interior lining is very thin, so they are not the most well suited for extremely cold weather conditions, and it is difficult to warm your hands back up with these once they are already cold. You can always add your own liner of preference, however. And gloves made entirely of neoprene tend to be a bit smaller and tighter than other types, so you may want to go one size up from normal with these. For more temperate conditions where you will have your hands in water throughout the day, however, these gloves are tough to beat and are sold at a very modest price point. Hunters in the marshy and swampy Southern states will definitely want to take a look at these. Shop for these gloves now.

The Best Waterproof Gloves

Glacier Premium Waterproof GloveWe talked a bit about waterproof gloves in the section for duck hunting, and those gloves are certainly going to be up to the task of keeping water out. But the needs of a general purpose waterproof glove are different than those of someone who is specifically duck hunting. The general waterproof glove is more for being in rainy conditions for an extended period of time rather than submerging your hands and forearms in water. So you’ll want a regular glove cut that doesn’t go much past the wrist, along with greater finger flexibility and improved touch sensitivity.

Fortunately, Glacier has another model that fits the bill perfectly. Their Premium Waterproof Gloves are naturally made from neoprene, since that’s the best possible material for repelling water. Glacier uses Yamamoto neoprene with these gloves, however, a special premium type that is made from limestone originating from the mountains of Japan rather than the usual foam rubber chips. It repels an estimated 99.7% of water it comes into contact with, which is considerably higher than the cheaper types of neoprene. You also get an adjustable wrist strap to keep the rain from seeping in down your arm.

Blind seam stitching adds to the water resistance, and precurved knuckles help to ease strain on the joints and keep you active longer. There’s a thin fleece lining for a little added warmth, but as with most waterproof gloves, it’s not really enough to warm your hands up if they go in already cold — an added wool liner or a hand warmer pack is advised if you have to take them off in very cold conditions.

These gloves are capable of pulling double duty for all sorts of outdoor activities as well, from outdoor work to skiing and snowboarding. Just bear in mind that you’ll really want an added liner of some sort if you’re out for an extended period of time in the cold.

One slight disadvantage with these gloves is that they are initially a little on the stiff side and do not provide good finger dexterity. They will break in and become more flexible with a couple of weeks of wear, however. This is common with neoprene gloves and is not unique to this model; the tradeoff for water resistance at this level is always going to be a loss of flexibility, so it’s not really a black mark against these gloves. It is advisable to break them in around the house before taking them out on an initial hunting trip. Shop for these gloves now.

The Best Gloves for Bow Hunting

Manzella Productions Bow Ranger TouchTipBow hunting gloves tend to go in the opposite direction of gloves that focus on keeping out the cold and the wet. You’ll want to maximize finger dexterity and your ability to feel what’s going on through the finger pads. Naturally, that requires thinner material that is going to provide less insulation and less abrasion protection. However, you actually don’t have to sacrifice too much on those fronts, as the Bow Ranger TouchTip Gloves by Manzella demonstrate.

These gloves not only provide heightened sensitivity to aid the draw and release, the finger material is also conductive to allow you to use a phone or tablet touch screen while the gloves are still on. A bow release collar also allows you to keep your preferred release right at hand. The Control Trax palm extends the flexibility and enhanced sense of touch farther down the glove. And the glove base is surrounded by a fleece shell that is antimicrobial for safe handling of game.

They aren’t the best choice for conditions that are consistently cold, but if you do most of your hunting in more temperate climes, these gloves really can’t be beat for the price point they are at. Shop for them now.

The Best Lightweight Gloves

Primos Stretch Fit GlovesA lightweight glove should offer a snug fit, excellent finger dexterity and palm responsiveness, and good protection from cuts and abrasions. The Primos Stretch-Fit Gloves do all this and they do it at a very affordable price.

The Inchdot system offers unparalleled grip, and there is a call pocket on the back of each glove for added functionality. Stretch fit gives you a very snug fit and an extended cuff of five inches helps to protect the wrist. These are exceptionally breathable gloves, but that also means they aren’t well suited for the cold. You’ll want these primarily for spring and summer hunts, and bow hunters will really like them during the early hunts of the year. Of course, given that these are snug, a larger and warmer glove or set of mittens are a viable option to simply put over them while not shooting or otherwise engaged.

The nylon provides some protection from abrasion, though you still have to be careful with heavy contact. One thing you will not have a problem with is grip, as the palm design wicks away sweat. Rifle users will also likely not need to take them off to shoot. Shop for these gloves now.

The Best Overall Gloves

For an overall glove, we’ve decided to lean on the lighter and more flexible side, as you can always add on a thicker glove or a waterproof cover situationally as need be. In that light, we’ve selected the Under Armour Men’s SC Primer Gloves, as it offers flexibility and responsiveness combined with great looks and some great added features.

First things first. The base of the glove is polyester, with a small percentage of added Spandex to allow for a snug stretch fit. A three inch cuff provides full wrist protection with a strap for securing it to the wrist. Silicone grips throughout the hand are arranged in a honeycomb pattern that provides superior traction. The thumb and forefinger are made from a lighter, more tactile material to allow you to use a smartphone or tablet as well as get added control and precision when firing your weapon.

Not only do you have to worry about your own scent and the scent of the materials giving you away, the odors of the game will also sink into the glove as the game is being handled.Here it both filters out skin odors coming from your hands and also neutralizes accumulated odors from everything your gloves come in contact with. This odor blocking technology also comes with the benefit of being antimicrobial, keeping dangerous pathogens from blood and animal material from finding purchase on your gloves. Shop for them now.

Conclusion

As you can see from the information included in this guide, there are many different types of hunting gloves and many different circumstances that shape what glove will work best for you. The first step is to determine what your most common individual circumstances are and select a category of glove that is appropriate — for example, if you live in the South and bow hunt exclusively in the spring and summer, you’re really only going to be looking at lightweight gloves with great finger responsiveness. At the other extreme end, if all you do is hunt elk and moose in Alaska, you’re probably starting immediately with mitten designs and working down from there.

Not every possible category of hunting glove has been listed here, but this should get you off to a good start. Many people find they keep a wardrobe of a few different gloves around for different circumstances. And never forget that you can mix and match more inexpensive liners or covers with some of these climate-specific gloves to create your own custom all-purpose solution. Good luck and good hunting!

Hunting Backpack Reviews

Reviews of the Best Hunting Backpacks for 2018

  • February 5, 2018 /

Hunting Backpack ReviewsWhat differentiates a hunting backpack from any other type of pack? Well, there are a number of different features unique to the needs of hunters who may be camping in wet or muddy country for days at a time, and who need to carry specialized gear in addition to the stuff that takes care of their more fundamental biological needs. For example, hunters need a place to put their gun, bow or crossbow. If they’re taking meat, they’re going to need a place for that as well. Rain protection is a major factor, as is pocket organization and the ability to lash stuff to the outside. And the pack also needs to be durable and comfortable under a heavy load.

In this guide we’ll first examine all of the individual elements that are needed to set a good hunting pack apart from a plain old backpack. We’ll then look at the best individual representative of five different categories of hunting pack: bow hunting, day hunting, deer hunting, elk hunting, and the best budget hunting pack that is priced at no more than $100 at retail. Use the table of contents to find the section you are looking for!

Water Resistance

The main watchword of the hunting pack is *water resistance*. To be clear, the vast majority of hunting packs are not waterproof; aside from being structurally very difficult and expensive to do with anything that has multiple zippers, waterproofing a pack would be overkill as there are very few circumstances where a hunter would have their gear completely submerged in water. A certain level of water resistance is vital for being caught out in the rain, however, and a good pack should be able to keep your gear dry and functional even in an extended and fairly strong rain. While the material itself usually has a certain degree of water resistance, the primary rain protection
usually comes from a pull-out cover that is zipped away near the bottom of the pack.

Straps and Pockets

The structure of the backpack, in terms of pocket and strap placement, is also very important. But this is a much more individualized area, and will vary depending on what type of hunting you are doing and for how long you are doing it. Rifle and bow hunters will want to be able to strap their gear to the backpack and go hands-free when desired, for example, but the actual optimal layout of the backpack will vary for each. Of course, this also needs to be balanced with your desired level of camping gear and food supply. Crossbow users will have to do a little more backpack research than other hunters will, as most packs are designed to hold either a rifle or a bow. That doesn’t mean you can’t get a crossbow onto many of them, but it will have to strapped down in a way that may be awkward or not entirely secure if the backpack is not expressly designed to handle them.

Securing Meat

There is one aspect of the pack that novices and newcomers often forget about until it is too late — how are you going to carry the meat back? Many a hunter has spent hours carefully researching and planning out their optimal gear loadout only to find that when they hike out into the back country, they don’t actually have adequate space left over to take home what they came for! Of course, this will not be a concern for those who are not taking meat, but those who will be are well advised to consider the storage and transport of it before they are stuck with a raw carcass in the wild and nowhere to put it!

Storage Space

Good Hunting Pack Storage SpaceSo your gear layout largely depends on how long you’re going to be out camping, and the type of animal you are after. Many people do weekend trips, but trips of up to five consecutive days are not uncommon. You’ll see the overall carrying capacity of packs measured in cubic inches. Around 2000 is in the range of day packs, while packs meant for multiple days can range up to around 7000! If you’re not camping, you can go as low as 1800 cubic inches, and the best of these will be durable enough to actually strap some meat to the outside. For a trip with multiple camping nights and that you’re also planning on packing game out of, you’ll want to lean more toward the range of 3000 cubic inches and up. Meat usually goes into a special shelf or is carried on the outside of the pack, so the actual cubic inch rating of the interior isn’t as important for that purpose, but the pack does need to be durable and have stitching of high quality. For carrying both meat and gear you’ll want a pack that is known to be able to handle at least 50 lbs. without tearing.

If it’s your first hunting trip, you’ll likely have the clothing, shelter and weapon covered. It’s the small but critical pieces of gear that people tend to forget about. Some items to consider include a GPS unit, an emergency cell phone that you can afford to lose, a saw, rope, duct tape, a headlamp, binoculars, toilet paper and a means of starting a fire. A solar shower can provide a luxurious way to get clean while camping, but a pack of wet wipes will do in a pinch as well. You should also consider pepper spray, even if you aren’t in bear country. There is always the possibility of encountering aggressive dogs who are unattended, and skunks and raccoons may also attempt to get into your tent or gear at night. Figure out your exact needs ahead of time so you can ensure you have a place for all of this stuff in your pack and that you can easily reach it when you need it.

Fit and Comfort

It’s all well and good to consider your gear needs and the pack layout, but don’t forget individual fit as well! You’ll be carrying a substantial load for a long time, so you’ll need to ensure the pack is comfortable and not putting extra strain on your muscles and joints. An ill-fitting pack will also chafe your skin, usually while simultaneously rubbing the fabric raw and creating holes. While you don’t have to go all-out and get a custom fitted pack, it is important to look for adjustable shoulder / sternum straps and a waist belt. The latter is particularly important for those carrying meat. In the past, packs with external frames were thought to offer the best back support, but these are increasingly rare on the market. Most packs are now supplying their own internal frames that are made of lightweight but strong aluminum or plastic.
Here is a great video that will show you how a pack should fit:

Pack Designs

You’ll also have several different design types to choose from. The most basic type is set up just like the standard day pack or school backpack. This design is usually the most inexpensive by far, but is also the most limited in application and in overall storage space. For those who have a heavier gear loadout and need to bring meat home, your decision is likely going to boil down to either a panel-loading or top-loading design. Panel-loaders are the vertically long packs that you often see traveling backpackers carrying. The name is derived from the fact that they load through a panel in the front rather than through the top. The top loader, of course, has a primary compartment with a zipper that is loaded through the top, and then has an array of various internal and external pockets and pouches. Both types offer the ability to hold a large amount of gear; the panel-loader tends to be better for organizing lots of small stuff and keeping it within easy reach, and the top-loader tends to be the better choice for those who need an extremely durable and weather-resistant pack.

Many hunters, hikers and campers use the three liter water bladder as their standard hydration system, and you’ll find that most backpacks on the market have pouches designed specifically for this size. Of course, some people prefer not to bother with the extra weight of a water bladder at all, and instead pack out iodine tablets to use with fresh water found along the way. That’s a viable approach, but you might want to also pack some sweetened drink mix to mask the taste of the iodine if you go that route. There are many different varieties of zero-calorie drink powders that are just as sweet as the sugary varieties these days.

Warranty, Financial Protection and Brands

One last thing to consider when looking over your pack choices — manufacturer warranty and guarantees. The lowest prices will almost always come from unfamiliar companies based outside of the United States who offer little to no protection on your purchase. These packs will tend to be made poorly and of cheaper materials, and good luck ever getting a replacement or refund if they do not have a physical office in this country! In addition to a reputable brand name, you also want to look for quality guarantees from the manufacturer and a warranty period either from them or from the retail outlet that you purchase the pack from. Generally speaking, if there is a defect that is discovered in at least the first year, somebody should be making you whole for it on your purchase with no further cost to you.

The big names in the hunting game are Eberlestock, Alps Mountaineering, Osprey, Cabelas, Badlands, Gregory, Stone Glacier and Exo Mountains. Generally speaking, you want to stick to one of these known quantities when purchasing a new pack. A big brand name doesn’t always mean that every model they sell is going to be of great quality, but the cheap off-brands are nearly always trouble and will fail on you when you need them most.

The Best Bow Hunting Backpack

ALPS OutdoorZ Traverse EPS PackThough the ALPS OutdoorZ Traverse EPS Hunting Pack is designed to handle both rifle and bow hunting, we still favor it for the latter, and the ability to pull double duty is a nice bonus. You’ll pay in the neighborhood of $104 to $120 depending on which color design you pick, which is still considered to be a lower-end price for something in this size and with this range of features and build quality. Surprisingly, the overall quality of this pack puts it in competition with model from other manufacturers that retail in the $300 to $500 range!

Aside from carrying weapons, the pack is ideal for bow hunters as it has a vented carrying system that can handle a large amount of meat, keeping it separate from the rest of the pack’s contents. The design makes it easy to carry large loads, like enough clothing for several days in the bush or camera equipment. Most stabilizer and quiver combinations should also easily fit into this pack. And a water-resistant orange rain fly is attached that rolls out of the bottom compartment to cover the entire pack and keep it dry even with extended exposure to rain.

As far as overall storage space goes, you can expect 3300 cubic inches in the 24″ x 12″ main compartment, with an added Expandable Pack Section of 1200 more, totaling 4500 cubic inches overall. The expandable portion is where the gun or bow is primarily meant to be held. There is a separate exterior padded spotting scope pocket that accommodates most of the larger scope models, as well as two quick access pockets on the waist belt and two front wing pockets. Still need more space? There’s an added side pocket and internal pocket in the main compartment as well. Side compression straps also allow you to tack on some camping gear to the outside if so desired, and two buckle straps at the bottom provide a space for a sleeping bag, insulating ground pad or jacket among other possibilities. The pack does not have a large amount of smaller interior pockets for organizational purposes, but adding a small fanny pack to the mix can cover that need. The total dry weight of the empty pack is 6 lbs. 14 oz, and the shipping weight is 8 lbs.

The pack employs the classic and simple “H” frame design, using an internal aluminum frame for support. Individual fit is customized with an adjustable torso range and a foam waist belt. The maximum waist size that the pack can accommodate is 56″, but the straps bear the load by fastening very tightly around the belly, so the larger ends of these waist sizes may experience some discomfort with a large load. You can expect to handle a maximum of roughly 100 lbs., with a more standard large overnighter load of 50 to 70 lbs. bearing up very comfortably. One minor point of contention for those carrying large loads is that the shoulder strap padding is a bit scanty and are possibly going to be too narrow for most as well. Some people have also had issues with being unable to secure the chest strap properly and having it slide up to their neck continually instead. Once you get the pack, it is advisable to go on a neighborhood walk with about 25 lbs. of clothes stuffed in the bag and adjust the torso height to your personal needs. This will also reveal if there are going to be any comfort issues with the straps. The potential strap issues will depend greatly on your load and your body size and type, so overall we still feel the pack is the top recommendation. If your test run reveals that the strap system doesn’t work for you, it should be no problem to return the pack.

One other potential hangup is with crossbows. Though people have been able to attach a crossbow to these bags, the straps were not really designed with them in mind. The extension that holds the gun or bow can potentially hold some models of crossbow, but you will have to be careful when attaching the compression straps and the fit may not be entirely secure. The crossbow will also have to be attached with the tip up. A rifle also may not be held at the proper angle unless the pack is full or close to it, but this is less of an issue with a standard bow.

One last limitation — the pack is not fully made from ripstop nylon. Much of it is a heavy suede, very durable and unlikely to get snagged and tear, but any small holes that do happen to develop will likely require immediate attention and it will be wise to keep a small sewing kit with the pack for emergencies.

The Best Day Hunting Backpack

Condor 3 Day Assault PackWhen it comes to a day pack, your main needs are going to be a little different than the other types of packs listed here. First of all, a low price is a big consideration — you really should be able to get a quality day pack in the neighborhood of $100. You are also looking at shorter trips, less gear, and likely less of a need to attach your bow or firearm directly to the pack. What you really want it to do is be comfortable, not rip and have adequate space while still not costing an arm and a leg.

For those criteria, we like the Condor 3 Day Assault Pack. A nice bonus of this pack is that the design works for hunters on short trips, but it’s also versatile enough to be used for many other purposes, even as a bookbag for school. The padded hip belt is removable, so you can sub in a tactical belt if desired as well.

The Condor 3 Day Assault clocks in with a 20.75″ x 12″ x 6″ main compartment, a 12.5″ x 6″ x 3″ bottom compartment and two side pockets that measure 9″ x 5″ x 2.5″ each. There’s also a separate interior compartment at the back of the main compartment that sits up against your back and is designed for hydration systems like the Camelback (with holes provided to run the hose through the top of the pack), but can fit all sorts of flat objects including a laptop or tablet. The bottom compartment is subdivided into three different smaller pockets to easily sort your documents, maps, electronic gear and whatever else you need. Side compression straps and D-rings on the shoulder straps also make it possible to attach a small amount of gear externally. Two of the nicest features we enjoy on this pack are a double zipper system for the main compartment (making it easy to get into the bottom of a full pack), and the foam back panel that provides support without the extra weight and bulk of a frame system. In total you’ll get seven compartments with this day pack.

In regards to its closest competitors in terms of size and price, we picked the Condor 3 Day Assault because it’s larger and more rugged. We also liked the interior design better in terms of sorting and accessing a variety of gear. The other packs will be lighter, but will not be nearly as damage-resistant as this one is. This pack is good for carrying in the neighborhood of 40 lbs. maximum; if you need significantly more than that you would be better served looking at a larger model.

As mentioned previously, the need to strap on a bow or rifle usually doesn’t overlap much with the need for a day pack specifically. However, if you do need a day pack that you can strap your weapon to, it is possible to potentially attach a scabbard to the bag using one of the side compression straps. Just be aware that Condor doesn’t offer an officially supported solution for this need, so you’ll have to cook up something on your own.

One important thing to look out for when ordering through Amazon is that there are reports of counterfeit packs of this specific design being sold there by third-party sellers. These packs look identical to this Condor model, but are made by someone else from much cheaper materials and will wear out and rip much more quickly. If the order is fulfilled directly by Amazon, then it should be safe. However, if buying from a third-party merchant who lists through Amazon, verify that they have a good reputation and legitimate positive customer reviews pertaining to the pack before ordering. The Condor logo will also be visible on legitimate bags, whereas the knockoffs tend to have the logo of some no-name company on them.

The nice look of the bag and the larger amount of space than usual are what really makes this pack a winner. The design of the bag keeps gear fairly well organized and gives you a good range of sorting options despite the limited overall space.

The Best Deer Hunting Backpack

Eberlestock X2 Hunting BagPackThough there are larger deer hunting backpacks, the 1800 ci Eberlestock X2 Hunting BagPack is capable of handling a full animal (once quartered) along with a respectable amount of gear. It also comes in a range of eight different colors, a set of options not commonly found among hunting backpacks. All color options are similarly priced with the exception of multicamo, which costs a bit extra. The pack clocks in at 6 x 14 x 22 inches and weighs four and a half pounds, with a total size of 22.5 x 16 x 6. Four external retention straps make it easy to add a tent and sleeping bag without sacrificing any compartment space.

Carrying meat is more effective on the outside of this pack than on the inside, thanks to the FlexChassis system that allows you to both strap external loads to the pack and to fold it out as a seat when not otherwise in use. You can also strap both meat and gear down with the set of oversize compression straps rated to handle heavy loads. The base design is optimal for a rifle, but you can add on the optional ARCG ButtBucket to accommodate a compound bow. Both full-sized hunting rifles and shotguns can be carried with the appropriate scabbard, which can be attached between the central compartment and either of the side pockets . The interior sports an aluminum frame that keeps things light while still providing very good back support. Two ample side pockets provide room for a spotting scope, extra pockets on the waist belt keep all the smaller stuff within easy reach, and the hip pockets can actually be reached from the outside while the pack is on. Water bladders of up to three liters each will also fit on the side pouches by way of plastic clips that are included with the pack.

One minor issue with this pack type is that the design does tend to skew toward hunters that are no more than six feet tall. The pack might sit a little high for those who are taller, but you can always load it up a bit, take it for a spin around the block and make a return within the return window if it isn’t comfortable. Something that ties into the limited fit range is that the pack does not allow for torso adjustment. Though NT-1 waterproof microfleece fabric is used the frame can still make noise, possibly too much for your approach, but it is possible to correct this easily with tape. Aside from the potential frame issue, this in-house fabric produced by Eberlestock is extremely quiet. Making sure the overall load is well balanced also can help with the noisy frame issue.

This pack will function best when packing out ultralight gear, but still holds much more than you would expect to look at it from the outside thanks to the double wing design. Triple stitching and extra-durable material is one of the main advantages this pack has over others in the same general price range, as you can hang a surprising amount of game off of it without a problem. It’s also surprisingly water resistant with a uniquely designed zipper system that is great about keeping rain out. The pack is even versatile enough to be used as a day pack for other purposes, and those with larger waist sizes will be pleased to find it has been designed to be comfortable for them. If the height issue doesn’t set you back, this is definitely a top choice in this category, and the layout seems to draw rave reviews from everyone who uses it.

The Best Elk Hunting Backpack

The central issue for an elk hunting pack is the sheer weight you’re going to be carrying. If you’re based out of a nearby day camp, the type of pack doesn’t matter so much. If you’re hiking and hauling long distances and you don’t spend the extra money for a pack with even load distribution and materials of high quality, you’re really going to wish you had once you’re out there. The Eberlestock X2 (mentioned above) could double for this purpose as well, but the Elk Pack packs a little extra weight and ruggedness that really helps when things are tough. There’s also a bit of a charity kicker for this one — with each purchase, Eberlestock will donate some of the profits to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, a non-profit conservation group.

Eberlestock M5 Team Elk PackSo the Eberlestock M5 Team Elk Pack is the most expensive of the packs on our list, but the investment is worth it for elk hunters if the circumstances merit it. It also has a much heavier dry weight than any other pack on this list, but you’re buying durability and support to carry serious game for a significant distance. The pack boasts a contoured design with an Intex tubular aluminum frame for extra body support and super durability to ensure those heavy loads don’t pull everything apart. The overall storage space is 3,100 cubic inches at a total measurement of 23 x 11 x 9.5. You’ve also got the option of two popular color schemes — Timber Veil and Western Slope.

The pack is capable of handling two bone-in elk quarters at a time, though it’s best to have a low load of other gear if putting this level of strain on it. One elk quarter plus a normal gear loadout is no problem for it to handle. The total amount of space while hauling meat makes it more optimal for day trips than for overnight camping, as it does not have a lot of vertical stacking space. You also may have trouble getting the largest of the spotting scopes into the side pockets, though they handle most models well and are also perfectly suited for hydration bladders. Many different small exterior pockets make organization of small gear items a breeze with this pack, however.

Both bow and rifle hunting can be accommodated, and one unique feature of this pack is that it is possible to do this at the same time! The bow can be strapped to the back while the rifle is held in a scabbard. The rifle scabbard is included and folds away when not needed. The included shooter’s harness can also be adjusted vertically to fit any torso length.

Eberlestock partnered with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation not just for charity purposes but for tips on the fundamental design of the pack, drawing on the organization’s wealth of knowledge generated by their conservation efforts. You can really see the difference this collaboration has made on the pack quality and design. The pack overall is water-resistant, and there is one fleece-lined waterproof pocket for critical gear such as electronics. The padded and breathable design earns it high marks as well as the organization of the four internal pockets.

The Best Hunting Backpack Under $100

ALPS Outdoorz Realtree Xtra HD Falcon Hunting PackFor a good all-around hunting pack that can be adapted to most purposes, check out the ALPS Outdoorz Realtree Xtra HD, which clocks in at just under a hundred dollars through Amazon. It’s a vertically long top-loader that has a great variety of pockets and is well-suited to keeping your gear organized. It also has a nice dual direction back and frame structure that offers firm support while also providing plenty of ventilation, more so than is usual for this style of pack. Pockets on the padded waist belt provide even more carrying capacity along with webbing loops, a built-in rain cover and a hydration pocket that will fit just about any standard three liter bladder. Your total capacity is going to be 2500 cubic inches, at a total dry weight of just over four pounds.

Your main compartment is basically divided in two, with one portion devoted to the collection of smaller pockets to keep your gear organized, and the other providing space for either a hydration bladder or your tablet or laptop. The weapon is secured to the pack via a drop down pocket that is designed to accommodate both full-sized rifles and bows.

The fit is fairly generous, accommodating torso sizes up to about 50 inches. The belly strap is capable of handling larger waist sizes as well. It’s available only in one design (the Brushed Realtree Xtra HD), but this is a very good-looking all purpose camo pattern that most buyers seem to be very happy with.

For weight distribution, well-organized pockets, build quality and the secure carrying of a weapon we believe this is the best budget pack that you can get from Amazon at present. You’ll also find it to be comfy under a moderate load regardless of your size and shape, and the ventilation system really is noticeably better than most other packs. The one drawback is that this pack is not suited for carrying really heavy loads, such as a full load of gear plus a large quartered animal (though that really should be expected for anything in this lower price range). Not to say that it can’t be made suitable for day hauling of larger game, but if you have to cover a lot of ground with something like an elk or a moose on your back you’ll definitely want to budget a little more money toward your pack. Otherwise, this durable and comfortable pack can be adapted to pretty much anything else you want to do with little effort.

Conclusion

Though these are not the only five categories that hunters will find themselves shopping in, they represent a broad group of popular types of hunting and common needs for those going out into the wild. If you’re entirely new to hunting and are in the market for your first pack, the most important thing to do is first sit down and figure out your exact gear needs, then base your choice of pack primarily on that information. If you’re planning on camping overnight, you can generally rule out a day pack unless you have a central campsite that you are driving directly into and are only going out for day hunts that you immediately return from. Day packs will also struggle with heavy loads of meat unless they are unusually durable. If you need to carry gear plus a large animal, you definitely want a pack optimized for something on the order of elk or moose, and you can expect to spend more for the extra size and durability that these packs have to be made with.

We hope this guide has been helpful in finding the pack that is right for you. Good luck and happy hunting!

Duck

Reviews of the Best Duck Calls You Can Buy

  • January 29, 2018 /

Duck

Water fowl hunting enthusiasts want a duck call that will deliver the results they need to “bring home the duck” as well as have repeated success during duck hunting seasons, and further luck in the locales where their feathered friends make their homes. The right duck call can make all the difference in snagging your bird and having a successful season at the same time. Any buying guide for a duck hunting enthusiast should include recommendations and tips on how to select the best duck calls for the money.

Hunter Duck Call Preference

All duck calls are not alike and every hunter has a preference for what he or she thinks will be the answer to their specific needs. The decision usually comes down to a number of factors that include basic and pinpointed features and attributes that comprise most duck call brands that are manufactured today.

Some of the preliminary details to take into consideration when looking for a duck call include:

  • The duck call’s durability
  • The duck call’s reliability
  • The cost of the duck call
  • The brand of the duck call
  • The duck call available physical style or look
  • The duck call’s learning curve
  • The actual sound of the duck call (Those hunters utilizing duck usually sample a duck call and they choose one by simple trial and error. If it meets their needs, sounds good to them and is within their range of calling ability, a purchase is usually made)

Two Mallards SwimmingWater fowl hunters need to think about their individual duck hunting situations and what duck call traits they would require to accomplish their duck hunting endgame. They should think about the following concepts:

  • What they really need
  • What appeals to them personally
  • Where (environment) and how they intend to use it (timber and flooded areas, potholes, beaver ponds, open-water, etc.)
  • The tone of call
  • The variety of reed
  • The type of barrel
  • The end piece design
  • The range/reach of the call
  • The sharpness of the call
  • The high or low volume of the call
  • The ringing (tone) of the call
  • The mellow (tone) of the call
  • Whether the call is a single or double-reed device
  • Whether the call is geared towards mimicking particular ducks, such as:
    • Pintails – long slender ducks
    • Wigeons – common freshwater duck
    • Drake Mallard – male duck – wild, colorful dabbling duck (female = hen)
    • Gadwall – most common dabbling duck with gray, brown, and black traits
    • Teal – small North American duck with short neck and bill

Duck Call Materials:

A more pinpointed aspect of a duck call is its construction. The materials utilized can make a significant difference with duck calls. Whether wood, polycarbonate or acrylic, the material selected has a lot to do with how the call functions.

Wood

Wood is the traditional material that makes up a duck call. It has a rich, gravelly sound and is a better choice in situations where close calling is necessary. Wood has its drawbacks at the same time. Though wood does provide a softer more accurate sound, which makes them good for hunting in blind areas or when utilizing decoys; however, wood is not as strong and durable as polycarbonate or acrylics. It does wear and requires attention and maintenance to keep it in top condition. It is susceptible to changes in the weather, and moisture can play havoc on its upkeep. Wood calls are less expensive than more modern calls that utilize man-made materials, yet significant craftsmanship goes into the making of wood calls for a more individualized and personal touch.

Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate (molded plastic) materials are solid to begin with and are melted down into a liquid that is immediately poured into a special mold for a call. The method of production is inexpensive and the resulting call is durable, long lasting and budget friendly. Poly-carb duck calls are great for novice duck hunters and many duck callers use them on a regular basis. The call capability with polycarbonate falls between acrylic and wood for clearness, sharpness and loudness.

Acrylic

Acrylic is a clear plastic that is glass-like, and it is an extremely durable, appealing and versatile product. The call sounds created through acrylic fashioning are many, but it is expensive to manufacture and sell. Most custom duck calls are acrylic and are made for open-water use. They come in both soft and dark colors, and those varying colors associated with acrylics can create tonal differences. Colors that are more transparent create denser, harder, sharper, and louder sounds as opposed to more solid colors that generate less clear and more distinct sounds. So choosing a duck call because of color should be a consideration in seeking the right tone.

Another pinpointed aspect of a duck call is whether it is single or double-reed device, which simply means that a duck call is an instrument, a woodwind, where sound is made by air passing over a vibrating reed. With a duck call, different sounds of a certain volume, pitch and length are made with either a single or double-reed call.

Whether to Single or Double-Reed

Single-reed calls allow for more range and are more functional that double-reed calls, but single-reed calls can be harder to learn and master. Single-reed calls produce clean, crisp and challenging sounds. The difficulty of mastery or the mechanical grasp of a single-reed call requires air and tongue control as well as proper positioning to achieve expertise.

Double-reed calls require more air input to blow and their range is limited in comparison to single-reed calls, but double-reed calls do have spots in their tonal range that can be very convincing to ducks, plus they are easier to use and learn, so they can bring considerable confidence to any new duck caller in the ranks. Double-reed calls are more complete and fuller in that they have more built-in duck sounds. Though they may not have the range of a single-reed call and probably won’t win contests or trophies, they do produce the right sounds and offer versatility.

Categories

In considering what goes into a guide for purchasing the right duck call along with the use it is going to entail, the following categories include reviews for best duck calls. They give the duck hunter an idea of what he or she should use in order to gain success in duck hunting ventures in their region of the country, or on special hunts outside of their home territory.

The following categories for Best Duck Calls include:

The Best Duck Call for the Money:

For those on a budget as well as those just beginning with duck calls, the Primos High Roller Call is a trusted brand and has been used by duck hunters for a number of years. Primos products are made of the highest quality materials and they are specifically styled to endure the harshest of environments. Primos tests their products under the most extreme settings and conditions and their designs are fashioned to stand the test of time. There is a built in roller bar that spontaneously produces a fluttering whistle, and it can produce the fluttering and rolling whistle of pintail ducks. It can also accommodate the grunt of mallard drakes, and the whistle of wigeons and teals. Many other bird sounds can be made with this duck call and it replicates similar sounds to ducks while they are in flight. The only complaints appear to be roller sticking that occurs from moisture (breath) as well as difficulty with calling loudly.

Its dimensions are 4 x 1.5 x 8 inches. It is sturdy yet lightweight polycarbonate and weighs just 1.1 ounces and comes in a bright green with a black mouthpiece. There are also instructions included for different calls.

Best Duck Call for Beginners:

This duck call that has become associated with the Robertson brothers of Louisiana has been 30 thirty years in the making and duplicates an on target duck sound in any place at any time. Ducks are immediately attracted to the call. This easy to blow and expertly designed double-reed is perfect for novices and requires a short learning curve. It is ideal for all terrain, seasons and conditions whether wet, dry or normal, and it works well with all ranges of call, whether long, medium or short The Duck Picker has a tried and true duck sound and is a multi-purpose device. The sound is loud yet warm, easy to control, and no adjustments are needed.

Its dimensions are 5.5 x 1 x 1 inches. It is sturdy yet thin and weighs just 11.2 ounces and comes in a bright orange color.

Best Double Reed Duck Call

Echo Calls duck calls were originally developed by world champion duck caller, Rick Dunn, and this model has all the earmarks of an excellent double-reed call as it has volume, great control, and a raspy nature that is comparable to single reed calls. Echo Calls are specifically positioned for lower volume close calling activity and are literally irresistible to ducks. Focused duck hunters and those that guide other hunters appreciate the calls this doubled reed call produces. They are designed for the open water, field and the green timber hunting of Arkansas, which is some of the hardest and most wholesome of duck hunting states. The double reed model is richly fashioned with a polished band of brass that provides both beauty and durability. It produces calls with a varying range of tones from hail calls (those calls first used when attempting to arouse ducks when approaching a group) to softer, raspy type quacks. Echo Calls are usually available in different wood types

Its dimensions are 6.00 x 3.00 x 2.00 inches and it weighs 2.4 ounces. It does come with a warranty.

MallardBest Overall Duck Call

The Cass Creek Ergo Call ergonomically designed game call is small, portable and convenient. It has belt clip capability and has an external speaker and input jack. It can be operated with one hand and has five (5) calls in one. It utilizes only authentic recordings, (pre-programmed calls), which make this device an almost fail-safe caller. The standard plugin has a 3.5 mm headphone jack so an additional speaker could be included to make it louder, but a set of ear buds should be added to hear more clearly and adequately. The device is perfect for learning, imitating and parroting back duck calls. Its mid range price, convenience, accessibility and call ability make this a candidate for the best overall duck call available in the market today. All users whether initiating their first calls or getting into the field for quick results without a lot of wait time and effort appreciate this hand held call device. It has input devices on the front of the camouflaged unit that include highball greeting, lonesome hen, laydown call, feeding call, and comeback call. The word DUCK appears at the bottom of the unit.

Its dimensions are 8.5 x 6.8 x 2 inches and it weighs 4.8 ounces. The device operates on 3 AAA batteries that are included.

Conclusion

Though trying to choose a duck call can be both exasperating and fun at the same time, the endless selections available through sporting goods outlets, with the added repetitive preponderance of reviews out there of duck call brands and models, can become confusing, but the various duck calls on the market can eventually be riddled down to a short list of the best duck calls available.

The categories that have been examined here are a brief buying guide that helps to eliminate the stress involved with narrowing down the choice to either one or several duck calls that meet the quintessential needs of almost any duck hunter today. The search has been simplified through the information and reviews provided, so final decisions should not be mind boggling. Those calls reviewed have something to offer any waterfowl enthusiast, which can end the tiring search for the perfect duck call. Each call has something different to offer and can be easily further researched.

Top Rated Hunting Knives

Reviews of the Best Hunting Knives for 2018

  • January 22, 2018 /

The perfect hunting knife is a personal choice, and is one that can take some time to find. There are many factors to consider in a hunting knife before purchasing.

Top Rated Hunting KnivesNowadays, there’s a knife for everything. The shape of the knife’s blade usually determines the knife’s overall purpose, and can often be extremely specified. It can be easy for a passionate hunter to rack up dozens of knives through the years. Since different types of hunting knives have specific purposes, it’s important to carefully examine the need for a knife before purchasing one. When wisely purchased, the right hunting knife can prove to be a great investment.

Those using a knife across multiple purposes should consider purchasing a versatile, multi-purpose hunting knife. Since there are different uses for different shapes of blades, the search for a true multi-purpose blade can be much harder than it sounds, but good options are available. At the end of the day, any experienced hunter will likely have a range of knives on his belt to fulfill different purposes.

Certain manufacturers of hunting knives also make multi-tools. These contraptions are part knife, part practical tool, all built into one useful handle. The practical tool offsetting the knife could be a pair of pliers, a screwdriver, a knife with a different type of blade or many of these options. These folding multi-tools are the classic Swiss Army knives of the hunting world. They’re often available in a pocket-sized option.

Overall Size of the Hunting Knife

Here’s a simple rule of thumb to correspond with the size of a knife a hunter will need: the smaller the animal, the smaller the knife. For instance, when hunting small game birds, such as grouse, a machete-sized knife just won’t do the cleaning job. A small folding pocket knife tends to suit smaller game while the bigger knives can be saved for the bigger animals, like elk or moose. Whatever the size of the knife, it’s important for the handle and weight to feel comfortable in one’s hand during use. Any knife too big or too small can prove dangerous during use on a hunt.

Shape and Design of the Blade

There are dozens of shapes and designs of hunting knife blades available today. Each shape provides a different purpose on a hunt. It’s important to know the purpose of each type of blade. Here’s a breakdown of the most common and useful hunting knife blade shapes.

Today, the most popular blade shape on hunting knives is the clip point blade. A hunting essential, this blade runs straight out from the handle before suddenly sloping downward to a sharply pointed tip. It’s most ideal for piercing or cutting through edges.

Another must-have hunting item is the drop point blade. This blade gradually slopes downward from the handle to a slightly blunt tip, and is most commonly used for skinning.

A clip point blade is a strange-looking knife, but can prove useful when piercing during a hunt. These blades jut out straight from the handle of the knife, but curve at the tip in a clipped shape. Clip point blades provide its user with a greater proximity of piercing capabilities, and can also be used to cut through smaller spots.

The most quintessential image of any sportsman knife is a spear point blade. Closely resembling a dagger-type knife, this blade is symmetrically pointed from both ends of the handle. These blades are most commonly used for piercing purposes.

Perhaps the safest hunting knife available is the sheepsfoot blade. The blade curves down from the handle on top, coming to a point on its bottom straight edge. Since the knife’s point is concealed by the top curve, there’s a smaller chance for injuring oneself during use. These knives are great for other purposes during a hunt, such as sharpening wood or cutting rope. Due to the blade’s curve, this knife can not be used for skinning or puncturing.

A knife with a serrated blade that resembles a saw will cut through bone. These are often available on multi-tool style knives, or as folding saw styles, such as the Wicked Hand Saw.

Fixed Blade vs. Folding Blade

Today, more and more hunters are starting to prefer the added protection and portability of a blade that folds down into the handle of the knife. Knives with folding blades are easy to carry in pockets and belts, and often provide a greater sense of safety during transport. When not in use, fixed blade knives must remain in a sheath. Some folding knives come with a compression lock that makes it easier to fold them out and in.

However, knives with folding blades can lose their sense of convenience during use. A knife with a fixed blade is much stronger than one with a folding blade because a fixed blade sits in the handle of the knife, allowing more durability during use. Knives with folding blades can also prove difficult to clean after use when blood and tissue run into the channels of the blade. The parts on a folding blade can lock up during use or even rust over time, preventing the blade from unfolding or folding into place. The classic choice, fixed blade knives are simply more reliable.

Blade Materials

Every hunting knife blades is crafted using one type of steel or another. Different types of steel sharpen to different intensities. It’s best to look for a knife with a blade made from steel that maintains its sharpness and shape in addition to resisting rust and wear through the ages. 154CM, S30V, 420HC and VG-10 steels are all great choices when it comes to selecting a durable, sharp-edged knife blade.

Thickness of the Knife’s Blade

Different knife blades also have different thicknesses that should be observed when shopping for a new knife. A multi-purpose knife should have a solid thickness in order to resist wear and tear during use.

Handle Materials

If the knife is going outdoors on a winter’s day, metal handle materials aren’t the best option. Though easy to clean, metal is cold to the touch and hard to handle in cooler climates. On a cold hunt, a knife with a handle made of wood or bone is a top choice for warmth and comfort. However, these natural materials can prove difficult to grip when the knife’s handle is covered in blood. A handle made of synthetic material, such as nylon, provides excellent grip in addition to warmth. Knives with synthetic handles also tend to fall on the inexpensive side of the spectrum, making them the most versatile choice overall. Popular folding blade knives often arrive with a pocket clip attached to the handle for easy transport. Many hunters prefer their blade handles in a bright color to make them easy to find when lost or among other tools.

Hunting Knife Sharpeners

When purchasing a hunting knife, it’s essential to work in the cost of a few additions to the mix. A knife’s blade won’t sharpen itself, so the purchase of all-inclusive sharpening kit, such as the one from Lansky, with the purchase of a hunting knife will help to keep the blade sharp over time. After all, there’s nothing more dangerous than wielding a dull blade.

Knife Laws by State

In the United States, certain lengths of knife blades are prohibited by law in certain states. For this reason, it is wise for any knife shopper to check the most updated rules and regulations of knife ownership by state before making a purchase. A good starting place is Knife Den’s law database.

The Best Brands of Hunting Knives

The hunting knife world is a vast one, and can feel daunting for the beginner to enter. Here are a few top brands that have withstood the tests of time and quality through the ages.

Gerber Knives

Gerber Knives began as a cutlery brand nearly eighty years ago, but grew over time to become the sportsman knife powerhouse it is today. By far, knives of the Gerber name last longer than any other knife due to exceptionally high-quality materials and craftsmanship. The brand manufactures a vast array of knife and blade types, including top-of-the-line folding and fixed blade styles. Gerber is popular among beginning sportsmen for their field kits, such as the Moment Field Dress Kit which arrives with two unique knives. Gerber’s field kits make it easy for any outdoorsman to have a great set of knives without having to sample several beforehand.

Case Knives

For over one hundred years, Pennsylvania knife brand Case has been manufacturing high-quality knives in simple, sophisticated designs. The brand uses United States brands of steel for their blades, and even produces their own brand of steel called Tru-Sharp, a steel that’s high in carbon and retains blade sharpness for long periods of time. Case is known for their gorgeous handles that are available in organic materials such as cattle bone, precious stone, buffalo horn and others. Any shopper searching for a fixed or folding blade knife fit with a handle in an organic material should put Case at the top of their list. Case is the approved knife brand by the Boy Scouts of America, making it a popular brand for new and aged knife lovers alike.

Browning Knives

Browning is an all-inclusive outdoor sporting brand popular among contemporary hunting enthusiasts. In addition to their outdoor apparel and gear, the brand produces a wide range of durable hunting knives to suit every purpose. Browning uses the finest stainless steel available to a create hefty, long-lasting line of hunting knives.

Helle Knives

Hailing from Norway, this Scandinavian brand of knives takes organic handle materials to the next level. Helle utilizes gorgeous wood materials like birch and walnut in addition to leather and brass right in the handle of their famous fixed blade knives, making these truly impressive choices on the aesthetic end. In addition to their handle materials, the brand’s stainless steel options are top-notch with heavy blade thicknesses. A fixed blade knife from Helle makes an excellent gift for any knife or outdoor sports enthusiast.

Buck Knives

San Diego knife brand Buck Knives is known for quality above all other things. The brand has been producing knives since the early twentieth century, but today, they manufacture premium folding knives for hunting and outdoor sports. The Buck line of knives have been used and trusted by the United States Army through the ages.

Fallkniven Knives

Best known for their line of survival knives, Fallkniven utilizes the best metal materials when creating their line of extra-rugged outdoor knives. The brand primarily makes large fixed blade knives for extreme outdoor purposes using the best, sharpest steel for their blades. Fallkniven also produces ultra-durable sheaths to correspond with their line of fixed blade knives.

Opinel Knives

French brand Opinel is a staple in the knife world. Strong yet affordable, this brand of primarily fixed blade knives is an essential in any knife collection. In addition to their hunting and outdoor knives, the brand is also well-known for their line of cutlery knives. Opinel knives provide a precise cut every time.

Victorinox Knives

Perhaps best known as the original creator of the Swiss Army Knife, Victorinox also manufactures an excellent line of hunting knives for the discerning sportsman. Similar in shape, function and style to the Swiss Army Knife, the brand produces a line of pocket-sized outdoor multi-tools that prove useful in any scenario, featuring tools like wire cutters, fish scalers, bottle openers, pliers and more. Victorinox makes all of their blades with top-of-the-line stainless steel. Producing quality knives time and time again, they’re a household name in the knife industry for good reason.

Benchmade Knives

While United States knife brand Benchmade is most popular in the combat and tactical knife world, they also produce a terrific line of hunting and outdoor knives. The brand is best known for their AXIS Lock technology which gives a secure and intuitive lock hold to every Benchmade brand knife. For their blades, Benchmade uses a variety of top-notch stainless steels. The brand uses a class system (Gold, Blue, and Black) to break down the quality of their knives, Gold being the highest custom quality, and Black being the lower end of the quality spectrum and therefore most readily available for purchase.

Schrade Knives

For over a century, Schrade has been producing pocket-style knives. Today, the brand exceeds its original high standards for craftsmanship, utilizing the skills of fourth-generation knife makers. Schrade has withstood the test of time by evolving with the ages and technology, joining its original standards to quality to today’s standards of innovation in the knife industry. The brand produces a popular assortment of folding and fixed blade knives, using both original organic and modern synthetic materials.

Hogue Knives

Established by a California police officer nearly fifty years ago, the Hogue brand of knives is best known for their unique synthetic grips and knife handles. The brand uses a wide variety of stainless steel materials to produce unique styles of folding blade knives. Never truly sticking to the classics, Hogue constantly looks to improve its line of knives by hiring on new experts from the knife industry to create new styles of knives.

Spyderco Knives

Based out of Colorado, Spyderco is widely known for its line of sleek folding knives. They’re famous for producing knives with a deploying hole in the blade for easy opening. The brand produces knives fit with a variety of types of steel, handles and locks, including the contemporary compression lock. Spyderco knives have a great reputation for resisting corrosion and rust over time.

Kershaw Knives

Kershaw is known for its line of EDC knives, or everyday carry knives, but they have a wide range of hunting and sporting knives as well. Their knives are most often small and compact in size and are available in both folding and fixed blade styles. Kershaw knives almost always feature unique SpeedSafe technology, designed to open the knife at a quickened pace that is not quick enough to qualify for automatic opener status that is often illegal. These knives have a streamlined, elegant appearance that suit any scenario.

Zero Tolerance Knives

Affiliated with popular knife brand Kershaw, Zero Tolerance (commonly shortened to ZT) is a step above the rest. The brand uses some of the best materials and techniques to create a durable, long-lasting range of knives. Zero Tolerance is known to regularly solicit experts from the knife industry to collaborate and create better, stronger knives. Their line folding knives are known to be lighter than those of other brands, making them a great candidate as a transportable pocket design. Though the brand is relatively new to the game, it has built a strong name for itself by producing high-quality knives time after time.

Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) Knives

Columbia River Knife & Tool, or CRKT for short, is an Oregon knife brand manufacturing specialized knives. Also stemming from ties to the Kershaw brand of knives, CRKT produces a wide variety of folding and fixed blade knives for a multitude of applications, including hunting and other outdoor sports. Well-known for their innovative designs, the brand has a slew of patented locking and opening mechanisms to promote a graceful unfurling for folding models. CRKT also manufactures a line of knives fit with a manual switch. Though the brand is relatively new to the industry, they’ve made a name for themselves quickly by producing bold, original designs of knives year after year.

Emerson Knives

California knife brand Emerson specializes in high-quality folding knives for collectors. They have a line of premium hunting knives that have evolved with the brand over time. Emerson utilizes the Walker linerlock locking mechanism, a one-handed lock with a side spring, in addition to their own Wave technology which opens the knife with a protective catch. The brand uses multiple types of steel and titanium for their blade and handle materials. Emerson also consistently field tests products, ensuring quality and safety to customers.

There are dozens of popular, high-quality brands present among today’s hunting knife industry. Even when a sportsman finds his favorite brand, it can be a long and difficult process to find the perfect knife for any specific purpose within that brand. For this reason, we’ve broken down the best knives available on the market today by their individual purposes and price points.

Best Overall Hunting Knife

Bill Moran Drop PointFor its portability, the Bill Moran Drop Point Knife from Spyderco that performs more like a fixed blade knife wins the battle. When unfurled, the Bill Moran is sturdy, measuring just over three inches. The blade clicks back into the nylon handle securely. The drop point style blade has an uncharacteristically sharp tip, making this a great knife for puncturing, skinning and other outdoor purposes.

The blade is crafted using VG-10 stainless steel, a Japanese high carbon variety of steel. VG-10 steel polishes and handles a cut above the rest. The blade is also fit with a plain cutting edge for a smooth, clean cut every time. A plain cutting edge is the easiest edge to sharpen, allowing this blade to last and last through the ages. VG-10 remains sharper for longer periods of time than most other varieties of steel.

The knife’s injection-molded handle is made of sturdy nylon. The synthetic handle is fit with Kraton rubber inserts, ensuring a strong, sturdy grip every time. It’s reinforced with fiberglass for additional long-term durability.

The knife is named for the legacy of knife craftsman Bill Moran, who brought the classic process of pattern welded steel into the modern knife industry. He also established the American Bladesmith Society. Moran is well-known throughout the knife world as a true bladesmith, using aged techniques like forging Damascus steel and pattern welding throughout his career in knife craftsmanship.

The Bill Moran Drop Point knife from Spyderco arrives with a Kydex sheath plus a Spyderco belt clip for easy portability. The sheath can be adjusted into multiple positions and angles using the detachable belt clip, and has a secure grip on the knife when placed in the sheath.

Best Folding Hunting Knife

There are so many great options for folding hunting knives that we had to choose two.

Benchmade Grizzly CreekThe Grizzly Creek from Benchmade is one of the best folding knives available on the market today. It has a drop point blade in addition to a fold-out gut hook, causing this knife to border on multi-tool classification.

The knife’s folding drop point blade has a plain, straight edge and a satin finish. It’s a three-and-a-half inch long blade. The steel is premium CPM-S30V which sharpens like a razor and holds its sharpness over days of use. The blade unfolds quickly with just one finger’s touch, and locks up solid using Benchmade’s special AXIS lock technology. The gut hook on the other end of the Grizzly Creek’s handle is made of the same top-notch steel materials and utilizes the same locking mechanism. This hook can be used for a more thorough clean.

The Grizzly Creek’s handle is made of smooth DymondWood, a plastic wood composite material that has a natural grip feel to it unlike pure organic wood materials. This Benchmade knife resembles more of a utilitarian tool than a tactical combat knife, making it a great choice for everyday outdoor use.

This top-of-the-line folding knife from Benchmade does not arrive with its own sheath, but the manufacturer produces a soft fabric sheath with a velcro strap that corresponds with the Grizzly Creek’s size and fit.

Buck 110 ChairmanThe 110 Chairman Series Folding Hunter Knife from Buck Knives is an equal match in the folding hunting knife battle. It has a smaller blade and a firm feel. It’s one of the more polished-looking folding knives available in the knife industry today.

The blade is a 420HC steel clip style. On the smaller side of the spectrum, it’s the perfect size for cutting in small spaces and performing detail work. The blade measures three-and-three-quarter inches in length.

The knife’s handle is made of cherrywood DymondWood which uses organic cherry wood in addition to plastic to create a composite material that gives the handle more grip than most organic handle materials. It has a gorgeous natural red cherry finish. The handle is complete with stylish nickel silver bolster accents to correspond with the blade’s bright shine in addition to Chuck Buck’s engraved signature.

Buck Knives provides a corresponding genuine leather sheath upon purchase of their 110 Chairman Series Folding Hunter Knife. The sheath is fit with a snap closure and belt loop option for easy accessibility and transport.

Best Fixed Blade Hunting Knife

Helle SylvsteinenThe gorgeous Helle Sylvsteinen brand of knives takes the cake in the fixed blade category. It has a large drop point blade and a thick handle, perfect for average- to large-sized hands. Scandinavian knives are known for falling on the larger side of the spectrum, and the Sylvsteinen does not disappoint in the size classification.

The handle is the key part of any Helle brand knife. This Scandinavian brand is widely known for crafting beautiful handles using pure organic wood materials. On the Sylvsteinen, “The Silverstone” in English, the handle is made using curly birch with ring-shaped reindeer antler inserts and brass accents, making this knife a real crowd-pleaser.

The knife’s blade is a wide drop point style. For a drop point, the Sylvsteinen’s blade is unbelievably sharp, making it a true multi-purpose knife that’s great for butchering and other purposes. This is a huge knife, fit with a blade measuring just over five inches in length. The blade is crafted using Helle’s own indestructible triple laminated stainless steel. Fans of the Helle knives will love this blade which is designed after the brand’s popular Jegermester style.

Helle provides a beautiful genuine cowhide leather sheath upon purchase of the Sylvsteinen. All in all, the Sylvsteinen is a premium Scandinavian knife that belongs in any outdoorsman’s collection.

Best Deer Hunting Knife

Buck Knives 113 Ranger SkinnerFrom the aptly-named Buck Knives, the 113 Ranger Skinner is the best knife available to use when hunting deer. It’s a skinning knife with a sharp point, making it the perfect choice for multiple uses while packing out.

The fixed blade is an extra-sharp drop point style, measuring just over three inches in length. Buck Knives has crafted this skinning blade using durable 420HC steel for maximum edge retention, ensuring a sharp knife throughout the skinning process.

The knife’s handle is crafted using American walnut. It has a brass bolster and additional shiny brass accents along its length for added sophistication. The handle is shaped in an ergonomic design for comfortable long-term use. For easy portability, Buck includes a lanyard hole along the end of the knife’s handle.

Upon purchase of the 113 Ranger Skinner, Buck Knives provides a genuine leather sheath to protect the knife’s blade over time, along with Buck’s all-inclusive Forever Warranty.

Best Elk Hunting Knife

Buck Knives 105 PathfinderFor elk, something on the long and lean side is usually required. The 105 Pathfinder from Buck Knives is the ultimate choice for this purpose.

The knife’s fixed blade is made of sturdy 420HC steel. It’s an extra-sharp clip shape with premium edge retention that will remain sharp during an entire pack out. The blade measures five inches long and has a wide finger guard at its base for extra protection during use.

The handle is unique in material and feel. It’s crafted using black phenolic cocobolo DymondWood for an organic look and sturdy, gripped synthetic feel. Cocobolo is a tropical wood with a natural red tone which comes through the black stain on this handle in the light, giving this knife a beautiful and distinctive coloration.

Buck Knives includes a genuine leather sheath to protect the 105 Pathfinder and its user during transport. The knife comes with Buck’s all-inclusive Forever Warranty.

Best Bird Hunting Knife

Certainly the most pocket-sized knife on this list, the Boker Bird Hunter is perhaps the only multi-tool required for dressing fowl and other purposes. Included in the folding tool is a small clip blade in addition to a bird hook tool.

The folding clip blade and bird hook are made of Tru-Sharp surgical steel. The clip blade holds its sharpness over lengthy periods of time. The hook can be used to remove internal parts of the bird, making cleaning a breeze. The blade and hook open smoothly and snap tightly closed.

The tool’s handle is crafted using genuine peach seed jigged amber bone for a rugged look. Fans of the Case brand will appreciate the Bird Hunter’s design after Case’s popular Muskrat frame. Instead of the Muskrat’s California Clip blades, the Bird Hunter has a helpful bird hook.

Best Skinning Knife

When it comes to skinning, this signature blade from Buck Knives on the 103 Skinner Fixed Blade is perfectly designed to process game. 

The extra-sharp drop point blade blade is crafted using three-quarter tang Bohler K110 stainless steel. It has a gorgeous polished satin finish. The angles of the blade are perfect for resharpening over and over again, and holds its sharpness for long periods of time. It’s wide enough across to flesh thoroughly, and has plenty of tip to get through thick tendons.

The skinning knife’s molded synthetic handle is double injected for extra stability. It has a textured grippy feeling to ensure a strong hold while skinning.

This top-notch skinning knife is designed by and named for knifemaker Ken Onion, who is best known for his invention of the SpeedSafe opening mechanism.

Includes a black leather sheath to fit to the unique shape of this relatively compact skinning knife.

Best Hunting Knife for the Money

Gerber Gator Fixed BladeThe Gator Fixed Blade from Gerber is a skinning knife that fulfills plenty more purposes than skinning.

What the handle lacks in organic material it quickly makes up for in a quality grip and reasonable price point. It has tactical alligator-style texturing for a strong grip, even in damp conditions during use. The inner core of the handle is filled with a fiberglass nylon composite material for added stability, and is covered with Santoprene rubber for a soft hold. The handle has a lanyard hole fit on its end for easy portability.

The knife’s blade is a full-tang, shallow drop point style, measuring four-and-a-half inches in length. It’s crafted out of 440HC Bollwerk stainless steel which maintains its sharpness over long periods of use.

Gerber is well-known for field testing their knives and tools before releasing them, ensuring quality and safety before purchase. The knife comes with a durable molded sheath made of ballistic nylon for safe carry, a snap-on belt loop and a lifetime limited warranty from the manufacturer.

Conclusion

Every hunting knife has its own specific purpose. Before purchase of any knife, it’s important to keep in mind the intention of the knife, for this alone will determine the blade shape, handle materials and overall knife size needed to do the job. It’s also essential to keep in mind the United States’ laws for knife blade length by state before purchasing certain lengths of knives. At the end of the day, it’s impossible to have too many knives. Due to their various purposes, knives are wonderful items to collect.

6 Best Goose Calls

The 6 Best Goose Calls for Waterfowl Hunters 2018

  • January 5, 2018 /

6 Best Goose CallsIf waterfowl hunting is as much a part of your life as breathing, sleeping and eating, you care about the quality of your goose call and likely own more than one. It’s easy to understand why: Luring birds can be tricky business and hunters need all the help they can get to return from hunting trip overloaded with water game. We’d like to help you choose a goose call that works so well, you bring back geese rather than stories about the ones that got away.

Your history lesson

When you’re out in a blind with time to pass, show fellow hunters that you’re more than a good sportsman by sharing some history about calls. The first designs were hand-made, rudimentary woodwind instruments that emitted waterfowl calls, but with time came innovation, like the ability to adjust volume and tone. After all, every bird has a unique “voice.” How far back to bird callers go? The answer could surprise you: they were commonplace in the Far East as early as 1678.

The first patent was awarded to a dude named Elam Fisher in 1870, despite the fact that another sportsman named Fred Allen beat him to the punch and invented his design 20 years earlier. Fisher’s biggest contribution to the hunting community are Tongue Pincher Duck Calls, but sadly, these required many refinements before they came into common use because the metal embellishments froze to hunter’s lips. So much for that idea!

Duck, Duck; Goose Goose!

Whether it was just more convenient to give his product the name duck caller or people were so happy to be able to purchase Tongue Pinchers, nobody complained that there was no comparable product on the market for the goose crowd, that all changed when David Fuller applied for a goose call patent in 1885.

It didn’t take Einstein to come up with the clever change necessary to attract geese over ducks: A single screw was removed from the barrel of duck callers, and voila! Calling all geese. From 1900 to 1910, the number of new calls on the market exploded. Manufacturers and crafters experimented with rubber, altered shapes and developed sophisticated groove and cork locking systems.

Wood vs. Plastic

When plastic came onto the scene, hunters realized that this material delivered louder calls that carried further than calls made of wood, so despite complaints about the price of some acrylic models, each found its place in the scheme of things. Many hunters develop a preference for one or the other based on performance and experience.

Acrylic calls are ideal for large, open areas, while wood performs better in a swamp or forest. Wood remains a nostalgic favorite and offers more variety than does plastic. Cedar, cherry, oak, persimmon and other exotic woods are used to make calls produced by crafters, hunters and sporting goods companies alike. Some are affordable. Others? Not so much. Variety? It doesn’t get any better!

The 6 Best Goose Call Products on the Market

We don’t have to tell you that shopping is a subjective activity, right? You have your own standards, expectations, needs and budget, so there is no “one size fits all” in this product area. Culling opinions from goose hunters who do more than hunt occasionally, we’ve unearthed a group of picks, one of which may be perfect for you. But if you happen to crave more than one, we want you to know that we get it!

1) Eastern Shoreman Canada by Sean Mann

You may wish to sit down before ordering the Cadillac of Goose Calls for two reasons: the price tag is steep and because this product is hand-crafted, getting your hands on one can be hard since they sell out fast, despite the cost. But what attracts hunters to this call consistently (despite the price) is quality of performance waterfowl hunters experience when they invest in this Sean Mann design. Innovative technology stands behind this call’s success. Don’t expect a traditional “flute-style” call; instead, you enjoy a variety of pitches that range from “snappy highs” to “throaty lows.”

This luxury goose caller is fashioned of exotic Bocote wood and comes in various colors. If you’ve had occasion to research opinions on goose calls, the name Eastern Shoreman Canada by Sean Mann will look familiar because this product is consistently rated at or near the top of preference lists for all the right reasons: durability, material, performance and the most important element of all: the success sporting folks enjoy when they compare this goose call to all others. Ready to take out your checkbook? You won’t mind it once you see how amazing this call happens to be.

2) Adrenaline by Field Proven Calls

Does the brand name look familiar? It should. Field Proven Calls has been around for 16 years. The company belongs to Field Hudnall and his designs have won international competitions, placing in the top 5 for 76 of 84 different contests. As host for Ducks Unlimited Television, he’s been around the block—make that blind—and demands perfection. You may find it too by making the Adrenaline your favorite goose caller.

While not inexpensive, the Adrenaline is fabricated of ivory-colored acrylic material so it has a smooth, polished appearance and feel. Lightweight and nearly impossible to break, this product has one feature you won’t find in the Eastern Shoreman: The Mark 2 Semi-worn gut system that delivers some of the most realistic goose calls on the planet. Designed for a variety of conditions that include field and water hunting, high wind days and times when you need optimal performance (including contest calling), this call wasn’t given the name Adrenalin on a whim.

3) Rich-N-Tone Goozilla Call

The fun name alone is sure to call out to you when you shop but it’s the affordable price that is likely to get you to take out the plastic. The Goozilla is part of the company’s Quackhead line of products that is immodestly touted as the only caller you need to bring “monster geese into shotgun range.” In fact, this product makes the perfect call for hunters just getting into the sport because it performs nicely and does so on a shoestring.

This medium-range call satisfies newbies who have yet to master the art of volume control but it also delights hunters who have trained themselves to moderate their breathing and can therefore maximize the impact of a single breath. Crafted of polymers known for temperature and weather tolerance, this clear call broadcasts best in the early morning hours when it’s quiet and just growing light. Keep it in your pocket, backpack or follow the advice of seasoned geese hunters and stick it into a shotgun shell holder so it’s always handy.

4) Primos Honky Tonk Goose Call

Get style, brand excellence and low price in one popular caller package when you add the 866 Honky Tonk to your hunting gear. The Bushnell library is well-known to those who seek high-quality engineering and design that performs in the worst weather. As a matter of fact, when temperatures drop, even if things get frigid and you find yourself asking, “What the Hooded Duck am I doing crouched in the woods?” this call will keep performing while answering that question.

This sleek black caller is a short reed model that delivers a variety of tones, yet you won’t hyperventilate to sound them. Reliable and easy to disassemble for cleaning, the patented design will call out to you if style is important, but it’s your ability to transition from low moans to high honks that will delight you the most when you’re out in the blind. The brand is reliable. The cleaning is a breeze. And you don’t have to empty your bank account to purchase this handy call either.

5) Buck Gardner Canada Hammer

If just the mention of Canada attracts you to a goose call brand, Buck Gardner is likely already on your radar. The name of this call pays tribute to flyways along which geese migrate from Canada during hunting season. Brand fans like this goose call because it promises to “hammer away at geese all day long,” while not taking up much room in your pocket or vest. Nor does it weigh much if you wear your call around your neck. Known as one of the best goose calls for the price, you can perform calls, clucks and hails effortlessly from the get-go.

Fitted with a hand-shaved reed, devotees take pride in the fact that this is one of the rare hand-carved products on today’s market, so if this is your criteria, having an inexpensive price tag might just seal the deal for you. A weather-resistant brass strip wraps around the unit like a cigar band. It’s extra touches like this one that will make fellow duck hunters suspect that you spent more bucks on this call than you’re willing to admit.

6) Flambeau Max 4 Long Honker Goose Flute

If you love the idea of owning an Eastern Shoreman Canada by Sean Mann but you’d have to move out of your house after informing your wife about the amount of your purchase, split the difference and invest in a Flambeau Max 4 Long Honker Goose Flute. Once upon a time, flutes were the only goose calls on the market so if you love tradition, this may be your new best friend in the field. Capable of emitting long, deep, bellowing calls plus honks, moans and murmurs, the Max 4 broadcasts across fields, marsh, lakes and other terrain.

Made from a polycarbonate, the Max 4 Goose Flute may look like the brand’s original walnut model, but long after wood shows its age, this plastic call will keep going. Due to the length of this call, you can’t always tuck it into your pocket, but you can stuff it into a backpack or wear it on a cord around your neck. For price, weight and performance, don’t be surprised if you charm geese right out of the skies with this mellow-toned goose caller.

Pelican 1750 Rolling Shotgun Case

The Best Shotgun Cases on the Market

  • March 27, 2017 /

Hunters around the world can certainly agree that one of the most important factors to consider when you’re out on the prowl, or setting up for a good weekend of hunt, is your equipment. Hardware of all sorts is important to consider and pay attention to when you are thinking about your needs, and how to cater to the specific requirements that may arise from the length of your hunt, the environmental conditions, your prey, and the other equipment you decide to bring. The most important aspect of this, of course, is your firearm – and how you protect and maintain it. However, in making that decision, there is a MULTITUDE of options that can seem more than a bit daunting, so here’s the best guide we can on cases for transporting, and caring for, your best friend – the hunting shotgun.

#1: Needs

Obviously, if you’re going to buy a case, you’re going to need to buy one that meets your needs. If it doesn’t fit what you want or need it for, then what’s the point of buying it? There is none!

So, what do we consider when buying a case?

  • Is the firearm rare, expensive, or of high sentimental value?
  • Will it be transported via airplane at any point (Say, going on a hunting trip by plane)
  • Will it be put into say, back of a pickup, the trunk of a car, or at any point driven around off-road?
  • Will it be potentially stored in suboptimal conditions (Somewhere that isn’t fit for firearm storage, somewhere excessively cramped, or somewhere where it may have things fall on top of, or stacked onto, it?)
  • Will it be kept somewhere that people who may not be fully aware of the delicate nature of firearms, which would cause your case to require a sturdier enclosure and lock? (Say, in a house or the garage of a house that has non-firearm enthusiasts in it, that may accidentally mistreat your gun?)

If you said yes to any of the prior, you may be better off buying a hard-sided gun case for your shotgun. These cases are typically heavier and bulkier, but are also top-of-the-line in protection, as well as firearm security. If, however, you either said no to all of the prior, or it is just more to your taste, then you can always find great soft-sided cases for your hunting shotgun! Owners of soft-sided cases often note the vast advantages they have in weight, bulk (or rather, lack thereof), and stowability. They can even be used as a rest for bench-shooting

Further, when buying a case, you should consider just how many guns you plan on transporting. Are you only transporting a single shotgun? Or maybe you’re also planning on bringing a rifle, as well – or a couple of handguns? Depending on your needs, you may opt for a multi-compartment double-case.

#2: Cost

Now, this is very much a case-by-case basis. What do YOU want to spend on your gun case? Honestly speaking, there are acceptable soft cases as cheap as under thirty dollars, and acceptable hardcases under eighty. However, there’s also either that can be upwards of hundreds of dollars.

Every good hunter should know that the most elusive prey is, truly, a good deal.

But this doesn’t extend to cases – rather, a good case can, and honestly should, be at most about two hundred and fifty dollars maximum in this writer’s experience. Anything more than that and you’re probably paying more for something like a brand or some nonsense luxury rather than paying for more attention for your shotgun. That isn’t to say there aren’t great cases above that pay-grade that are worth their salt – there are, plenty even! But they reach a point where it’s not particularly necessary anymore. You could do just as well without spending the cost of your gun in a case!

#3: Storage

This is sort of a sub-consideration of point #1, but if you don’t have proper gun storage, it is HIGHLY recommended you DO NOT get a soft case. Soft cases are NOT made for long-term storage in any way, and do not provide the controlled and protective environment best for your guns. While a safe is optimal, it is not always available, and with the fact that locking a gun away is the most safe and responsible (as well as, depending on local legislature, potentially legally requisite) way to store your firearm, you’ll want something hard and securable.

So. What are some good choices to buy?

Well. Consider all of the previous, and take a look at the following entries. All of the listed cases will be available on Amazon.com, and listed in no particular order.

#1 Pelican 1750 Large Rolling Long Gun Case with Foam, Black

Pelican 1750 Rolling Shotgun CaseFeatures:

  • Waterproof, crush-proof and dust-proof
  • Easy open double throw latches
  • Open cell core with solid wall design – strong, lightweight
  • O-Ring seal
  • Automatic pressure equalization valve
  • Pelican cases are kept watertight through the use of a tongue and groove fit and a polymer o-ring.
  • Pelican cases come standard with an Automatic Pressure Equalization Valve which releases built up air pressure while keeping water out.
  • Stainless steel reinforced padlock protectors
  • Interior Dimensions (inches): 50.50 x 13.50 x 5.25

This case comes with foam that can be custom-cut to fit your firearms, is large enough to carry potentially two different firearms (including varying rifles or shotguns!) and is rugged as it gets. With four different clasps that can all be locked, this case can help you ensure your right to fly your guns wherever you wish to hunt, as well as keep them right and safe as you go! With the addition of wheels on the side, you can grab one-handle and roll it to cut your carryweight in half, and all in all the case is a good pick for those looking for a hard-sided solution to their transportation needs. Click here to learn more about this bombproof case!

#2: DDT Death Dealer Tactical Double Case

Features:

  • Holds 2 long guns as well as 2 hand guns
  • Removable shooting mat
  • Lockable closed faced zippers. Hideaway backpack straps
  • 3 large pockets in front for mags, cleaning kit ect.
  • Made of 600D Polyester with PVC water resistant lining

This soft-side case is a hell of a gun bag, with any features a hunter may need from a soft-side! With space for two long guns AND handguns, pockets for whatever you may need to bring, and a shooting mat that holds up pretty well, this is a good all-in-one transport bag if you’re looking to get a good amount of gear to your spot of choice all-in-one – especially if it’s a more local spot that would make a soft case optimal. The bag fits up to 40″ shotguns durably and comfortably! Find out more about it by going here.

#3: Allen Company Ruger Web Standard Grade Case

Features:

  • Classic black with Ruger print on the carry handles
  • Large zippered accessory pocket
  • Dense foam padding to protect your firearm
  • Rugged Endura fabric construction, made in the USA
  • Fits guns up to 46″ (46″ model) or 40″ (40″ model)

For the thriftier hunter, this incredibly inexpensive case covers the basic necessities of soft-sided transportation a lot of the extra price. While a bit short on the bells and whistles a more expensive case would typically offer, if you just want to load up your shotgun and get it where it needs to go, and do it without busting the bank (or your husband or wife’s patience regarding finances!) this will do the job EXCEEDINGLY well. You can buy it at this link.

Preference.

Now, there’s no accounting for taste. From hunter to hunter to hunter, one to the next, you’ll always find someone who doesn’t agree with something another said. What the first can think is the de facto way to store and transport a shotgun, the second may think is a bit incorrect, and the third may think is blatantly wrong. There’s just no telling. But equipped with the right knowledge that you need to figure out what makes sense for YOU, be it a hard case, a soft case, one with a lot of pockets and features and custom foam cutouts, or one that is little more than a strong, sturdy bag. These suggestions and listed ideas are just the beginning, and it may take some research, but the right case for you, and your shotgun, is out there waiting for you – So get out there and find it, already!

Reviews of the Best Laser Rangefinders for Hunters

  • December 10, 2016 /

Rangefinders use laser technology to bounce a beam off of a target. The device then measures the amount of time it takes for the laser to bounce off of the target and return to the point of origin. The target range is then displayed, usually on an LCD screen, within 1 second or less.

Modern rangefinders are so accurate, compact and cheap that there is no reason a hunter should be without one. Whether you prefer hunting with a bow or rifle, rangefinders can be an invaluable tool. They can help you quickly survey your surroundings when hunting in a new area.

Rangefinders take out the guesswork. This not only aids you in hitting the target, but helps make sure you get a good, clean shot. The last thing a hunter should want is to end up tracking a wounded animal. A good rangefinder can eliminate unnecessary suffering of your prey. They also help you avoid getting too close to the target and accidentally alerting the prey to your presence.

A good rangefinder makes judging the distances on steep terrain a breeze. Some of the best rangefinders offer features that compensate for steep angles. When aiming from a decline or incline, it can be much more difficult to correctly judge the distance. Once you adjust your sights to match the rangefinder, you will never need to miss a shot again. This can be even more helpful for bow hunters when you need to ascertain the correct angle to fire that arrow from. You’ll be happy to lose a lot less of those arrows too. A good rangefinder will even help you to avoid accidentally hitting obstacles such as a tree branch instead of that prize buck.

The more you use a rangefinder, the better your natural ability to judge distances will become. This is an often overlooked benefit of using a rangefinder. Even with the best equipment, at some point, you will have prey unexpectedly wander into your field of view. You may not have time to pull out the rangefinder before getting off your shot. With time, using the precise measurements of a rangefinder will allow you to better judge distances by sight alone.

Most of the modern rangefinders are light and compact. They are very affordable and easy to carry with you on your hunting trips. They can even replace other hunting equipment, such as binoculars. You get the magnification and easier view that binoculars provide, but with the added bonus of seeing the exact distance of your prey. Most rangefinders are nice and rugged. They should hold up to years of abuse on all of your outdoor, hunting adventures. This makes them well worth the money spent.

What To Look For When Buying A Rangefinder

Elk Hunting EquipmentNow that we’ve established reasons for owning a rangefinder, let’s look at things to consider when choosing one to purchase. The first thing to consider is the price and quality. As the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” Though that is true of rangefinders, there is a point where the benefits of quality may not scale exactly with the price.

The most expensive models will certainly be better than a budget model. There are, however, mid-level rangefinders that represent great quality for the price. For example, a rangefinder in the $400 price range will be much nicer than one that costs $100. One that costs $1000 may not be enough of a leap in quality over the $400 model to justify the difference in price. This all depends on what you have available to spend and what features you prioritize for your specific needs.

Next, you should be aware of the accuracy and maximum range of the rangefinder you are considering. Look for rangefinders that are rated to be +/- 1 yard. Anything more will not be accurate enough for the device’s intended purpose. The maximum range should be at least 600 yards, though 800-1000 is ideal. The magnification on top-level models is usually in the 6X to 8X range. Bow rangefinders may have lower magnification and shorter maximum distances for effectiveness.

The next things to be mindful of are the various special features you can find on a rangefinder. Angle compensation features are a must for using a tree stand or hunting anywhere that has steep terrain. Many models have low-light or bright-light image stabilization. This is handy when hunting in areas with variable light conditions or at different times of the day. Some models have varying degrees of water resistance. Some are even completely waterproof. This is obviously useful since the device will be used outdoors for extended periods of time.

Always consider what type of hunting you will be primarily using the rangefinder for. There are all-purpose rangefinders, as well as ones made specifically with bow hunting in mind. Archery rangefinders frequently have a vertical design, as opposed to the horizontal design used for those made more for rifle or shotgun hunting.

More things to think about include the display, size, weight and simplicity of the rangefinder. A good display is vital for being able to read the information quickly. When hunting, every second is important. You want a display that is clear and easy to read. The display must not be too dim to see, nor too bright so that it interferes with the line of sight. Hunting requires a fair amount of equipment. You do not want a rangefinder that is heavy or bulky. It needs to be easy to carry with you alongside of all of your other equipment. Last of all, a good rangefinder should be easy to use. If it is overly complicated, it is likely you will start leaving it at home more than you take it with you.

The Best Budget Rangefinders Under $200

Here are some good choices for purchasing a rangefinder on a budget. All of these models are under $200. They represent great value for the money. The prices are listed in the title of each model for easy reference. Prices are based on the most commonly-listed price, or an approximation of price averages. Many of the models can be found for less during sales or due to overstocking by specific retailers.

Simmons Volt 600 Laser Rangefinder with Tilt Intelligence

This is a great entry-level rangefinder for the hunter on a budget. It is packed full of nice features to help you in the field. The Volt 600 model by Simmons features their patented, Tilt Intelligence. This technology calculates the true horizontal distance when firing from an incline or decline.

The Volt 600 features easy-to-use, one-button operation. It has a crisp LCD screen that is easy on the eyes. It can display the distance in yards or meters. It’s accuracy rating is +/- 1 yard. When it comes to accuracy, it is right up there with the top models. The only downside is the short maximum distance it is effective for. It has 4X magnification and is effective up to 600 yards for reflective targets and up to 400 yards for non-reflective targets.

The body of the model is very light and completely waterproof. This is a great feature to have in this price range. The lenses are fully multi-coated. This rangefinder comes with a carrying case and a lanyard. It is backed by a lifetime warranty.

Wildgame Halo Ballistix Z6X Rangefinder

This model features state of the art, Angle Intelligence technology. This is comparable to Simmons’ Tilt Intelligence. It gives you an accurate distance measurement while compensating for any type of terrain. It is extremely accurate with a precision rating of +/- 1 yard. The Ballistix Z6X is water resistant and has a great LCD display.

The Z6X features 6X magnification and has an effective range of up to 600 yards. The device uses a CR2 battery, which is unfortunately not included. It comes with a lanyard and a carrying case. It is protected by a 1 year warranty.

One of the best features of this model is its light weight and small size. The dimensions are; 4.1″x3.0″x1.6″. It weighs in at a mere 5.3 oz. You won’t even notice this rangefinder in your pocket or gear bag.

Nikon Aculon 8397 Laser Rangefinder

The Nikon Aculon is another compact model measuring a slim 3.6”x2.9”x1.5”. It only weighs 4.4 oz. This rangefinder easily fits in the palm of your hand. Its light weight and one-button operation make it easy to use. It is water resistant and completely rain-proof.

One of the model’s unique features is the Distant Target Priority Mode. It will give you the distance of the furthest target among a group of targets. This can be very helpful if you are trying to measure a target that is partially obscured by another object.

The rangefinder has 6X magnification and is good up to distances of 550 yards. It features Nikon’s multi-layer, coated optics. They minimize the effects of reflection to provide a clearer view. The display is clear and easy to read. This model powers off automatically after 8 seconds of no use.

Great Rangefinders Over $200

These rangefinders are a step up in quality and offer more features. They are also a step up in price. They represent some of the best the industry has to offer, in terms of both quality and overall value.

Upland Optics Perception 1000 Laser Rangefinder

Upland Optics has a brand new rangefinder on the market, and it is definitley a must have. Simple and effective, this device is built to be rugged enough to handle the extreme conditions that hunters often face. With an effective range of 1000 yards, this rangefinder will be dialed in on distances well outside the effective range of most hunters. You will always know exactly how far of a shot you are taking or how much distance you have to cover to get within range. This rangefinder is lightweight and portable, as well has water/fog proof. For the price and quality, you cannot go wrong with this product.

Nikon 16228 ARROW ID 5000

The Arrow ID 5000 has advanced ID technology to find the true shooting distance. The Tru-Target Priority System allows hunters to chose from two modes. The first selects the nearest target in the field, while the second selects the one that is furthest away. Multi-colored optics provide a clear, perfect view. The model is also fully waterproof and fog proof. Bad weather will not be an issue for the Arrow ID 5000 user.

This rangefinder compensates for shooting angles. It can give good readings even with inclines or declines that are as steep as 89 degrees. It has a great display that is easy to see in any light condition. The display is simple and uncluttered. You can get the info that you need with just a glance.

The device gives accurate readings for targets between 5-600 yards. It is good for use with a rifle or bow. It is accurate to within 1 yard and gives readings in measurements of 1/10 of a yard.

Vortex Optics Ranger 1000

The Vortex Ranger 1000 is built like a tank, with a tough rubber coating. Underneath the coating is an even tougher, aluminum casing. It’s rugged, but they still managed to make it light and compact. It is fully waterproof due to o-ring seals that block out water, moisture, dust and other debris.

The Ranger features full scan and line of sight modes. It has Horizontal Component Distance(HCD) mode for giving accurate readouts while at an incline or decline. It gives precise readings for targets up to 1000 yards away. It has 6X magnification.

Anti-reflective coatings provide the user with a clear view. Multi-coating provides perfect light transmission. The model is very accurate to within 1/2 of a yard at extreme distances. It runs on a common CR2 battery, which is included along with a strap and case.

Leupold RX-1200i TBR/W with DNA Laser

This rangefinder is amazing for the bow or rifle hunter. The Leupold RX-1200i TBR/W has a great OLED display, is weatherproof for use in the rain and comes in a variety of colors. The size of the rangefinder is 3.8″ x 1.3″ x 2.9″ and it weighs 7.8 oz. It has 6X magnification and is effective out to a distance of 1200 yards. Leupold stands by their products with a comprehensive, 2-year warranty.

This model is extremely accurate and gives precise readings in 1/10 of a yard increments. It features a sturdy, aluminum case with a tough rubber covering. It has bow and rifle modes to display information specific to those weapons.

The rangefinder compensates for angles in rough terrain. It also calculates windage corrections out to 800 yards. Further settings options even allow you to choose from 25 different ballistics groups. The RX-1200i calculates the hold over range and drift parameters of the different bullet calibers to give you even more information before you take that shot.

Nikon 8377 Riflehunter 1000

The Riflehunter 1000 has ocular contrast to adjust to light conditions automatically. This aids the hunter greatly in ease of use. It features Nikon’s Tru-Target Mode that gives the user two options. First Target Priority gives a reading for the nearest target in a field of targets. Distant Target Priority mode selects the target that is the furthest away. This helps you to get a good reading on an object when a branch or obstacle it partially in the way.

The model is built with a rugged case that should stand up to years of rough use. It has a no-slip finish to give you a good grip. It is water resistant and can even be used in heavy rain. Nikon’s multi-coated optics are excellent for multiple light conditions, humid conditions and for fog. The bright LCD screen adjusts its display automatically for easy viewing in all light conditions.

The Nikon 8377 Riflehunter 1000 has an effective range of 5-1000 yards. It gives readings in 1/10 yard increments and is accurate to within 1/2 yard. It has 6X magnification and a wide field of view to make targeting easy. The rangefinder is compact at 6.9 oz and 2.9″ by 1.6″ by 4.6″ in size. It comes with a battery, neoprene case and an adjustable strap.

Rangefinders For The Bow Hunter

We have taken a look at a number of rangefinders in different price ranges. So far, they have been all-purpose rangefinders or those built with rifle hunting in mind. Here are some great choices if you prefer to hunt with a bow.

Bushnell The Truth Bowhunting Rangefinder

This rangefinder has a special Bow Mode and features Bushnell’s Clearshot technology. It calculates the compensated distance of your shot based on the angle from 7-99 yards. It can pinpoint line of sight distances up to 850 yards. It offers 4X magnification and is extremely accurate.

Clearshot technology gives instant feedback on an archer’s shot clearance. This is a great feature that can help you avoid clipping branches or other obstructions. With a simple, three-step process, you can even calibrate the rangefinder to match the speed of your bow through the sight system. Once you complete this process, the rangefinder will display a dot to show the highest point your arrow will travel.

The casing has a nice, anti-slip finish. While it isn’t fully waterproof, it is water resistant and should hold up in the rain. It comes complete with a battery, neck strap and carrying case.

Bushnell Scout DX 1000 ARC

This rangefinder can be used for rifle hunting, but is also optimized for use with a bow. This versatility makes it a great option for the hunter who likes to use a variety of weapons while on the hunt. It features a hard-rubber armor that makes it rugged and completely waterproof. It is also fog proof to give you the clearest possible view in any weather condition.

The Scout DX 1000 ARC has VSI (Variable Sight-in) modes for rifle or bow. This will calculate the amount of bullet drop you experience over distances. It will also show you the arc of the arrow in bow mode to help your accuracy.

This model is super accurate to within 1/2 a yard. The information displayed is precise to within 1/10 of a yard. It has magnification up to 6X. It’s range of effectiveness is within 5-1000 yards. These impressive stats are thanks to the E.S.P. Turbo-processor. E.S.P. stands for Extreme, Speed, Precision. A carrying case, strap and battery are all included.

Nikon 8376 Archer’s Choice Max

The Archer’s Choice has a measurement range of 5-1000 yards and 6X magnification. It displays distances in 1/10 yards and is accurate to within 1/2 of a yard. It is 2.9″ by 1.6″ by 4.6″ and weighs in at 6.9 oz. It has 18.3-millimeter eye relief and 3.5-millimeter exit pupil.

This is one of the best rangefinders in any price range when it comes to dealing with tough lighting conditions. This is thanks to Nikon’s Active Brightness Control Viewfinder. This new technology allows the device to work quickly in any light condition imaginable.

This model has a wide field of view to help you acquire targets quickly. The LCD screen is easy to read in any light condition. It adjusts automatically according to the light level. The optics are multi-coated for better views in low or bright light, as well as in humid and foggy conditions. It also compensates for shooting from inclines or declines up to 89 degrees.

Final Thoughts

With all of the options available, everyone should be able to find a great rangefinder within their price range. Just be sure to keep all of the previously-discussed tips in mind if you consider something outside of the lists above. Even if you see a good deal on a model that offers all of your desired features, it can be helpful to do some research. Before you pull the trigger on that purchase, take the time to read some product reviews online. Ask your fellow hunters what they use and how happy they are with their own rangefinders.

Hunting, like any sport, requires the best equipment to be the most effective you can be. There is an old saying that goes, “the tools don’t make the carpenter.” I suppose that is true, but they do make the carpenter’s job easier. The same is true of the tools that a hunter uses. A good-quality rangefinder will make your life much easier. It will be an invaluable tool for your hunting trips for years to come.

Hunter Carrying a Rifle

The Best Hunting Rifle Scopes on the Market

  • November 30, 2016 /

Scope mounted on a rifleHunting has quickly become a year round sport. With the amount of game that is available, outdoorsmen can literally spend the entire year hunting for some creature, whether it is deer, elk, or hog, so that hunting season never has to end. There are plenty of hunters that are taking advantage of the possibilities. They just need to make sure they have the proper equipment before they get out there on the field.

Depending on what you are hunting for, there are different size caliber guns and cartridges that are needed to be effective hunters. Scopes are also an important part of hunting with special hunting optics that have been designed to handle any type of gun or cartridge. This allows the hunters to be more successful as they hunt down their prey.

There are even hunting scopes that can now calibrated to specific caliber weapons that analyze and balance out the bullets arced trajectory. These scopes were created precisely for hunting in thick cover for dangerous game species. There are even scopes that have integrated laser range finders that show the range to the target on the inner part of the scope’s objective lens.

When one looks at the hunting scopes on the market today, and then thinks back to what hunting scopes used to be like, it’s unbelievable how different they are. Hunting scopes have evolved beyond their predecessors, so much so that you can no longer compare them equally.

Features to Look for in a Hunting Scope

Your first consideration should be what your needs are in a hunting scope. What type of weapon do you use? What types of ranges to do you hunt at?

Weapon Compatibility

If you have a powerful rifle, then you need a more durable scope, since a weak scope can be destroyed by the kickback rattling it to pieces. A small rifle doesn’t need a really durable scope, so this can save you money and weight on your gun. You have to consider if you are looking at a scope that has plenty of capability, but may not be necessary for the type of hunting you are doing. However, if you are using a more powerful rifle, it is important to find a scope that can withstand the rattling that comes with it.

It is even possible to find good optics that can be used with a pistol, bow, and shotgun. They are 1x optics that are used on short range weapons. They can lessen the time from the trigger to the target, and they make shifting to multiple targets that much easier. If you are using a nontraditional weapon that doesn’t let you use a normal scope, you can use eye relief scopes. Eye relief is the distance from the rear lenses of the scope to your eye. Some rifles need the scope to be mounted forward of the action, so this requires a long eye relief scope making the traditional short eye relief scope difficult to mount.

As you are shopping, if you find a scope with BDC, or bullet drop compensator, they were created for a special caliber and weapon in mind. Your bullet drop compensator will not be of any use if your weapon and caliber do not match your scope.

Magnification and Hunting Range

Your scope also needs to fit how you are hunting, and at what range. If you have a scope that works effectively to 300 yards, but you don’t hunt at that range, then it won’t be that useful to you. Most hunters find that 3 to 9 power optics are enough for their hunting needs. Others who are brush hunting or stalking may need something with lower variable magnification like a 1 to 4 power optic. Having too much magnification means you won’t be able to see your target, or, if you can, you may not be aware of what part of the target you can see.

Hunters that use long range obviously need a good long range rifle scope, so that they can see their prey as well as the area surrounding it. The level of magnification they needs allows them to see the small environmental changes, so they can decide on wind calls. At long range, you should be able to tell how the grass is moving, or the dust is blowing, so that the hunter has an accurate wind call. There are also laws on the length of the deer antler, and if you can’t see the antlers, how can you tell if it’s legal?
Reticles also help long range hunters easily make longer shots. You can either use a mil-dot reticle, or a bullet drop reticle. The mil-dot reticles are more universal than the bullet drop reticle, but hunters need to know what the bullet drop of their weapon is at varying ranges. Bullet drop compensators are specially dialed into a specific caliber, bullet weight, and barrel length.

Type of Hunting

This is one of the bigger questions that will determine the type of scope you need. How you hunt will completely effect the range and scope requirements that you have. You will need a scope that can be quickly planted on a target if you are hunting in the bush. A variable optic with both long range and close range settings is needed if you are hunting in the mountains or in the fields. Different environments need different scopes.

A wide objective lens on a simple fixed powered scope can be used well in a tree stand. It will collect and effectively use light, since your light may be blocked in a tree stand from the leaves above you, especially in low light. When that happens, you need all the light that you can get, so your shot is precise and effective.

If you are stalking, then you need to be fast, particularly if you are using a handgun. Short range hunters do not need as much magnification, although they may need lighter optics for specific reasons. If their scope is lighter, that makes their weapon lighter, and easier to maneuver. Plus, long eye relief or zero magnification scopes are easier for hunters to point their weapon instinctively at their target, and then in fact be on target.

Essential Scope Features

Hunter Carrying a RifleDurability is something that is essential in all scopes and hunting styles. Make sure your scope has the features that can help give it a long life. You also want to consider the features the scopes can have that will improve your overall scope quality, and what will increase your hunting satisfaction. Here are some features that are essential to your hunting success.

Waterproof

You can have different waterproof levels ranging from rain proof all the way up to Navy Seal proof. Depending on where you are hunting, this will determine what type of waterproofing your scope needs. If you are out in the marsh or swamps, you want a little strong waterproofing. Just hunting out in the woods? Then something simpler should work for you. No matter where you hunt, you will need some type of waterproofing. One thing to look for are O-rings with reinforced seals, and if a scope doesn’t mention anything about waterproofing, then that is a sign that it is not waterproofed at all.

Shockproof

Your weapon is going to feel a lot of shocks from being dropped and jostled, and from you running and walking. Whatever you are doing, your weapon is experiencing it as well, so if your scope isn’t shockproofed, and you drop it, it is now useless to you. Make sure your optic is shockproofed so you don’t lose your zero.

Fogproof

Since the best hunting time is in the evening and in the morning, you will encounter fog when you are on the hunt. As the morning sun is coming up, you will have a lot of evaporating dew, and as the sun sets, rolling fog can accompany it. Internal fog can develop on your lense, and that is not easy to get rid of unless the scope is fogproof.

Construction

Another important consideration is the materials that were used in making the scope. Is it constructed of polymers and plastics? If it is made of aluminum, is it air craft grade aluminum? Is it a single piece of construction, or multiple pieces? This will determine how strong the piece is, and if there are any areas of weakness. If it is made of one single piece of aluminum, for example, then it will have less failure points. It will also be stiffer, and less likely to bend, or to have the inaccuracies related to bending.

Lense Coating

Reducing glare and having a clearer and brighter image is the product of a good coating. There are several different types of coating, and, as always, the better the coating the scope has, the better the image you will see. You will see different coating ratings, and they have different meanings. What this means is that the coatings are on either one side or both sides of the lenses. It will also let you know how many lenses are really coated. This is a list of the different possible coatings:

  • Coated
  • Fully Coated
  • Multicoated
  • Fully Multicoated (which is the best there is)

Adjustment Turrets

Some turrets can be adjusted with a tool, a bullet casing, or a coin. If you have a short range scope, this shouldn’t be a big deal. Medium to longer range scope may need to have a dial. A turret should be easy to adjust, and the adjustment should be both audible and tactile. When you don’t have those clicks to count, you will have a harder time focusing. Also, these adjustments will need to match your reticle, and if you scope is in mils, but you have adjustments that are in MOA, you will need to make sure you know how to do the conversions.

Field Of View (FOV)

Your field of view is the area that you can see through your scope at the range of 100m from right to left. If you have a wider field of view, the better the result you will get. Your field of view will change depending on your magnification, so it will get larger as you decrease the mag and smaller as you increase it.

Loading a hunting rifleObjective Lens Diameter

The diameter of the objective lens will determine how much light you will have entering the scope, and how efficiently the light is transmitted to the ocular. The larger the diameter, the greater amount of light that goes into the scope, so you will be able to see well in poorly lit conditions. Each diameter size has bad points and good points, so the best thing to do is to pick the largest objective diameter’s weight that you can work with. Your average hunter will work well enough with a 32mm to 40mm objective diameter to convey enough light.

Tube Diameter, Length and Weight

The efficiency and portability of the scope is depending on its length, weight, and tube diameter. Most hunting scenarios should be ok with a one inch tube. Tube diameters that are 30 millimeters are stronger, and they can be adjusted using turrets. This is convenient when you are using shooting at long distances, and you are using higher mags.
If you need a lightweight weapon, then the length and weight of the scope are vital considerations. If you put a heavy scope on a lightweight rifle, the rifle itself becomes useless. You can find scopes that are as light as 227 grams, but the average weight of a scope falls between 340 to 397 grams.

Reticles

When you are looking at scopes, you need to find one with a reticle that is thick, and is easy enough to see in a lot of different situations at different times of the day. Reticles are pretty important for hunting as a target crosshairs can be easy to see on white paper, but not as easy to see on an animal while you are hunting. So, you need a reticle that is not only easy to see, but clear and large enough to catch your eye. You should be able to make a shot, and not have to make adjustments with the turrets.

Best Hunting Rifle Scope Under $1000

Vortex Viper Pst 6 24×50 Riflescope W/ Ebr-1 Moa Reticle

This Vortex Viper PST (Precision Shooting Tactical) Riflescope was created to consistently provide duplicating accuracy at tremendous distances in unforgiving circumstances and under duress. It has six models to choose from that include a choice of reticles for either the first or second focal plane. The Vortex Viper PST is created with a one piece 30mm tube that is machined from aircraft grade 6061 T6 aluminum to give you the optimal durability and rigidity. You also have plenty of room for excessive range elevation adjustment.

Nightforce SHV 4 14x56mm

The Nightforce SHV is one of the highest performance and well-balanced scopes on the market. It is a robust scope that is made of an aircraft grade aluminum alloy that has a lot of high-quality features including an optimally precise light transmission, a sophisticated 56mm objective lens, weather and shock proofing, durable construction, individual reticles, and reliable adjustment controls. It also has an awesome price at under $1,000. Keep in mind, because of its 56mm objective lens diameter it is a bit wider and bulkier for some hunter’s preferences.

Bushnell Elite G2

If you want optical excellence, guaranteed reliability, and precision engineering, you don’t need to look any further than the Bushnell Elite G2. Developed in the finest family of tactical riflescopes that you will find worldwide, the Bushnell Elite was designed with law enforcement and military feedback. Bushnell creates elite tactical riflescopes for the most difficult tactical shooting circumstances that you can face. They feature precise optics and blacked-out cosmetics, plus the Ultra-Wide Band Coating that increases brightness at both dusk and dawn. The Elite G2 also offers the Rainguard HD lens coating that maintains a clear view no matter what the weather conditions are. It is constructed with a 30-millimeter one piece tube that has the argon removed for the greatest reliability. This is one of the best scopes for long range delivery that also offers precision and superb visibility for the entire magnification range. It also features a G2 Designated Marksman Reticle (DMR) that has mil-hash marked with a First Focal Plane (FFP) reticle that is created for correcting holdover, ranging, and windage.

Aimpoint H34L Hunter Long Sight with Ring, 34mm

The Aimpoint H34L reflex sight is only one of the four scopes that make up the Aimpoint’s Hunter series of sights that were introduced in 2010. They were designed to imitate the appearance of a standard rifle scope, so it is ideal for hunters that move fast, or hunt for dangerous game up to 100 yards. It is also very useful when you are hunting at close range in thick cover since your magnification will be deficient, but the 2 MOA red dot reticle and a total lack of eye relief gives you accuracy of your target.

Unlike previous Aimpoint versions that were created for use with short and lever actions, the Aimpoint H34L was created to be used with both long and standard actions. It is specially created to endure the recoil that is generated from rifles. It also features a very large 39mm, objective lens that is multicoated with durable 34mm tube wall that is top mounted with a 12 position push button brightness adjustment pad. The Aimpoint H34L sight is completely waterproof that lets hunters go out in all kinds of weather, plus it lets you turn on the sight and leave it on for five years using just one single battery.

Best Hunting Rifle Scope Under $500

Leupold VX 2 39 x 40mm Rifle Scope

The Leupold VX 2 is a scope that has been trusted by hunters all over the world. It gives you a high performance experience with all the features that serious hunters are looking for. The VX 2 has finger-adjustable click windage, elevation dials, and tactile power indicators, plus when you are hunting in low-light, it has the clarity, brightness, and contrast that you need. Durability, complete waterproofing, and the Leupold Full Lifetime Guarantee is also included.

Nikon Monarch 3 BDC Riflescope, 3-12×42

The Nikon Monarch 3 BDC is created by the well respected and well known Nikon manufacturer that has had a long standing reputation of constructing high performance rifle scopes. Nikon features the Monarch series as their flagship line. The Monarch has 33 percent more magnification than the 3 9 x 40mm scope. It also features an extra-large ocular lens, the maximum amount of light transition, and a wide field of view. This is the ideal scope for those that like to hunt at ranges of 100 to 600 yards.

Nikon has created an optical system that gives the hunter extra sharp, extra bight, and extremely flat sight picture that lets hunters see from dawn until dusk.

Also, the Nikoplex duplex reticle gives hunters a straightforward aiming point that still uses Nikon’s Spot On Ballistic technology, as well parallax adjustment that is easy to reach and side focused giving you unrivaled sight picture from any angle.

Plus, the easy to adjust turrets offer 1/4 MOA click-stop moves that lets you hear and feel the adjustments as you make them, without recoil that will throw your shot off target. The positive click adjustments let you zero in fast and easy while maintaining your setting, even when you have repeated backlash.

Leupold VXR HOG 1.25-4 x 20m Rifle Scope –

Created with feedback from Brian “Pigman” Quaca, the Leupold VXR HOG 1 4 x 20 mm rifle scope offers the exclusive Leupold’s non-illuminated, Pig Plex reticle that is a specific reticle for pig hunting. It was created to give you fast target achievement, and is perfect for framing a quick moving hog.

The Leupold VXR HOG uses the Leupold’s Quantum Optical System that offers lead-free optical glass. The optical glass includes geometry that is expanded with a mix of Ze-max design software and Leupold’s own Zygo Interferometer that maximizes your resolution giving you precise and sharp imaging in any light condition.

When the mechanical aspect of the VAri-X system have been preserved, and the optical elements have been repositioned while using new lens coating, the Quantum Optical System will give you up to 94 percent light transmission for superb resolution.

Plus, the large eyepiece will make it simpler to find the right eye relief, and to find those fast moving targets. It will also make it simpler to see a full sight picture that will totally fill the eyepiece, making it the ideal choice for those that hunt dangerous game in thick cover.

Finally, it is easy to zero and focus this scope with the included lockable Fast-Focus eyepiece, the tactile power selector, and the 1/4 MOA finger click adjustments for both elevation and windage.

Vortex Viper 6.5-20×50 PA

The Vortex Viper 6.5 20×50 PA riflescope is a great pick for a beginner, or for those that hunt occasionally, but still want a quality scope. It includes the superb quality XD Glass that gives you precise visual output, a patented force spring system that steadies spring pressure and raises the strength of the erector system which lessens inconsistencies when you are aiming. It also has an XR anti reflective coating that lets you aim easily in bright conditions.

It also includes a lot of the nice features of turrets and adjustments, but a lot of them are more for show than they are useful. This scope is awesome for shooting with a default magnification of 14x due to the mil-dot sight that lets you guess the range, bullet hold power, and windage, as long as you don’t vary the power which will give you incorrect mil-dot sighting, and hard, irregular adjustments that you can’t do while you are on the field.

Nikon M-308 4 16 x 42mm Riflescope w/ BDC 800 Reticle

The Nikon M-308 gives you a large magnification range that includes an oversized lens which is a great feature for a heavy caliber rifle. Instant target acquisition is due to the quick-focus eyepiece, and the fully multi-coated optical system gives you bright sight pictures. The scope is waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof, and it has long range shooting accuracy.

Best Rifle Scope Under $200

Leupold VX-1 3 9 x 40 Waterproof Riflescope

The Leupold VX-1 offers an affordable, yet effective scope from the company of Leupold. It comes with a standard multi-coated lens system that gives you brightness, great contrast, and high-performance, with micro-friction windage, and dials for elevation adjustment with a 1/4 MOA click rate that are easy to set and then reset. The Leupold’s classic lockable eyepiece will keep you in steady and constant focus, while the waterproof 1” tube mounts that are durable no matter where you go. It also comes with a Leupold scope cover that for additional protection of your VX-1 when you are not using it, and it comes with the Leupold Full Lifetime Guarantee.

Nikon P-223 3-9×40 Matte BDC 600

The Nikon P-223 boasts a return to target turrets and zero capability. This scope gives you an eye relief feature for additional convenience, plus it uses a bullet drop compensator to help you when you are aiming over varying ranges. This Nikon product is one of the best options under $200 with clearer glass than what many of its competitors offer. If you have a rifle using either 223 Remington rounds or 5.56 NATO, this is a great option for you.

Nikon ProStaff 4-12 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope

The Nikon ProStaff possesses the Nikon’s fully multicoated optical system, and it has a very versatile magnification range of 4 to 12x. The Nikon ProStaff can help you make pretty much any shot comfortable for you, and its optical systems can transmit up to 98% of the available light, so you will always have the most brightness when you are in a low light, or low contrast, hunting scenario. For simple field adjustments, Nikon ProStaff uses a unified zero-reset turret that lets you sight like normal, and the lift the spring-loaded adjustment knob and rotate it to your zero and then reengage. You can make simple field adjustment by just dialing your subsequent ranges.

If you love the patented BDC reticle, so that you hold “dead on” at ranges beyond what you thought were possible, the BDC has unique see-through ballistic circles that give you a superb advantage during long-range shooting, and it also allows you a have a normal sign picture for those short-range shots.

The Nikon also boasts of liberal, constant eye relief, plus there is no more kickback. It also includes other features like the quick-focus eyepiece, nitrogen-filled, waterproof and fogproof O-ring-sealed housing, and the optional sunshade accessory. This is the ideal scope for hunters that like diverse conditions to hunt game.

Redfield 67095 Revolution 3 9×40 mm Accu-Range

The Redfield 67095 is part of the new Redfield Revolution series scopes. It includes state-of-the-art American design and construction. The Redfield 67095 features the Redfield’s Illuminator Lens System that mixes first-class optical glass and cutting edge lenses that have multilayer, vapor-deposition coatings that give you unmatched image quality, a larger field of view, and superb light transmission. Lots of research and design has gone into Redfield’s exclusive Rapid Target Acquisition (RTA) eyepiece that gets rid of the eye relief “sweet spot” that gives you fast and precise target acquisition.

Additionally, you will get your choice of a 4-Plex reticle or the Accu-Range reticle that gives you hold over points up to 500 yards with absolute precision. Also, AccuTrac™ adjustment system makes sure that you receive the greatest amount of repeatability and reliability.

Finally, the Redfield 67095 offers a lockable eyepiece that it is totally fogproof, waterproof, and shock proof. It allows hunters to go out in any type of weather, and use any type of firearm they want without worrying about creep.

So, the next time you are out choosing a new riflescope, make sure to do your research and look for those scopes that match your hunting style and your weapon. You don’t want to be caught with a scope that is too heavy for your rifle, or that isn’t the right type of scope for the range you are hunting in. Once you have determined your needs, with all the products that are available on the market today, you should have no problem find a scope that is perfect for you.

Reviews of the Best Binoculars for Hunting in 2017

  • October 1, 2016 /

It’s no secret that if you want to be successful as a hunter, you need to find animals. Spotting deer, elk, or any other animals across long distances can be nearly impossible with the naked eye, which is why most hunters rely heavily on binoculars.

The right pair of binoculars has an enormous impact on your chances of a kill this season. Our guide will detail the many things you should consider when making an investment in optics, and will give you some recommendations on the best binoculars for you to buy. Use the table of contents to jump around, this article is long!

Key Factors to Consider When Shopping For Hunting Binoculars

A binocular basically comprises of two telescopes. Each of the two telescopes features a prime focal length, an eyepiece, exterior front objective lens, focusing unit and an exit pupil. In their working, binoculars refract light through prisms, which magnifies the image of the object being viewed. A pair of binoculars that has a larger objective lens allows more light into the binocular. To buy the right binocular, based on your hunting needs, you should consider the following aspects:

Magnification

Many people are for the opinion that the bigger the magnifying power of a binocular, the better it is. This is not always true when working with binoculars. An increase in the magnifying power of a binocular will affect the size and steadiness of its images. The higher the magnifying power of a binocular, the less steady and smaller its images are. If you are buying the larger observation binoculars, you may also need to invest in a tripod stand for them. This use of tripods may prove to be a tedious task for some hunters.

If you are looking forward to investing in zoom binoculars, there are a few things that you need to bear in mind. The vast majority of zoom-binocular manufacturers do not make durable units. As such, most of the zoom binoculars in the market today are not waterproof and are not suitable for hard use. To increase the magnification you get while using hunting binoculars, you do not have to invest in binoculars with more magnifying power. Instead of investing in 10x magnification binoculars, you should consider buying a spotting scope. To make an informed decision, with regards to the magnifying power of these units, you should weigh the magnification against the objective lens diameter of the binoculars.

Hunting Binoculars Prisms

Hunting binoculars apply two main types of prisms; the roof prisms and porro prisms. Which of the two is the best? Well, this will also depend on a few things. Here is an overview of the two main binoculars prism types.

  • Roof Prisms – This type of arrangement requires the use of straight pipes on the binoculars. In this case, the objective lens must be in line with the ocular lenses (the objective lens is the front outer one while the ocular lens is the lens at the back of a binocular). This type of prism arrangement is commonly used in compound binoculars and often features two focal points for the straight pipe. The binoculars with roof prisms are comparatively hard to adjust to the right eye spacing. Additionally, the images delivered by such units are of low clarity.
  • Porro Prisms – Contrary to the roof prism arrangement, the promo arrangement uses offset tubes. As such the objective and the ocular lenses of the binoculars are not in line. Hunting binoculars with this prism arrangement are easier to adjust because they have one pivot point—the one that joins the offset pipes.

The Field of View

In most cases, the binocular field of view is expressed in FOV at 1000 yards. This ratio expresses the area of ground (in feet) the viewer will be able to see through the binoculars while at distance of 1000 yards. Purchasing a unit that offers a larger field of view will allow you to view a wider area. However, if you apply magnification, the area you are viewing will definitely appear smaller. This implies that the magnification of a binocular affects the field of view of the unit. If you will be using the binoculars in wide and open environments, you may need to buy a unit that has a higher field of view. However, many hunters prioritize binocular image quality over the field of view. This makes the standard FOV hunting binoculars a perfect choice by such hunters.

Binoculars Exit Pupil

The size of exit pupil used in any pair of hunting binoculars is primarily determined by the magnifying power of the binocular, coupled with the diameter of its objective lens. Situated next to the eyepieces, the exit pupil allows light through the viewer’s eyes. To see the exit pupil used in your binocular, you may hold it at arm’s length and observe it through the eyepieces. In such a case, the exit pupils will appear as shafts of light. It is possible to calculate the size of exit pupil used in any binocular. This is done by dividing the diameter of the objective lens used in the binocular by its magnifying power. This being the case, a 7×50 pair of binoculars will have exit pupils measuring about 7.1 mm.

The size of exit pupils used in any pair of binoculars will affect the amount of light reaching the viewer’s eyes; larger exit pupils allow more light to reach the eyes of the viewer. As such, hunting binoculars that have smaller exit pupils are not ideal for use in dim light conditions. Your choice of the right exit pupil size should be influenced by the amount of light in the environment you will be using the binocular. As a tip, you should compare the exit pupil in your preferred binoculars with the human eye. In this regard, the best choice is an exit pupil size that is more or less the size of your eye pupil. In young people, the pupils may dilate up to 7mm and to about 4 mm in the elderly.

Relative Brightness Index

Commonly abbreviated as RBI, the relative brightness index is an expression of how a pair of binoculars is bright—in relation to its objective lens size and power. This value is calculated by squaring the size of the exit pupils used in the microscope, for instance, the size of the exit pupil in a 7×35 binoculars is about 5 mm. The RBI, in such a case, will be 25. A relative brightness index of 25 or more is considered to be ideal for use in dim light conditions.

Anti-reflective/Optical Coatings

In order to enhance light transmission through binoculars, most of the binoculars manufacturers use anti-refractive coatings in their units. If you look into a coated binocular through the front objective lens, you will see green, blue and red reflections. These multi-colored reflections are as a result of the anti-reflective coatings used in that pair of binoculars. Binoculars optical coatings may be classified into five broad anti-reflective coating levels, including:

  • Fully Coated – in this case, all the glass surfaces in contact with air within the binoculars are covered in a single anti-reflective layer.
  • Coated – binoculars in this category have only one anti-refractive coating. This coating is normally applied on the last and the first lenses in the unit.
  • Fully Multi – Coated – in this case, all the lens surfaces—inside the microscope—that are in contact with the air are covered in several anti-reflective coating.
  • Ruby /Red – Coated – the binoculars under this category use a red anti-reflective coating. This type of coating is used to minimize glare when the microscope is used in bright light.
  • Multi – Coated – in such microscopes, only some of the lens surfaces inside the equipment will have multiple anti-reflective coatings.

Buying a binocular that has a good optical coating will eliminate glare and light loss. In this regard, binoculars with good optical coating are known to deliver brighter and clearer images. If your preferred binocular model is available in two models, a coated model and another model that does not have anti-reflective coating, it is highly advisable to opt for the model that has the coating.

img_0974Hunting Binoculars Objective Size

The size of the objective lens used in a binocular affects its image detail. Objective lenses of between 40 and 42 mm are considered to be ideal for any type of hunting today. While increasing the size of objective lens in a binocular will improve its image detail, units with larger objective lenses are more expensive and heavier. If you are looking for binoculars to use for hunting at night, you may need to get one with a large objective lens, preferably a 40mm lens.

The size of the objective lens used in the equipment will also affect its weight; the larger the lens, the heavier the binocular will be. In this regard, you also need to weigh your preferences—do you prefer a heavier unit with high quality images or a lighter one with images of lower quality? If you prefer a portable unit, the 32mm objective lens size is recommended. Again, you also need to consider your hunting hours in this regard, objective sizes below 30mm may only be used during the day. While many manufacturers today are making a wide range of binoculars with larger objective lenses, these tend to be comparatively heavier. The ones with smaller objective lens are lighter, but will not be as precise as the heavier units.

Binoculars Focus Type

The types of focus used in hunting binoculars today may be grouped into two categories:

  • Center focus
  • Individual eyepiece focus

If you are looking for a pair of binoculars to use for medium to long distance observations, the centre focus type of binoculars is the best. Binoculars with an individual eyepiece focus have tubes focusing every eye. To view objects at different distances using this type of focus, you will need to adjust the eyepieces accordingly. This option may be time-consuming and awkward in some cases. Most of the hunting binocular models using individual eye focus do not require any form of focusing for them to deliver excellent results. This is one of the aspects that make such binoculars popular among hunters today. Additionally, some of the binocular brands using the center focus are known to be very durable and waterproof.

Image Quality

If your hunting expedition takes long and you need to have your binocular on your eyes most of the time, you need to get a model that will not strain your eyes. As such, you should opt for the models that deliver images of high quality. A pair of binoculars that offers a fair image quality may be used for occasional spotting while hunting, but not for prolonged viewing. Getting a pair of binoculars that delivers a good optical quality and is highly dependable is not easy today. This is particularly the case when shopping for a unit that is also waterproof and durable. If these are some of the qualities you are looking for in your hunting binocular, you should stop contemplating on units prized below $150.

Over the years, some binocular brands have established their place in the industry–with regards to producing units with high image quality. Such binoculars brands include Leica, Zeiss and Nikon. With hunting units produced by these manufacturers, you will not strain your eyes in the field. Such units will not strain your eyes or cause fatigue, regardless of the period you use them.

Eye Relief

This is one of the considerations that some hunters tend to overlook. The eye relief factor is particularly important for hunters who use sunglasses and eyeglasses. The eye relief is the distance that you can hold the binoculars from your eyes, when observing, and be able to see the entire image. If you use sunglasses or eyeglasses, you should consider purchasing a unit that has an eye relief of not less than 14mm. Binoculars that do not have the eye relief or have a poor eye relief tend to reduce your field of view.

Waterproof Binoculars

Most of the binocular manufacturers today use rubber coating in their units to make them waterproof and fog proof. Additionally, this rubber coating makes the units easier and more comfortable to hold. Waterproof hunting binoculars are also resistant to dust and grime, aspects that enhance their durability. You can use the waterproof hunting binoculars in foggy conditions for extended periods, without worrying about the moisture penetrating into the unit. If you are currently shopping for hunting binoculars, you should get one that is waterproof.

Binoculars Weight and Size

The larger, full-size hunting binoculars are known to be very capable and effective. However, such units are also heavy—with some weighing up to two pounds. With regards to the weight of hunting binoculars, the amount of glass and other materials used to build the unit will affect its overall weight. When shopping for hunting binoculars, you should consider their portability as well. If you want a model that is portable and light to carry around, you should avoid the larger hunting binocular models. In this case, you will also have to sacrifice the performance and image quality.

Binocular Accessories

In some cases, manufacturers include a limited number of accessories in their binocular packaging. Some of the accessories that are commonly included in hunting binoculars packaging include body harnesses, cases and straps. The strap is used to hang the binocular around the neck, making it easier to carry around. The casing is useful in protecting the unit from scratches and damage. As such, you may use the casing to store your binoculars when not using it. The harness will also help you ease the weight of the unit on your body. In this regard, the harness spreads the binocular weight across your shoulders and upper body—making it feel lighter and easier to carry around. If you would like to buy a larger binocular model, you may need to buy from the provider offering such accessories for free with each purchase.

Design and Usability of the Binoculars

Different binocular models today are designed to be used in a myriad of conditions and for different purposes. As such, the different binocular makes and models have varying designs and features. For instance, the larger and heavier binocular types are too heavy to carry around. The design of such binoculars is specifically meant for use on tripod stands. If this is your preferred hunting binocular type, you should ensure that its design allows for easy use on a tripod stand.

Again, you need to select a binocular design that is suitable for the environment you will be using it in. As such, it is advisable to buy a unit with features that can protect it and allow for easy use within that environment and condition. If you want a binocular with variable eye relief, you should buy one with twist-up eyecups. By twisting these cups, you can alter the eye relief required. This feature is beneficial if you will be using sunglasses while hunting. In such a case, you will require different eye relief distances when wearing and when not wearing the eyeglasses.

Binoculars Brand

While this is not very important, it is advisable to review the various brands in the market and their countries of origin. When it comes to the quality of the binocular you are buying, there is no good or bad brand. However, some brands are known for their consistency in manufacturing reliable and highly efficient units. Other brands are new to the market, hence the reliability and durability of their binoculars is not yet established. Just as it is the case with other products and services in the market, it is safer to buy from the renown manufacturers with a proven track record—with regards to producing high quality products.

Customer Help and Support

In addition to warranties on the product you are buying, you may also need to look into the support system offered by the company you are buying from. Some manufacturers will offer you a lifetime warranty on damages–other than the ones caused by wear and tear—but are hard to reach when you need to file a complain. This being the case, it is advisable to buy from the suppliers with numerous contact methods. This way, it will be easier for you to contact their support team, if anything happens to the equipment.

Understanding the Numbers Used On Hunting Binoculars

There are various numbers that may be used to illustrate binocular features and capabilities. As a beginner, you can have a hard time shopping for hunting binoculars—if you do not know what the numbers mean. Some of the numbers used on binoculars depict the diameter of the objective lenses used in the units and their magnification. In most cases, these two aspects are expressed as one unit, in the order of magnification and then diameter of the objective lens. For instance, you may come across a unit labeled 7×50. For this pair of binoculars, the 7x indicates its magnifying power and 50 is the diameter of the objective lens in mm.

Another issue that can arise with the numbering is the fact that zoom binoculars and variable power binoculars have a magnification degree that varies. For instance, you may find a pair of zoom hunting binoculars labeled 7-21×50. In this case, the magnification is given as a range. It means that the magnifying power of the binoculars is between 7 and 21 times closer. The last figure, in this case, is still the diameter of the objective lens.

Some of the Best Hunting Binocular Models

Mentioned above are some of the aspects you should consider when shopping for the perfect hunting pair of binoculars. This being the case, the ‘best binoculars’ is a relative term. This is because different users will have different binocular needs and preferences. For instance one hunter may prefer a lighter and smaller binocular while another one may be in need of the heavier, high-performance binoculars. Regardless of your preferences and hunting needs, it is always advisable to purchase a pair of binoculars that has high quality optical features and capabilities. Currently, there are some manufacturers and binocular models that are more popular than others, in the hunting binoculars industry. Mentioned below are some of the recommended binocular models, based on various attributes:

_dsc3571Upland Optics Perception HD 10x42mm Hunting Binoculars

As far as great binoculars for a middle range price go, you’ll have a hard time beating Upland Optics. Their binoculars are very high quality, and are perfectly suited for hunting. The company focuses exclusively on hunters, a rarity in the optics world. Like many high end binoculars, the Perception HD offers ED glass, which has exceptional clarity and light transmission. They also have a carry case, neck strap, lens cloth, and flip up covers included. They’re built from incredibly durable materials that will withstand the stresses of a hunting trip, and have a lifetime warranty in case something goes wrong. I personally carry these binoculars in the field, and highly recommend them to others.

Leica 10×42 Geovid HD-B Hunting Binoculars

Leica BinocularsThe popularity of the Leica 10×42 Geovid HD-B binoculars may be attributed to the fact that the manufacturer produces some of the best and high quality lenses across the globe. Leica is also renowned for producing some of the best microscopes and cameras across the world. In addition to the high quality build of the Geovid HD-B, the unit also features most of the features and qualities needed by hunters today. Some of the features found in these hunting binoculars include a barometer, an inclinometer, a thermometer and an advanced ballistic compensation. In addition to these extra features, the unit is also fog and waterproof—attributes that make it more durable in such harsh conditions. And of course the headline feature of these binoculars is their rangefinder capabilities, eliminating the need to carry multiple devices in the field.

Eagle Optics Shrike 8×42 Shk-4208 Binoculars

If you are looking for a pair of binoculars that is reliable, efficient and relatively affordable, you should consider buying the Eagle Optics Shrike 8×42 Shk-4208 pair of binoculars. Priced below $200, these binocular is precise and durable. The Eagle optics shrike also features a rubber band, which makes the binocular waterproof and comfortable to handle. These binoculars are some of the affordable units with optical coating on their lenses. In this regard, the Eagle optics shrike Shk-4208 has fully multi-coated lens, which is one of the reasons why it delivers high quality images. Additionally, the binoculars have adjustable eyecups and can withstand harsh weather conditions. The availability of eye cups on the binoculars means that you can adjust the eye relief.

Such features suggest that these binoculars are specifically designed to offer comfortable vision and deliver high quality images. As a result, a considerable number of hunters are buying these units today. Another benefit associated with these binoculars is that they may be used with a tripod stand. In this case, you will be required to use an adapter. However, you will have to buy the tripod and the adapter separately. According to the users who have purchased these units, the binoculars offers a good value for price, has the right weight and size and delivers impressive image quality and clarity.

Vortex Optics Viper HD 10×42

The Vortex Optics Viper HD 10×42 is one of the top rated units in its line. The popularity of the unit among hunters today may be attributed to the many features it has to offer. For instance, the binoculars are fitted with an O-ring, which helps prevent water and debris from penetrating the unit. This feature not only makes the unit water and fog proof, but also prevents it from damage caused by those elements. Another impressive feature offered by these binoculars is a rubberized body, which makes the units easy and comfortable to handle. With regards to image quality, the unit delivers high quality and clear images. This is partly because the binoculars are fully multi-coated and feature extra-low dispersion, high-density glass.

The unit has received numerous positive reviews from its users, most of which touch on its impressive grip. While some of its users claim that the unit is a bit heavier than other models within this category, the manufacturer includes a comfortable neck strap in its package. This helps with weight distribution, making the unit feel lighter than it actually is. Other extras included in the packaging of this unit include a rain guard and a carry case that is deluxe padded.

The Vortex Optics Viper HD 10×42 beats the game when it comes to customer reviews, as there are many buyers who claim that the rubberized body and comfortable grip of this alternative cannot be matched by any other one. Some individuals have mentioned that this model might be a little heavier than expected, and that it has a smaller field of view compared to others.

Vanguard Endeavor ED 8×42 Binoculars

The Vanguard Endeavor Ed is one of the best 8×42 binoculars today. Many buyers love these units because of the vast array of features they present. For one, the units are water and fog proof. Additionally, the units have 3-stage twist eyecups. This feature allows the units to offer one of the longest eye relief distances in the industry. It also features fully multi-coated lenses, which play a significant role towards delivering high quality images.

With a magnifying power of 8x and objective lens measuring 42mm in diameter, the model can deliver a field of view of 367 feet/1000 yards. The weight of the binoculars is about 25.8 ounces and can deliver a variable eye relief distance of up to 19 mm. with regards to the clarity and quality of images; this is one of the units that will offer you impressive results. As a matter of fact, most of the hunters who have used the system in the past praise its optical capabilities.

Vanguard Spirit XF 10×42

The Vanguard Spirit XF 10×42 binocular is perfect for nearly all forms of hunting, ranging from stalking white tails to duck hunting. The binoculars are fairly priced and can deliver impressive image quality and clarity in various hunting environments. The binocular features a body design that is appealing and is light enough to carry with one hand. Although this binocular is light weight—weighing about 23.5oz—it delivers outstanding performance. Some of the spectacular aspects of this unit include a wide field of view at 332 feet. When hunting for a deer, you should be able to scan a wider area because these animals can be elusive sometimes. In this regard, the Vanguard Spirit XF 10×42 binocular will come in handy. The binoculars are specifically made for the hunters who spend much of their time stalking their prey and move a lot within their hunting environment.

The Nikon 8248 ACULON Hunting Binocular

This is another hunting binocular that is very popular among binoculars buyers today. Many of the available reviews on the Nikon 8248 ACULON A211 10×50 praise the optical capabilities of the unit. At an affordable price, you will have a 50mm objective lens—which is better than what most of its competitors are currently offering. As such, the Aculon may be used in low light conditions and still deliver images of high quality. Although these binoculars are some of the best hunting binoculars today, they are comparatively heavy. As such, you may need to purchase a harness and a neck strap to use with the unit. The unit is ideal for hunters who spend much of their hunting time hiding and stalking their prey.

Steiner Predator Premium Binoculars

This is a premium class of binoculars made in Germany. As such, you should expect to pay more for these units. However, they are actually worth every penny; they are light weight and deliver some of the best images in the binoculars industry. The binocular is perfect for big game hunting in the west and trailing white tails. The Predator binocular is ideal for low light viewing and features a focusing wheel that is extremely easy to handle. In this regard, the binocular may also be used for such activities as turkey hunting and bow hunting. The unit also uses the CAT (colour adjusted transmission) type of coating by the manufacturer. This technology allows the prey to ‘stand out’ from its surrounding as soon as it comes to view. If you are willing to pay the high price, this binocular is one of the best hunting binoculars in the market today.

Conclusion

Prior to buying any binoculars model in the market today, it is highly advisable that you go through user reviews on the product. This will give you insight into how good or bad the unit is. You may also need to look at the manufacturer’s terms and conditions on your preferred binocular before buying it. With such considerations in place, you will be in a better position to buy a binocular that will meet your requirements and serve you for a log period. Regardless of your preferences, the hunting binocular models mentioned above are some of the best for your hunting expeditions.

1 2 3