There’s a little something for everyone on the Ultimate Upland wish list for bird hunters. We’ve put a lot of gear through the wringer to come up with a number of products that we believe uplanders will truly enjoy.
Pachmayr Snap Caps
Snap caps are cheap insurance for a stored shotgun. These little buggers allow you to safely dry fire the weapon and relieve hammer spring tension. They make a great stocking stuffer and are an afterthought that many bird hunters don’t already own. Get a set or six in multiple gauges. ($9.98 set of two) Click here.
The Benchmade Custom Griptilian Knife
There may be blades more appropriate for breaking down birds, but being able to design your own knife in real-time online makes this Benchmade a must-have. You can choose from 12 different handle colors, three blades, different pocket clips and component colors….. the possibilities seem endless. After you have the knife formatted to your liking you can upload text and graphics to have lasermarked on the blade. (Of course we suggest “Ultimate Upland” and our pointing dog will make perfect additions.) We like the drop-point straight blade with thumb stud in hi-vis orange for starters. The custom order takes at least 3 weeks, so get your order in today. ($125) Click here.
Wigwam has been around for over a century making socks in the US — and they have become very good at it. We’re fairly certain you can’t go wrong with any of their styles because the quality standards are extremely high. Our feet have sported Wigwam all season long without complaint in all kinds of conditions. We like the Hiking/Outdoor Pro ($12.99) and the Merino Comfort Sportsman ($15.99).
The SportDOG TEK GPS + E-Collar
The trend toward technology is a turnoff for many traditionalist bird hunters. So it was with some hesitation that we strapped the SportDOG TEK on our young setter Rio this fall. The anxiety of becoming a slave to technology soon faded. This collar gives you the confidence to allow an inexperienced dog to explore, make mistakes and realize for themselves the value of proximity to the gun. And it removes the stress of losing the dog; the 7-mile range insures that you’ll be able to collect even the most wayward explorer. There are a number of unique features which set this collar apart, but the ability to separate the trainer from the GPS and the vibrate on-point alert are two of our favorites.($499 / $399 for the GPS sans trainer). Click here.
Prois Women’s High Plains Brush Pants
So much for women having to fend for themselves in upland gear. Prois has quickly become the premier maker of hunting gear for the fasting growing segment in the sport. And these upland pants have all the hallmarks of quality that will take a beating and last for years. Better still, they get the seal of approval from our favorite female gunzel and owner of Starr & Bodill African Safaris, Britney Starr. So we know they have to be great. ($139.99) Click here.
Enter promo code BSTARR at checkout and receive 15% off!
Winchester Super-X Super Pheasant Shells
You can never have too much ammo. We’ve long been fans of copper-plated shot for bird lethality. Though Winchester has named their latest offering Super Pheasant, don’t hesitate to use the #6 loads on all medium to large upland game. We actually prefer the 2-3/4″ shells which we’ve found highly effective at reaching out to the long flushers. But if you want to amp up the distance and impact, shells are available in shots size 4-6 and come in the 3″ variety as well. ($18.99 box / $179.90 case) Click here for 12ga or here for 20 ga.
Smith Optics Aegis Echo
The importance of eye protection in shooting sports is often overlooked. And the peril to sight is real. Designed for tactical applications, the reason the Aegis Echo got our attention was the extremely light weight and minimal contact points which make them perfectly comfortable for long walks in the field. And the interchangeable lens PivLock system is easy and fast. The flat frames allow you to wear ear protection over the glasses so they’re great for that round of clays too. ($105 for 3 lens combo) Click here.
We like having the backup to the backup to the backup when we’re in the field. And these Timex watches incorporate a compass which can help return you to camp or car if your GPS, smartphone or sense of direction falters. An Expedition series hasn’t left my wrist in over two years of hunting in every imaginable condition and is ‘still ticking’ as billed. If you like digital we suggest the Expedition Digital Compass ($75). But if you prefer analog the Intelligent Quartz Tide Temp Compass will also let you know exactly how cold it is when the birds are holding ($170).
Grouse Feathers by Burton Spiller
This book is a classic that was first published in 1934. There’s no better way to get some perspective in the off season than to listen to Spiller recount the heydays of Ruffed pursuit. It’s a fast read, even available in Kindle version. ($16.55 paperback/ $12.62 Kindle) Click here.
Cabela’s Unlined Deerskin Gloves
When afield we like leather gloves that have balance. We need maximum feel and functionality so that we can click off the safety and pull the trigger. But gloves still need to provide enough protection to remove sand spurs from the dog and help weasel our way through thorns in the grouse woods. These deerskin gloves strike that good mix. Here’s a quick tip for once the gloves get good and scuffed; spit in the palm and rub it in really well. It helps to make the leather a little tacky which improves the grip on the gun and thumb safeties. ($25.99) Click here.
Blackwood ExPro for the Dog
One of the best ways to keep your bird dogs at peak performance is to make sure they are getting the best nutrition. Blackwood makes ExPro in small batches from the highest quality ingredients to get a food that is 33% protein and 23% fat; a fitting meal for a four-legged athlete. Use it as a supplement with your current food to help bump up the daily calorie count for your hard working canine friends. ($54.96 for qty 4 5lb bags) Click here.
Mud River Traveler Duffel
You’re going to need a place to stow all your new gadgets. We like keeping our bird hunting gear consolidated in a heavy duty bag, so we can pull it out and go hunting at a moment’s notice and know we’re not leaving anything behind. These blaze orange duffels are hi-vis, water resistant and nearly indestructible. They come in three sizes, be sure to get one for the dog’s gear too. ($57-77 depending on size). Click here.
If you use promo code MR12 you can get an extra 15% off your Mud River purchase through 12/17/12.
And if you already have everything else on the list, then it’s obvious the thing you truly need is another bird dog. We suggest you contact our friends at Jornada Setters to add a Llewellin pup to the family. Or Mountain Star Kennels can hook you up with one of the most stylish bird dogs in the country from the lines of top IRWS Runnie.
Have a Happy Holiday.