It’s hard to believe it is already that time of year again. The waning bird hunting season has given everyone a chance to test their hunting equipment. We’ve put our share of gadgets through the wringer as well in search of the best gear for Ultimate Uplanders. Here’s our list of items that are required gear for the bird hunter. Click the included links to finish shopping for your uplander.
We figured a company featuring a Bobwhite in their logo must know a little something about upland hunting. And it turns out we were right. Lugging our gun cleaning gear around in a plastic bag was getting old. Kevin’s Saddle Leather and Canvas Roll-Up Cleaning Kit
($89) offers a stylish solution for carrying all your gun cleaning supplies combined with a nifty scratch-free surface to break down shotguns. Once your shooting stick is properly shined, stow it in the matching Kevin’s English Canvas Gun Slip
($119). We can’t guarantee that putting your favorite shotgun to bed in this high-quality case will make it shoot better…. but it worked for us. Because Kevin’s is a full-service retailer, pick up some cleaning supplies as stocking stuffers to go with this perfect duo for shotgunners. Click here to get your Kevin’s Gear.
Brothers Tom and Jerry Black have an infectious enthusiasm that is just fun to be around. And they have reason to be excited; their WingOne Clay Thrower
($34.95) is a huge leap forward in product design. It beats the pants off the cheap plastic hand throwers that everyone is familiar with. No more shattering clays when loading and you get extra an umph with less throwing effort with the American made WingOne. Be sure to check out some of their videos for bonus holiday entertainment when visiting their site to purchase your WingOne
Early this season in Montana we spent 45 minutes after a morning hunt untangling collected cockle burs from Rio’s coat. Left unattended, burs can work their way into a dog’s pits and cause irritation while running. Then we found the Aloe Care Fine Tooth Pet Comb
($2.19) let’s you pull burs free from the hair with very little fuss in a fraction of the time of trying to untangle and clip out by hand. If you own a long hair dog it is a must have item for your travel kit.
At the start of the season we began wearing the Fitbit Flex
($99.95) to track exactly how many miles we hike on a hunt. It has become an invaluable tool to help us learn more about our hunting habits. Unlike a bulky GPS, the Flex is a small unit always powered up that you wear on a wrist. Full charges by the supplied USB dongle tend to last 4-5 days. There is an easy online setup at fitbit.com
that allows you to set goals and get started. Based on weight and height it tracks your calorie usage and distance among other things. A couple of taps of the Flex and small display lights on the unit show progress against your daily goal. Tracking is also available on your Bluetooth enabled smartphone. Once you reach your daily goal, the Flex vibrates to let you know. We’ve always figured that the dogs cover at least twice as much distance as we do. By setting our goal at five miles it gave us a quick visual reference to know when it was near quitting time to keep the dogs from burning themselves out in a single day. It’s a long season; I have walked 467 miles so far — 966,00 steps and 263,000 calories. Click here to start tracking your hunts too and let’s get upland fit together.
Every one of our miles afield this season the Wolverine Terrain II Mid-Cut Waterproof Trail Hiker
($142) have been on our feet. Aggressive soles, waterproof and rugged — you really can’t ask for much more from a hunting boot. But when you cover as much ground as we do, weight is the primary concern. The Terrain II weigh in at a slight 15 ounces each which is exactly why we’ve looked beyond Wolverine’s expansive hunting line to a boot they classify as hiking. We like to combine a low cut boot with a pant inseam a bit long for best results in the upland field. Wolverine makes these boots in standard and extra-wide to fit any foot. Click here to get your pair.
Your bird dog works hard and deserves a present too. Our lab Wyatt goes bonkers for these SportDOG Orange Plastic Dummies
. They come in both a regular and jumbo size and work great for both water and land retrieving practice. The 3-packs are the way to go ( Reg. $17.94 / Jumbo $24.95). Stock up on SportDOG Brand®
hats, t’s and gear bags for you too. They are offering 50% off apparel this Cyber Monday, 12/2 only. Visit www.sportdog.com/apparel
Our friend and gunzel Britney Starr recommends the Eddie Bauer Mabton Flats vest ($199) for Ultimate Upland ladies. According to Britney, Eddie Bauer has a women’s-specific vest that will suit even the most hardcore upland huntress. It isn’t just a man’s vest in a smaller size, either. Cut with the female body in mind, the Mabton Flats vest allows for unrestricted arm movement. It has plenty of pockets for gear, and has external loops to hang a whistle or e-collar remote. The zippered game bag allows for easy access to birds when the hunt is over. Be sure to check out all of Britney’s gear selections for women.
There is a lot of down time during the season. Early on when the weather is still hot, that down time brings a whole host of annoying biting bugs to camp which make getting rest a challenge. We have to admit that we had our doubts with the plastic appearance of the ThermaCELL
($26.99). At our wit’s end we were willing to try anything and this little unit delivered. Biting flies and mosquitos hate it, which guarantees we love it. You can’t put DEET on the dogs and it’s probably not a great idea to cake it on yourself either and with the ThermaCELL you no longer have to. Purchase a ThermaCELL.
Everyone needs a great snack to pair with that large cup of eggnog. In place of those empty holiday cookies try these healthy all-natural Ganola Cinnamon Coffee Bean Bars
. Ganola is giving Ultimate Uplanders 20% off when you purchase a case. Use coupon code BirdBoom13
when you place your order and help fill out the stockings with these snacks.
And remember, as the holiday stresses tend to pile up there is no better therapy than heading to the field with a shotgun for a brisk walk. Be safe, have fun and finish 2013 in Ultimate Upland style.