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Ken Perrotte’s Outdoors Column: Outdoorsmen will thank Santa for these presents
Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are memories and just a couple weeks remain to locate a perfect outdoors-related gift.
Here are a few suggestions of new and nearly new product offerings that can help you improve everything from comfort to safety to success. Ready, aim, spend.
Release Reels SG (small game)
Release Reels of Reedville manufactures their saltwater reels entirely in the United States. Their signature SG reel has stainless-steel gears, patented reverse gearbox design and a large “power handle” that feels great ergonomically. Reels are designed for anything from black sea bass to white marlin and can hold 500 yards of 50-pound braided line. This product drew lots of attention at last summer’s international sportfishing trade show. $249. Lifetime warranty. releasereels.com.
Bushnell Trophy HD game camera
This 8mp-resolution camera has a black “no glow” flash invisible to both people and animals. During a test last summer of a number of cameras, it had the longest battery life. Nighttime flash range is 45 feet. Bushnell’s Field Scan mode is a nice feature that lets you preprogram image taking regardless of whether or not the sensor is tripped. For example, images of a field could be taken every five minutes in the last hour of daylight or in the first couple hours of the morning. The camera will still shoot if something does walk by while in this mode.
You can also shoot high-definition video in 1–60 second segments. The camera has time, date, moon phase, temperature and barometric pressure stamps on the image. It’s a winner; $249 suggested retail. A more-inexpensive option is the Stealth Cam Unit Ops model, which also has no-glow LED flash, captures both still images and video and sells for $159.
Browning Strutter chair
You couldn’t kill that gobbler when he flew off the roost. Now, it’s a waiting game.
A wise hunter once told me “Patience kills more turkeys than anything else.” Patience is easier when you’re comfortable.
Sit tight in the Strutter folding chair. It positions you low to the ground and at an angle where a good knee-rest shot is a cinch. It has a coated steel frame, Realtree camo fabric and rotating, adjustable feet for uneven terrain. It weighs 6.5 pounds and folds into a carry bag or can be carried on your shoulder with the padded carry strap. $49. browningcamping.com.
Mossy Oak Graphics gun skins
People pay considerable dollars for camouflaged firearms, either from the factory or “dipped” somewhere in the aftermarket. I remember wrapping camo duct tape around the walnut stock, forearm and barrel of an older shotgun. It broke up the gun’s outline, but getting the gunk off when I removed the tape was a challenge.
Now, you can apply an innovative vinyl camo skin to shotguns or rifles. The rifle skin, for example, comes in six pre-cut pieces. Apply and trim as needed to fit your gun. The camo is matte finish and easily
adheres to the gun’s surfaces, but leaves no adhesive residue when removed.
With careful application, it’ll be hard to tell this wasn’t factory camo. $25. mossyoakgraphics.com.
Plano Alabama rig box
Bass umbrella rigs present storage challenges. This new clear-plastic Plano box is part of the StowAway lineup of 3700 series boxes that tend to fit well in many tackle bags. Measures 14 inches by 9.13 inches by 2 inches and holds up to four umbrella rigs of up to five arms. $11.99. planomold ing.com.
Ultimate line-winding system
A neat gadget! Some people place the line spool on a pencil or similar to begin filling a reel spool. Simple enough, but, line twists as it’s cranked on to a reel. This product has a rod seat to hold your reel and a rotating carriage that takes confounding twists out of line as it is transferred to the reel.
It’s made out of graphite and has tension adjustments to control line feed to the new spool. $39.99. americanpremiercorp.com
WileyX Gravity & Echo sunglasses
These are among the few sport sunglasses meeting U.S. military specifications for combat protective eyewear, including high-velocity impacts. That helps when snagged lures you’re pulling rocket back toward your face, or a buddy’s errant backcast threatens to sink a treble hook.
Featuring eight-layer lens construction, these comfortable glasses have a removable soft-foam seal that blocks peripheral light, wind and airborne debris. The Gravity model has polarized blue-mirror over green-tint lenses while Echo’s lenses are emerald- mirror over amber. $140. wileyx.com.
UnderArmour Base 3.0
Warm weather this week could almost fool you about winter, but earlier frosty mornings had me happy to be wearing UnderArmour’s Base 3.0 leggings and shirt. These exceptionally lightweight items weigh only a few ounces each, yet really hold in body heat. Like many of the best base layers today, they also have an antimicrobial technology that helps with scent control. The stretchy polyester/elastane (yes—that’s “spandex”) material fits snugly, but not like a compression garment.
The product line ranges from 1.0 (mild) to 5.0 (extreme cold). About $75 each. Underarmourgear.com. This base layer works well inside Lacrosse’s new Swamp Tough Pro Wader. With 1,000 grams of Thinsulate insulation in the boots and 5 mm, fleece-lined neoprene above the boot, they’re winter-ready.
A built-in game bag rolls out from the wader’s back. There is a waist belt, top-loading pocket, waterproof front pocket and hand-warmer and a removable waterproof internal pocket. Watch out, ducks! Choice of Realtree Max-4 and Mossy Oak Bottomland camo. $290. lacrossefootwear.com.
Slug shotgun package
Finally, we just concluded the 8th annual Wounded Warrior Hunt at Fort A.P. Hill. Each hunter carried a Savage Model 220 20-gauge bolt-action slug gun, topped with a Nikon 3-9×40 BDC 200 Slughunter Scope.
They shot Remington 2 60-grain AccuTip Bonded Sabot Slugs. Eleven deer were cleanly taken with shots ranging from 45 to 175 yards!
You must buy each item individually. The Savage Model 220 sells for about $500. The Nikon scope sells for about $250 and features a patented reticle with ballistic circles providing aiming points. Our guns were zeroed at 50 yards, but the reticle made holding at the proper elevation easy out to 150 and beyond.
The scope has a generous 5 inches of eye relief and provides 92 percent light transmission. The 2-inch slugs have 1,850-feet-per-second velocity at the muzzle and carry ample deer-killing energy downrange.
They’re about $14 for a box of five. See savagearms.com, nikonsportoptics.com and Remington.com.
Ken Perrotte can be reached at The Free Lance–Star, 616 Amelia Street, Fredericksburg, Va. 22401, by fax at 373-8455 or email at email@example.com.
For more on outdoors things to do around Fredericksburg and the region, sign up for The Free Lance–Star’s newest e-newsletter, Mighty Outdoors, at http://fredericksburg.com/topics/mightyoutdoors/about.html.