Hunters operate in a field that is steeped in tradition, although they also tend to be quite enamored with the latest in high-tech gear. Many learned to hunt when they were kids, but find that as they get older, new technology and hunting supplies can help make time in the great outdoors more enjoyable than ever before. Let’s look at some of the newest gadgets available today that can ramp up your chances of a successful, safe and comfortable time in the field.
Hunters hate nothing more than being swarmed by an angry mob of mosquitos, which is why the Backpacker by Thermacell is number one on our list of must-have hunting gear. This lightweight unit easily mounts on top of a standard Isobutene fuel can (the kind you’d use with a compact camping stove) and delivers nearly three and a half continuous days of mosquito-repelling power. For around $40, you simply cannot beat the performance.
This isn’t exactly a new gadget, but the SPOT is an absolute must-have for hunters or adventurers who value safety over everything. This device is a personal locator beacon that works in areas where cell phones fail. And, as a basic two-way communication device, it enables you to send check-in messages to family and friends, or summon help if you need it. The SPOT is a vital piece of gear for any hunter’s pack. These units cost about $199.
If you’re like most big game hunters, you probably enter the field with your rifle and maybe ten rounds of ammo. After all, it shouldn’t take too many shots to take down an elk or deer. But what happens if you get stuck out in the woods for days on end and need more firepower and a greater supply of ammo? Go with a lightweight and reliable handgun in a powerful caliber - like the Glock 29 in bruising 10mm. Try a Glock out at your preferred gun range to see why 65% of U.S. law enforcement personnel trust their lives to a Glock. $650 for the handgun, variable cost for the ammo.
Nikon LaserForce Binoculars
Good binoculars are a must in the field, and a laser rangefinder is quickly becoming an indispensable gadget for hunters everywhere. The Nikon LaserForce series of binoculars combines both and creates a truly high-tech binocular with accurate range finding capabilities to make your hunt easier and your shot more accurate. The OLED display compensates for incline and decline, and measures distances from 10 to 1,900 yards. Suggested retail price is about $1,200. Hitting your target cleanly on the hunt of a lifetime? Priceless.
onXmaps HUNT Software
When it comes to leading-edge technology, HUNT software from onXmaps is the tip of the spear. This program allows you to synch invaluable information with your existing GPS unit - including BLM land markers, game unit boundaries, road and trail maps, landowner information, and more. You’ll discover the easiest and safest ways to get in and out of the field while staying away from restricted areas or private property parcels. You can mark specific locations where you find rubs, animal trails, or even the perfect camping spot. Variable price.
There are countless pieces of equipment that can help you make the most of your time in the field, but none replace common sense and some formalized training. Partner with a reputable shooting sports facility to take a hunting class that will help you brush up on the latest hunting techniques, tactics and best practices, then add the right gear to your pack to increase the odds of a successful hunt.