Fully flocked mallard floaters. Eye-catching double reeds. Cold-weather waterproof vests. Low-profile skiffs built to get you where the ducks want to be, and then hide you from those same prying eyes once you’re there. Another year, and another round of ’fowling gear, all of which is designed to tip the scales in your favor.
By M.D. Johnson
This is Benelli’s third makeover of their legendary Super Black Eagle 3 1/2-inch semi. It has the shotgun’s same ultra-reliable inertia-driven operating system. It also adds an oversized bolt and bolt release, enlarged loading port, and a third gen ComforTech stock.
Winchester’s follow-up act to the SX3 a gun with a chrome-plated chamber and bore, self-aligning trigger group designed for easy maintenance and back-bored technology. The SX4 is sure to become common in the marshes across America.
Yet another cool new version of the original A5. This is the A5 Wicked Wings. Old style with Recoil-operated, humpbacked, and wearing Mossy Oak’s Shadow Grass Blades camouflage pattern. This 3 1/2-inch mallard-dropping machine has an oversized bolt release and operating handle.
Lightweight, easy-to-hold, rugged, and affordable, these binoculars are designed to deliver sharper, brighter images under a wide range of weather conditions. Fully coated lenses, armored bodies, and phase-correction roof prisms.
Just 23 ounces, these binos offers RainGuard high-definition water-repellent lens coating, lead-free glass, an ultra-wide field-of-view, long eye relief, and a waterproof-fogproof housing, all in a lightweight body.
The Predators are 26 1/2 ounces and are versatile and give you excellent light transmission without creating a need to take out a second mortgage.
Browning Extra Distance steel comes in Nos. 4, 2, and BB, and in both 3- and 3 1/2-inch formats. They sport the distinctive Browning Buckmark, but the ducks won’t notice.
Federal re-tooled the wad and the new Black Cloud Flex has eliminated any ported-choke inconsistencies.
A combo of tungsten-based Hevi-Shot and traditional steel pellets. 10-, 12-, and 20-gauge. Shot size BBB to No. 6.
The new TX 9.3 Lumbar Pack has 650 cubic inches of compartmentalized space. It has two upper and two lower compression straps, an ergonomic padded waist belt adjustable from 26-42 inches, and a comfortable back pad.
This bag has a hard bottom, huge main compartments, stow-away game strap, and a drop-down gun boot.
The Lock ’n Load Blind Bag from Rig ’Em Right is to the hardcore duck hunter what a briefcase is to the Wall Street executive. It carries everything to get the job done, and done right. The Lock ’n Load’s narrow profile means it fits easily inside a layout blind, while the spacious separated compartments keep everything organized, dry and ready.
Relocating is easy, thanks to the Field Hunter Blind from Ameristep. Tough durashell construction stands up to the rigors of waterfowling, while the three-wall design allows easy access for both hunter and retriever.
A legend in the industry, Plano Molding makes getting ready easy with their camouflaged hunting stool. Padded seat, carry strap, and pockets — plenty of pockets — make this the choice of waterfowlers everywhere.
Jase Robertson worked with master call designer Jay Stone to come up with the JR Pro Series calls. The Acrylic gives you the option of super-loud hails or softer-pitch finishes. We’ve used these in the marsh, and we can confirm they bring in the ducks!
This year, Buck introduces his new Slimpiece, the ultimate tool for finishing those late-season greenheads. With a beefier barrel and midsection, and an updated tone board, this call sings the sirens’ song to migrating mallards.
A legend in the industry, Fred Zink does it again with his new Green Top Rocker, GTR, single-reed. An eye-catching acrylic, the GTR’s open bore design provides all the volume necessary to drag those high-flying mallards down to ground level. But what’s more, the GTR excels close-in with subtle quacks and smooth chuckles.
Flextone’s new Green Thunder calls are available in single- and double-reed. This well-made but affordable call is hand-tuned and guide-tested.
Rod Haydel’s new Traditional Double Reed sports the same reed system as does their tried and true DR-85, and is a must-have on every ’fowler’s lanyard.
MOJO took their revolutionary spinning-wing decoys and did it one better with the MOJO King Mallard. This latest generation spinner features a solid component housing, a built-in remote receiver, and a drop-in rechargeable battery. They are quiet and user-friendly.
Flambeau’s flagship decoy line, Storm Front, now includes an ultra-realistic Semi-Rester body posture for their mallards. These state-of-the-art blocks feature Flambeau’s UVision paint, which accurately duplicates the true appearance of waterfowl plumage in all spectrums of light. Each six-pack includes two active drakes, one semi-rester drake, and three semi-rester hens.
$38 for six
Few things look more natural than a fully-flocked decoy, and the folks at Greenhead Gear know this. That’s why they’ve introduced the fully flocked Pro-Grade Elite Mallards. These are the ultimate greenhead enticers — realistic, highly visible, and incredibly durable. Actives or Feeders, they feature swivel heads on both drakes and hens.
$100 for 6
Just one look at RMR’s Xtreme Texas Rig anchoring system, and you can immediately tell it was designed by folks who hunt ducks. Hard. Every day. The loops are big, located against the decoy where they should be, and the hourglass-shaped weights hold onto the bottom.
$25 for 12
Tanglefree commissioned a world-class carver and artist and came up with their incredible Flight Series Mallard. Head position, body posture, paint details, sculpting, molding, shading — no detail was overlooked. Each six-pack features two rester drakes, two upright drakes, and two hens, the drakes with flocked heads.
$95 for six
If you’re tough on waders, then the Black Labels by Banded are the ones for you. Featuring minimal stitching with arc-welded technology, PrimaLoft silver insulation, 1600 gram Thinsulate boots, and 900D padded leg and shin guards, these waders are as rugged as they come.
Light, comfortable but designed to stave off both the wind and the cold. 17.6 ounces, Gore Windstopper soft shell and a micro-grade backer, which work together to provide warmth as well as protection.
Mud Buddy has been getting waterfowlers to tight spots reliability for years now. The Utah-based company’s Hyperdrive Reverse line packs an extraordinary list of features into one package, including a stainless steel drive tube, power trim, and all-aluminum outdrive.
Weighing 125 pounds, the FB 7.5 stands just 17 inches at the gunnel, yet is rated an impressive 520-pound capacity when loaded.
This soft-sided cooler is a great size for taking in a blind. It’s leakproof and like all Yetis, it keeps stuff cold for a long time. The large zipper lets you open it up wide for easy access. It comes in a blue-gray or, new for 2017, a tan-orange, better in the mallard blind.
Pelican Coolers boast innovative features such as a built-in bottle opener, drain plug threaded for a standard garden hose, and a molded-in handle system. Polypropylene construction, stainless steel hardware, and more than 2 inches of insulation.
At 22 pounds, the Outfitter sports a body that’s 28 percent thicker than the competition’s. The 35 is designed to keep ice for a week or more. Foam-filled polypropylene shell, full-length aluminum hinge pin.