Game & Fish Readers Choice Awards 2017: Here are your picks for the best in hunting gear for 2017.
By John Geiger
First off, let me say that our readers are well-qualified to judge new gear. Nearly 50 percent of the 4,614 who voted had hunted at least 20 days last year. A handful hunted more than 180 days! And when asked how they describe their level of experience, nearly two-thirds said they were “expert” or “advanced.” About 35 percent said they were “intermediate” and only 5 percent said “beginner. That’s a hard-core group. Who better to judge the worth and ranking of gear?
These hunters made some startling decisions.
- See your top picks on hunting gear below
Cabela’s Polar Cap Cooler unseated the perennially popular YETI cooler this year. Likewise, Barnett took the top spot from TenPoint. Three companies won at least two of the 15 categories. Leupold won Binocular and Thermal Imager categories. SureFire won both Flashlights and Suppressors categories. Winchester got to the top rank in both the Rifle Ammo and Shotshell categories.
Other close calls include a neck-and-neck finish between Hunt onXmaps and HuntStand apps, and Gerber Vital and Havalon EXP knives.
Some products dominated the competition.
At 75.4 percent of the vote, SureFire’s Fury Intellibeam was a full 64.7 points over the next closest flashlight. Gamo’s Swarm also was far and away the favorite airgun with 65.2 percent.
You can bet voters used the brands they voted for. Anyone who hunts between 20 and 180 days a year knows a thing or two about guns, ammo and everything else hunting.
WINNER: Barnett Ghost 420, 29.6%
RUNNER-UP: TenPoint Carbon Phantom RCX, 24.6%
WINNER: Remington 700 AWR, 28.6%
RUNNER-UP: Browning X-Bolt Pro, 21.8%
WINNER: Ruger American Rimfire, 56.1%
RUNNER-UP: Savage A22 Magnum, 19.0%
WINNER: Benelli Super Black Eagle 3, 37.2%
RUNNER-UP: Remington Versamax, 26.4%
WINNER: Gamo Swarm, 65.2%
RUNNER-UP: AirForce Texan, 17.2%
WINNER: Winchester AA Steel Dove, 18.4%
RUNNER-UP: Remington American Clays, 16.6%
WINNER (close call): Winchester Big Game LR, 27.7%
RUNNER-UP: Federal Big Game Edge TLR, 26.3%
WINNER: SureFire SOCOM 300 SPS, 40.3%
RUNNER-UP: Blackhawk Carnivore, 27.7%
WINNER: Mathews Halon 32, 36.9%
RUNNER-UP: Hoyt Pro Defiant, 16.9%
WINNER (close call): Gerber Gear Vital, 22.2%
RUNNER-UP : Havalon EXP, 21.9%
WINNERS (close call): Hunt onXmaps, 25.9%
RUNNER-UP : HuntStand, 25.6%
WINNER (close call): Leupold BX-3 Mojave HD, 25.7%
RUNNER-UP: Bushnell Legend L Series, 24.1%
WINNER: SureFire Fury Intellibeam, 75.4%
RUNNER-UP: Cyclops Revo 700, 10.7%
WINNER: Cabela’s Polar Cap Equalizer, 41.8%
RUNNER-UP: YETI Hopper Two, 27.4%
WINNER: Leupold LTO-Tracker, 44.8%
RUNNER-UP: Sig Sauer Echo 1, 21.9%
We invite you to vote in our next Readers’ Choice Awards: hunting voting is in the spring and fishing voting in the fall. Sign up for our free electronic newsletter at the bottom of gafmag.com, and we’ll send you a notice when it’s time to give your opinion about the best new gear. —Editors