January 17, 2019
By M.D. Johnson
Let’s face it. A waterfowler without a bunch of – well – stuff is like Wrigley Field without beer and hotdogs. A ’65 El Camino without a 396. Or a duck hunting without a black dog. Or maybe a yellow dog. But you get what I’m saying here.
Fortunately, 21st Century waterfowlers are forced to want for much of anything when it comes to the gear associated with their craft. From high-tech motorized decoys to even higher-tech clothing and the latest advancements in non-toxic ammunition, calls, and decoys, today’s duck and goose hunters are sitting pretty in terms of – There’s that word again – stuff.
Here’s a look at some of the hottest waterfowling gear to hit the shelves, and what might be available in the coming days.
Hevi-Shot Original Hevi-Shot
The folks at Hevi-Shot are fond of telling their clientele – “Because you didn’t come this far to miss!” – and nothing could be closer to the truth. For years, Hevi-Shot has been outperforming the competition from coast to coast, thanks to the innovative technologies wrapped up in their Hevi-Shot Duck, Hevi-Shot Goose, and for upland bird enthusiasts, Hevi-Shot Pheasant.
Waterfowlers and upland bird hunters now have a great high performance non-toxic alternative, courtesy of Kent’s new bismuth shotshells. Denser than steel, bismuth nearly copies lead in on-target performance and choke response, and has been deemed safe for all guns, old and new. Kent’s latest is available in 12-, 16-, 20-, and 28-gauge formats.
MOJO Outdoors Fatal Shot Custom Chokes
MOJO’s line of Fatal Shot Choke Tubes is the result of a partnership between MOJO Outdoors, and Rob Roberts Custom Gunworks. Computerized pattern analysis machines have helped create chokes that achieve optimum performance with today’s advanced shotguns and shotshells. Fatal Shot Chokes are available in several thread configurations to fit most popular shotguns.
Federal Premium Speed-Shok
It’s not secret among ‘fowlers that speed kills, and now it performs even better and cleaner, thanks to Federal Premium’s newly redesigned Speed-Shok non-toxics. Available in a wide array of formats, Speed-Shok’s Catalyst lead-free primer and fast-burning powder reduce residue, while a lighting-fast 1,450 fps velocity provides plenty of knockdown.
Winchester Blind Side
Blind Side combines stacked Hex Steel Shot technology and an innovative diamond cut wad in the most deadly Winchester waterfowl load available. Loaded with 100 percent Hex shot, Blind Side puts more pellets on target, offers a larger kill zone,and holds more trauma-inducing pellets than ever before. This season, Blind Side ‘em!
Browning BDX Waterfowl
BXD Waterfowl Extra Distance is launched at high velocities utilizing an optimized long-range wad and plated round steel shot. Combining round steel with a cutting edge wad design results in a lethal combination of energy retention, penetration and pattern density, all critical to achieving long-range performance.
Decoys and Accessories
Dakota White-Front Floaters
Dakota Decoy’s all-new floating white-fronts will bring the expanding speck population to a halt!! These decoys are built Dakota Tuff, and feature four different head positions. These one-piece floaters are constructed of MEVA plastic, and are designed to handle all the abuse ‘fowlers can hand out. The new speck floaters come in six-packs, and sport weighted keels.
MOJO Outdoors Spoonzilla
That’s right; a northern shoveler, aka spoonbill spinning wing decoy, complete with a MAMMOTH grin and a missing tooth! Don’t be the last kid on your block to have one of the lastest introductions from MOJO Outdoors. Effective and funny at the same time, Spoonzilla is part of MOJO’s Elite Series of spinners, and features magnetic wings, flexible skin, and a one-piece support pole/structural housing.
Avery/Greenhead Gear One-Piece Lessers
If small Canadas, e.g. Lessers, Cacklers, or even Aleutians, are on your menu, you can’t go wrong with Greenhead Gear’s anatomically perfect Lessers. Designed by carver Tim Newbold, these diminutive Canada full-bodies have all the goose-drawing power of larger decoys. Each dozen comes with ring bases and field stakes for the ultimate in versatility.
Rig ‘Em Right Jerk Rig
We’ve all used jerk rigs from time to time. Factory. Home-spun. You name it. But for effectiveness, convenience, and ease of us, nothing beats Rig ‘Em Right’s Jerk Rig. Here’s everything a ‘fowler needs to create the illusion of on-the-water motion – bungee cord, mini-anchor, winder, swivels, and 100’ of heavy nylon cord, all kept organized in a handy stuff sack.
Tanglefree Flight Mallard Combo Pack
Discriminating waterfowlers want real when it comes to decoys. The folks at Tanglefree heard this, and that’s why they introduced their Flight Mallard Combo Pack. Eight drakes and four hens; some of the most natural, true-to-life commercially produced fakes ever to hit the water. Carver Michael Braun truly hit the mark here.
Hardcore Rugged Series Decoys
Passion, persistence and perseverance would definitely describe the approach Hard Core has taken with their new Rugged Series decoys. Aligned with the brand’s new FowlFlex Technology, these ultra-durable one-piece decoys incorporate ultra-realistic paint schemes and superior feather detail. Available in a variety of puddler species.
Clothing – Waders
Dickies Flannel Lined Shirt
Waterfowlers aren’t accustomed to being comfortable, but that’s all about to change, thanks to this incredibly warm flannel lined shirt from Dickies. Great as stand-alone outerwear on those nicer days, or perfect underneath a vest or heavier jacket whenever those north winds blow, this rugged shirt from a legendary name in work and outdoor wear not only keeps ‘fowlers afield, but ensures they’re looking good while they’re doing it.
Mossy Oak/Heybo Outdoors Renegade Bib
Heybo Outdoors’ Renegade Bib is designed for hunters willing to brave the elements. The bibs are made from 100-percent polyester, a synthetic known for being durable and abrasion resistant. Other features include waist, chest, and rear zip pockets, long zippers at the bottom of the legs, and zippers beneath the arms for increased ventilation. Available in Mossy Oak Bottomland.
Drake Guardian Elite Flooded Timber Jacket
The Guardian Elite™ Flooded Timber Jacket is specifically designed for the hunter who spends his days with his back against a tree. Cut two inches lower than other jackets for wading, Drake equipped the lower pockets with drain holes just in case the water is a little deeper than expected. Insulated and non-insulated versions are available.
Banded Redzone Breathable Wader
First, they fused revolutionary fabrics with scientifically advanced waterproof and breathable laminate to develop the Super Hydrophobic Evaporative Development System. Then, they taped the seams, reinforced the knees with 900D, and integrated a 1000 gram Thinsulate™ boot with bottom lug pattern. Banded Redzones – Wading at its finest.
Sitka Delta Zip Wader
By storm is an understatement, as Sitka’s Delta Zip Wader has revolutionized the way ‘fowlers look at stepping – literally – into their environment. With an Aquaseal zipper, LaCrosse AeroForm insulated book, and a durable yet breathable Gore-Tex Pro laminate, these may very well be the last chest waders a duck hunter ever purchases.
Duck Commander Pioneer
For hunters looking for a call that perfectly mimics a mallard hen, Duck Commander’s Pioneer ends the search. Featuring original Realtree Camouflage, the Pioneer is based on Jase Robertson’s popular reed design, and is the perfect pick for veterans and nimrods alike.
Haydel AR-19 Acrylic Redleg Mallard
The AR-19 is a molded acrylic version of Haydel’s Redleg mallard call, a coast-to-coast favorite among waterfowlers for over two decades. The AR-19 features a double reed gut system that produces a clear, long-distance high end, along with an ultra-raspy low. If mallards are the name, then this call’s got the game.
Primos Original Wench
Every duck hunter had a Wench at one time, and many of ‘em still carry one every day of the season. The Wench sounds like a mallard hen; plain and simple. From Tone Ridge, Tuning Ditches, Tuning Holes, and a patented reed relocation system for those who just HAVE to take it apart, the Wench has it all. And did we mention it flat sounds like a mallard duck?
Bill Saunders Dark Side
Designed by calling legend, Bill Saunders, to be a nightmare on dark geese, The Dark Side is the result of combining the best attributes of several different of his existing calls. The compilation is a fast responsive deep call, with a realistic low end and a sound that Canadas in all four flyways can’t resist. And she’s a contender on any contest stage, too.
Avery Ground Force
Weighing in at only 17 pounds, the Ground Force by Avery Outdoors is touted as the lowest profile full frame blind on the market today. Folding in seconds into a comfortable backpacks, the Ground Force features a weatherproof DuraMax cover, aluminum frame/hardware, mesh face flaps, zippered flagging slits, and a brilliantly ergonomic design.
Rig ‘Em Right Low Rider 3.0 Optifade
Building off the success of the Low Rider II, the Low Rider 3.0 is wider to accommodate a broader range of hunters, and now boasts a durable steel frame to handle the rigors of a long season. The Low Rider 3.0 frame has no pins, sets up in seconds, and has multiple revolutionary design elements, which work to make this the best layout blind available. And now it’s available in Gore Optifade Marsh.
Avian-X A-Frame Blind
With its streamlined, mobile design, the A-Frame blind offers the next best thing to total invisibility in marshes, fence lines, waterways and open fields. The non-corrosive aluminum frame breaks up hard edges and shadows, while a rugged 600-denier shell in Mossy Oak Shadowgrass Blades offers superior camouflage.
Final Approach Original X-Land’R
Looking for a classic? Well, here’s a classic inspired by Ron “Mr. Eliminator” Latschaw, the father, many say, of the modern layout blind popularized by goose hunters nationwide. The low profile X-Land’R weighs only 12 pounds, but offers a ton of features including zippered storage, built-in gun scabbard, backpack straps, and a zippered boot-bag for easy end-of-the-hunt clean out.