January 16, 2020
By Dr. Todd A. Kuhn
I recently attended the Archery Trade Show (ATA) in Indianapolis, Indiana. While there, I compiled a list of my top new products for 2020. These are the products I feel will make an impact on the bowhunting community in the new year.
1. Convergent Hunting Solutions Bullet HP Bluetooth Electronic Call
Keen hunters themselves, coyotes are notoriously wary and, therefore, difficult to call in. It's common for coyotes to be exposed to bad calling throughout the course of the season, resulting in a highly call-literate coyote population.
The Bullet HP electronic call is one of the most ruggedly built game callers I’ve seen. Its sound reproduction is amazingly clear and crisp across an extended frequency range. The speaker is studio-quality, reproducing calling sequences with amazing clarity and accuracy, virtually eliminating chance of spooking predators with an off-note call.
With a range of 400 yards, the Bullet has the power to reach out and draw predators in close. Bluetooth equipped, the Bullet HP has an impressive 300-foot range and is controlled by your smart phone.
An integrated flagging decoy with magnetic attachment helps pull weary predators in too. The 2.9-pound unit nests together for compact storage. An onboard Li-ION rechargeable battery has an extended 10-hour run time allowing you to leave those pesky batteries at home. (convergenthunting.com; $289.95)
2. Irish Setter VaprTrek 17” Snake Boot
Venomous snakes can ruin a hunt in short order. Traditionally, protecting yourself from them means wearing a very heavy and clumsy snake boot. Irish Setter, a leader in boot technology, has introduced their new VaprTrek 17” snake boot.
The boot is lightweight, incorporating an EVA/composite sole. These provide an airy feeling to the boot while the boot itself retains strength. A full grain leather appointed nylon upper is very abrasion resistant and, most importantly, snake proof.
The BOA closure system is fantastic. Simply slip your foot into the boot and engage the BOA. A few twists of the knob cinches the boot tight from top to bottom, ensuring a slip-free fit. The wide throat on the boot makes getting in and out of the boot painless. (irishsetterboots.com; $249)
3. Trophy Treestands Sky Fort
Two person ladderstands are relatively common. These stands are great for sharing the hunting experience with children, your significant other or a buddy. The Trophy Treestands Sky Fort is a 12-foot standalone treestand that will accommodate three persons, making it perfect for the entire family.
The first of its kind, the Sky Fort can be enclosed with an optional skirt and roof, making the hunt more enjoyable when the weather turns inclement. The bench seats are situated in a unique manner, allowing hunters to keep an eye out in all directions. ($349; trophytreestands.com)
4. The Mancave Buck
Having your trophy buck mounted is an expensive affair. Shoulder mounts have now reached upwards of $800 in some areas. Beside the expense (and the long wait), mounts eventually degrade and turn unsightly if not cared for.
The Mancave Buck is a very life-like foam replica of a whitetail, one on which you mount your antlers. Each Mancave Buck is made in the USA, hand painted and signed by the artist. Mounting the antlers is easy; simply lift the flap on top of the head and place your antlers there. The flap folds back down for a seamless install. With a Mancave Buck, you can change your antlers out as often as you’d like. ($250; revolutioninnovations.com)
5. Easton 6.5 Matrix Arrow
Easton unveiled a new lightweight arrow in its 6.5mm product line—the 6.5 Matrix. The Matrix 6.5 uses Easton’s ACU-Carbon seamless process during manufacture to offer a rugged shaft void of weak areas.
The Matrix features a new carbon-fiber braid which is visible on the outside of the shaft. The seamless shaft delivers virtually perfect spine and weight across every production run. Without the weight and spine inconsistency found in conventional arrow-making processes, ACU-Carbon constructed arrows tune easier and offer better accuracy on the range and in the field. ($79.99/6-pack; eastonarchery.com)
6. Alps Outdoorz Hybrid X-Escape
Finding a great pack, one that is both functional and rugged, is difficult. The market is saturated with inexpensive packs that appear good at first glance. But upon further inspection, you realize they are cheaply built and incapable of surviving the bumps and bruises of a rough and tumble season.
Alps has been making quality packs since 1993, those built to withstand the roughest use. Their new Hybrid X combines an internal frame meat hauler with a detachable 2,750-cubic-inch top-load pack that offers the ability to carry essentials and haul meat out after a successful hunt.
The pack easily attaches or detaches from the dual-aluminum frame with a series of compression straps. The frame features a shelf and compressed wing-style pockets to accommodate small or large hauls. The Hybrid X offers unmatched strength and durability in the field with 1860D nylon ballistic and ROBIC nylon fabrics with Hypalon reinforced construction. ($299.99; alpsbrands.com)
7. Muddy Rangefinders
Muddy Outdoors builds a wide range of hunting products. For 2020, they add laser range finders to their impressive hunting line up. These new rangefinders are well built units and are priced right for budget-conscious hunters.
The Muddy LR650X ranges out to 650 yards while the LR850X ranges to 850 yards, and the LR1300X ranges to 1300 yards. The 6X magnification optic with 26mm glass lens is IP54 rated to provide protection against dust and splashing water from any angle.
An ABS housing and durable rubber over molding with large grip pads on both sides of the Muddy laser range finder chassis deliver both protection and offer an optimal grip surface—even when wearing gloves.
Muddy Laser Range Finders account for angle measurement in rough terrain and compensate for it. Hunters can measure range in yards or meters. With its integrated scan mode, users can range multiple targets without needing to reactivate the laser, and the units have speed measuring capabilities. A lanyard, carry case, lens cloth, and one CR2 battery come standard with all Muddy laser range finder models. (LR650X $159.99; LR850X $179.99; LR1300X $229.99; gomuddy.com)
8. Fusion by StealthCam
StealthCam’s new Fusion wireless trail camera system brings simplified, seamless integration of the most reliable and advanced remote data capture, transfer and storage technology to the modern hunter.
The Fusion is a complete system that includes the trail camera, control app and a robust data plan menu that allows hunters to select the optimal plan for their budget while enjoying the industry's first certified-network camera.
The Fusion is a compact 26-megapixel camera capable of capturing images in 16, 8, and 4 megapixels. The Fusion is packed with features, including high-speed data transfer, cloud storage efficiency and quicker image review on mobile devices.
The wireless camera system is controlled by the user's connected mobile device through the Fusion App, available through Google Play or the App Store. This means hunters no longer need to physically program their camera in the field for either setup or to change capture settings.
The Fusion also features automatic firmware updates via FOTA (Firmware-Over-The-Air). By using network-certified hardware, users receive notification of any operating system (firmware) upgrades. Hunters can then wirelessly and automatically install these updates from any location without having to retrieve the camera from the field. ($199; stealthcam.com)
9. Apex Gear Surge Arrow Rest
The Surge arrow rest from Apex Gear flips into the up position to support your arrow with no vertical movement on the draw and stays up when you slowly let down. The delayed trigger system is timed to keep the launcher up to support the arrow during the initial launch. Then, the high-speed actuation system takes over to cause the launcher to quickly drop out of the way, eliminating contact and providing clean and unhindered arrow flight.
The Surge is easy to set up and comes standard with two launcher sizes for maximum compatibility. It attaches to the downward-moving buss cable with a micro-tune cable clamp for a “no-bow-press” installation. The Surge arrow rest is compatible with all carbon and aluminum arrows and is available in two different models to accommodate right-handed or left-handed archers. ($83.99; apex-gear.com)
10. TenPoint Vengent S440
TenPoint Crossbow Technologies Vengent S440 delivers speeds up to 440 FPS and features the new ACUslide cocking and de-cocking system. This ultra-fast crossbow is the narrowest TenPoint has ever offered, measuring a skinny 5.8-inches wide while weighing a half-pound less than previous TenPoint flagship models.
The ACUslide system features an auto-brake gear system, which allows for silent cocking and safe and controlled de-cocking. The ACUslide system eliminates the potential of losing control of the crank handle, which can lead to injury or costly bow damage during the de-cocking process. While de-cocking with the ACUslide, the user can remove their hand from the crank at any point (with no other action required) and the crank will hold in place.
The Vengent is powered by RX6-Cams which rotates 360-degrees to produce the impressive top end speeds. A quad cable system uses four cables instead of the traditional two, which eliminates cam lean and generates straight-nock travel leading to same-hole down-range accuracy.
A really nice two-stage, zero-creep trigger is standard, featuring an advanced roller-sear system that delivers a crisp 3.5-pound pull. Decorated in Veil Alpine camo or Graphite Gray, the Vengent S440 ships completely assembled and includes a robust ready-to-hunt package. ($2,099.99, Veil Alpine Camo; $1,999.99 Graphite Gray; tenpointcrossbows.com)
11. Wildlife Research Center Ultra-Premium Scent Killer Gold Personal Care Kit
There are plenty of scent products out there. It seems there is one made for just about every application. The folks at WRC have gathered together their top odor fighting formulas, and put them all in one convenient kit. Perfect for deodorizing and getting cleaned up, before and after the hunt. This convenient kit lets you organize all these products and keeps you as scent free as possible.
The kit includes: 12 FL OZ Scent Killer Gold Clothing Spray, 12 FL OZ Scent Killer Gold Body Wash and Shampoo, 8 FL OZ Scent Killer Gold Conditioner, 2.5 OZ Scent Killer Gold Antiperspirant and Deodorant and 24 count Scent Killer Gold Field Wipes. ($37.99; wildlife.com)