Realtree MAX-5™

Waterfowl Concealment Redefined

Realtree Outdoors is off to what some would call, “an extraordinary start” to 2014.  Just yesterday (Jan. 2. 2014) Realtree released a press released announcing and showing off the all-new MAX-5 waterfowl camo pattern.

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Click to enlarge. Courtesy of Realtree.

“Columbus, GA (January 3, 2014) – Introducing newRealtree MAX-5™ – the hardest working camo for the hardest working hunters.

“New Realtree MAX-5 is the perfect multi-use camo for marshes, mud flats, agricultural fields, flooded timber, grasslands, prairie and other open habitat,” said Realtree Designer and President Bill Jordan. “Never before has a pattern offered so many natural elements and such a wide array of natural tones, shadows and colors.”

Built with waterfowlers in mind, new Realtree MAX-5 is filled with cattails, reeds, cane and grasses to blend into flooded marshes. Plus corn, wheat, oats and sunflowers to hide you in open fields. It has branches, twigs and leaves that work in flooded timber. And with open areas that mimic mud, water, bark and shadows, MAX-5 literally adds another layer of invisibility to camo – no matter where or how you use it.

Click to enlarge.  Courtesy of Realtree.

Click to enlarge. Courtesy of Realtree.

Of course, all MAX-5 pattern elements are strategically placed to create super-realistic tone, contrast and shadow. Viewed up close, MAX-5 offers incredible detail. At a distance, the pattern obliterates the human outline completely. The result? Maximum effectiveness for your waterfowl success.

About Realtree:

Realtree is the world’s leading camouflage designer, marketer, and licensor with over 1,500 licensees utilizing the Realtree camouflage brand. Thousands of outdoor and lifestyle products are available in Realtree camouflage patterns. In addition, Realtree is committed to supporting individuals and groups that work to ensure our outdoor heritage, the conservation of natural places, and the wildlife that resides there. Realtree promotes its products and relationships widely on television, as well as through http://www.realtree.com and many other outlets.

Gear Down Blind from Lucky Duck

Lucky Duck Decoys by Expedite International has released a new lightweight and portable ground blind, the Gear Down Blind.

gear-down-blindThe Lucky Duck “Gear Down” Blind is the most portable layout blind on the market. This blind is extremely lightweight (only 9 lbs.) and folds up to the size of a backpack. 28″ x 18″ x 4″. The built in straps leave your hands free. Water resistant heavy khaki fabric with padded seat and pillow for all day comfort. Blind cover has grass straps for that added concealment option.

 

Natural Camo Facepaint

When you think of face camo, what comes to mind?  Perhaps the Duckmen from Duck Commander, maybe the only item you forget at home or something you dislike using because it’s so hard to wash off?  Those are all common answers from duck hunters but hard to wash off isn’t a worry when using Natural Camo Facepaint.Twyla

Price Range: $6-$25

Price Range: $6-$25

Natural Camo Facepaint is a family owned and operated company from East Minnesota.  They have formulated a natural, handmade skin camo paint that hunters and even people in the military can use without having a mask and greasy feeling.

Individual vials are available as well as their Spring, Fall and Winter kits.  Each kit comes with 3 diferent-colored vials and 5 Natural Camo Quick Clean Towels.  The towels are pressed into small-portable nickel sized tablets.  Just add water, unfold and you have an instant towel.  (Great for keeping in your blind bag)

LogoUsing Natural Camo Facepaint has many benefits such as scent free, non-toxic, non-staining, sweat and water-proof, FDA approved, etc.  An American-made product, used by duck hunters and has us in mind.

New Shadow Grass Blades, The Latest Evolution in Waterfowl Patterns

The folks at Mossy Oak introduced their first waterfowl camo pattern back in 1986.  The pattern was Bottomland and it was designed to hide hunters in the flooded timber shadows by incorporating the dark and light patterns and colors of bark and soil.

Bottomland worked great in its intended environment, but it didn’t help hunters hide as well in the grass and cattails of pond edges and fields.  Mossy Oak’s design team recognized the need for a pattern that would work in these conditions and, in 1995, added blades of grass as an overlay to the Bottomland pattern to make a new pattern called Shadow Grass.  Now, there was a pattern that would work in almost any waterfowl hunting environment in North America.

Over the years, the Mossy Oak team has continued to enhance and improve their waterfowl patterns.  As digital imaging techniques improve, designers were able to add more detail and shadow to their patterns, giving them an almost 3D effect that broke up the human outline when viewed from any direction.

The evolution continued with improvements to Shadow Grass in both color and detail until the year 2007 when a new pattern named Duckblind was launched.  Duckblind was built on a base background of true dirt colors with different tones to represent wet and dry ground. Then, elements of millet, wild oats, corn stalks, phragmites, Johnson grass, soybeans and native grasses were added. The unique shadows enhance depth, while the muted shades of brown, tan, gray and soft black work well for blending into virtually any waterfowl environment across the country.

All of this leads to today and the introduction of the new Shadow Grass Blades pattern.  I asked Larry Moore, the Director of Research and Development for Mossy Oak Camo about the new pattern and what went into its design.  He replied, “The development of Blades took two years of research and element collection across the entire waterfowl flyway systems.  We carefully selected grass that was true to color and detail to represent any water edge or open field.  Because of the success and long run of original Shadow Grass we arranged the grass blades in a similar fashion and used a natural straw like background to utilize a naturally dirty look of mashed down or repeatedly flooded grass.  This created the look found in original Shadow Grass and allows the flooded timber hunter to use it as well as the field hunter.”

When I asked how they went about designing a pattern that works everywhere, Moore explained that the new Blades pattern has grass types found from Minnesota to Louisiana or California to New England.  These grasses were then carefully blended into a natural reproduction of some of the photos taken on location to match a wide array of settings. The precise arrangement of individual blades of grass, whether windblown, broken or bent, onto a background of thatch consisting of lesser or dead grass creates the perfect pure grass pattern. In addition, carefully placed shadows were added to create depth and further break up the human pattern. “Blades will work anywhere you have grass and dirt and I think that is everywhere”, Moore said.

After viewing the new pattern, I think it will blend perfectly into the pond edges and fields just about anywhere ducks and geese are hunted.  My biggest problem with darker waterfowl patterns is their tendency to blob out from a distance.  When viewed by a high flying duck or goose, that dark blob fairly screams “hunter”.  The overall light tone of the grasses blended with just enough shadow in the new Blades pattern should avoid that problem and help waterfowlers blend into just about any cover.

Swap Out

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Rating: 10/10 Comfort and Versatile.

As lanyards start to take a positive ascent in the world of game call accessories, one great manufacture continues to stay ahead of the game.  Heavy Hauler Outdoor Gear and their “Swap Out” lanyard has got to be the most versatile and comfortable quality lanyard I have ever worn.

Call lanyards have become extremely abundant during the last few years.  With social media at the aid, you can search Facebook and have more results than you could image.  For some people,  making lanyards has become just a hobby while others have started small businesses.  But for Heavy Hauler, lanyards are more than just that.  Heavy Hauler takes lanyards and mixes in some awesome innovation.  Mixing high-quality braiding, neoprene, clips and swivels to make the Swap Out one of the most desirable lanyards on the market today.

Contains strap and two detachable braided lanyards.

What comes in the package.

The Swap Out features a Neoprene neck strap (featuring Max-4 camo and premium stitching), 2 detachable braided sections (green & tan – black & tan),  8 braided call haulers (with clips so you can position them where you would like) allowing for 4 calls to be hanging and tangled free and an additional clip for a whistle.  Have the 2 braided sections allows you to carry 4 calls on the lanyard with 4 more in your blind/pit bag.

Heavy Hauler has an accessory for this great accessory, the Quick Attach Duck Straps.  They use the same clips as the call braided section, so within seconds you have switched from calls to ducks hanging around your neck.  Great for that day when you reach your limit!  Simply undo your calls from the neck strap and clip on the Duck Straps.   You are now  ready to carry your birds back to the truck!  Watch this video of Jason Bird (Owner) as he demonstrates how to do so.

The Swap Out has become one of the most popular and sought after call lanyards since it’s introduction into the waterfowl market.  If it doesn’t say,  “Heavy Hauler”, it’s not the original Swap Out and can be found in retail stores for $34.99 which is an amazing price for such a versatile product and the Duck Straps are only $7.99!

I’m giving this lanyard a 10/10 simply because it’s everything I need with no complaints.  It’s just myself, this lanyard has been given an average of 4.8 stars from all the major sporting goods stores.