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.

Tennessee Holds First Sandhill Crane Hunt

Tennessee hunters will get the chance to put another big bird on the table this holiday season. The Volunteer State became the 16th state — and just the second east of the Mississippi River — to allow a special hunt for sandhill cranes.

SandhillCranesIn August, the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission unanimously approved a sandhill crane hunting season, which runs Nov. 28 to Jan. 1, 2014. Four hundred permits were made available by special drawing on Oct. 12. Hunters who drew a permit are allowed to shoot three cranes.

Hunters must pass a crane identification test before going afield so they can determine the difference between sandhill cranes and the endangered whooping cranes.
The process of establishing a crane season this year in Tennessee began when TFWC solicited support from conservation and hunting organizations after delaying a decision on crane hunting in January 2011. Delta Waterfowl responded with a letter of endorsement.

“The burgeoning eastern crane population is creating new opportunities for hunters throughout the flyway. These birds are sporty and wonderful to eat and will create a new unique hunting opportunity,” wrote John Devney, vice president of U.S. policy for Delta Waterfowl. “This provides a rare chance to create an incremental hunting opportunity as populations have expanded is consistent with the sound tenants of scientific wildlife management.”

TFWC received some opposition to the hunt, specifically from the Tennessee Ornithological Society, which pointed to sandhills as a highly coveted species for bird watchers. Commissioners made concessions by shortening the season length from 60 to 35 days, and dropping the number of permits from 775 to 400.

“I’ve hunted cranes in Mexico, and I do know they’re a wary bird and taste just as good as advertised,” said Tom Rice, a voting member of TFWC. “Thanks to the support of groups like Delta Waterfowl, Tennessee hunters will have the opportunity to have those experiences, too.”

Original Story Here:  http://www.deltawaterfowl.org/news/article/2013/10/13/tennessee-holds-first-sandhill-crane-hunt-

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.

Higdon’s Ice Blaster

The morning after the season’s split can be one of the most anticipated mornings for a duck hunter. Knowing the weather has changed with lower-freezing temps, snow and ice you are just hoping the hole is not frozen over.  But just like every single time, it is frozen over solid. I don’t know about you, but one thing I really don’t care for doing is working up a sweat in 15 degree or lower weather while breaking ice!  Higdon has a 12v portable solution to fix this.

Higdon Decoys Inc., who is known for their “Battleship” Super Magnum and Alpha Series decoys, recently released their Ice Blaster.  The Ice Blaster is an underwater motor that pushes the warmer bottom water to the surface allowing the ice to effectively melt.  The Ice Blaster sits just 2 feet below the water providing great and heavy movement to your spread while also providing a landing pocket for those tired migrators.

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Made from a Kasco marine motor, 35’ waterproof rubber power cord with alligator clips & power switch and either metal legs or an easy-to-carry square tubing metal frame.  The Ice Blaster comes available in 4 different sizes according to horsepower:

 

 

  • ¼  Horsepower – $599.99
  • ½ Horsepower – $649.99
  • ¾ Horsepower – 699.99
  • 1 Horsepower – $799.99

Great company, great 1 Year Warranty and great hardware, the Ice Blaster will be a great weapon to add to your arsenal! Duck Hunter approved!
Higdon's new logo.

Hot New 2013 Goose Calls

The early goose season is just around the corner for most hunters and we took the liberty of searching around for the newest and hottest goose calls that were released for the 2013-2014 season.  Listed below in no particular order:

 

  • Field Proven’s Raptor - (Price Range: $30.00)

Raptor Poly

 

 

 

 

Field Proven released their Polycarbon goose call – Raptor.  Available in either Pearl or Blue. Shop Wing Supply.

 

  • Addicted Goose Calls - (Price Range: $140.00)

Addicted Goose Calls

 

 

 

 

Kelly’s Kalls – A call maker known for his Woodie Kall (Wood Duck call) and other fine wood calls released his Acrylic Addicted Goose Call line.  Available in Black or Pearl with different colored engraved logos.  Shop here.

 

  • Goey Calls Trainwreck – (Price Range $139.99)

Goey Trainwreck

 

 

 

 

Goey Calls release a big call in a small package.  The Trainwreck, available in either Orange Pearl or Green Pearl packs some unexpected notes.  Shop here.

 

  • Hayes Calls Meat Hook – (Price Range $79.95)

Meat Hook

 

 

 

 

Hayes Calls, known for their Bad AZZ call line combined the barrel of  their Bad Azz Goose call with a straight bore version of their Chain Gang Goose Call.   A great call with a lot of low end murmur.   Shop here.

 

  • Toxic Calls Angel De Morte’ – (Price Range $99.99)

Angel De Morte

 

 

 

Toxic Calls brings out their customizable Angel De Morte’ (Angel Of Death) with the guts at the bottom of the call and the longer barrel, you get the hollow sound of a Flute Call with the easy of operation of a Short Reed.  Shop here.

 

  • Real Calls Goose Call – (Price Range $135.00)

green-goose-call

 

 

 

Real Calls has introduced an odd but an effective goose call.  Featuring a ball-shaped designed insert makes the calls feel and sound different.  Shop here.

 

A Breeze might turn to a storm

Drake, the Innovators in Waterfowl Hunting recently released a whole new type of decoy.  Drake’s Breeze-Ryder™ Decoys brings a change in the way your wrap your decoy line and it’s movement in the water.

Each Breeze-Ryder™ Decoy comes with integrated Cord Wrap Cleats allowing you to wrap your decoy line without a keel providing maximum movement.  These molded Cord Wrap Cleats offer durability and strength.  Located at the front and back of the decoy, the Cord Wrap Cleats have built-in Depth Adjuster Cord Locks for quickly adapting to different water depths.Drake-Breeze

The Cord Wrap Cleats are also equipped with Anchor Points providing you with two rigging points.  There are also two other extra Anchor Tabs allowing for rigging your decoys from multiple positions, which creates variable decoy movement.  Change your tabs on different decoys to give your spread a mix in movement.

Drake didn’t forget about the times when a keel is needed, so they introduced a new type.  The Breeze-Ryder™ Twist-Lock Keel is designed for those hunting situations that require a keel.  This cylindrical (circular cylinder) shaped & sand filled keel is unique and provides a hydro-dynamic, minimizing drag & maximizing decoy motion.  Drake-Breeze2The keel attaches to the decoy with a simple twist-lock mechanism which will keep the keel securely in place.

The new Breeze-Ryder™ Mallard Magnums retail for $70 while the keel’s MSRP are $12.00/half dozen.

Life-Like Look and Rotating Motion…

One of the most anticipated part of being a duck hunter is the start of Dove season.  We get to practice our leading while shooting those fast flying and tasty birds.  In the recent years, motion Dove decoys hit the market running at a full sprint.  Most hunters would either have a wind operated decoy or a battery operated decoy along with a small bag full of “clip-on” decoys normally found clipped to a tree limb or bob-wire fence.  This season, we have a cool new product that won’t break the bank, but help bring more Dove-closer.

dff_web_page100Hunter’s Edge released their Dove Feeding Frenzy alongside their Winged Dove Decoy.  The Dove Feeding Frenzy features three of their Winged Dove Decoys, which are hand painted to not only look real, but move just like the real thing.  The Dove Feeding Frenzy rotates in a clock-wise circular bumping motion, making these decoys simulate feeding on the ground with other Doves.

The Winged Dove decoy is a single decoy that comes with a 24-inch stake allowing you to place it in a cut field or anywhere else where there is not an object for you to clip it to.  However, when you’re hunting along a fence line or bank of a pond, the Winged Dove Decoys has a high quality metal clip for fences, tree limbs, a stick on the ground, etc.

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.

How to Start Duck Hunting

Submitted by: Caleb Wilds

WARNING! Duck hunting can be highly addictive and may change the way you spend your time, money and energy!

If you want to learn the art of duck hunting there are a few basics you need to get started.  I’m not going to lie, it is possible to go to your local sporting goods store and buy a dozen duck decoys and go to your honey hole and have a good hunt. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. But what I am going to recommend is going to help you have more enjoyable, successful hunts.

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When someone asks me about duck hunting the first thing I say is once you start it is hard to stop. The second is I am serious. I have converted a lot of deer hunters into duck hunters. The third thing I tell them is before you go out and spend a lot of money on decoys, waders and other hunting accessories go on a couple hunts first and see if you really do like it. Even though I love it! It is not cut out for everyone.

Ask a buddy- Having a friend who knows what they are doing is a big asset to have when you first start out. Even if you don’t have waders, decoys or even a spot to go to they more than likely will. So you won’t have to worry about wading in the water to retrieve ducks and decoys or where to go. They might even have a pair of waders you can borrow. The other bright side is it gives you an opportunity to ask questions and learn about the do’s and don’ts. I can’t emphasize enough on asking questions. Because the more you know the better chance you will have of having a successful hunt when you go out on your own. A friend can also help you identify breeds of duck you are shooting and help make sure you are hunting within the regulations.

If you don’t have a friend to show you the ropes the second thing I recommend is go on a guided hunt or two. They are professionals and more than likely the reason they are guiding hunts is they know what they are doing and usually have a high success rate. Another good thing about being guided is the only thing you need to bring is you and your gun and it will give you a taste of the sport. Again ask a lot of questions. Learn as much as you can and they will usually have good pointers for beginners.

Places to Hunt- If you don’t have anywhere to go hunting go online and look for public hunting lands. You can usually find lakes that allow hunting to the public. But if you want a little less competition spend a little time and gas and drive around looking for waterfowl and once you found them ask the property owner for permission. You might get told no a few times. But you will never find a place unless you ask. Offer your services to help around the property doing work in exchange for permission to hunt will also help you get your foot in the door.

Decoys- A dozen decoys to start out should do. I will recommend getting mallard decoys as they are the most persistent breed of ducks in North America and most other breeds will land with mallards. Don’t forget a decoy bag. In a perfect world I always recommend setting up with the wind at your back and set the decoys in a U or hook with the biggest group closest to you. I know it is not always possible so you can set up with the wind coming from your side and never set up with the wind blowing in your face.

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Remember do your homework and scout ahead. You can have all the decoys in the world and the ducks still won’t come if you are not where they want to be. The only point of decoys is to get them to land where you want.

Concealment- You will never shoot any ducks if you stick out like a sore thumb. Use natural grasses and vegetation when you are building  a duck blind. Ducks have very good eye sight and can see color better than we do and depend on that to keep them safe. Also having a roof or some sort of cover over your head  will help hide you more and come  in handy later in season when the birds become more weary and fly around a couple of times before committing.

Shotguns and Shells- There are an assortment of shotguns and ammo to choose from and you really can’t go wrong with any. You don’t have the best of the best shotguns that are semi automatic and chamber three and half inch shells. A 12 gauge pump that chambers three inch shell will do just fine. In fact many hunters use a pump and brag about their dependability. It’s also important to pattern test your gun to see what shell and choke combination gives you the best result. If you have to choose one choke I recommend a modified for most beginners and many waterfowl hunters prefer them. Try and refrain from sky busting. Even if you are having a bad day, all that results in is wasted shells and injured birds that you will not retrieve. Remember no lead!

Waders- Wader’s one of the most important things to have when duck hunting. A pair of hip waders will get you around. But a good pair of chest waders will get you all most anywhere. Waders aren’t a thing to go cheap on either. Go ahead and spend the money and buy a good pair with at least 800 grams of insulation. The more insulation the better! If you don’t you will get cold and miserable and give up before you even get started.

wilds_studio5Calls- Buy a double reed and instructional CD. You will be able to learn while you drive around. Even if you are only able to give a quack it will help make your spread look more realistic. The number one mistake most novice callers make is they call too much and you are better off leaving it at home until you become a decent caller and understand how it should be used.

Conservation- Once you get hooked I recommend that you get involved in waterfowl conservation. They do a lot great things for the sport and make sure that great duck hunting will be here for years to come.