Every January, outdoor professionals convene in Las Vegas to witness the launch of hundreds of new hunting, camping and shooting products for the coming year. That’s an impossibly large field of new products to review, so we’ve whittled down the list to just eight of our favorite new items, products that are both functional and innovative. Some of these designs may be so pioneering they might lead the industry in a new direction. Others are simply improvements on existing designs — better mousetraps, so to speak. But all of these products are items we want, and we think you’ll want them, too. Here’s a look at eight of the new hunting gear items that we are most excited about for 2018.
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Bushnell Impulse Trail Camera:
The days of trudging out in the rain and cold to check trail cameras are quickly coming to an end, and Bushnell’s Impulse Trail Camera makes it simpler and faster to have your photos sent directly to your smartphone — any smartphone — without having to enter into a contract. The Impulse also allows hunters to sort images by weather, wind data, or time of day, and there’s a GPS anti-theft alert so you won’t have to constantly worry that some nefarious trespasser is making off with your camera — and your intel. You can even use the live view feature to watch your cameras from home (in case Dancing with the Stars leaves you in need of some real entertainment), and with a six-month expected battery life, you can compile an impressive amount of data while sitting on your couch. More importantly, you can surveil a large portion of your hunting area without having to set foot in the woods, and less traipsing around prime hunting locations means more predictable deer movements and better odds of success when the season opens. This feature-packed camera also offers .2 second trigger speed, 150-foot Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity, instant hi-res downloads and a solar panel option for infinite battery life
Camp Chef SmokePro SG Pellet Grill:
It’s almost grill season, and Camp Chef is offering yet another innovative new outdoor cooking product that will awaken the carnivore within you. Known as the SmokePro SG, this high-tech grill/smoker allows for maximum control over your meat. If you’d like, you can cook steaks, chops, tenderloins or other cuts low and slow. Or, if you prefer, you can open a sliding door and cook the meat over an open flame. A digital readout tells you the exact temperature, and dual meat probes help prevent overcooking or undercooking. There’s a side-mounted pellet hopper and a patented ash cleanout system so mess is kept to a minimum. A large (19.5″ x 22″) grilling surface and a warming rack combine to provide 570 inches of total cooking surface. The upper and lower grill grates are enamel coated, there’s a unique grease management system that further reduces mess, and a continuous fan provides even heat and smoke distribution. The SmokePro SG Pellet Grill weighs in at around 150 pounds and there are two different color options — black or bronze. Now’s the time to start thawing those choice cuts of game and transforming them into delicious, healthy table fare, and there’s no better tool to perfectly prepare a wide range of wild game and fish than the new Camp Chef SmokePro SG.
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Champion BioBird Clays:
If you are a landowner who likes to shoot clay targets then take a very careful look at these new BioBird targets from Champion. Traditional clay targets are made from petroleum-based products, which can affect soil pH. Specifically, traditional clay targets make the soil more acidic, which can result in plant toxicity and die-offs. Acidification is not an issue with BioBird targets, though, because these clays replace petroleum-based binders with naturally occurring products including limestone. These regulation-size (108mm) targets are just as durable as traditional clays and they fly in just the same manner (sorry, you can’t use the excuse you missed or didn’t break a target because it was made of limestone). Best of all, BioBirds are comparable in price to traditional clays.
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Hornady DGX Bonded Bullets:
For years Hornady’s DGX and DGS bullets were favorites of big bore shooters because of their reliability and price point. This year, Hornady improved upon the design of their DGX bullet by bonding the lead core to the jacket, greatly reducing the odds of jacket/core separation and ensuring straight-line penetration on even the largest, heaviest game. Hornady has also beefed-up jacket thickness to provide the toughest, most lethal bullets for the biggest game. These bullets aren’t just for dangerous animals, though — they’re also perfectly suited to those who hunt large herbivores like elk, moose, and bison. And while I haven’t yet pulled one of these bullets from a downed animal the gel tests and preliminary field reports indicate this may be a bullet of choice for big game hunters in the future. A friend and fellow writer used the .375″ 300-grain DGX bonded on a moose hunt in Alaska and found the bullet entered slightly back on the bull’s left side and came to rest under the skin on the right shoulder from 100 yards. That’s pretty tremendous penetration, and the recovered bullet held together. What more can you ask? Available caliber offerings include .375, .416, .450, and .500 among others.
Price: Expect to pay about $45 for a box of 50 bullets, and ammo prices start at $66 for a box of 20 cartridges
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Irish Setter Ravine Boot with BOA System:
For many years hunting boots and hiking boots were essentially separate items. Hunting boots were generally too heavy for all-day hikes, and they weren’t terribly comfortable. Hiking boots, by contrast, weren’t up to the rigors of cold weather and really rough terrain. Irish Setter has helped solve the two-season boot dilemma with the introduction of their Ravine boots, which come equipped with EnerG material sandwiched between the midsole and outsole. This offers plenty of cushion and comfort when you’re walking long miles on forest trails or climbing in steep, rocky country. The lace-to-toe eyelets provide a secure fit so there’s less sliding and movement in these boots (fewer blister, too) and quick-dry lining helps wick away foot moisture. An UltraDry waterproofing layer keeps outside moisture from reaching the foot and ScentBan scent control helps minimize odor. Armatec exterior surfaces protect the boot from abrasion, but perhaps the most innovative feature found on these boots (as well as other Irish Setters) is the BOA system that replaces traditional laces with aircraft-grade stainless steel laces that can be tightened or loosened using the control knob. That means they won’t come untied, you can quickly customize fit, and these are the fastest boots to take on/off on the market.
MSRP: Starting at $179.99 with traditional laces, $199.99 with the BOA system
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Night Optics SVTS Thermal Scope:
Thermal is changing the way that we hunt, and the new Night Optics SVTS Thermal Scope is ideal for those who pursue hogs, varmints, and predators. One of the key features of these scopes is continuous calibration, so there are no pauses as the unit calibrates which can disrupt shooting. The unit has a continuous recording feature that is recoil-activated, which saves video data for 10 seconds before and after the shot. The innovative Heat Tracker system displays arrows on the screen that actually point to warm objects outside your field of view so you will know where additional targets are located even when you can’t see them. Snap-Back technology automatically zooms out when firing so you can quickly acquire additional targets that may be lost, allowing you to take full advantage of the scope’s thermal capabilities when firing at a sounder of hogs or shooting a pair of coyotes that come separately to a call setup. The base model offers a 1x zoom that’s ideal for close-range work, the MID-RANGE model offers 1x, 2x and 4x zoom, and the Long-Range model offers 1x, 3x, and 6x zoom for shots at extended distances. These scopes fit securely on the rail of your rifle and offer 2″ of eye relief. Additionally, thermal scopes function in all light conditions so this is the ultimate 24-7 predator and hog hunting optic. Release date is scheduled for June 2018.
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Primos Double Bull Surroundview 360 Blind:
One of the most exciting new hunting products for 2018 is Primos’s Double Bull Surroundview 360 Blind which is constructed using a special fabric that allows the hunter to see outside the blind yet conceal movements so that game can’t see inside the structure. The TRUTH Camo exterior effectively hides this pop-up blind in just about any habitat, and since it is impossible for game to see inside the confines of the blind you can draw your bow, raise your rifle or move to a different shooting position without being noticed. The sturdy hub system is very durable and will withstand the elements, and generous interior dimensions allow the hunter to pack all the gear they need for a full day’s hunt and remain relatively comfortable for extended sits. There’s a blackout panel included —perfect for covering one wall of the blind to reduce sun glare — and the lightweight design allows this blind to be quickly moved as needed. If you don’t need a full 360 view there are also two additional models with fixed blackout walls — a Surroundview 270 model with three open viewing areas and a Surroundview 180 with two open shooting walls. This is a must-have for any hunter who likes to pursue game at eye-level.
MSRP: $499.99 (Surroundview 360), $299.99 (Surroundview 180), $399.99 (Surroundview 270)
Real Avid Carbon Boss AR-15 Tool:
If you’re one of the thousands of AR enthusiasts who prefer to hunt with your black gun then you need to keep the Real Avid Carbon Boss AR-15 Tool close-at-hand. The Carbon Boss is a multi-tool designed with AR shooters in mind and it comes equipped with two brushes (an embedded bronze phosphor brush to clean carbon from the bolt tail and a rotating bronze/nylon brush for scraping carbon deposits from the bolt), a retaining pin removal punch for easy breakdown of the rifle, and a rotating peg that helps clean carbon from additional bolt surfaces. A rotating bolt carrier scraper helps polish away deposits that can lead to jams and malfunctions, and there are additional cleaning points for the firing pin and cam pin. Never before has a single tool offered so much for AR shooters, and this compact unit fits easily in a range bag or in your pocket. The Carbon Boss is very affordable — just under $30 —so there are no more excuses to end up in the field with a gummed-up, fickle rifle.
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