Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fall gear lust: Hunting stuff for women, waterfowlers and crazy people

It's time. The light is changing ever so slightly, the breeze is taking on a more earnest feel, and the first leaves have started diving off the trees and whirling around in the yard.

Yep, it's time for all the fall hunting catalogs to arrive!

I actually have a stack of unread hunting magazines and catalogs about two feet high, but for some reason - maybe the weather? - a couple new arrivals caught my eye yesterday, and I found all sorts of intriguing stuff.

The first thing I noticed wasn't something I necessarily needed, but I immediately thought of Jody at The Hunter's Wife. It would be the perfect revenge for the horrible way Mark scared her the other day. Behold:

What, we hunt cows now?

No, silly, it's the Confidence Cow Decoy! The photo in the Cabela's catalog is even better than this one, because it's got a hunter in a field holding his gun and a bunch of dead geese, with a fake cow standing behind him.

I guess the idea is that you can hide behind it, or move closer to unsuspecting waterfowl while holding it in front of you like a shield.

But me, I'm thinking it would be really cool to just put it right outside my office at school.

Finally a power tool for me!

What, you don't get it yet? It's a bird plucker!

Plucking ducks is one of my least favorite tasks, but I refuse to skin them or breast them out, because Homey don't cook that way. And seriously, I don't believe in wasting yummy skin or meat.

I've hunted at clubs with pluckers and I've always been told they were expensive, but this thing costs $30. Does it work? I have no idea. But I salute the inventor.

Meeting the need for speed

I did a double-take when I saw the newest steel shot from Remington: Hypersonic Steel, advertised to fly out of your barrel at 1700 feet per second.

As is always the case with interesting new shotgun ammo for waterfowlers, the stuff is 12 gauge only at this point. Lucky for me, I just switched to a 12 gauge this year - woot! I may buy a box of this just to check it out. At $20 to $28 a box it's not the cheapest, but it's still cheaper than my fave, Hevi Shot.

And now for the chick stuff

In the four short years I've been hunting, it seems the selection of women's hunting clothing has grown exponentially. Here are just a couple highlights for fall hunting:

Prois Eliminator series

As a member of the Prois field staff, this waterproof jacket is the item I'm looking forward to most this year.

I don't need it for deer hunting - for the most part, our deer seasons in Cali are over before it gets cool, much less wet. I'm getting this for duck hunting.

I know, I know - it's not a duck jacket. But there are precious few duck jackets out there for women, and I heard from one of my friends at Prois that this one works well in the marsh.

Cold-weather Cazadora Waders

All right, ladies, when Cabela's unveiled the Cazadora women's waders last year in 3mm neoprene, all the waterfowling women in the colder regions of the country said, "Not warm enough!"

This year, you get your wish - the same Cazadora waders design, but in 5mm neoprene with cozy 1000g Thinsulate boots. Click on the photo for more details.

And if you're a mild-climate duck huntress who hasn't gotten the original Cazadora waders yet, the good news is they're on sale for 25 percent off - $160. Just click here. (And yes, the name is not a coincidence - I helped do product testing on these waders two seasons ago.)

More upland and shooting clothing from Filson

Filson has really expanded its women's hunting line since it was introduced back in 2008. One new item this year is the SPF30 women's shooting shirt. I don't have it yet, but I have its non-SPF predecessor and love it - it's very well designed for maximum movement, with pleated elbows and back. The construction is also very strong.

The only shortcoming is that the shooting patches are just patches of fabric - there's no sleeve for inserting a recoil pad. Given that recoil-pad inserts are all over the newest Filson catalog, I'm hoping they'll get around to adding that feature to this shirt.

* * * * * * * * *

OK, so now you know what I did last night when I should've been sleeping.

What can I say? I'm ready to get rolling with fall hunting, but it's August, so catalog window-shopping will have to do.

To read my gear review disclosures and policies, click here.

© Holly A. Heyser 2010


SimplyOutdoors said...

The cow decoy is definitely interesting. I would to know if that thing actually works.

SimplyOutdoors said...

It was suppose to be "I would love to know if that thing works". I'm not exactly sure how my typing fingers missed an entire word:)

Gretchen Steele said...

I agree with you about Joy needing that cow decoy - but lordy we have enough trouble with the gun season only pick up the shot gun two weeks a year deer hunters mistaking cows for deer.. eek I can only imagine if I had one of these in the field - it'd probably get wounded!

Huntress Livy said...

In the field we hunters MUST have quality / tough products -Filson is one of the finest designers of field products on the market and I know I can count on them to create great merchandise –hopefully they take heed with your suggestion to have an insert for a shooting pad because at the end of the day an extra layer of fabric is useless –only ornate. Actually, forgive me for sounding like a ‘woman’s movement leader’ here, but it’s almost as if this shirt was designed so that women can ‘look’ like a hunter instead of having something that’s functional.

Josh said...

Okay, so nobody has made the "Top Secret" reference yet? Yea, I'm first!

Also, did you write, "Homey don't cook that way"?
: >

Anonymous said...

Actually the Cow thing probably would work and it's not a new idea.

Some years ago a small specialty Waterfowler's Catalog listed something similar that was an entire blind.

In times and places, especially during winter's deep snows Geese will congregate around cattle that are set out into harvested corn fields. The cows are able to punch through the ice crust that often forms on top of the snow.

So how to hide out in a snowy field with cows nearby? Why nothing BETTER than hiding inside a "cow"?!!

I'm thinking the version I saw years ago probably didn't sell well due to the expense, plus the limited weather related usefulness and bulk of transporting it.

But other than that, not really a bad idea.

Bill C.-Oregon

NorCal Cazadora said...

Simply, I see 'em using stuff like this all the time on TV, but it's usually for antelope hunting. And the other day I saw Jim Shockey carrying what looked like a simple white card table to advance on a bear. But it gives me the giggles, thinking about taking it to where I hunt ducks. Of course, I hunt ducks in a marsh.

Gretchen, I want to say anyone who'd mistake a black angus for a deer needs help, but this stuff happens all the time, so you're probably right.

Livy, great to see you here! Hey everyone, if you haven't checked out Livy's blog on Versus, be sure to check it out - go here.

Regarding the shirt, the one I have is fantastic in every respect but the shooting patches. I LOVE hunting pigs in it, because it's super comfy and I like the protection of long sleeves. But mine is a bit light, and I'm thinking about getting the olive green version of the new one so I don't stand out so much.

IMHO, shooting shirts for women have been lacking. SHE made a shooting shirt a couple years ago that had a little padding under the patch, but it was for right-handers only. Prois just came out with a nice line of breathable shooting shirts that are padded on both sides - it's now my go-to for the shooting range. But I'd love to see a hunting shirt with a recoil pad sleeve.

Josh, dude, this one went straight over my head! And yes, I did write that.

Bill C., I agree. But I always like to think about how our stuff looks to outsiders. Like, for example, the Butt Out. It's so hilarious that I keep one at my desk at school and tell the students it's a grading tool.

Anonymous said...

I have been busted by cows while hunting deer/piggies on cattle ranches. It stands to reason that a cow at ease is a good sign to wildlife.

And OMG! I got drool on the damn Cabelas flyer!!!


Josh said...

Years ago, there was a movie (Val Kilmer's big screen debut, actually), "Top Secret." If I tell you about it, then it'll ruin the reference. If you get a sec., look it up on imdb or wikipedia.

Also, I'm 90% sure Hank gets it.

NorCal Cazadora said...

Val "I'm your huckleberry" Kilmer? Love him! But I haven't seen the movie. I'll see if I can figure it out.

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

I saw that plucker and I thought it was genius! We've been talking about how to pluck chickens and I thiought it was the answer. I got all excited and I ran to show him, but he just waved his hand. "I saw that," he said. "It doesn't work so well. The one I'm going to make is going to be a whole lot better." Uh oh.

Peebs said...

The plucker makes a big mess feathers everywhere and will tear up a softskin like a Pin but I don't wax. Cow blind works well in cattle country probably spook ducks at Delevan. Watch using the ultraspeed shells you'll be shooting in front of everything.

NorCal Cazadora said...

Peebs, maybe we should get the cow for the check station at Delevan. It could be like a mascot. Don'tcha think Dianne would love it?

Tamar, is your hubby going to build a chicken plucker like this? Because he's probably right - that thing rocks.

I've actually seen the plucker power-tool attachment as part of a system that was set over a garbage barrel to catch the feathers. I'm intrigued, but Peebs is right - even the good commercial pluckers will run a bit roughshod over skin, and half the reason you pluck instead of skinning or breasting out is for the skin.

Nice thing about the power tool attachment is that if it doesn't work well, you're out $30, and that's within my threshold in which failure is OK.

And Peebs, you're right, in the catalog, they said that 1700 fps shot allows you to shorten your lead by 8 feet at 40 yards. You'd definitely need to remember which shot is going into the gun at any given time.

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

Yes! That's the kind of plucker he has in mind, built with a washing machine motor. And zip ties and duct tape, no doubt.

NorCal Cazadora said...

The guys who made that one said the very most important thing is to make sure it's centered perfectly. Doesn't matter how ugly it is as long as you do that. But maybe that's not an issue with a washing machine motor; maybe it's already centered? I think they really put theirs together from scratch.

BTW, I think that machine would be way too rough on ducks, and probably pheasants too. But it did a bangup job on chickens.

Phoo-D said...

It is great to see that Filson is expanding their women's hunting line. I totally agree that a recoil pad would be a worthy addition. I have been looking for a new hunting shirt and will have to check their catalog out!

Peebs said...

Had a heck of a time getting use to the 1500/50 fps shells (I use to shoot 23/4 11/4 oz at 1200 to 1300fps) now I usually pull when I cross the body. Would probably have to shoot before I got to the duck with 1700fps but I did look at them long and hard. Have probably looked at Cabelas flyer a dozen times already and finger is starting to curl.

Ken and Joanne said...

When your aunt Joanne was at UC Riverside she kept her two horses at a ranch in West Riverside (which, for some reason I've never understood, seems to be north of town). The ranch owner, Ken Haiks, used one of the horses, 3/4-Arab mare named Legend, as a duck blind. It worked great.

Hil said...

They make the Cazadora waders in 5mm/1000 Thinsulate now? Dang it! I should have waited a year to get mine!

I've been wearing the Prois Eliminator rain jacket for a year now — camping, riding ATVs, just running around town in a rainstorm. It is fantastic, just about the best-fitting rain jacket I've ever tried. The hood...I can't say enough about how well the hood fits without obscuring my vision.