Mon, 07 Jan 2019 13:08:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 High-Vis Arrows with the Best Lighted Nocks Mon, 03 Dec 2018 13:36:14 +0000 If you’ve ever seen lighted nocks used on TV, you know they look like lasers in flight. In fact, they might be the closest you’ll ever get to acting out your favorite scifi movie. Futuristic technology or not, they’re an invention worth incorporating into the hunt. Introduced around 2002, lighted nocks have become increasingly popular recently because of their strategic, financial and ethical benefits.

The current generation of lighted nocks have been engineered to fly right, resist the elements and shine bright. Don’t just buy any old nock, though. There are three vertical bow arrow nocks and three crossbow bolt nocks specifically that lead the charge. Learn more about this new invention that’s getting more and more integrated into the hunting world and find the best product to put you on the cutting edge of bowhunting technique.

Find your arrows in the dusk easily with a lighted-nock

Our Top Lighted Nock Picks

    Compound and Recurve Arrow Nocks

  • Nockturnal– “A winner for its simple, durable design”
  • Nockturnal Universal FIT– “The improved LEDs are impressively bright”
  • Lumenok– “The 40+ hours of battery life make it a top choice”
  • Crossbow Bolt Nocks

  • JY Sports– “Its shock resistance gives it reliability second to none”
  • Nockturnal Predator– “We picked it because it’s both water and weatherproof”
  • TenPoint Universal Fit– “It comes with everything you need to use it on any crossbow bolt”

Why use a lighted nock?

Lighted nocks look cool on video, but they have a lot of practical uses, too.

The biggest advantage lighted nocks give you is with tracking. If you hunt in thick brush, a lighted nock can help you find a wounded animal that’s bedded down or fallen. It can also give you a better idea of the animal’s direction when it begins to run. This is especially important because deer primarily move at dusk and dawn when visibility is lowest.

Plus, even if you miss your quarry, the lighted nock helps you get the arrow back. Shafts aren’t too expensive, but broadheads aren’t exactly cheap. It’s nice to find them so you don’t have to spring for new ones. If you’ve ever hunted without lighted nocks, you know it’s next to impossible to find a missed arrow. They’re camo covered, small and look just like sticks in the brush.

If you have an arrow pass through game, then you definitely want to find it. You can inspect it for bodily fluids to determine where you hit the animal. This is important in deciding your tracking strategy.

Lighted nocks also help you out on the range. Shooting with lighted nocks let’s you see the trajectory of the arrow when you shoot it. This lets you notice fishtailing or porpoising, so you can adjust your bow before hunting.

Why are they illegal?

For many years lighted nocks contradicted Pope & Young’s Rules of Fair Chase. They were similarly outlawed in many states. This is because the use of electrical equipment for making shots has traditionally been frowned upon in the hunting world. It gives the hunter an unsportsmanlike and unethical advantage.

However, in 2014 Pope & Young amended their fair chase rules to allow for lighted nocks. This is because they don’t give the hunter any unfair advantage in killing an animal. Rather, they assist the hunter in tracking. In the end, this actually makes your hunt more ethical because it’s certainly better to find a wounded animal than not.

Currently, only one state still prohibits the use of lighted nocks: Idaho. If you hunt outside of the United States, laws may vary. Even within the US, it’s still a good idea to check your local laws to make sure there are no restrictions.

Can you make your own?

For the DIY enthusiast, making your own lighted nocks can be a lot of fun. It doesn’t require a lot of materials. You need a couple transparent nocks, epoxy and bobber lights that you can find at most sporting goods stores.

First, take the bobber light and roll it in the epoxy till the top of the casing is covered all around. Put it inside your transparent nock and let it rest for about five minutes. Cut another nock in half, and then epoxy the bottom half to the light. Simple as that. It should illuminate when nocked.

With the prices current prices of professionally made products on the market today, though, you might not even save any money making lighted nocks yourself. Unless you enjoy DIY by its own right, it might be wise to stick to buying them.

Lookinformemarbles gives you a DIY lighted nock lesson

What to look for

Light longevity

Not all lighted nocks are created equal. They differ significantly when it comes to how long the lights last. Some only stay on a few hours while others can last well over a day.

If you hunt open areas and rarely have trouble with tracking, a few hours may be plenty. But if you hunt thick wilderness, long-lasting lights can be the difference in finding your harvest. Sometimes you even have to return the next day to find a wounded quarry, so a light with over 24 hours of life is great.


Most lighted nocks use lithium batteries to keep their lights running for hours. Not all of those lithium batteries are replaceable, though. Replaceable batteries are a big advantage for any lighted nock because it means you can reuse them. That saves you money and time.

Automatic activation

A good lighted nock turns on automatically. Obviously you can’t have the nock on before your shot. It could spook game. If you have to turn it on yourself, though, you waste precious time and make too many risky movements.

Lighted nocks solve this problem with a few different designs. Some employ pistons that turn the light on when the nock is pressed against the bowstring. Another common design is the pull system that illuminates the nock using the pulling force the bowstring exerts on the nock at the end of a shot when the arrow leaves the bow. When you’re shopping for lighted nocks, check out the reliability of these systems. You want a nock that you can depend on to illuminate.


You want tough nocks, especially if you’re using lighted ones. Imagine it takes you a day to track down your harvest. During that time, the running animal might slam the nock into trees or the ground. The nock might encounter moisture and changing temperatures. If you want that light to still be shining by the time you get to it, find a nock with a strong, weather-resistant design.

Color choices

The most common colors for lighted nocks are red and green, usually bright shades that are easy to see. Some have even more color choices like pink, purple and orange. A wide variety of color choices lets you use trial and error to see which works best for your eyes and your area.

That said, although a lot of picking out colors comes down to your personal preference, there is some evidence that suggests a best option.

So which color is best?

Actually, there’s no one answer for every situation. Different colors are best for different times.

In daylight, bright green is the color most visible to the human eye. For this reason it’s normally suggested as the go-to color for your lighted nocks.

In dim light, however, such as dawn or dusk, your vision changes. Your eyes begin to shift toward night vision, and this makes low-wavelength colors like red more readily visible.

Red also might be the superior choice if you’re hunting with a lot of green plant life around. If you hunt in the deep south or in the early season when vegetation hasn’t thinned out yet for winter, a green light might get lost among the green leaves. Red, on the other hand, stands out against plant life.

It pays to have access to both green and red nocks. You can use green during the day and then shift to red as the sun begins to set. This way you maximize your chances of finding your arrow.

Installation and Use

Nocks for crossbow bolts vs arrows

Beware! Archery arrows and crossbow bolts are not the same. Although their designs have become more and more similar over the years, they still have differences. The biggest is in how they fly. Crossbow bolts usually fall more consistently, while arrows fall based on speed.

Because of this, you have to get nocks specific for either bolts or arrows. We’ve divided our list by vertical bows and crossbows to make it easy.

What size do I need?

Nock sizes correspond with the diameter of the arrow. Unfortunately, there’s no uniform way of measuring it. You might find letters, millimeters or inches. Lucky for you, we’ve put together a little conversion chart.

Letter SizeMillimetersInches
G4 mm0.165”
X5 mm0.204”
H6 mm0.233”
S6.5 mm0.244”

The nocks you like might be sized in inches while your arrow shafts are listed by letter. Before you buy, make sure you select the appropriate size. Many nocks even list what arrows go with which size, so you can be sure you get the right ones.

How do you install them?

Most lighted nocks are really easy to install. Basically, you remove the factory-installed nock with pliers, then use the same pliers to push in the new lighted nock.

Some kinds of nocks, especially universal fits, have more complicated installation processes. They may require sizing pieces or using tools to expand the nock to fit a specific arrow shaft. In this case you have to follow the instructions specific to the nock. Often they use an easy-to-follow color scheme or something similar, so you can do it without hassle.

Jon Syverson from Feradyne Outdoors demonstrations the installation of Nockturnal Lighted Nocks

How do you turn off a lighted nock?

Once you find your arrow, you probably want to turn off the light. You might have enough battery life left to use it again, and you need it to be dark the next time you go out. Different nocks have different methods for switching them off.

For example, some have a small switch you can press with a pin or the point of an arrow. Other nocks are turned on by being pulled, so to turn them off you simply push them back in. It’s wise to see how reliable the off switch is on the nocks you pick. A bad switch could leave you wasting battery.

Compound and Recurve Arrow Lighted Nock Reviews


Nockturnal-S Lighted Nocks for Arrows with .244 Inside Diameter including various Carbon Tech, Victory, Carbon Impact, Carbon Express, Carbon Revolution, Easton, Beman and PSE Brands

The appeal of the Nockturnal is its simplicity. You don’t have to do any assembly. They’re ready right out of the package.The light turns on with reliable piston-driven contact switch. You can also turn off the light with the tip of an arrow.

The LED light is highly visible. You have four color options: pink, red, green and blue. We recommend the red because it seems to be the easiest to find. They’re all easy to see, though, and make it easy to find a lone arrow or downed game.

It’s also great for finding game because the lithium batteries last over 20 hours. This means that even if you shoot a quarry at dusk, you can find it with the arrow the next day. This increases the range of time you can spend hunting.

These nocks are specifically sized. The S fits shaft diameters of .244 inches, the GT .246, the X .204, the H .233 and the G .265 inches.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Simple, durable design
  • Piston-driven contact switch
  • Highly visible LED light
  • Four color options
  • Lithium batteries last 20+ hours
  • Limited sizing

Check the Price on Amazon!

E Factor Outdoors shows you some footage of Nockturnal Lighted Nocks in action

Nockturnal Universal FIT

Nocturnal Lighted Nocks FIT Universal Size Lighted Nocks, Blue

The Universal FIT is Nockturnal’s most recent improvement on the Nockturnal lighted nocks. Like the name suggests, the biggest improvement is that these fit pretty much any shaft on the market. You can use the seven bright color options on a much wider variety of arrows.

Nockturnal improved on the LEDs, too. They’re even brighter and easier to track in low light or high. They’re powered by the same long-lasting lithium batteries.

Of course, these nocks retain the same tough polycarbonate body of their predecessors. They also employ the traditional piston design. This makes the lighting of the lock reliable, but you can still turn it off.

You will have to pay a little more than the originals, but the Universal FIT’s are great if you want to stay on the very cutting edge of bowhunting technology.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Higher price rangeUniversal fit
  • Seven color options
  • Improved LEDs
  • Lithium batteries
  • Polycarbonate body
  • Piston design
  • Higher price range

Check the Price on Amazon!


Lumenok GT Nock (3-Pack), Orange

If you hunt somewhere with thick brush and extremely low light in the hunting season, take a look at these nocks. Their most impressive feature is the incredibly bright red light that leads you to the arrow from hundreds of yards away. Plus, it lasts over 40 hours.

The light is activated by the conductivity of the shaft from the shot. It doesn’t require any switches or magnets, which makes it really reliable. The difficulty comes in turning them off. You have to pull it until a tap no longer lights it up.

The base is a Signature nock from Bohning, so you know it’s made with quality and tough. The batteries are easily replaceable, so you can reuse them again and again. Reuse your nocks then find and reuse your arrows.

We specifically looked at the GT-sized nocks, but the Lumenok comes in a lot of sizes, all with the same durability and long battery life.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Bright red light
  • 40+ hours of battery life
  • Reliable lighting
  • Switch-free activation
  • Quality Signature nock
  • Easily replaceable batteries
  • Difficult to turn off

Check the Price on Amazon!

Closing the Distance TV shows you a compilation of shots using Lumenok lighted nocks

Crossbow Bolt Lighted Nock Reviews

JY Sports

JY Lighted Nocks Led Crossbow Nocks Automatic Led Lighted Nock for Hunting (Red)

These bolt nocks have a great battery life. They last over 24 hours. That’s more than a day you’ll have to go find your bolt and whatever game it might be stuck in.

The light itself is a powerful LED that you can get in one of five different colors: yellow, purple, red, blue or green. All of them are easily visible and great for tracking as well as target shooting to tune your bow.

They’re also easy to use. There’s no assembly required. You can use them right out of the pack, which includes six nocks at an affordable price. They automatically light when shooting and are shock resistant so you can rely on the light working time after time.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • 24+ hours of battery life
  • Bright LED light
  • Five different color options
  • Easy to use
  • Low price range
  • Shock resistant

Check the Price on Amazon!

Nockturnal Predator

Nockturnal Predator Crossbow Lighted Arrow Nocks - 3 Pack

These are tough nocks. If you’re concerned about tracking this year, Predators are a reliable choice that help you find your quarry in nearly any brush or light.

You can count on these nocks because of their durable one-piece construction. The material is water and weather proof, so the light shouldn’t die just because of some rain. The light itself should last well over 20 hours thanks to a lithium battery with a long life.

You can also depend on these because of the Nockturnal piston design. This design ensures that the light illuminates when it contacts the bowstring.  It works time after time, season after season.

These nocks have a universal sizing design, but it’s a little strange. There are two sizes. Size one is for smaller ID bolts and size two is for larger. Since that’s somewhat arbitrary, the package lists the bolts that go with each size, so make sure you get the right one.
The light is a bright LED you can see from a good distance. You can get them in red or green, both colors highly visible. Bowhunters who regularly hunt extreme conditions and need something tough should take a look at these nocks.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Durable one-piece construction
  • Water and weatherproof
  • 20+ hours of battery life
  • Piston-driven contact switch
  • Bright LED light
  • Two highly visible color options
  • Strange sizing

Check the Price on Amazon!

TenPoint Universal Fit

TenPoint Crossbows Universal Lighted Crossbow Arrow Nock System 2.0 (3 Pack) (HEA-368.3)

You might be able to guess. We like this nock system because it’s designed to fit almost any crossbow bolt. The kit comes with translucent nocks, LED units and nock receivers that fit shaft sizes .297, .300 and .305. There’s also a nock receiver and alignment tool that helps you align the nock perfectly with the vanes and a reflecting tool.

With this system you basically build your own lighted nocks. That gives you a lot of control over the design, but it does mean there’s some assembly required. They’re super easy to install, though. It’s all done by an easy-to-follow color scheme.
As it comes the TenPoint has a built-in impact-activated LED lite stick that’s easy to see. You can depend on them to illuminate and stay illuminated as you search for the bolt. The battery lasts for 8-10 hours, which is long enough to follow a blood trail but not as long as some other models of lighted nock. It has a shelf life of 2-3 years.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Universal fit
  • Build your own
  • Easy to install
  • Impact-activated LED lite stick
  • Battery shelf life of 2-3 years
  • Low battery life
  • Some assembly required

Check the Price on Amazon!

Cajunrich explores the features of the TenPoint Universal lighted nock system and tries one out on the range
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Stay Sharp with the Best Broadhead Sharpener Mon, 03 Dec 2018 13:12:06 +0000 When you’re out hunting, it pays to stay sharp. And not just mentally. Razor-sharp broadheads significantly increase your chances of success. They fly straighter, penetrate deeper and stay on course when cutting. Learn to sharpen them yourself, and you’ll always be prepared for an effective shot.

If you’ve never sharpened your own blades before, it’s easy to learn how. We’ve prepared a simple guide below along with video, so you’ll be on your way in no time. We also have our four favorite sharpening systems listed with all their features. There’s a great pick for every situation.

Checkout these links if you want to see our top rated mechanical or fixed-blade broadheads.

A slightly rusty, blunt, vintage broadhead
Don’t let your broadheads end up as dull as this vintage…

Our Top Sharpener Picks

How do you sharpen broadheads anyway?

The basic principle behind sharpening broadheads is the same as any other blades like knives or axes. The sharpening surface shaves away small amounts of metal at an angle leaving the edge of the blade thinner and thinner.

Broadheads can be a bit more work to sharpen because of their small size, but with the right system, it’s a simple process. You want to push each side of each blade across whatever your system’s sharpening surface is.

Three-blade broadheads are the easiest to sharpen because the triangular organization keeps the blades at a uniform angle. You can hold the broadheads with one blade to push another across the sharpening surface. You should usually do about ten strokes before changing the surface. If your system comes with multiple surfaces, you should start with the coarsest grain and continue through the finer grains.

It’s a good idea to mark each side of each blade with a Sharpie. When you sharpen one side of the blade, it will remove the Sharpie. This way you can keep track of what you’ve done.

Tex Grebner demonstrates how to sharpen a three-blade broadhead


Different sharpening systems use different surfaces. Stones are especially common. This could mean artificial stones designed with diamond grit or ceramic or natural stones usually formed of quartz.

Different stones are better for different things, so we’ve made sure all of our picks are good for broadheads.

What’s a mechanical sharpener?

Mechanical sharpeners employ more than just a sharpening surface. They use intricate devices to sharpen the blades that decrease the amount of force and precision you have to use yourself. For example, cutters might be attached to bolts that can rotate.

They have obvious advantages. They sharpen at consistent angles, and they’re much easier to use. They aren’t usually as versatile, though. Most can only be used for broadheads, so if you want something that can work on your hunting knife as well, go old school.

Sharpening two- or four-blade broadheads

As we mentioned, two- and four-blade broadheads can be a little trickier to sharpen than three blades. That’s because there’s no convenient way to hold them to get a consistent angle.

For both, we suggest a clamp to hold the arrows. Some systems even have guides to maintain the angle. You can also find smaller sharpeners that can work while the broadhead is still on the arrow. These are another great option.

Three Rivers Archery teaches you how to sharpen a two-blade broadhead

Our Top Picks In Detail

Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener

Of course you need something to sharpen your broadheads. If you’re an experienced hunter, though, you know there are quite a few other things you need to sharpen as well. That’s why we’ve put this sharpener at the top of our list. It’s versatile and can be used on just about any blade. That could mean your knife or axe. It could even mean hooks when you go fishing in the summer.

That’s not all we like, though. It’s also highly portable. You can easily pack it to take it on your hunts with you. Sure, you should probably sharpen your broadheads beforehand, but you never know when you might notice a blade you missed. Plus, you might want to sharpen your hunting knife before you field dress your quarry. You might even just want something to do up in your stand.

Adding to the portability, this sharpener is a self-contained unit, so it’s nice and compact. That also means there’s no setup which makes it extra convenient. There’s even an integrated broadhead wrench.

Last but not least, this is a quality system that sharpens blades in five stages. It has two diamond plates, one coarse and one fine, a ceramic rod with fine and coarse grit, and a leather strop. All this even comes at a low price.

Check the price on Cabelas

What we liked:
  • Versatile use
  • Portable for field use
  • Self-contained, compact unit
  • No setup
  • Integrated broadhead wrench
  • Five-stage sharpening
  • Low price range
  • None!

Check the price on Cabelas

The Tool Merchants give you some tips on how to make the most of your Work Sharp Field Sharpener

KME Precision Knife Sharpener System

KME Precision Knife Sharpener System with 4 Gold Series Diamond Hones - Base Included

There’s no doubt about it, the KME Knife Sharpener System is a high-end product. That means a high-end price tag, but you definitely get what you pay for and more.

This system gets detailed with sharpening. It comes with four Gold Series KME 1×4 diamond hones, all of different grains: extra coarse, coarse, fine and extra fine. This means you can sharpen your broadheads or hunting knife down to razor sharp.

Even though this product seems like it’s made for professionals, it’s actually pretty easy to use. In fact, it’s a guided system. There’s a spherical bearing rod guide that keeps you from deviating from the angle. This gives you a smooth sharpening motion and keeps the blades uniform. This is especially important for broadheads since deviations can mean movements in the air or in flesh.

It also includes a base and mount which along with the clamp let you sharpen without holding the blade at all. These and the numerous other accessories all fit inside a portable hard carrying case that keeps it all organized and safe. If you’re a serious enthusiast who wants to keep your broadheads gleaming sharp as well as your knives, this is a top-quality choice.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Four differently grained diamond hones
  • Easy to use
  • Spherical bearing rod guide
  • Adjustable angle
  • Base and mount
  • Hard carrying case
  • Higher price range

Check the Price on Amazon!

Nick Shabazz reviews the KME Knife Sharpening System

Lansky Broadhead Sharpener with Broadhead Wrench

Lansky Broadhead Sharpener with Broadhead Wrench

We recommend this sharpener if you’re using two- or four-blade broadheads. That’s because the universal wrench fits any broadhead. It lets you conveniently and safely remove whatever kind of broadhead you use, even those rare five-bladed ones.

It also has a low-V tungsten carbide sharpener. For one, this allows you to sharpen two blades at once, saving you time. Even better, you can sharpen your broadheads while they’re attached to the arrow because you can apply the force to the sharpener itself. The downside of this is that the sharpening surface doesn’t last as long as bigger, longer stones, but it’s plenty for the super low price it comes at.

The sharpener and wrench combo has a rubber overmolded grip. That makes it easier to apply force. Ultimately it only takes a few strokes to adequately sharpen your blades.
The Lansky Sharpener is small and compact, so you can actually take it on your hunts with you. It even comes in hunter orange. Since you can easily use it while the broadheads are attached to the arrows, this is a good portable sharpener to keep in your pack.

Here’s a link to a video where Kevy’s RC & Music demonstrates why the Lansky Broadhead is so effective.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Universal broadhead wrench
  • Low-V tungsten carbide sharpener
  • Low price range
  • Rubber overmolded grip
  • Hunter orange
  • Portable
  • Small sharpening surface

Check the Price on Amazon!

Smith’s Natural Arkansas Stone

As an Arkansas native myself, I might be a little bit biased, but it’s hard to beat natural novaculite stones straight from the Ouachita Mountains. There’s a reason they’ve been the traditional go-to for blade sharpening.

Arkansas stones have a lot of versatility. They’re 1,000-1,200 grit, so they work on pocket knives, hunting knives and, of course, your precious broadheads. They remove an ideal amount of metal to polish your blades up razor sharp.

The Smith’s stone specifically is mounted on a molded plastic base. This gives it traction on the counter or table, so keeping it still to get a consistent angle is easy. It also makes it easier to hold if you apply water to the stone, which is the usual method.

It’s four inches long, so you can put it in your pocket and take it to your tree stand or wherever else. It’s a quality product made in USA.

Check the price on Cabelas

What we liked:
  • Versatile uses
  • 1,000-2,000 grit
  • Molded plastic base
  • Portable size
  • Made in the USA
  • Low price range
  • None!

Check the price on Cabelas

The Catfish Brothers take a look at an Arkansas stone from Smith’s (6″ version)
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The Best Climbing Sticks – Easy Up Thu, 29 Nov 2018 14:28:12 +0000 You’ve spent a long time preparing for this hunt, and and when you finally head out to the woods on that frigid November morning, you definitely want to put your best foot forward. Or maybe up.

There are so many things to worry about when you’re hunting. Climbing into your tree stand shouldn’t be one of them. The right product can have you scurrying up that tree like an animal all while keeping you safe and secure.

So here’s our guide to choosing your climbing sticks. We’ve got a detailed explanation of just about every aspect of climbing-stick design and use. We’ve also got reviews of some of the most impressive products on the market today so you can make an informed decision and get to your stand that much quicker, quieter and easier your next time out.

View up to a tree-stand with climbing sticks
There’s more to a tree-stand than just fitting a tree-stand

Our Top Climbing Stick Picks

What makes a good climbing stick?


All hunters carry a lot of gear, but bowhunters especially. On top of your calls, rangefinder, binoculars, you don’t want to add something heavy to your pack just so you can get up in the tree.

A big benefit of hang-on tree stands is that while still being highly mobile, you can leave them in the woods, so you don’t have to carry them with you all the time. Instead, you can carry lightweight climbing sticks.

Since decreasing your gear load is one of the main advantages of hang-on stands and climbing sticks, it serves you to find ones that maximize this. Weight, or lack thereof, should be one of the biggest factors when considering what climbing sticks to buy.

Strong, High weight capacity

Good climbing sticks fall at the ideal intersection of strength and light weight. Durable metals like steel make climbing sticks stable and secure, so you can climb without fear of collapse.

Keep in mind that your sticks should be rated for well over your own bodyweight because on top of your potentially heavy boots and camo, your steps will add some extra force. All of our picks are rated for at least 300 lbs, some of them even more.


The height you decide to stand hunt from depends on a lot of factors, but the ideal is usually somewhere around 16-20 ft. If you hunt from higher, you will need climbing sticks that can get you there. Many sticks offer extensions or different heights, but make sure that’s the case before you buy.

Versatile attachment

Another major perk of hang-on stands and climbing sticks is their versatility of use. You can set a hang-on stand up in nearly any tree. Once again, you don’t want to defeat this by getting climbing sticks with limited use.

Good climbing sticks have versatile attachments. These can be different things like large straps or V-Brackets, but the point is the same. You should be able to attach your sticks to a wide variety of trees.

Long lasting

Like with anything, you don’t want to invest in a product only to have it fall apart after just a few uses. Your hunting equipment should definitely be durable. You’re probably going to expose it to harsh weather, changing temperatures and repeated use.

Pay attention to the quality of construction in the climbing sticks you choose. A good product could last you season after season, saving you tons of money in the long run.


Climbing into your stand is the worst time to make a bunch of noise. If you’re too loud, you spook surrounding game, and your hunt’s over before it even starts.

You should find climbing sticks that don’t rattle or clang when you step on them. Ease of setup is important too. The longer it takes and the more complicated it is to put up the sticks, the more likely you are to accidentally make noise.

Whitetail Tactics explains how to soundproof your climbing sticks

The steps

One area where climbing sticks really differ is the design of the steps. There are dual steps and pivoting steps, and some stands use things like standoffs to push the sticks off the tree and give you a deeper step.

Different kinds of steps might have different advantages for different people and situations. For instance, a deep step is great for someone with thick heavy boots or even just big feet. The right step sets you up for success when it comes to climbing.

Our Top Picks In Detail

Lone Wolf Climbing Sticks

If you’re using a hang-on tree stand, portability is probably a top concern for you. In that case Lone Wolf has you covered with their climbing sticks.

For starters, they weigh in at only seven and a half pounds total. They’re also compact and stack together tightly, so you can carry them without any problems.

Besides being highly portable, they get you up in your stand fast. They come with a Versa-Button strap attachment that lets you set them up or remove them right or left handed. The steps also pivot to either side, so climbing is a breeze.

The sticks attach with a swiveling V-Bracket which is really nice because you can use them on nearly any tree. Plus, the single-tube construction lets you fit it between branches.

If you need them bigger, you can get the 32-inch extension. Altogether, these sticks are a great option for the highly mobile bowhunter.

Check the price on Cabelas

What we liked:
  • Lightweight
  • Stack together
  • Versa-Button strap attachment
  • Swiveling V-Bracket
  • Single-tube construction
  • None!

Check the price on Cabelas

Greg Fleming shows you how he climbs with his Lone Wolf climbing sticks

Primal Fast Stick

It’s hardly easier to climb up into a tree using a ladder. In the end that’s basically what the Fast Sticks are.

The design is tough steel in a three-section design. This gives you a lot of different footings and enough versatility to scale trees of all sorts of different shapes and angles. The downside of this design, though, is the heavy weight. Each stick is five pounds, which adds up to 15 pounds total. First consider how far you’re going to have to carry them.

You can set these up fast thanks to quick-connect cinch-down straps. They also make your climb nice and secure. The sticks are rated for 300 lbs.

Last but not least, they’re a quality product that comes at a great price. Sturdy climbing sticks like these can be a good bet for bowhunters new to stand hunting.

Check the price on Cabelas

What we liked:
  • Strong steel construction
  • Three-section design
  • Versatile use
  • Quick-connect cinch-down straps
  • Secure and stable
  • Low price range
  • Heavy

Check the price on Cabelas

Millennium M210 Stick Ladder

If climbing sticks make you a little nervous, and you’re looking for something a bit sturdier, you might opt for this stick ladder. Instead of several separate climbing sticks, it’s one long one that you can use  like a ladder.

If you do go for this option, know that it’s on the heavier side at 17 lbs. But with this weight you get 20 ft of height, plenty for almost any stand hunter. It’s also made of strong steel that adds to the security.

Besides the construction, Millennium added some other safety features. There’s a dual top step that makes climbing even more stable. It also has built-in standoffs, so you have more room for your feet as you’re stepping.

We recommend it for anyone with heavy boots or a lot of gear in general who needs solid full-footed steps when they’re climbing.

Finally, this stick ladder has a huge seven-foot cam-buckle strap. This gives it a lot of versatility because you can attach it to even larger trees. It meets industry standards and is rated to hold 300 lbs.

Check the price on Cabelas

What we liked:
  • Twenty feet tall
  • Sturdy steel construction
  • Dual top step
  • Built-in standoffs
  • Seven-foot cam-buckle strap
  • Heavy

Check the price on Cabelas

Hurricane Safety Systems Gravity Forward

These climbing sticks’ claim to fame is their innovative gravity-forward design. Once set up, they angle inward toward the tree. This shifts your center of gravity forward and has several great benefits.

For one thing, it’s extra safe. Leaning forward, you’re a lot more balanced and less likely to fall. The stick ladder itself is more stable, too, since you’re pressing it into the tree rather than pulling away from it with your own weight.

It’s also just way easier. An angled climb lets you use your legs and arms more effectively to lift your bodyweight. This way you get less fatigued. This means more focus and less sweat to give off scent that could spook game.

These sticks come in an all-steel construction that is really heavy but super stable as well. The steps are wave cut and double spaced, so you have a more secure footing. It could be a good fit for private-land hunters who want something strong but mobile they can put under their stands.

It’s available in both 16 and 21 ft.

Check the price on Cabelas

What we liked:
  • Gravity-forward design
  • Balanced positioning
  • Easy to climb
  • All-steel construction
  • Wave-cut, double-spaced steps
  • Two heights available
  • Very heavy
  • Higher price range

Check the price on Cabelas

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The Best Safety, Bow, Turkey and Upland Hunting Vests Wed, 28 Nov 2018 11:24:43 +0000 Vests date all the way back to the 17th Century, but they didn’t become popular for hunting until around 1900 when industrialization made durable fabrics like canvas readily available. Since then they’ve taken their place as one of the most important pieces of hunting gear. Not only that, they’ve been specialized and carefully designed for different kinds of hunting and situations.

If you want to round out your wardrobe this hunting season, you’ll need a vest. Depending on what you’re going to hunt and with what, that could mean one of many different things. To make it easy on you, we’ve scoured the market for the best in all these categories. We’ve reviewed them with their pros and cons after a quick run through of hunting vests and their features.

Male hunter in high vis vest, camouflage, standing in a snowy winter forest.
Vests have been created for all sorts of different hunting situations

Our Top Hunting Vest Picks

Who needs an orange vest?

Every state has different laws for blaze orange, but there are a lot of commonalities.

Deer hunters usually have to wear blaze orange at least when moving. Stand hunters may or may not have to wear it, but it’s normally recommended. The amount required ranges from 100 square inches to 500. You’re often required to have some visible from all sides.

Laws requiring blaze orange for hunting turkey and waterfowl are not as common, but some states have them. Regardless, it’s always encouraged.

In the majority of states, bowhunters are not required to wear blaze orange.

Keep in mind, however, that this only applies to bow-only season. During firearm season, bowhunters are usually required to wear blaze orange, and they should for safety. In a few states, a bowhunters must wear blaze orange all season long.

Different types of vests

Upland and waterfowl

Upland hunting involves shooting birds that congregate on the ground. As the name suggests, you shoot them from upland as they take off to fly. Examples of birds hunted this way are pheasants and quail.

Waterfowl hunting is similar and involves shooting birds that congregate on the water. Examples are ducks and geese.

Upland and waterfowl vests focus on utility. Pockets provide storage for utility, and most feature loops or pockets for extra shotgun shells. They’re made with durable fabric. Camouflage isn’t as important. Instead, these vests are usually a stylish brown that reflects upland and waterfowl hunting’s long tradition as a gentleman’s sport. They may also have blaze orange patches since many states require them.


Turkey hunting vests are unique. In fact, they’re usually more than just a vest. Along with plenty of pockets and attachments for gear and accessories, they feature a seat for those long waits on the ground. They usually come in camouflage.


Because blaze orange is often not required for bowhunters in bow-only seasons, most bowhunting vests are pure camo. They come with specific features that bowhunters need like a lot of pockets for accessories and bow straps. They also tend to be well ventilated and breathable, so they’re good the early bow season when it’s hot.

Bowhunters in bow-only seasons don’t always need to wear orange

What to look for


Pretty much all hunters need to keep quiet. Your vest should help with that.

This means the fastenings should close and open without making too much noise. Velcro is a definite no-go. Even zippers can be loud, so if your vest comes with them, make sure they’re designed to be quiet.

A good vest should also keep from catching on plants and rustling around. The fabric should be smooth and shouldn’t move too much when you do.

Pockets, loops and straps

Vests add a lot of utility to your gear. Your average hunting vest at least has a bunch of pockets for accessories, licenses, valuables, whatever. A good vest takes this to the next level.

It’s a good idea to find a vest with a combination of different kinds of pockets. This means different sizes and locations as well as different fastenings for easier or more secure access. An inside zippered pocket is great for your hunting license, but an open outside pocket might be better for your game calls.

Loops and straps are also features to look for. They might allow you to secure other gear to your body, even further increasing the vest’s utility. Upland and turkey hunters especially need specific shell-holding loops. Bowhunters, on the other hand, benefit from bow straps.

The fit

Sizing is something to pay close attention to with vests. Since they’re usually designed to go over other clothing–sometimes a lot of other clothing–you may need a different size than you do with your other gear.

Some vests size by your chest measurement which can be convenient. If it’s just a standard S-XL sizing, see if there’s a size chart or other way to figure out what kind you need.

Vests are rarely adjustable, but if you find one, it’s a big bonus. Most importantly, it lets you wear the vest comfortably all season long, no matter how many layers you pack on underneath.


Your vest is normally your top layer of clothing. If you’ve got good breathable material underneath, it does no good to top it with something that’s just going to trap in sweat.

Bowhunters especially should consider highly breathable designs since they hunt warmer weather in the early season. Cotton is always a good choice for breathability, and it’s worth it to look for a vest specifically designed with ventilation in mind.

Scent control

A white-tailed deer sniffing the air
Most hunted animals (such as whitetail deer) have a much better sense of smell than you

With vests scent control comes down to a lot of different factors.

First of all, you need to be dressed for the weather. A thick, warm vest in the early season just makes you sweat, and that makes you smell.

If a vest is machine washable, that makes it a lot easier to keep scent free. You can wash it with a hunting-specific, scent-killing detergent.

Finally, some vests are even made with fabric specifically designed to neutralize odor, so keep an eye out for those.

Safety/High Vis Vest Reviews

Cabela’s Men’s Blaze Pro Guide II

Here’s a vest that doesn’t just keep you safe. It’s a durable piece of equipment that has your back in rough terrain or bad weather.

The material is 100% polyester and besides being tough, it’s quiet when you move as well. It also has low nap which means it won’t catch on plants and make noise.

It’s got a windshear lining, so it keeps you super warm. You can also use the two interior security pockets for hand warmers. It’s great for winter weather. Of course, you can use them to carry your licenses and valuables too.

The Pro Guide II also has two front cargo pockets and quilted shoulder patches. It comes in a vibrant blaze orange or blaze orange camo. It’s a high-quality product we recommend for hunters hunting deep woods, especially those trying to get their trophy buck during rifle season when safety is paramount.

Check the price on Cabelas

What we liked:
  • Tough fabric
  • Quiet
  • Low nap
  • Windshear lining
  • Two interior security pockets
  • Two front cargo pockets
  • Vibrant blaze orange

Check the price on Cabelas

RedHead Men’s Reversible Blaze Vest

The big draw of this vest is the bang for your buck. The versatility makes it useful all season long, and you get it at a great price.

As it says in the name, this vest is reversible. One side features blaze orange and the other an effective woodland camo pattern. You can stay hidden when you need but still keep yourself safe while moving through the woods. The fabric is also quiet, so deer can’t find you with their ears either.

The vest has a fleece finish that’s incredibly warm, even warmer than a lot of more expensive vests. Plus, it’s durable so it’ll last you season after season of rough winter weather. There are zip hand-warmer pockets as well that make this great cold-weather gear.

It does run small, so consider getting a size larger than normal. It’s machine washable so you can easily eliminate scent. If you’re a stand hunter trying to stay warm this winter, but you also need something noticeable when you’re dragging out your harvest, this vest is a great option.

Check the price on Cabelas

What we liked:
  • Versatile reversible design
  • Quiet fabric
  • Warm fleece finish
  • Durable
  • Hand-warmer pockets
  • Machine washable
  • Runs small

Check the price on Cabelas

Bowhunter Vest Reviews

Primos Gen 2 Bow Vest

Primos Gen 2 Bow Vest

The Gen 2 Bow Vest is especially great for bowhunters who hunt the entire season from early fall to the middle of winter.

The vented back makes it breathable and cool for early season days when the temperature still gets high. At the same time, it has an adjustable fit, so you can put it on over thicker layers when the temperature drops. Plus, there are hand-warmer pockets that increase its utility in cold weather. It’s got a ton of other pockets, too, that are perfect for all the accessories a bowhunter needs.

Another big pro for bowhunters are the side holes. This lets you tuck your backpack waistband into your vest. This is important because when you stand to take a shot, you don’t want anything getting caught or getting in your way. It also helps you stay quiet.
The camo is a good rustic woodland that’s good for the winter landscape almost everywhere. Primos has updated the fabric as well, so this is a durable vest that can last even the most relentless bowhunter season after season.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Vented back
  • Adjustable fit
  • Lots of pockets
  • Side holes
  • Versatile camo
  • Durable fabric

Check the Price on Amazon!

Will Primos shows you everything he’s able to fit in his Bow Vest

Upland Hunting Vest Reviews

Gamehide Switchgrass

Gamehide Switchgrass Upland Field Bird Hunting Vest

If you’re a fan of simplicity, this might be the vest for you. You can get it in a rich chestnut brown or a traditional marsh brown. Either way, it has well-placed blaze orange patches for maximum safety.

What make this our favorite upland vest are the convenient shell holders. Not only are there front shell holders, but there are extra large slash pockets too for even more extra shells. There’s even a fabric gun protector that we love too.

The fabric is cotton canvas and comfortable. It’s durable with quality stitching. The biggest thing to be careful of is the sizing. It’s purposefully oversized, so you can wear it over a jacket. If you plan to wear it over a t-shirt, you’ll want a much smaller size than normal.

If you’re going bird hunting this year and want something tough but also affordable, Gamehide comes through with this vest.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Blaze orange for safety
  • Front shell holders
  • Zippered slash pockets
  • Fabric gun protector
  • Durable cotton canvas
  • Quality stitching
  • Low price range
  • Strange sizing

Check the Price on Amazon!

The ReviewIO covers the Gamehide Switchgrass (warning you might find the voice annoying and robotic!)

Turkey Hunting Vest Reviews

ALPS OutdoorZ Grand Slam Turkey Vest

ALPS OutdoorZ NWTF Grand Slam Turkey Vest Standard, Mossy Oak Obsession

This vest is a great invention for turkey hunters. The seat is three-inch memory foam that’s comfortable for long periods of time. On top of that, though, there’s a kickstand frame that makes long-term hunts as convenient as possible. The legs are adjustable and have swivel feet, too, so you won’t sink into the ground.

All these accessories do put the vest on the heavier side. If it’s too heavy for your style of hunting, the frame is removable to bring it down to about four and a half pounds.

The vest comes equipped, though. You get a large game bag as well as numerous differently sized pockets for all the accessories you need. It even has a blaze orange safety flag you can deploy when you’re moving.

This vest might be a good choice for any enthusiastic turkey hunter looking to up their game.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Comfortable memory foam seat
  • Removable kickstand frame
  • Adjustable legs with swivel feet
  • Large game bag
  • Differently sized pockets
  • Blaze orange safety flag
  • Heavy

Check the Price on Amazon!

Shane Simpson explains the features that sold him on the Grand Slam turkey vest
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Best Hunting Hats, Facemasks and Headcovers Wed, 28 Nov 2018 10:53:17 +0000 I’ve never really been a hat guy. Even in freezing weather, you’ll rarely catch me in a skull cap. I’m not even a fan of facemasks when I’m skiing. But when it comes to hunting, all that changes. Headgear is the first item on my pre-hunt checklist.

Hats and other headgear can make big differences in a lot of different aspects of hunting. They come into play with everything from warmth to scent control. If you’ve never put much thought into what you’re putting on your head, read through our guide to see what you need and why. Afterwards you can look through our list of the best of the best to find the ideal setup for you.

Bowhunter wearing camo skull cap at full draw
Headgear, not just warm but can hide your scent

Our Top Hat Picks

Hunting Hat Buyers Guide

The different types of hunting hat

Ball Caps

A ball cap is just that–the standard baseball cap design with a bill that shades your eyes. You can get them in camo patterns for hunting.

Since these caps come down right above your ears, they aren’t really cold-weather gear. In fact, they’re ideal for those hot early-season days when you need to shade your eyes from the sun to get a good shot. Many even have ventilation holes to keep your head cool.

Skull Caps

Skull caps don’t have bills, but they do come down over your ears. They’re usually made of warm, flexible material so they fit snugly and insulate your head. It also means you can combine them with a ball cap if you want shade.

They’re also light and easy to pack. If you get hot and need to take it off, it’s no problem to store away.

Brimmed Hats

There are a couple different kinds of brimmed hats. All of them protect you from a wide range of elements.

Traditional cowboy hats feature wide brims that offer 360-degree sun protection. They’re usually waxed and oiled which makes them waterproof, too. That means the brim also serves as an umbrella to keep you dry.

Boonie hats were designed by the military for jungle warfare. They have great sun protection but have ventilation that keeps you cool. Unlike cowboy hats, they usually come in camo.

Both are great options for long overnight hunts when the weather could change suddenly and you’re exposed to the elements without secure shelter.


You might consider adding a facemask to your ensemble for a few different reasons. For one, they keep your face warm. The cold dries your lips and makes your nose run and a ton of other things that aren’t really fun. Perhaps more importantly, your face is a big piece of skin that can spook a deer if it moves. If you want complete camouflage, you have to use a facemask.


A balaclava is basically another name for a ski mask. Like the Russian-sounding name suggests, they’re primarily cold-weather gear. British troops designed them during the Crimean War.

A big plus of balaclavas is their versatility. They can be worn numerous different ways, over the head, neck or entire face.

Woolx explains different ways to wear a balaclava

Cold-weather hats

There are several styles of hats made for cold weather. In the end what really makes the hat you choose is the material. As you might expect, thin material doesn’t insulate as well as thicker material, but it can be good against the wind.

Wool and polyester can be really warm, but when it comes to insulation, nothing beats real fur. There’s a reason animals grow it after all.

Adding neck gaiters

It only takes one winter hunt to learn that any coat and hat combination will still inevitably expose your neck. You move it too much. Neck gaiters function like scarves to keep your neck warm and protected from the wind. They’re just more compact. Plus, you can get them in camo.


When it comes to headgear, you really have to consider your environment and the temperatures you’ll be facing.

Even if you’re hunting cold winter mornings, the afternoon sun might make you sweat. If that’s the case, you want something breathable. Cotton is a great option for hot, humid weather.

Thick, waterproof materials like Gore-Tex keep you really warm, but they also trap in your sweat. Not only can this be uncomfortable, sweat is one of the biggest factor in your scent. Before you go this route, make sure it’s going to be cold enough for you to really need it.


Few things ruin a hunt faster than getting wet. It makes you cold and just all around puts you in a bad mood.

If you expect a lot of rain this hunting season, it’s worth it to find waterproof gear, hats included. A lot of synthetic fabrics accomplish this. You can also find cotton hats that have been waxed to prevent them from absorbing water.

Camo patterns

If you’ve already got your other camo, don’t sweat it. Your gear doesn’t all need to match. Deer don’t care about fashion taboos.

Your gear does have to match your surroundings, though. Pay attention to camo patterns and how well they fit your area. You don’t want any green if you hunt gray, dead winter forests in the Midwest. If you’re hunting in Florida, white is probably going to stand out any time of the year.

There are also a lot of kinds of patterns. Digital military patterns, for example, have been rigorously researched, but for human eyes. Some companies do their own research to design camo that specifically hides you from the deer eye and makes your movements more difficult to spot. This is a big advantage.

Scent control

Heads can get sweaty, even in cold winter weather. Sweat smells and can spook game. When you’re looking for a hat, scent control is nothing to skimp on. Moisture-wicking fabric keeps you cool and dry. Some hats even feature innovative materials that trap and neutralize odor (more on that here).

Ball and Skill Cap Reviews

Condor Tactical Cap

CONDOR Tactical Cap (A-Tacs, One Size Fits All)

Here’s a cap that looks good anywhere, including the woods. It comes in a dozen different designs. That means you can get the perfect camo for your hunting area. You can even get black if you want to be invisible in the night or white if you hunt snowy areas.

In a addition to camo design, you can choose between a wide variety of materials. You can get 100% cotton, 100% nylon or blends. This means you can optimize the hat for your personal situation. Cotton is highly breathable while nylon stretches and resists moisture. If you hunt in a humid area that gets hot during the day, a cotton cap can help keep you cool. If you’re expecting rain, consider nylon.

For hunting, all the noisy Velcro is less than optimal, but it does let you decorate the cap as you see fit. There’s a patch for flags, military patches or other ways to express yourself.

It’s adjustable and one size fits all. Plus, it has six ventilation holes, so it’s comfortable no matter the climate.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Specific camo designs
  • Variety of materials
  • Breathable
  • Adjustable
  • Six ventilation holes
  • Comfortable
  • Velcro!

Check the Price on Amazon!

WhispTech gives a quick overview of the Condor tactical caps

ScentLok Men’s Full Season Skull Cap

ScentLok Full Season Skull Cap (Mossy Oak Country, One Size)

If you’re looking for a cold-weather skull cap, this is an option you should check out. The fabric itself is warm, but the cap also features fleece ear covers. Your ears lose a lot of heat, so extra insulation there is essential.

The inner layer of the cap also wicks moisture. Despite cold temperatures, you’ll probably sweat, and that can actually make you colder in the long run. The outer layer repels outside moisture too, so your head stays dry all around.

Finally, if you know the ScentLok brand, you know about the Carbon Alloy technology. This is an innovative additive to the fabric that absorbs moisture and keeps you from giving off an odor that’ll spook your quarry. If you’ve got long hair that gets sweaty easily under a cap, this is really important.

The ScentLok cap only comes in one size. This should fit most people, but if your skull is a little larger than most, beware. For everyone else, the stretch fabric keeps it snug and comfortable.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Fleece ear covers
  • Moisture wicking inside
  • Moisture repellent outside
  • Scent-blocking Carbon Alloy technology
  • Stretch fabric
  • Only one size

Check the Price on Amazon!

ScentLok goes over the features they’ve designed into their skull cap

Sitka Ball Cap

This Sitka cap takes the gold for camo patterns. It’s a sleek design that combines both a symmetry-disrupting macropattern with a fractal-geometry-based micropattern. This combination is on the scientific cutting edge. If you’re a still hunter out in the open who needs to be as camouflaged as possible, you need something like this.

The camo isn’t the only great feature, though. The material itself is a durable polyester that’s water resistant. It’s also breathable, so if you start sweating while you’re hiking around, you won’t overheat.

Like a lot of hats, this one has a Velcro strap, which we’re not a fan of because it has the potential to make noise. It does mean you can fit the hat snugly to your head, though. This on top of its lightweight design make it a comfortable hat for long hunts.

Check the price on Cabelas

What we liked:
  • Combination camo pattern
  • Water-resistant polyester
  • Durable design
  • Breathable fabric
  • Adjustable fit
  • Comfortable
  • Velcro strap!

Check the price on Cabelas

Brimmed Hat Reviews

Outback Trading Men’s Kodiak Oilskin

For those long wilderness hunts, you need a brimmed hat that’s more than just stylish. You need a hat that can protect you from the elements.

The Kodiak offers 50 UPF protection and a wide 3¼ -inch brim, so your face stays out of the sun. It’s 100% cotton and has ventilation holes, so you won’t overheat. It also protects you from rain. It’s waxed and oiled to be waterproof.

You can purchase the hat in four sizes from small to extra-large, so almost any hunter can find the right fit. It even has a leather chin strap to keep it as secure as possible–and so you don’t lose it in strong wind. This hat holds up in just about any weather you encounter.

Check the price on Cabelas

What we liked:
  • UPF 50 sun protection
  • Wide 3¼-inch brim
  • 100% cotton
  • Waxed and waterproof
  • Four size options
  • Leather chin strap
  • None!

Check the price on Cabelas

Rothco Boonie Hat

Rothco Boonie Hat

The Rothco Boonie Hat is military-style brimmed hat that you can get in a wide variety of patterns from standard ACU digital camo to pink.

The material is cotton, and there are four screen ventilation holes. This keeps the hat cool and comfortable, all while protecting you from rain and sun.

Something unique about this hat is the branch loops. This allows you to stick vegetation into the hat for maximum camouflage.

When choosing a hat, keep in mind that these run small. There is a chin strap, so you can get a snug fit.

Rotcho makes this boonie hat to government specifications. Boonie hats were designed for the Vietnam War and are specified for hot, humid and sunny weather. If that’s the kind of climate you hunt, consider a boonie hat.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Wide variety of camo patterns
  • Four screen ventilation holes
  • Branch loops
  • Snug fit
  • Made to government specifications
  • Sizing runs small

Check the Price on Amazon!

Yosemite Cam reviews the Rotcho Boonie Hat


ScentLok Savannah

We’ve only got one balaclava on our list, and it’s a good one.

Above all we love it for the Carbon Alloy technology that comes with all ScentLok products. This innovative fabric traps and neutralizes odors. Since it covers your entire face, you can be safe knowing all the oils and sweat from your head go unnoticed.

The camo is striking and effective. Bowhunters have to make a lot more movements, and just having your face exposed could spook game. Keeping your entire face covered with a good camo pattern is a great strategy.

The Savanna headcover is super lightweight, so we recommend it for early season hunting when you might get hot. It makes a great addition to a layered outfit, and the hinged facemask easily comes down. This can let you breathe more easily if you’re moving, or use a call or just your phone.

Despite the thin fabric, it’s also really durable. It’s a quality product at a great price.

Check the price on Cabelas

What we liked:
  • Scent-blocking Carbon Alloy technology
  • Effective camo pattern
  • Lightweight fabric
  • Hinged facemask
  • Durable design
  • Low price range
  • None!

Check the price on Cabelas

ScentLok shows you what’s great about their Savanna Lightweight Headcover

Facemask Reviews

Sitka Facemask

This facemask totally covers your face and neck leaving nothing exposed. You can breathe through the comfortable open-mesh polyester. This way you don’t spook any game with head movements, and you keep your neck warm too.

You can choose between three camo patterns, including Concealment Subalpine which means it’s great for cold weather and mountainous terrain. Regardless of which pattern you go for, it protects your neck from cold, biting winds.

Because of an elastic drawcord, it should fit almost anybody. The drawcord also keeps it secure on your head, which is a problem with a lot of other facemasks. Not only is this convenient, but it keeps the mask from getting in your way at just the wrong time. The only problem with the fit is that it rides a little high. If you have a small head, this might mean it gets in the way of your eyes.

Check the price on Cabelas

What we liked:
  • Open-mesh polyester
  • Warm
  • Three camo patterns available
  • Protects against wind
  • Elastic drawcord
  • Secure
  • Fit rides high

Check the price on Cabelas

QuikCamo 3D Leafy Bucket Hat and Facemask Combo

QuikCamo Mossy Oak Obsession Camouflage 3D Leafy Bucket Hat Hunting Face Mask Combination (58cm, 7 3/8, Med/Lrg)

With this combo you can kill two birds with one stone–maybe even literally. It’s both a facemask and bucket hat that features three-dimensional lifelike camo. Not only are the fake leaves more realistic, but they make movement appear more natural, like leaves blowing in the wind.

A benefit of the combination design is that the facemask hangs from the hat. This conceals the outline of your face which makes you even harder to spot. It’s also less likely to impair your hearing and sight.

Since this is a combo, it comes at a slightly higher price, but you get a lot for that price. The hat and mask together offer 360-degree sun protection, and the moisture-wicking fabric keeps you dry.

The hat is measured and fitted, so you can get the fit just right. The mask even tucks up into the hat which makes it more comfortable for moving around. Then once your in your stand, you can bring it down to completely conceal your face.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • 3D camo
  • Breaks up the outline of your face
  • Doesn’t impair hearing or sight
  • 360-degree sun protection
  • Moisture-wicking fabric
  • Mask tuckable into hat
  • Higher price range

Check the Price on Amazon!

A guest of Bill Blackburn tells you about her great results using the QuikCamo 3D Leafy Bucket Hat and Facemask Combo

Neck Gaiters

Sitka Men’s Neck Gaiter

Sitka lands another item on our list with a neck gaiter that’s about as good as it gets for cold weather. Nothing is worse than bundling yourself up head to toe only to have the wind biting at your neck. Especially the wind that gets going high up in a tree stand.

Double-thick high-pile fleece keeps your neck totally covered and insulated. It’s a four-way stretch material, so it fits comfortably and tight so no cold air can get through to your skin.

The camo comes in two patterns, both pale digital designs that work great for snowy or rocky areas. It’s a good option for hunting in the mountains out West or during the gray winter of the South and Midwest. It makes a perfect addition to a thick winter hunting wardrobe.

Check the price on Cabelas

What we liked:
  • Wind protection
  • Double-thick high-pile fleece
  • Four-way stretch material
  • Comfortable fit
  • Two camo patterns
  • Great for winter and cold environments

Check the price on Cabelas

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The Best Bowhunting Gloves, Warm and In-Touch Tue, 20 Nov 2018 14:20:17 +0000 The German word for gloves is “handschuhe” literally means “hand shoes.” When you think about it, isn’t that exactly what they are? Your hands are involved in almost every aspect of the hunt, from climbing into your tree stand to taking a shot. You should equip them accordingly.

Like everything else, the market is full of not only different gloves, but different styles, materials and features. Figuring out your best option can be overwhelming, so we’ve put together a guide that goes over just about every aspect of glove design and use you can think of. On top of that, we’ve found four great gloves that have something to offer any bowhunter.

3 pairs of bowhunting gloves
Bowhunters gloves are tailored for one purpose

Our Top Bowhunting Glove Picks

Why use gloves?

The obvious reason is to keep your hands warm. Depending on where you live, most of the bowhunting season takes place during cold weather. Plus, you probably head out to your stand at the coldest part of the day, early morning before the sun comes up. You don’t move much either, since you’re trying to stay as still as possible up in your stand.

But why keep your hands warm? It isn’t just a matter of comfort. Cold hands get stiff and numb. If that happens, you can’t control your bow like you need. You certainly can’t draw and release it correctly.

Gloves have other benefits too. As a bowhunter you have to make a lot of movements with your hands to get your shot off. If you have paler skin, that movement might be easy to see. Camo gloves could keep you from spooking your quarry at just the wrong moment.

What to look for

Gloves might seem like a simpler part of your gear, but think about it. Your hands are everything when it comes to bowhunting. Consider what features you need before you buy.


Your gloves have to fit right. If they’re too small, you lose mobility in your fingers. If they’re too big, you have loose fabric getting in the way.

Aside from sizing, gloves employ different methods to get the right fit. Elastic, stretch fabric and adjustable fastening are all options that can make a glove snug without hindering mobility.


A good hunting glove doesn’t have seams on the sides or fronts of the fingers. This is because seams can pinch between your fingers when you draw the string and disrupt your shot.

Scent control

Hands produce a lot of chemicals. Not only can they sweat, but they produce oil as well. In fact, this is what you’re leaving behind when you leave a fingerprint. This scent can catch the wind, or you can accidentally leave it on trees, your stand ladder or other inanimate objects as you pass them. Any of these might ruin your chances of getting your trophy buck.

Many modern gloves employ innovative technology to control the scent produced by your hands. It’s a great feature to keep your eye out for.

Take a look at these articles if you want to read more on scent killers and cover scents.


Camouflaging your hands may be just as important if not more so than the rest of your body. You move your hands a lot when you’re bowhunting, so you at least want to cover them with an inconspicuous color.

Your gloves don’t need to match the rest of your camo, but they should match your area. You don’t want bright green gloves if you’re hunting in snow.

Material selection

You can find gloves made from a lot of different materials: polyester, fleece, leather and others. Different materials have different advantages and disadvantages. Fleece, for example, is really warm, but it’s thicker and less durable. Leather is extremely durable but not as warm. Polyester’s biggest benefit is how well it stretches. Think about what you’ll need most when choosing a fabric.


Like we talked about before, keeping your hands warm is for more than just your comfort. You want your fingers as nimble and quick as possible.

What that means for you personally depends on your situation. If you hunt in especially cold environments, you need a thick glove that insulates well. If you deal with rain and snow, moisture wicking is also important. Take into account other factors, too, like wind and humidity.

Types of Bowhunting Gloves

Fingerless and convertible

Fingerless gloves cover your palms but leave the tips of your fingers free. Of course, you get maximum dexterity this way, but it also means your fingers might get cold. The solution is convertible mittens.

Convertible mittens feature a flap that you can flip over your fingers to keep them warm as well. Then, when you need your fingertips for your bow, phone or whatever, just take it off. Make sure if you pick a convertible mitten, the flap fastens open so it doesn’t get in your way.

Full gloves

Full gloves completely cover your whole hand with individual slots for your fingers. A good glove even covers your wrist. If you get the right fabric, these kinds of gloves should give you full mobility.

Three finger

Three-fingered gloves are what traditional archers use with their recurve and longbows. They protect the three fingertips you need to draw the bowstring and give you a stable grip.

Normal three-finger gloves look like regular gloves but are open on the sides and only cover three fingers. Traditional three-finger gloves, on the other hand, are basically just three fingertip covers that fasten to your wrist with three thin strands of material.

If you’re a traditional archer, and warmth isn’t a major concern for you, three-finger gloves are stylish and to the point. As an added bonus, they take up less space, so they’re easier to pack.

Archery Tab and Glove
Glove and Tab (Finger Guard)

Why not use a tab?

Tabs are a great method for protecting your fingers if you’re using traditional bows, but they lack some of the other qualities of hunting-specific gloves like warmth and camo. If you like using a tab and are used to shooting that way, don’t worry. Good hunting gloves should work with any tab. That way you get the best of both worlds.

Our Top Picks In Detail

ScentLok Men’s Full Season Bow Release Gloves

We have to say, these gloves come with pretty much everything. Cabela’s clearly kept a bowhunter’s needs in mind when designing them.

Most importantly, these gloves allow for great bow control. The lightweight polyester fabric doesn’t hinder your mobility or dexterity, and silicon-printed palms give you an excellent grip.

The fabric is also smooth and comfortable and has full coverage to keep your fingers warm so you can react quickly and accurately. It’s even moisture-wicking, which means your fingers won’t get slick whether from rain, snow or sweat.

Another really nice feature is the Carbon Alloy technology. This contains any odor produced by your hands. This is really important for gloves because even if it’s cold, they might start sweating.
These gloves are durable and even have touch tech fingertips so you can use your phone.

Check the price on Cabelas

What we liked:
  • Unrestricted mobility
  • Silicon-printed palms
  • Moisture-wicking fabric
  • Carbon Alloy odor-controlling technology
  • Durable
  • Touch tech fingertips
  • None!

Check the price on Cabelas

Manzella Convertible Mitten

Manzella Productions Bow Hunter Convertible Glove/Mitten

The warmth of these gloves–or mittens–earned them a place on our list. Not only are they made of a warm fleece fabric, they have a built in heat-pack pocket. This is great for those early winter mornings or long hunts when you’re up in your stand staying as still as possible.

These gloves manage to be super warm without getting in the way of your fingers. The mitten flips back to reveal half-finger gloves, so you can shoot your bow just like you practice in the off season. Now, the mitten fastens open with a magnet. This way it doesn’t flop around and get in your way, and it also doesn’t make any noise. The wrist does fasten with Velcro, though, so you have to careful with that.

The fabric itself is lightweight, and the gloves have a synthetic suede palm for bow control. There’s a built in bow release collar as well. We suggest these gloves for stand hunters in really cold climates, especially if you’re going all season into January and February.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Really warm
  • Heat pack pocket
  • Convertible mitten/half glove
  • Magnetic mitten attachment
  • Synthetic suede palm
  • Bow release collar
  • Velcro wrists

Check the Price on Amazon!

Bow Ranger TouchTip

Manzella Productions Bow Ranger TouchTip Glove

If you’re a new bowhunter a bit overwhelmed by all the equipment you’re having to get, these are definitely your economical glove option.

For a great price, the Bow Rangers also come with great features. The four-way stretch fleece keeps your hands warm without getting in the way. Not only that, it’s antimicrobial. If your hands sweat, the gloves keep them from giving off any unwanted odors.

Watch out for the Velcro wrist straps because they make noise when pulled. Also, these are great beginning gloves, but if you consistently hunt in cold weather, you may need a more durable pair after a few seasons.

These gloves come with a bow release collar and a Control Trax palm. Together these mean you can maintain excellent control of your bow. Plus, they’re touch-screen compatible, so you can maintain excellent control of your phone too.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Four-way stretch fleece
  • Antimicrobial scent control fabric
  • Bow release collar
  • Control Trax palm
  • Touch-screen compatible
  • Velcro wrist straps
  • Wear quickly

Check the Price on Amazon!

Neet Suede Leather Glove

NEET Suede Leather Glove

This glove looks cool. It’s classic archery suede for that traditional bowhunter mystique.

The Neet isn’t specifically for hunting, so if you need something camo or something to keep your hands warm on long stand hunts, this isn’t the way to go. It is, however, a great option for traditional long or recurve bowhunters who want a high-quality glove to protect their fingers.

The fit on this is great. It has an elastic back, so you’re guaranteed a comfortable fit. The leather fingertips preserve your skin and still give you an easy and clean release.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Stylish leather design
  • High-quality craftsmanship
  • One-size-fits-all elastic back
  • Comfortable fit
  • Leather fingertips
  • Velcro wrist attachment

Check the Price on Amazon!

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“Fake it” with one of the Best Deer Decoys Fri, 16 Nov 2018 14:25:15 +0000 To be honest, I was a decoy skeptic until one Christmas when I drove up on a buck doing R-rated things to a decorative reindeer. Using a decoy is admittedly one of the goofier parts of hunting, but it can also be a lot of fun. More importantly, it can be really effective.

You might think that picking out a decoy just comes down to finding one that looks like a real deer, but there’s actually a lot more to it than that. There are different types and strategies you should familiarize yourself with before you invest. Luckily, we’ve got all the info you need right here, including a list of our top five decoys and why we like them.

A female deer (or a decoy?) in silhouette in front of a lake
Deer or No Deer? In the early morning light you’d find it difficult to tell…

Our Top Decoy Picks

How would you use a deer decoy?

Deer decoys trick deer into thinking there’s another doe or buck nearby. If you do it right, the quarry spots the decoy and comes to check it out. This brings it into shooting range.

Set up your decoy 10-15 yards from your stand on the edge of a feeding area opposite where you expect your quarry to be traveling, ideally downwind. As a buck moves from between bedding areas, he’ll catch a glimpse of your decoy and come to inspect.

When’s the best time to use a deer decoy?

Deer decoys are best for the rut. Specifically, you have two windows.

The first ten days of November, only a few of the does have come into estrus, and the bucks are angry, territorial and looking for fights. If they spot an unknown buck, they’ll come quickly to defend their territory.

At the end of November and beginning of December, most of the does have been bred, and there are only a few left who come back into estrus. The bucks are still very territorial and ready to fight over the few remaining does, so they’ll come running for any doe or rival buck they see.

Decoys work best in the morning. If you put a decoy out in the afternoon or evening you risk scaring any does that are coming to feed.

Common Mistakes

  • Scent. You’re trying to trick your quarry’s sense of sight, but their sense of smell is even sharper. Make sure your decoy doesn’t have any human odors. Store them covered and away from any strong chemicals. Use scent eliminators to remove any residual scent, and then apply the appropriate lure. Don’t apply doe estrus to a buck decoy, for instance.
  • Visibility. In the rut buck movements become a lot more unpredictable. It’s not enough to just put your decoy along a trail. You should place it at the edge of a feeding area where it’s visible from as many travel corridors as possible.
  • Setup. You’ve got to use the right decoys in the right ways at the right times. If it’s just before the rut, for example, bucks are looking to fight. A decoy of a strange buck gets their attention. During the rut when bucks are looking to mate, a doe decoy with some estrus scent is a good choice.

Choosing a deer decoy

Types of decoy

Decoys come in a variety of styles.

You can attach bow-mounted decoys to the front of your bow. This has a few benefits. Most of all, it’s highly portable. It also hides your body well. These are good options for still hunters or ground hunters, especially those that use public land and don’t want to carry an extra piece of gear.

Standing cutouts are two-dimensional photo prints of deer. These are still portable, but they’re full deer you can set up near feeding areas where you stand hunt.

3D decoys are full three-dimensional models of real deer, usually made of plastic. These are the most realistic, of course, and many even incorporate movement. They’re harder to move around, however, and they usually come at higher prices. Because of this they’re best for dedicated decoy hunters, usually from a stand.

If you’re looking for realistic movement, wagging tails are a unique decoy option. They’re electronically operated fake tails that you can move by remote. You can use them alone by attaching them to trees or posts, or you can attach them to a 3D decoy you already have. This makes them versatile options to have.


Deer eyes function a lot differently than ours. Although they do have color vision, they can’t see as wide a range as we can. They also have much lower visual acuity, something like 20/40 vision. They do however have a much wider field of vision–around 300 degrees–and their eyes are especially adept at picking up movement.

What does that mean for your decoy? You need one that’s realistic, but don’t worry just because you can tell it’s a fake when you’re standing right next to it. A deer spotting your decoy from across a field will not be seeing it in such detail.

Movement, though, can be really helpful. This makes it much more likely that your quarry will notice the decoy.

Does it / will it smell?

For deer smell is maybe their most important sense. This means that you have to pay attention to how your decoy smells, too.

Manufactured plastic decoys might smell when they come off the line. Clean them with a scent-neutral product and then consider leaving them for a day or two outdoors.

Also consider the material the decoy’s made of. If it’s foam or carton, you can easily add your own scent to it, which is essential to creating a good decoy system. However, they can also pick up odors from outside chemicals more easily, so you have to store them carefully.

Ease of use / portability

Bowhunters already have a lot to carry. If you’re hunting public land, you have even more. You want to find the right balance between realism and portability for your personal situation.

Large 3D decoys, for example, are very realistic but tough to lug around. Some have special innovations for transportation, though. They may come with carrying cases or be collapsable.

If you get a cutout, make sure you can fold it down. Cutouts are lightweight, but it defeats the purpose if they’re bulky and difficult to carry. A compact cutout, on the other hand, is easy to pack along with your other gear.

Stability in wind

A windy day can be a blessing or a curse for decoy users. Good decoys take advantage of wind and use it to imitate movement. When you pick a decoy, this is a great perk.

Some decoys, however, have difficulty staying up in strong winds. This can ruin their effectiveness. Two-dimensional decoys can be especially susceptible to wind, so if you go the cutout route, check how it’s staked into the ground. You want something stable.

Our Top Picks In Detail

Ultimate Predator Bow-Mounted Mule Deer Stalker Decoy

ULTIMATE PREDATOR Mule Deer Stalker Decoy

Public-land hunters often skip decoys because they think they’re too much of a hassle. That’s why we like the Ultimate Predator. It’s great for hunters who need something portable, especially still or ground hunters who try a lot of different areas.

It’s ideal for mounting on the front of your bow. This way you can still hunt or easily hunt from a seat. It attaches with a hook and loop system that’s customizable for any bow. Plus, you can attach it to other things like tripods or stakes. Most notably, this decoy collapses to a 10-inch-diameter disc, so you can take it with you wherever you go.

The decoy itself is very realistic. It’s a mule deer and has the typical large mule-deer ears, so unfortunately it isn’t whitetail-specific. It should be convincing and calming to any game, though.

Safety is really important when using a decoy, and this one comes with blaze-orange safety straps. It’s durable and made from a micro-suede fabric that dries quickly.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Hook-and-loop attachment system
  • Compact and portable
  • Realistic design
  • Blaze-orange safety straps
  • Weather resistant
  • Micro-suede fabric
  • Mule deer specific

Check the Price on Amazon!

The guys from AZ Extreme Hunting record a couple of successful kills using Ultimate Predator decoys

Flambeau Deer Decoys

Flambeau Outdoor 5967GD Deer Decoy, Grazing Doe

The detail on these decoys is really striking. You can choose from a large, powerful-looking buck or the boss babe doe. On the doe you can even change the ears to give her different attitudes and expressions. They make great all-season decoys because you can change them for the temperament of the local herd.

Despite their realistic size, these decoys are also easy to carry. The buck is designed to sling over your shoulder, and the doe even collapses down, so you can store the limbs and head inside the body. Again, if you want an all-season decoy, this lets you easily try them out in different spots when the deer’s movements change throughout the year.

Since it’s good all season round and a little pricier, don’t get this model if you aren’t sure about decoys as a definite part of your strategy. If you’re a big fan of decoys, however, this is a high-quality one that’s about as realistic as you can get without stuffing the real thing.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Realistic detail
  • Customizable expression
  • Easy to carry
  • Collapsable
  • Good all season round
  • High-quality materials
  • Higher price range

Check the Price on Amazon!

Next Level Bowhunting reviews the Flambeau Boss Buck decoy

Primos Scarface

Primos Scarface Decoy

We couldn’t leave Scarface off our list. Its realism is just unbeatable. Not only does it come with its namesake scar on its face, but the decoy has a realistic cloth tail. The head is also on a pivot, so it moves in the breeze. It’s easy to forget it’s a fake at all.

It’s designed for versatile use. Any hunter could benefit from this stand in any situation, but since it looks like a big buck, it’s especially good for the rut when male deer are looking to pick fights.

Like the Flambeau decoys, this is a full three-dimensional decoy that’s a little more expensive than other simpler decoys. This gets you the high-quality materials and manufacturing Primos is known for. It can be broken down too, so you can move it to all your favorite spots.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Very realistic
  • Cloth tail
  • Pivoting head
  • Versatile
  • High-quality design
  • Collapsable
  • Higher price range

Check the Price on Amazon!

Boone Down South explains how to use the Primos Scarface decoy

Primos Waggin Whitetail

Primos Waggin' Whitetail Deer Decoy

Once again, Primos lands two spots on our list. The Waggin Whitetail is another example of their quality craftsmanship using high-quality materials.

A nice thing about this decoy is its versatility. It’s just a moving tail, but this works great stand alone. Or you can attach it to a full decoy to make it even more realistic. If you’re on a budget, check this out. You can get the tail and then spring for the full decoy when you’ve got the cash. It doesn’t even have to be a Primos decoy.

The movement of the tail is realistic. In fact, you can simulate two different movements: short or long twitch. It comes with a remote that controls the movement with a 40-yard range, so you can easily use it from your tree stand.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • High-quality design
  • Versatile
  • Stand alone
  • Two realistic movements
  • 40-yard-range remote control
  • Moving parts

Check the Price on Amazon!

Buckybadger1986 tests out his new Primos Waggin Whitetail decoy

Montana Decoy Dream Team

MONTANA DECOY Dream Team Buck and Doe

With the Dream Team you get both a buck and a doe for a great price. This gives you a lot of options for use and at different times of the year, pre-rut, rut, even post-rut.

These decoys are two-sided flat prints. This along with their ability to fold down make them highly portable. We like them because they’re kind of a middle ground between large three-dimensional decoys and smaller bow-mounted decoys. The only problem with this that they’re flimsier in the wind, so they’re best on calmer days or at least close to the tree line so they’re more protected.

The two-dimensional design also makes it easy to set up. It’s a good option for public-land hunters who change places a lot but still want a full-sized decoy. The prints are HD photos of a real buck and doe, so they’re definitely realistic.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Low price range
  • Versatile options for use
  • Two sided
  • Foldable and portable
  • Easy setup
  • Realistic HD prints
  • Flimsy in the wind

Check the Price on Amazon!

Bowhunter Dan Pickar explains why he bowhunts with a Montana Decoy

Miss Muley


Miss Muley is Montana’s mule deer version. Like the Dream Team, it’s a two-dimensional two-sided print of a mule doe. It’s light and compact, and you can easily fold it down to move it to new locations. You can easily set it up with the Montanta Quickstand. Although, it unfortunately comes separately.

One special thing about this decoy is its size. Even in open spaces, you can use it to stalk game. It’s shaped to hide you well while still giving visibility.

The print is an HD photo of a real mule doe, and it’s convincingly realistic. If you live out west and like to hunt open areas from the ground, this is a great option.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Two sided
  • Light and compact
  • Portable
  • Shaped for stalking
  • Realistic HD print
  • Stand not included

Check the Price on Amazon!

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Eliminate Your Smell with the Best Scent Killers Fri, 16 Nov 2018 13:55:56 +0000 It’s hard to not get obsessive about scent control. Sometimes you scrub yourself down the morning of, but you still see that big buck catch a whiff of you and disappear back behind the tree line. After these hunts I always find myself wishing I could shrink down in one of those ships like in Fantastic Voyage and zap every last odor molecule off my body and gear.

Of course, you can’t actually shrink down to microscopic size, but you can do your research and get the very best scent elimination product. You can’t watch it happen, but the right product will work just like that tiny submarine to get rid of any odor particles.

If you’ve never given scent control a try, you might want to consider it this season. You can read over the facts and science to see why. Once you’re convinced, look at our list of top five products. Each one stood out to us for one reason to other, and you’re sure to find one that’ll work for you.

In the right place? Checkout these following links if you’re looking for deer attractants, deer scents, calls or for more on hiding your smell you might want to checkout this list of cover scents.

A white-tailed deer sniffing the air
Be invisible to a white-tails best sense

Our Top Scent Killer Picks

How do scent eliminators work?

Most human body odor is produced by bacteria that break down human sweat. Our bodies also produce other chemicals and particles that deer can smell. Scent eliminators tackle these processes through a variety of ways.

Soaps and shampoos

You can find scent control bar soaps, body washes, shampoos, even conditioners. These work to remove odorous chemicals and the microbes that produce them. Use these to wash yourself off right before you head to your stand. Unlike normal soaps and shampoos, they aren’t made with any perfumes, so you end up with a neutral scent.

Laundry detergents

Clothes build up bacteria, human skin cells, all sort of things that make them smell. It’s important to wash your hunting gear, but if you use a standard detergent, you take that strong soapy smell out into the woods with you. Scent control detergents are scent neutral so you’re be unsmellable.

Field sprays

I hate to break it to you, but the moment you step out of the shower, those bacteria start building back up. Your body starts producing sweat and other chemicals. Field sprays are chemicals that bind to odor molecules and neutralize your scent. Carry one with you on your hunt to use as you need it.


These days you have more technological options, too. Ozone gas is a molecule made of three oxygen atoms rather than two like the oxygen we breathe. It’s produced by lightning strikes and common in the upper atmosphere but not as much down near the ground.

Ozone is a highly reactive chemical, so it bonds easily with odor-causing molecules turning them into other chemicals completely. It also kills bacteria and other microbes to prevent that odor from returning.

Scent eliminators vs cover scents

While they serve a similar purpose, scent eliminators and cover scents are not the same thing.

Scent eliminators work to remove the chemicals and bacteria on your body and on your clothes that create smells. To deer these odors identify you as human and therefore a predator. Deer can smell even the lightest of odors from far away. If they sniff you out, you probably won’t even see them.

Cover scents don’t eliminate your personal scent. Instead they create another scent that masks it. Deer have powerful noses, but you can actually use this to your advantage. If you can overstimulate the deer’s nose with an odor that seems harmless to them, they won’t notice the stray odor molecule from your sweat.

When it comes to scent control versus cover scents, it shouldn’t be a choice. Because a deer’s sense of smell is so strong, it’s best to use as many resources and strategies as you can. Your sense of smell isn’t any match, so there’s no way for you to know how well you’ve eliminated or covered your scent. Best to just use both.

The best methods are sometimes just common sense

Like everything when you’re hunting whitetail, scent control is more than just buying the right product. A lot of the best scent control methods just involve smart preparation and good day-of strategies.

Leave strong smells at home

You probably use a lot of things on a daily basis that have strong smells. You might be used to these scents, but to deer, they’re giant red flags. Cigarette smoke–even if you smoke before you leave the house–is a definite no-go. Other tobacco products can be dead giveaways as well. If you bring food with you, pack it well and try to make it scent neutral. Obviously, you have to leave strong chemicals like gasoline or paint at home too.

Don’t sweat it

Sweat is your biggest enemy when it comes to scent control. Sweat produces the unique odors that identify you as a human hunter. Try to avoid working one up as best you can. That means take it easy on your hike in to your stand and dress in layers appropriate for the weather. If you get warm, take a layer off to keep yourself at a cool temperature.

Mind the wind

Deer are smart enough to position themselves based on the wind, so you should too. Determine where the deer will be coming from, then set up your stand or blind downwind from that location. This way the wind catches the odor from your body and gear and carries it away from the deer rather than toward them.

Avoid crossing paths

If you know where the deer trails are and how they move into their feeding areas, make sure you don’t walk along the same paths. This minimizes the risk that you’ll leave some scent behind that’ll prompt the local herd to move differently.

Keep clean

Perhaps the most important factor, you have to bathe and wash your clothes before hunting. This is where choosing the right product does come in. Whatever you use to wash up, it has to remove sweat and other human chemicals while not leaving any of its own scents or chemicals behind.

Ideally, you should wash yourself immediately before you head out in the morning. Even if you shower the night before, you’ll sweat in your sleep, pick up detergent odors from the bed and build bacteria back up on your skin.

You can wash your gear a few days before and use the time in between to apply cover scent. My favorite strategy has always been washing my camos with a scent-neutral detergent several days before and then stuffing them in a plastic tub filled with fallen leaves and pine needles.

Our Top Picks In Detail

PhaZe Body Odor System

PhaZe Body Odor System (5pk) - #1 Deer Hunter's Scent Elimination & Scent Control System!

PhaZe is a relatively new brand on the scent-control market. You can tell by their sleek modern labeling. It’s still managed to become a popular choice for hunters to want to control their own scent.

One of the great parts of this system is the three-step design. The first step cleans you off with shampoo, body wash, etc. The second takes care of your clothes. Last, there’s a field foam to control your scent while you’re actually hunting. The only problem with this is the six bottles it comes in that you have to keep track of.

This scent control also tackles a problem a lot of systems overlook. It conditions your skin and prevents dandruff. This is important not just because dry skin and dandruff are annoying, but because if you go leaving flakes all over the woods, any game will smell you for sure.

PhaZe is environmentally friendly and safe for sensitive skin, too. It has a ten-year shelf life that makes it a good choice for hunters who don’t use cover scent much and want something they can use season after season.

  • Three-step design
  • Covers scent on body and clothes
  • Prevents dandruff
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Safe for sensitive skin
  • Ten-year shelf life

PhaZe is environmentally friendly and safe for sensitive skin, too. It has a ten-year shelf life that makes it a good choice for hunters who don’t use cover scent much and want something they can use season after season.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Three-step design
  • Covers scent on body and clothes
  • Prevents dandruff
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Safe for sensitive skin
  • Ten-year shelf life
  • Six different bottles

Check the Price on Amazon!

Blue Collar Outdoors USA takes a quick look at the PhaZe Scent Control System

Dead Down Wind Trophy Hunter Kit

Dead Down Wind Trophy Hunter Kit (10 Piece)

You’ve probably seen the Dead Down Wind products around in their safety-orange containers. Hunters have been using the various scent control products to conceal themselves in the woods for years.

One of our favorite things about this kit is all the different little ways it covers your scent. For example, it comes with scent-control lip balm and camo face paint. Of course, it also comes with the standard products like soap and laundry detergent.

Dead Down Wind also takes convenience seriously. All the products come in easy-to-use containers including a simple 64-oz spray bottle to use in the field. However, because of its easy-spray design, it might leak in your rucksack, so pack it carefully.

All the products in this kit are safe for sensitive skin. It comes at a great price too. If you’re new to cover scents and want an affordable all-in-one product, this could be your best bet.

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What we liked:
  • Wide variety of products
  • Easy-to-use containers
  • Safe for sensitive skin
  • Low price range
  • All in one
  • Spray bottle might leak

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Chris explains why the Keefer Brothers go with Dead Down Wind for their scent control needs

Realtree Scent Crusher Gear Bag

Scent Crusher Realtree Camo Gear Bag with Ozone Generator - Destroys Odors Within 30 mins, Use at Home or On The Way to The Field, Airport/TSA Compliant

If you’re tired of carefully washing yourself and your clothes before every hunting trip, the Scent Crusher uses technology to make scent control as convenient as possible. It generates ozone that sanitizes any clothes you’ve put in the bag.

This method of scent control is ideal for serious hunters who travel for long hunting trips. Since it’s airport and TSA compliant, you can pack your gear in it and then catch your flight to the lodge. It’s large and made of durable nylon material, so don’t worry about humping it around.

Of course, this bag has to be plugged in to work and requires some assembly. Luckily, Realtree even made this convenient. It comes with a 12V vehicle adapter, and it eliminates odor in only 30 minutes. You can use it on the go.

You can also use this bag on other clothes year round. It doesn’t just work on hunting gear. You can keep your gym clothes fresh without even having to wash them.

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What we liked:
  • Convenient
  • TSA compliant
  • Large size
  • Durable nylon material
  • 12V vehicle adapter
  • Works in 30 minutes
  • Usable year round
  • Some assembly required
  • High price range

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PJ Riley from Lancaster Archery Supply reviews the Realtree Scent Crusher

Remington Hunting Odor Elimination Spray

Scent Control Spray - Remington Hunting Odor Elimination Spray - 24 oz

This spray might be your best option if you want something quick and simple. It’s just one liquid in an easy-to-use spray bottle.

It is super versatile. You can use it on all types of fabrics and even rubber and plastics, so you can douse your boots and gear. It doesn’t stain, so your camo will stay vibrant. Unfortunately, it isn’t really designed to eliminate odors on the human body, so you have to make sure you’re clean before your trip.

This spray lasts a while. One spray will last all day. In fact, it even protects clothing from building up odor when you store it for the off season.

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What we liked:
  • Only for gearEasy-to-use spray bottle
  • Works on a wide range of fabrics
  • Doesn’t stain
  • Lasts all day
  • Usable in the off season
  • Only for gear

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Madison tells you the story of her successful trophy hunt using Remington Scent Control

BoneView Ozone Generator

BoneView Mobile Ozone Machine Ozone Generator, Lithium Battery Powered Odor Elimination System for Your Deer Hunting Gear Bag with Powerful Triple Oxygen Scent Crushing Technology, White

Versatility is where this scent control system really shines. It’s a small and compact generator that you can fit into everything from a rucksack to a plastic tub. Plus, it runs on a rechargeable battery, so you can run it in any container and even take it along with you.

Because the BoneView is small and portable, its output isn’t as high as some other generators. It’s best for keeping small amounts of gear. It works well to keep extra clothing scent free in your pack.

For an advanced electronic, this generator comes at a really affordable price. The materials and construction are high quality. The battery is built to last over 500 recharges.

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What we liked:
  • Versatile uses
  • Small and compact
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Portable
  • Low price range
  • Low ozone output

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E Factor Outdoors explains the benefits of the BoneView Ozone Generator
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Up Close with the Best Spotting Scopes for Hunting Fri, 09 Nov 2018 12:50:37 +0000 Every hunter knows how it goes. It seems like you see deer every day except when you actually go looking for them. It’s one thing to accidentally spook a deer or miss a shot, but some of the most frustrating hunts are the ones you spend wet and freezing for twelve hours in a tree stand without seeing so much as a wayward fawn.

To avoid those hunts, up your optical game. There’s a spotting scope on the market for every hunter and every situation. If you don’t know what to look for in a scope, learn about the different specs and features that are out there. Once you know what you need, take a look at our list of top picks.

Hunter lying down looking through spotting scope

Our Top Spotting Scope Picks

What scope features does a hunter need?

The features you need depend on how you plan to use your scope. Someone in a stand with an elaborate setup will need something different from someone hunting a blind.

A long-range stand hunter should look for a more powerful optic. You need greater magnification and a larger objective lens. Fortunately, you should have the space you need for a scope like this. You’ll need additional time to set up the scope, but again, stand hunting allows for that.

If you’re still hunting, your needs are a whole different ball game. You want something lightweight that blends into your surroundings. You don’t need the same magnification as a long-range hunter. An objective lens of 60mm and 15 to 40 times magnification range should be plenty.

Whether you’re on the go or set up somewhere for the long haul, there are some universal things every bowhunter needs. For example, don’t compromise on weatherproofing.

It’s not worth ruining your equipment or your hunt due to unexpected weather.

You also want to go ahead and splurge on appropriate armor, even if you need to buy it separately. If you drop or knock your unprotected scope, you might be looking at an overpriced paperweight.

Lens power, size and glass quality

A look at the scope’s numbers reveals its strengths. These numbers work in an easy formula.

The first figure represents a range of magnification. A scope labeled “15–50 x 60” can magnify 15-50 times. If the scope is not adjustable, this is a single number. The number following the ‘x’ is the size of the objective lens: in this case, 60mm.

If you’re a dusk or dawn hunter, choose a larger lens for better visibility. This is because larger lenses let more light into the scope.

Clarity and brightness of the picture also depends on the quality of glass in your scope.

Glass quality is one place where you don’t want to cut corners.

If it’s not good, it can drag down the performance of the other features.


Coatings can add to the cost of your scope, so it’s important to know what they do—and whether you actually need them.

Glass is transparent, of course, but it still works as a filter, dimming light that passes through it. Coatings help diminish the amount of light lost during the process. Lens coatings vary–we’ve laid out the differences here.

  • A coated lens comes with a single-layer coating applied to one or more lenses.
  • Fully-coated options have a single layer of coating on every external lens.
  • A multi-coatedlens carries several layers of coating on one or more lenses.
  • Fully multi-coated lenses have several layers of coatings on all external lens surfaces.

On the move? Then lightweight and compact

Keep this in mind—if you’re a still hunter or like to change stands a lot, you want something that’s going to be light and small. You need to worry about humping your equipment in and out–especially if you’ll be walking a long way back to your truck. You also don’t want something so heavy it’s uncomfortable to use.

Waterproof and armored

Whether you’re stand or still hunting, make sure your scope is weatherproof and armored. You just can’t guarantee you can protect your equipment from unexpected elements.

Remember, weatherproofing isn’t about making your equipment submersible. Advertising a scope as water-resistant, weatherproof or fog proof means the equipment has been sealed so there is no internal air exchange. That air exchange is what can cause clouding and condensation on the inside of your equipment.

So what’s the best way to keep that seal intact so there’s no condensation? You can find that in the armor.

Your scope’s armor is just a protective case. Like a phone case is designed to absorb shock, armor fits snugly to the scope. This gives it an extra layer of protection for potential accidents.

Eye relief – what’s your eyewear?

Eye relief is the amount of distance there needs to be between your eye and the eyepiece for optimal viewing. You should absolutely know the individual eye relief of each scope you’re considering. Minimal eye relief could make the scope difficult to use while wearing glasses—even your shooting glasses.

Generally speaking, lower-power scopes have greater eye relief. Your higher-power scopes have less. It’s possible you’ll have to compromise in one area to find a scope that suits your needs.

Angled or straight?

Scopes come in two styles—angled or straight. A straight scope is in line with your eyepiece. An angled scope has a set angle somewhere between 45 and 90 degrees.

The type of scope you choose to use depends on how you plan to hunt. One is not inherently better than the other, but different situations might make one style advantageous.

It’s hard to hold anything steady with a magnification power greater than 10, and scopes generally magnify 40–60 times. Regardless of whether you use an angled or straight scope, it’s best to use it mounted.

What about binoculars?

Not willing to let go of your trusty pair of binoculars? You don’t have to. Scopes are a great piece of equipment to have when you’re hunting. So are binoculars. Scopes aren’t made to be a replacement for them. They’re made to use in addition to them.

Binoculars are usually handheld with lower magnification. They are ideal for sweeping the landscape and looking for game. Once you’ve found something, pull out your scope and use that to zoom in.

Remember, your scope’s magnification capabilities are much greater than your binoculars. You certainly wouldn’t want to be sweeping and searching with your scope. You’d never find anything.

Budget Hunting Scope Reviews

Emarth 20-60x60AE

Emarth 20-60x60AE Waterproof Angled Spotting Scope with Tripod, 45-Degree Angled Eyepiece, Optics Zoom 39-19m/1000m for Target Shooting Bird Watching Hunting Wildlife Scenery

Our top budget scope is a great option for hunting trips in deep woods. The Emarth 20-60x60AE comes with the scope, a carrying bag, lens cap and a tabletop tripod.  

It’s angled and features adjustable magnification. The 45-degree angle is comfortable to use and works well for different stand positions. All lenses are fully multi-coated to increase light intake and allow for bright, clear viewing. The lenses are smaller, so keep that in mind.

Waterproof, fogproof and durable, this scope is ready for rugged terrain and extended trips. Convenient, portable—even coming with its own sunshade—you can use this scope wherever. If you want to spend your money on the hunting lodge and not the scope, this could be a great choice.

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What we liked:
  • Great accessories
  • Comfortable angle
  • Adjustable magnification
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Durable
  • Small lenses

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Celestron Ultima

Celestron 52248 65mm Ultima Zoom Spotting Scope

Celestron is well known for manufacturing quality telescopes. The Ultima brings that industry experience to your tree stand.

It has a 45-degree viewing angle and 100mm, multi-coated lenses. It’s a great option for people who are using their scope in low light. The adjustable eyepiece means you can tailor the magnification to suit your immediate needs.

The 100mm lens lets in 50 percent more light than the next size down (80mm) in the Ultima line. Larger than some other options, the Celestron Ultima 100mm pairs well with a tripod.  Unfortunately, the tripod is not included even though that’s the best way to go. It does come with a limited lifetime warranty, however, so you know it’s sturdy. If you have a large stand or a permanent blind, you might benefit from a tough scope like this.

Finally, the eyepiece is designed with extra give—perfect if you wear glasses and have had difficulty with other scopes. This scope is waterproof and designed to blend in with its surroundings which also enhances its ability to be left on a tripod for long hunts.

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What we liked:
  • Great for low light
  • Works well with tripods
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Tough and sturdy
  • Blends in with surroundings
  • No tripod included

Check the Price on Amazon!

Celestron shows you their Ultima hunting scope

Mid-Range Hunting Scope Reviews

Redfield Rampage

Redfield Rampage 20-60x80mm Angled Spotting Scope

The Redfield Rampage might be in a higher price range, but you get what you pay for: high-quality design.

The adjustable, rotatable eyepiece means you can better customize the scope to both you and your individual situation. The rubberized exterior protects the scope and offers protection from the elements.

One place this model lacks is the eye relief. At 17-14mm it may be difficult to use if you wear glasses. It does have an adjustable magnification of 20–60, though, and the 80mm lens lets in an adequate amount of light for performance in all weather conditions. The advanced BAK4 prism system improves picture quality and clarity.

We can’t forget to mention the limited lifetime warranty, either. Some hunters like the challenge of hunting in extreme conditions. If you land in that camp, you might need some of the tough features that you find the Rampage.

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What we liked:
  • Adjustable eyepiece
  • Tough rubberized exterior
  • Adjustable magnification
  • BAK4 prism system
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Made in the USA
  • Limited eye relief

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Redfield Hunting goes over the specs of their Rampage scope

Bushnell Trophy Xtreme

Bushnell 886015 Trophy Xtreme Spotting Scope, Green, 16-48 x 50mm

This scope takes portability to the next level. It’s compact, comes with a tripod and features two carrying cases, one hard and one soft. If that weren’t enough, it even has a car window mount and a scope glove.

The Trophy Xtreme is more than just accessories, though. It’s reliable and durable, too. Like other Bushnell products, this one has a money-back guarantee that not only puts your mind at ease, it highlights the quality of the scope’s design.

As for the scope itself, it has adjustable magnification, from 12 to 36 times, and a 50mm, fully-coated lens. Combined with weatherproof, shock-absorbing armor, this Bushnell is perfect for the field. The picture is clear and bright, especially when using at the lower end of the magnification range.

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What we liked:
  • Compact and portable
  • Wide range of accessories
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Adjustable magnification
  • Shock-absorbing armor
  • Better performance at lower magnification

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Texas Predator Hunting gives you his views on the Bushnell Trophy Xtreme

Long Range / High Quality

PRODUCT NAME (ctrl+shift+v)

Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scope 22-48x65 Angled

If spotting scopes are a big part of your hunting strategy, the Vortex Optics Razor HD makes a fantastic addition to your equipment.

You can get it in both angled and straight styles. It also comes with either a 65 or 85mm lens. This scope can accommodate your specific needs, whatever they may be. It’s also sleek, and you can see the quality of the craftsmanship immediately.

If you’re looking for a scope that performs just as well at greater magnification and over longer distances, this is it. It has an easy-to-use focus dial, so you have both the performance and the function.

The Razor HD comes with a sunshade and is weather proof. This is a scope you can bring with you all year round, in any kind of weather.

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What we liked:
  • Angled and straight options available
  • Versatile
  • High quality
  • Fully multi-coated lens
  • Focus dial
  • Sunshade
  • Higher price range

Check the Price on Amazon!

Sportsmans News TV reviews the Vortex Razor
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Don’t Guess, use the Best Rangefinders for Bowhunting Fri, 09 Nov 2018 12:19:36 +0000 Those perfect shots are indescribable moments. You raise the bow, draw the arrow, and as you release it, everything comes together. You know the shot will hit true while it’s still in the air.

It might seem like something mystical, but those shots are actually the result of smart hunting strategies. One of those should be using a rangefinder. A good rangefinder doesn’t just measure distance. It let’s you prepare to use your bow as effectively as possible.

Before you choose a model, figure out what you need from your rangefinder. We’ve put together guide below to help you do that and followed it with reviews of our favorite models that cover a wide range of situations.

rangefinder sights over a deer
Smart hunters use a rangefinder

Our Top Bowhunting Rangefinder Picks

    Rangefinders with Angle/Tilt Compensation

  • Halo XL450-7– “The great value earned it the top spot”
  • Nikon Arrow– “TruTarget technology make this a winner”
  • Bushnell The Truth– “A great choice thanks to ClearShot technology”
  • General Hunting Rangefinders

  • TecTecTec ProWild– “Continuous scan mode is a real benefit for bowhunters”
  • Bushnell Bone Collector– “A rangefinder for rugged situations”

What rangefinder features does a bowhunter need?

Lens and magnification

The kind of bow you use makes a big difference when you’re choosing a rangefinder. It helps determine exactly how much range you need.

If you use a crossbow, you most likely take shots from about 50 yards. If you use a compound bow, you’re probably looking at a maximum of 40 yards.

Considering these yardages, maximum sight range isn’t the only factor you’ll want to look at. Each individual component is one piece to knowing how your rangefinder will work. For instance, you also want to think about the lens and magnification specs carefully.

Every rangefinder comes labeled with a set of numbers. The first number represents the amount of magnification. The second number is the size of the lens. If your rangefinder is labeled “6 x 32,” for example, it magnifies by six, and that the objective lens is 32mm.

The greater the magnification number, the better precision you have when you find a range.

Increased magnification does come with a con, though. The greater the magnification is, the less space you’ll be able to assess at one time. You have to decide whether the trade off is worth it for you.

The second number, the objective lens size, gives you an idea of how well your rangefinder will perform. The larger the lens number, the more light is brought into the unit. This makes it easier to see. Like with the magnification, this comes with a downside. The larger the objective lens, the bigger the rangefinder is in general.

In other words, you sacrifice compact size and light weight for stronger performance.


Obviously accuracy is a big deal, especially for hunters. It’s not just important to successful hunting, it’s an ethical imperative too. Plus, broadheads aren’t the cheapest. The newest rangefinders come equipped with the latest technology and innovations. This includes their ability to give accurate readings.

Like any other piece of equipment, there are expensive models as well as more economic options. Even cheaper products should give youaccurate readings to about one yard.

What about the advertised accuracy rates of rangefinders? It’s important to note that these rates are determined under optimal conditions. You may find there’s a significant variation in accuracy when you’re out in the field—especially if conditions are heavily compromised by weather or lighting.

The advertised accuracy (or inaccuracy) of a rangefinder may also not be applicable to your specific use. Your rangefinder has been tested at 1,000 yards and has between one and five percent inaccuracy, but what if you’re using it at 50 yards? You should expect your rate of inaccuracy to be less.

Ease of use – one click and quiet

A rangefinder can have all the necessary features, but if you can’t figure out how to use it, it won’t do you any good at all. The same is true if it makes too much noise.

Make sure you know whether you can change the unit-of-distance output. If you usually work in yards and the rangefinder only reads in meters, it’ll be off. Some models have a feature that allows you to move back and forth between imperial and metric.

Some rangefinders are equipped with just one button. This makes them simple and fast to use. Of course, a rangefinder that comes with more buttons probably also has more options and greater versatility.  

There are also rangefinders that allow you to select multiple points of measurement. This means you can toggle between identified objects in your view. All of these factors contribute to a smoother process.

You may also find there’s a learning curve to a new rangefinder. That’s to be expected with any piece of new equipment. It’s worth doing some practice with your rangefinder in the off season to get a good feel for how it operates.

Tilts and elevations calcs – great for tree stands

The “tilts and elevations calculations” function determines angle compensation for shots. This is sometimes called a ‘shoot-like’ distance. You’ll also get a “line of sight” distance.

When you’re up in a tree stand, you need additional calculations to determine how far away your target is. You need the height of where you’re sitting plus the horizontal distance between you and your target to know the true range.

This calculation becomes your shoot-like distance.

Having a ‘tilts and elevations’ function is invaluable if you’re doing any shooting that involves angles, like from a tree stand.

Waterproofing, armor and camo

Don’t bother getting a rangefinder that isn’t water- and fogproof. Think about it—when you’re out hunting, it’s frequently during early morning hours when condensation is higher. Rain is no reason to cancel a hunting trip, either.

You want to be able to use your rangefinder in all weather conditions.

Just because a rangefinder claims it’s waterproof, doesn’t mean you should submerge it in the first pond that you come to. But, it does suggest that a light shower won’t hurt its function. If a rangefinder doesn’t claim to be weather-resistant, move on.

While it’s important to have lenses that resist moisture, you also want something that comes with armor. Armor comes in many different types of material but is often a silicone skin.

Not only will armor help protect your rangefinder from unexpected weather, but it’ll also help absorb shock from an unexpected fall. We’ve all slipped over or set our belongings down too roughly–or even dropped something out of a tree stand. With armor, you can have a little extra peace of mind.

This may bring camo-patterned rangefinders to the forefront of your selection as well. There’s no reason to deck yourself and your equipment in camo only to spook a quarry with your rangefinder

Keep it close – tethers

Many rangefinders come with a tether or utility clip. This can be a great way to keep the rangefinder close in your stand. It also makes it easier to carry.

If you have a preferred method, or if your rangefinder doesn’t come with a tether, it’s easy enough to add your own. Whether it’s a lanyard, shoulder strap or belt clip, you’ll have your rangefinder at your fingertips in an instant.

A quick note on eye relief

When shopping for a rangefinder, you may come across the term “eye relief.” This is the distance your eye needs to be from the eyepiece of the rangefinder to see clearly.

Eye relief – usually measured in millimeters – is especially important for people who wear glasses. Without eye relief, glasses would prevent you from looking through the eyepiece. And of course you can’t take the glasses off, or you won’t be able to see well enough.

Every device has a specified eye relief. You can usually find the figure in the manual. Knowing how far away you need to be from the eyepiece will give you the best view possible.

Can I use my golfing rangefinder?

If you also like to golf, you can use your golfing rangefinder for hunting too. Ultimately, it’s performing the same primary function: measuring distance.

However, distance isn’t the only informationthe rangefinder provides you with. Golfing rangefinders usually have golf-specific features, and the inverse is just as true. Hunting rangefinders can give you information pertinent to hunting.

You might miss potentially helpful features by not using a hunting-specific rangefinder.

For example, a golfing rangefinder might be equipped with an adaptive-slope feature not especially useful for hunting, but it might lack a display that’s easy to read in low light. You could also be missing your “tilts and elevations” calculation.  Specialty equipment exists for a reason, and we strongly recommend sticking with a rangefinder made with the hunter in mind.

Death by Bunjie gives you a few tips on rangefinders

Reviews of Rangefinders with Angle/Tilt Compensation

Halo XL450-7

Halo XL450-7 Hunting Rangefinder, bowhunting and gun hunting rangefinder with Angle Intelligence

The Halo XL450-7 is an affordable rangefinder gives fast and accurate readings. The eyepiece is adjustable with just a quick twist. It’s also light and compact.

It’s simple to use thanks to its single-button operation. It measures in both yards and meters. In fact, you can rotate between four modes: yards, yards with slope, meters, and meters with slope.

The included CR2 battery should last you a year or more. With 6x magnification the Halo XL450-7 can range inanimate objects at 450 yards, and big game up to 350 yards.

One feature that makes this model unique is the scan-mode option. It works well even if it’s pointed at a moving target. This makes it great for a beginner or anyone who’s never used a rangefinder before. With a host of features to fit the price tag, it’s a great value.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Twist-adjustable eyepiece
  • Light and compact
  • Single-button operation
  • Four measurement modes
  • Scan mode
  • Great value
  • No lanyard

Check the Price on Amazon!

Michigan Pursuit reviews the Halo XL450-7

Nikon Arrow

Nikon 16224 Arrow ID 3000 Bowhunting Laser Rangefinder

Like the name suggests, Nikon designed this rangefinder with bowhunters in mind.

That means they made it durable and effective and capable of calculating shoot-like distances. Plus, it has single-button operation, which is important for a hunter.

The Arrow is lightweight at only five ounces, but it still manages a 20mm lens and a range up to 650 yards. Of course, this is great for still hunters, but it’s not a bad choice for a stand hunter who hunts a lot of different spots either.

Tru-Target technology allows you to easily move between a “first target priority” and a “distant target priority.” This feature is good for busy backdrops that can make picking out your target difficult.

The screen display is uncomplicated and easy to read. The 4x magnification means you see a significant amount of landscape through your rangefinder—an asset for many when bowhunting. You’ll be able to identify your target quickly and act accordingly.

Finally, it comes with a neoprene case and a strap that helps keep the rangefinder protected and close at hand, another great feature for still hunters. It also has a solid two-year warranty.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Lightweight
  • 650-yard range
  • Tru-Target technology
  • Easy-to-read display
  • Neoprene case and strap
  • Two-year warranty

No manual

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Dustin Prievo from Wide Open Spaces takes a look at the Nikon Arrow

Bushnell The Truth

Bushnell 202442 The Truth ARC 4x20mm Bowhunting Laser Rangefinder with Clear Shot

First of all, The Truth has an incredible range of 850 yards. This should be more than enough for any bowhunter and will even serve you well if you also take advantage of rifle season. Even if you don’t need the long range, any bowhunter can benefit from the speed and precision.

Equipped with ClearShot” technology, this rangefinder gives you immediate feedback on whether or not your shot will be a success. We can’t emphasize this feature enough. It saves you broadheads and keeps you from making any unethical shots.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the rangefinder for the night hunter. The display has no illumination and along with the black text, it’s not great for use in the dark.

The 4x magnification provides a wide field of vision. Weighing in at just over five ounces, this rangefinder is lightweight. Both of these things are good for hunting food plots. The 20mm objective lens and anti-slip grip make it even better for long stints in a stand.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • High 850-yard range
  • ClearShot” Technology
  • Magnetic compatible
  • 4x magnification
  • Lightweight
  • Anti-slip grip
  • No screen illumination

Check the Price on Amazon!

Will Primos walks you through the advantages of The Truth rangefinder

Hunting Rangefinder Reviews

TecTecTec ProWild

TecTecTec ProWild Hunting Rangefinder - 6x24 Laser Range Finder for Hunting with Speed, Scan and Normal Measurements (Camo)

The ProWild is a great addition to your gear. It’s incredibly versatile but still manages to come with an affordable price tag. It has a continuous scan mode, advanced-speed technology, and a range over 500 yards.

This rangefinder is durable and compact. It’s accurate to within one yard, and it’s also water-resistant, so you won’t need to worry about foggy lenses or bad weather. This makes it effective in tons of different conditions.

It’s important to consider that the display is not backlit and the text is black. You may have difficulty reading it in the dark. This is another rangefinder best suited to daytime hunting.

This model is lightweight and portable and comes with a lanyard and case. It’s protected, but also easy to reach for when you’re sighting your target. It even has a low battery indicator so you can rely on it even on long stints in the stand.

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What we liked:
  • Low price range
  • Continuous scan mode
  • Advanced-speed technology
  • Accurate to within one yard
  • Lanyard and case
  • Low battery indicator
  • No screen illumination

Check the Price on Amazon!

Bushnell Bone Collector

Bushnell 202208 Bone Collector Edition 4x Laser Rangefinder, Realtree Xtra Camo, 20mm

The Bone Collector is great for bowhunters because it has a versatile range of 10-600 yards and accuracy to one yard.

This rangefinder is rugged and tough. The camo finish is especially nice. It’s great for heavily wooded environments, especially ones with a lot of moisture. Unlike a lot of models, it has a backlit display. If you hunt a lot at night or in bad weather, take a look at this rangefinder.

It’s also small and light and designed to be used easily with one hand. The 4x magnification and 20mm objective lens are more than adequate for bowhunting purposes.

Check the Price on Amazon!

What we liked:
  • Versatile range
  • Accurate to one yard
  • Camo finish
  • Backlit display
  • Usable with one hand
  • Small battery compartment

Check the Price on Amazon!

Zia Outdoor Adventures takes a look at the Bone Collector
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