By Gary Koehler
When it comes to gear, anyone who hunts waterfowl more than occasionally already has all the basics. So, we decided to take it up a notch. This selection of high-tech gadgets and specialized accessories may be well beyond the norm for most blind bags and will certainly never be confused with the simple equipment our grandfathers used. Instead, we went in search of the most exciting and innovative items we could find. Our criteria: Each product had to be useful, lightweight, durable, and compact enough to easily fit in a blind bag. Versatility scored extra points. Cost was not a factor. Does a duck hunter really need all this stuff? You be the judge. What some would call excess others might deem a necessity.
1. Weather Tracker
While sitting in a duck blind on a raw day, waterfowlers often wonder how cold it is or how hard the wind might be blowing. Kestrel’s 4000 pocket weather tracker can answer those questions and more. This is a comprehensive piece of gear that has been used by U.S. Special Forces and on Mt. Everest climbing expeditions. The Kestrel 4000 weighs only 4 ounces and easily fits in a shirt pocket. In addition to temperature and wind speed, the device also delivers barometric pressure and altitude readings; gauges wind chill, dew point, and relative humidity; and measures maximum wind gusts. It will even display the water temperature. The 4000 is waterproof, floats, and is capable of manually storing measurements at the touch of a button. Two AA batteries power this handy portable weather station, which features a five-year warranty. kestrelweather.com
2. Satellite Messenger
Safety in the field should be a priority for every hunter. But unfortunately, accidents sometimes happen. If you are alone when the unexpected occurs, your life could be at risk—especially if you are in a remote area without cell phone coverage. The SPOT satellite messenger uses the GPS satellite network to determine your location and the SPOT network to transmit that information to an emergency response center. If, for example, your outboard motor breaks down and strands you on big water, or you break a leg while hunting alone in flooded timber, SPOT can communicate your location to the emergency response center, which will summon help and notify your family. SPOT has a 99.4 percent network reliability rate worldwide. The unit weighs only 7.4 ounces and is waterproof to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. SPOT was the recipient of the 2008 Innovations Design and Engineering Award. findmespot.com