TOP GEAR  — Joe was shielded completely  from passers-by while sitting inside the SurroundView 360 Blind. 
Herald Photo / Provided
TOP GEAR — Joe was shielded completely from passers-by while sitting inside the SurroundView 360 Blind. Herald Photo / Provided

Having recently attended the 2018 Archery Trade Association show, there were definitely a few products that were all the buzz at the show, and for good reason.  Among the sea of booths that crowd the show floor (nearly 700, to be exact,) believe it or not, some years it can be hard to find truly innovative products that really “wow” me.  Or, at best, I may find one or two.  This year was an exception.

The following are a few items that you will end up with in 2018, or wish you did!

Primos Double Bull SurroundView 360 Blind
Wow. That’s all you can really say once you step inside this thing.  It is truly unlike any other blind I have ever seen. Double Bull has always been known for making the absolute best blinds money can buy, and now… well, they have stepped it up big time.

The SurroundView Blind offers you the concealment you need when hunting on the ground, yet allows to see like there is nothing in between you and your quarry. It will take some getting used to because you will feel like that deer or gobbler is going to pick you off as it approaches, but it won’t. You may feel naked inside the thing, but trust me, they won’t have a clue you’re there.

I tested it out at the show by waving to people, and none of them even knew I was in the blind. Also, while standing outside, I could not see in, so who knows what kind of gestures others may have been throwing my way from inside the darn thing!

With models ranging from $299 to $499, this will change your ground hunting attack. Go to www.primos.com to check it out.

Cirrus Wind 
Indicator

There are wind indicators, then there is Cirrus.  A one and only really.  Cirrus is the industry leader when it comes to wind indicators, for a multitude of reasons.

Besides the incredible battery life and cartridges that allow you to get 1,000 puffs each, there is more. With Cirrus, you can detect the wind in total darkness via built-in LED’s; a red LED for stealth or a white LED to be used in total darkness or as a flashlight. These are a must for those early mornings as you prepare to choose which stand to hunt.  

There’s more; a built-in power bank USB charger allows you to charge your cell phone while in the stand. That is some extreme forward thinking, and a huge plus for those all day sits.

With a retail price around $35, you get way more than you pay for with this unit. Check it out at www.cirrusoutdoors.com. 

Tactacam 5.0
Tactacam has risen in popularity the last few years, and, why wouldn’t they? It affords any hunter an easy way to record their hunts from a POV experience without the need for a bulky camera or camera man. Granted, there are disadvantages to only having the POV experience and no camera man, but that is changing.

With the new 5.0, which will be out this spring, you will have the ability to control up to five Tactacam 5.0’s at a time through the use of the remote control. You can set up five different cameras around your stand or blind and control them all. 

Want more? With the new 5.0, you will also have the ability to Facebook live your hunt! The world can see you shoot that trophy buck – or sail one right over his back – as it happens. 

I’m not sure what the price will be for the 5.0, but the 4.0 retails for around $329 so look for it to be at least that much.

Go to www.tactacam.com for more info.

Garmin Xero rangefinder sight
The biggest buzz in the electronics realm was the new Garmin Xero rangefinder bow sight. That’s right, an archery sight with a built-in rangefinder.

Thought they were two separate units?  Think again.

With the new Garmin Xero, never again will you forget your rangefinder. A simple press and release of a button gives you exact yardages to the target you are drawing down on. Even with traditional rangefinders, you are still somewhat guessing. That tree you ranged earlier may be 25 yards, usually the animal is standing a few feet or yards in front or beyond it, forcing you to still guess. Not with the Garmin Xero.  

It is as simple to sight in and adjust as any single-pin sight, by sighting in at 20 yards, and again at your furthest effective range.

Garmin’s Ted Gartner admits that the sight is not legal in seven states, but always thinking ahead, the company is big on maintaining ethics in the sport, even though the Xero can range objects up to 100 yards away. There is a nifty feature built-in to keep you on the up and up. Once you program in your maximum effective range, the sight will not illuminate at a target that lies further. In other words, if you set it up with 50 yards as your maximum range, if a deer trots out at 55 yards, you won’t have a pin, and therefore, cannot shoot. This can be reprogrammed at any time.  This feature will hopefully help get it legalized in those seven states at some point.

The upper-end model has a few really cool features on top of all of this. One comes in the way of adjustable arrow profiles. You can program in multiple arrow/broadhead weights. If you shoot different weight arrows and/or broadheads for different species or activities, no problem.

The next is Laser Link. If you have a Garmin watch or handheld GPS unit, the Xero will pair-up with it. What this means for you is that once you release your arrow, you will be able to walk right up to where that animal was standing when you shot. This is a huge step towards animal recovery, because we all know how adrenaline, excitement and trying to keep our eyes on the animal can easily throw us off our mark of just where the animal was standing when we dumped our bow string.

Lastly, there are fixed-pins that can be used as well.  Break the cable to your sight in the brush, no problem. Regardless of whether or not the rangefinder pin works or not, you can always revert back to your 5-pin fixed-pin sight option as a backup.

So, you are probably wondering how much a unit will retail around $799. The higher-end model, which includes multiple arrow profiles, Laser Link and the fixed-pin option will be a couple hundred more at $999. That’s a lot. But, if you buy a quality rangefinder and a high-end bow sight separately, you will have probably thrown about $600-$800 at the combination. Plus, with the Garmin Xero, you won’t have to worry about dropping and running over you rangefinder (don’t ask) and spending another few hundred bucks to replace it. It will always be with you. Go to www.garmin.com for more specifics.

Sitka Gear
You may think of clothing as, well, simply clothing. If that’s the case, you haven’t tried Sitka Gear. Gone are the days of thinking of clothing as something to wear to try to conceal you or maybe keep you warm. Sitka Gear does so much more than that.

From their lightweight lines to their full-on keep you-warm-no-matter-what the weather gear, you’ll be amazed. Never thought you could wear a shirt for days in a row in the sweltering heat and not have it stink to high heaven?  Yeah, me either, before wearing Sitka. In the mountains of Colorado last August, without having access to laundry facilities, I wore my Sitka Core lightweight hoodie for days. By the end of the trip, I stunk, but my hoodie didn’t. During the brutal muzzleloader season, their Fanatic line kept me as warm and toasty as if I were under my comforter at home – all with nothing but my skivvies on underneath. Go ahead, try to get that picture out of your head.

The bottom line is this; Sitka Gear is just that – gear. It is not just clothing.  It is a line of essential tools that will allow you to stay in the game longer, and more comfortably, than you would otherwise be able to without it, regardless of the conditions. That can equate to more tags filled. When hunting in remote places, it can be life-saving. Go to www.sitkagear.com for more info.