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Stearns Inc.

If you're an avid waterfowler you might have used Stearns' products to make your watery pursuits safe and comfortable. Waterfowling marsh is the perfect setting for the company's line of hunting and fishing life jackets and floatation devices, one of their ten models of chest or hip waders, or even a Camouflage Pontoon float tube or One-Person Inflatable Kayak to get you into a secret duck or goose hotspot. You may have worn their Fleece-Lined Neoprene or Gauntlet Decoy Gloves to keep your hands toasty and dry.

Stearns is the nation's leading brand in recreational and industrial water safety and sports products, once deemed the "Best Performing Name Brand in the Sporting Goods Department" in a Top Brands Study conducted by Leo J. Sharpiro and Associates. The company has come a long way since its fledgling years in 1936 when it manufactured frost shields for automobile windscreens. Now comprising two manufacturing facilities in Sauk Rapids and Grey Eagle, Minnesota, Stearns' subsidiaries include Stearns Watersports, Stearns Outdoors, Mad Dog Gear, Fly Tech, Industrial Safety, and Goldeneye Marine, and all have stood by the company motto: "Quality is our tradition."

As a bowhunter you are likely more familiar with the label Mad Dog Gear. If you are not you soon will be. Mad Dog Gear makes so many useful items for the bowhunter it's difficult to imagine how we got along without them before. When I make a statement such as that I'm thinking of Silent Shadow hunting clothing, in particular, but also an extensive line of day-and backpacks, and camping gear to make your life drier and more comfortable in wet places.

A Better Rain Suit

There was a time, not long ago, when the words waterproof and silent used in the same sentence were either typographical error, or simple hyperbole. With Silent Shadow Dry Wear Mad Dog Gear by Stearns has truly accomplished just that. Silent Shadow blends quiet warp-knit polyester microfiber filament to create an extremely tight, waterproof shell. Inside is a Polymeric Alloy 2000 membrane that withstands water pressure while maintaining flexibility when cold. Warm, soft, and quiet Tricot creates the lining. The result is rain gear that's bowhunting silent, 100 percent waterproof, yet breathes to keep you dry after a brisk walk at altitude or while climbing aboard your tree stand.

Silent Shadow comes in several versions, keeping you covered no matter what your game. The Wader/Bomber Jacket is waist-length, the Long Tail Parka three-quarter. Both have an extreme weather 3-piece hood, and one-inch Velcro adjustable cuffs to keep gloves tight. The Wader/Bomber includes an elastic bottom to keep out drafts and zippered slash pockets that won't interfere with bowstrings. The Parka is longer to keep your rear dry while sitting, with zippered pockets, a rattle-free storm flap and elastic draw-cords on the bottom, middle and hood. Both are available in Hardwoods and Advantage Wetlands camouflage. For complete protection combine these with Silent Shadow Bibs or Six-Pocket Pants, with the same storm-proof features and camouflage patterns. The Six-Pocket Pants are cut with draw-cord hem, large front and back pockets and side cargo pockets to give them added practicality and comfort. These are the perfect all-round rain suits for the whitetail hunter or late-season stalker.

Special purpose Silent Shadow wear includes the 3-in-1 Parka for cold extremes, and Light Jacket and Pants at the other end of the spectrum. The 3-in-1 includes a zip-out fleece liner in a 3/4-length parka, the perfect jacket during those chilly whitetail-stand visuals. The Light line is made to stash in your daypack or duffel until needed, and features ultra-light material perfect for warmer days, yet giving up no Silent Shadow waterproof or breathable qualities. Both the 3-in-1 and Light models are available in Hardwoods and Advantage Timber camo patterns.

Packs For Serious Bowhunting

Mad Dog Gear is also about well-designed backpacks for wilderness bowhunting, and daypacks for all-day comfort. The Mule Frame Pack is a welded-aluminum external frame pack rugged enough to handle Alaskan moose quarters, or get you into remote muley or elk high-country. This pack is fully adjustable, and designed for comfort while carrying a heavy load. For the weekend warrior, the Coyote Narrow Pack is made to tote a moderate load in comfort all day long. As the name implies this pack is constructed to be tall and narrow, helping negotiate thick vegetation, with two water-bottle pockets and an Advantage Timber Saddle-Cloth shell to keep you out of sight and your gear dry.

Daypacks with bowhunting appeal include the Lynx Top Loader, Puma Double Panel Loader, Ridge Hunter and Deluxe Rucksack. All offer water-resistant SaddleCloth construction, with the kind of features that make your bowhunting more efficient. For example, both the Ridge Hunter and Lynx feature "Jam" pocket design great for stashing a shed jacket in a hurry. The Deluxe has two long side pockets, and larger rear, plus 2,026 cubic inches of internal volume for all-day excursions or forays in country where plenty of survival gear is a must.

The Puma is big enough to serve as a spike-camp pack, with two main compartments and padded back and shoulder straps; it carries enough gear to keep you in the field overnight. The avid turkey hunter should take a look at the Backpack & Field Chair, a pack with a seat that folds down instantly when needed, and enough room for calls, decoys, and other necessary hunting gear. During hot early seasons the Hydration Panel Loading Pack offers a silver heat-reflective Mylar hydration system incorporated directly into a foam-insulated pocket. A drinking tube is mounted over a shoulder strap for instant access. Mad Dog offers several models of fanny packs as well, including the Classic, Deluxe, and Monster.

Water On The Run

The Motionless Hydration System and Flask/Canteen are also bowhunter friendly. The first owns two-inch shoulder straps to hold 60 ounces of water in a silver-reflective Mylar reservoir with foam insulation on the inside, zippered pocket for snacks, and a two-inch loop and accessory clip to attach anywhere. The other is a simpler 25-ounce design to clip on your belt or stash in your pack. Both will eliminate game-spooking slosh while stalking.

Outback Outfitted

Going on a rugged backpack trip or into the wet wilds of the arctic North? Mad Dog offers gear to make your trip more comfortable, and keep your truck dry. Self-Inflating Ground Pads cushion your hard-working back, while insulating you from cold, damp ground. The Multi-chambered design contours to your body, also inflating effortlessly. Rugged Dry Bags, Short Duffel and Super Duffel, Roll Top Duffel Bags, the Wet Hauler (with pack straps) and Fowl Weather Roll Top Dry Bags keep your gear safely dry in a downpour or standing water. All are made of reinforced PVC tarpaulin and completely waterproof, remaining flexible to minus 25 degrees C. Mad Dogs SaddleCloth Gaiters keep your boot tops and socks dry in the heaviest dew or deep snow.

Mad Dog Gear by Stearns has kept the archer in mind by producing products that are not only bowhunting quiet, but also bowhunting practical. No matter if you're an eastern tree stand hunter seeking whitetail deer, or a western high-country stalker chasing a trophy bull elk, Stearns and Mad Dog Gear keep you outfitted in style. To learn more about practical, fowl-weather bowhunting gear from Mad Dog, or to request a catalog, contact: Stearns Inc., Dept. PB, P.O. Box 1498, St. Cloud, MN 56302; (800) 697-5801;
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Publication:Petersen's Bowhunting
Date:Jan 1, 2002
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