Treestands & blinds.
Weighing in at less than 3 pounds, the all-new Elite Series vest from Hunter Safety System is packed with features for all-season hunting. The Elite (also pictured above) marries Hunter Safety's proven, full-body harness technology with a quiet, comfortable, zippered vest that makes getting it on and off a cinch. The Elite harness eliminates dangling straps and weave-through buckles and features a new, lighter tether strap that provides more shock absorption. The exterior features Realtree Xtra camo and a two-way zipper that protects the harness waist buckle and prevents binoculars and other accessories from knocking against it. The brushed, micro-tricot shell is quiet and weather resistant, while the stretchable material in the Right-Fit zone keeps the Elite snug and smooth. The shoulder area features a silicone print that prevents backpacks and slings from slipping. The Elite also features an inner Comfort Cool fabric lining that wicks moisture during hot hunts. Finally, the Elite offers plenty of gear storage in the form of two large bellows pockets with magnetic closures, two divider pockets to keep gear separated and quiet, and two quick-access pockets for instant access to items such as cell phones and mouth calls. Zippered pockets in the upper portion of the vest house removable binocular straps.
Contact: Hunter Safety System, 877-296-3528;
Make a Quick Strike
When the rut is on, the ability to slip into a hot area undetected is critical. The all-new Cobra SD climber from Summit Treestands will help you do just that. This open-front climber is ideal for unobstructed bow shooting from either a seated or standing position. And at just 18 pounds, the Cobra SD won't wear you out getting from the truck to the tree. The SD in the name stands for Summit's exclusive Sound Dampening Technology inside the aluminum frame that reduces unwanted noises that could spook that buck of a lifetime. The Cobra SD is extremely sturdy thanks to Summitlokt joints that are welded for even more toughness. The full-sized, five-channel platform offers plenty of room to maneuver, while the sling-style seat and padded arm rests provide the comfort hunters need for long sits and Realtree AP camo fabric for added concealment. The Cobra SD also features Summit's Rapid Climb stirrups, comes with backpack straps and is rated for loads up to 300 pounds.
Contact: Summit Treestands, 256-353-0634; www.summitstands.com
Ameristep has partnered with Lightspeed Outdoors to create a new line of ground blinds featuring Lightspeed's patented hub and pole systems. The sturdy Lightspeed side-draw hubs open in a flash. Simply give them a quick pull and the blind is open. Ameristep's new Lightspeeci Edge is a roomy setup with an 84x98-inch footprint, 67- inch front height and 54-inch shooting width, making it ideal for bowhunting with multiple people. Yet it weighs just 12 pounds and packs down into a carrying case that measures just 10 inches wide and 35 inches long. The Edge's versatile window system features one front window with 180-degree viewing and two side windows, all of which can be easily adjusted for optimal viewing and shooting. The Edge blind is concealed with new Realtree Xtra camouflage.
Contact: Ameristep, 810-686-4035; www.ameristep.com
The new Tree Spider Speed Harness from Robinson Outdoor Products features the patented Spider Speed Clips integration system that allows users to attach their harness directly to the company's compatible ScentBlocker clothing, eliminating the hassle of layering a safety harness with the rest of your bowhunting gear. The Speed Harness features a comfortable X-Web fit, two Venom leg buckles, adjustable YKK chest buckle, Ario Mesh Back, Bungee Tether, vertical climbing loops for use with a lineman's belt and fully adjustable shoulder and leg straps. The Speed Harness is available in sizes from S-3XL and can accommodate users weighing up to 300 pounds. Comes with aluminum Powerlink carabineer, tree strap and sus-pension-relief strap.
Contact: Robinson Outdoor Products, 800-397-1927;
In the Black
The RedHead Blackout hub-style ground blind from Bass Pro features a black interior that conceals movement from nearby game. The Blackout is easy to set up, accommodates multiple hunters and features vertical shooting windows that are ideal for bowhunting. Window openings feature zippered openings on the outside and shoot-through mesh coverings that can silently be adjusted from the inside. The Blackout weighs 21 pounds, stands 73 inches tall at the center and is 82.5 inches square at the hubs. The entire blind is cloaked in Realtree AP camo and comes with backpack-style storage bag.
Contact: Bass Pro Shops, 800-227-7776;
Be A Muddy Hunter
The Hunter Hang-On aluminum treestand is the most popular model in the Muddy Outdoors lineup. This 14-pound stand features an oversized 24x34-inch foot platform that is welded at each point of contact for safe, solid, quiet performance. All Muddy stands have the best leveling system in the industry. Just pull the knob and slide the leveler to desired position. The waterproof seat is padded with three inches of triple-layer foam and can be quickly and silently adjusted for maximum comfort throughout the hunt. The Hunter hang-on is TMA certified and rated for loads up to 300 pounds. It comes with an optional footrest and free, three-year strap replacement.
Contact Muddy Outdoors, 877-366-8339;
Packable Ladder Stand
The new Hunter's Elite System from Outdoor Life Products combines the comfort and convenience of ladder stands with the portability of hang-on stands. The system consists of a telescoping, aluminum ladder that works interchangeably with your choice of five hang-on style stands. The 26-pound ladder measures just 3.5 feet long when closed and is easily carried on a hunter's back. When deployed, however, the 12-rung ladder is 12.5 feet tall. The telescoping ladder attaches directly to the bottom of Hunter's Elite System hang-on stands, allowing you to hang and access your stands with the convenience of a ladder. And because you can take the ladder with you when you leave, there is virtually no chance of your hang-on being stolen. Hunters can also install multiple hang-ons and use the same ladder to access each location. The Big Boss stand (shown in photo) features a 20x22-inch foot platform, 22x12-inch padded seat with backrest, padded armrests and an adjustable shooting rail. When used in combination with the Hunter's Elite System ladder, the Big Boss measures 16 feet tall to the shooting rail.
MSRP: $449-$599 (ladder/stand combo, varies by stand model)
Contact: Outdoor Life Products, 815-469-3929;
Not Seeing is Believing
The GhostBlind Predator features four reflective mirror panels that allow hunters to virtually disappear by blending perfectly with their surroundings. Unlike other blinds that offer only one camouflage pattern, a GhostBlind offers unmatched versatility that is equally effective in the spring turkey woods as it is in snowy, late-season deer woods. Designed to eliminate sun glare, the 12-pound Predator blind measures 102 inches wide by 46 inches high and only reflects the area directly in front of the unit. The Predator blind is ideal for both vertical bowhunters and crossbow users, as it allows easy shooting from both a seated or standing position. Comes with carrying strap, tent stakes, tie downs, two bungee cords and instructions.
Contact: GhostBlind Industries, 877-751-4868;
A Condo for Deer Thugs
The new Mossy Oak Deer THUGS. Sportsman's Condo blind from Southern Outdoor Technologies offers the mobility of a pop-up blind with the durability, concealment and scent-containing advantages of a solid blind. Inspired by the popular Deer THUGS, TV series, the blind was designed with input from Mossy Oak's Ronnie "Cuz" Strickland. The Deer THUGS. bunker-style condo weighs 175 pounds and is large enough for two hunters, whether using bows, crossbows or firearms. It can also accommodate disabled hunters in wheelchairs.
The exterior of the blind can easily be painted or brushed in with local vegetation to blend with both agricultural and woodland settings in all seasons. Sportsman's Condo blinds come fully assembled with no seams and are constructed of durable, weatherproof polyethylene that will not rot or rust.
Contact: Southern Outdoor Technologies, 662-295-5702;
It's Flipping Wide!
The Wide Flip-Top Climber Combo from Lone Wolf Stands combines the best features from the company's popular Sit & Climb Climber and Alpha Hang-On products. The climbing aid features a wide stance for easy seated I climbing, while the padded seat is mounted higher to keep you in the ready position and flips up and out of the way for the shot. The Wide Flip-Top Climber features a huge, 30x19(1/2)-inch cast aluminum foot platform, while the seat measures a generous 14x12 inches. The stand weighs 21 pounds and is rated for loads up to 350 pounds. It fits trees from 9-19 inches in diameter and comes with backpack straps, bungee cord and TMA-certified full-body harness.
Contact: Lone Wolf Stands, 309-691-9653;
Relax in the Den
The new Cabela's Predator Den is a quick-set, hub-style ground blind made of premium, black-backed, water-resistant Predator Deception Brown camouflage fabric. This blind measures 75 inches square at the base, is 67 inches tall in the center and weighs 19.1 pounds. All windows are covered with removable, shoot-through mesh plus YKK-zippered fabric flaps and tie-downs. Two interior gear pockets keep hunting items off the ground. A full-length YKK zipper allows easy blind entrance and exit. Nine stakes and four tie-down ropes are included.
Contact: Cabela's, 800-237-4444;
Take It To Them
Millennium Treestands designed the new M25 Hang-On for bowhunters who would rather go to the action than sit back and wait for it. The compact M25 doesn't skimp on comfort thanks to Millennium's ComfortMax Seat, yet it's still maneuverable enough to be ideal for a quick ambush setup. The 17-pound steel stand can handle loads up to 300 pounds, while the 24x30-inch foot platform gives you ample room to shift into shooting position. And to top it all off, the M25 is reasonably priced, making it an excellent choice for bow-hunters on a budget.
Contact: Millennium Treestands, 601-932-5832; www.millenniumstands.com
Add Stealth to Your Shot
The new Magnum Tripod Chair from Hunter's Specialties features a large, comfortable triangular seat with flared backrest. It has a durable steel frame and comes in black to blend in to the inside of a pop-up blind. The chair weighs only 6.5 pounds and is just the right height for shooting from a blind. It also works great while camping or fishing.
Contact: Hunter's Specialties, 319-395-0321;
Bowhunting Goes Big
Barronett's bestselling Big Mike Blind has some inch new features for 2013, including shoot-through mesh window coverings that can now be adjusted from the inside. As the name implies, the hallmark of the Big Mike is its size, particularly the 80-inch ced, center height that allows bowhunters to shoot standing up. The Big Mike measures 59 inches square at the base and a generous 75 inches square at mid-height. A unique, five-panel window system allows for a variety of custom horizontal and vertical shooting configurations. The Big Mike weighs 14 pounds and comes with tie-downs, stakes and backpack-style carry case. Finish options include Bloodtrail Woodlands camo (pictured) and Bloodtrail Blades camo.
Contact: Barronett Blinds, 800-450-3343;
The new, 16-inch 360 Chair from HuntMore offers the same comfort and silent swivel action as the original 19-inch version in a slightly smaller package. The 16-inch 360 Chair weighs 10.5 pounds--a full 1.5 pounds lighter than the original--and features a 16x16x16-inch seat pad. Both the seat pad and dual back supports are made from closed-cell foam that provides plenty of support and feels warm in cold weather. Like the original, it rotates silently 360 degrees so you can pivot and shoot from any angle with minimal movement. The collapsible aluminum frame has adjustable legs that allow you to position the seat from 16-22 inches off the ground. Large 4.5x4-inch "duck feet" provide a stable base even in soft soil. Rated for users up to 250 pounds.
Contact: HuntMore, 616-399-4673; www.huntmore.biz
Seal Your Scent
The SCENTite Deluxe Blind from Advantage Hunting features a patented, scent-proof design that traps human odors (F inside and vents them out through an exhaust pipe more than 30 feet above the ground, ensuring you don't get busted by wary game. The SCENTite Deluxe is available with either a trap door or full-size walk-in door and can be used either on the ground or with one of the company's lift kits. The Deluxe blind is constructed from durable, weatherproof polyethylene that is virtually maintenance free. Tinted polycarbonate windows are gasket sealed to keep scent in and the elements out. However, they flip up and out of the way when it's time to shoot. The blind also features a pressure treated plywood floor with carpeting to keep noise to a minimum. The two-person, full-door Deluxe blind weighs 185 pounds, stands 6 feet, 11 inches tall and offers 22 square feet of interior space.
Contact: Advantage Hunting, 800-772-7679; www.advantagehunting.com
Room for Two
The new Nexus two-person, 20-foot ladder from Big Game Treestands features a large. 42x34-inch platform that allows for a full range of motion, plus Zero-Gravity Flex-Tek seats for all-day comfort. The Nexus boasts Big Dog's new RST (Rigid Steel Tubing), DXT (Deluxe Xtreme Tubing) and D-Force expanded metal platform, all of which make the stand extra strong and stable. Other highlights include a flip-out footrest, padded and adjustable shooting rail, two accessory hooks and two drink holders. Comes with two ratchet straps, two stabilizer straps and two TMA-certified full-body harnesses. The Nexus weighs 116 pounds and is rated for loads up to 500 pounds.
Contact: Big Game Trees-tends, 800-268-5077;