2006 SHOT Show Product Review — Part Two

Many vendors at the SHOT Show seem bent on a philosophy of building a “better mouse trap.”   Call it marketing…call it entrepreneurship…call it whatever you want.   If you’re not one of the big players at the SHOT, such as a Remington, a Leupold, or a Mossy Oak…you have to fight for attention and ultimately acceptance of your hunting products by the buying public.   Indeed, many of the products shown to the dealers by the “little guys” will never survive beyond a few years of sales…and that’s okay.   Over the years there have been many products in the outdoor world that have come and gone without much fanfare…and that is to be expected in a highly competitive sales world.

In this blog feature it is important for you to understand that I am not necessarily endorsing the few products I’ve selected.   Instead, I’ve randomly picked them out as representative of what is new and soon to be available for the sportsman during 2006.   Time will tell if the products ever become a sales success or exactly what fate will eventually come their way.

Lodge Cookware

Alright, I’ll be the first to admit that mentioning cast iron cookware is not exactly a new product to most sportsmen.   In fact, it may be one of the older products that could even be featured at such a new product show.   Still, this cooking utensil deserves another look by sportsmen for some of the enduring qualities that HAVE definitely stood the test of time.   Quite honestly, if you’re a sportsman and cooking with anything other than cast iron in camp there’s a certain sacrilegiousness attributed to that act.

Fortunately, Lodge Manufacturing has taken some of the tedious care aspects of cooking with cast out of the equation.   About two years ago Lodge came out with their new factory seasoned cookware that means each pot or skillet is ready to use immediately when you bring it home from the store.   No more hassles with seasoning the raw cast cookware to get the perfect finish before use…it’s already been done at the factory.   That doesn’t mean the cookware owner can be careless…you still need to understand how to properly clean cast after each use…but with the pre-seasoned cookware this once initial chore of new cast ownership has been eliminated.   Give this line of outdoor cooking products another look if you haven’t done so for a few years.

Trail StarzTrailstar

Remember back a few years ago when marking the trail to your deer stand meant using plastic flagging tape?   Who could miss the brightly colored, plastic ribbon-like material that alerted everyone to your stand placement.   Then about 20 years ago some ingenious entrepreneurs came out with the little reflective thumbtacks and bread (twist) ties and suddenly the woodland trail was still marked for those early morning treks…but a flashlight was now needed to decipher the true path in the darkness of the pre-dawn hours.

But us sportsmen now live in a high-tech world where it simply is not in vogue to use ribbon or reflective material anymore to mark a trail.   If you still do, shame, shame for being so old-fashioned!!!   Nope, today’s deer hunter needs the woods to be as high-tech as most other aspects of his life.   Introducing the L.E.D. trail marker that can be used in a number of different ways.   Leave them strategically placed as you leave the woods in the previous evening to find the same location the next morning.   Or use them as an aid in recovering downed game after sun-down.   The bottom line is these are little marker lights that shine bright and will serve as a beacon to get you back to where you want to be.   Downside…well, they take three little button cell batteries and only last about 60 hours.   That’s not bad…but check out your replacement battery costs before investing too heavily in this little device.

Cough Mufflers

Yea, you’ve probably heard about this product before.   I remember something similar to it out on the market about five years or so ago.   Still, you have to hand it to anyone who thinks they can sell a product to reduce or minimize the negative effects of a common body function.   I suppose if you are prone to coughing a lot while in the deer stand…then this isn’t such a bad idea.   But c’mon…there’s got to be a limit to what a hunter will drag out in the woods with them…and I think bringing a muffler to suppress a cough might just have surpassed that limit.   Still, you be the judge.

Come to think of it, the sample of the last cough muffler I had (from a different company) I gave to a friend with some special instructions.   Seems to me I told him that he needed it not to suppress his coughing…but to “stick it” in some other orifice to see if it might perform double duty. 

Little Sure Shot Gun Rest

Here’s an ingenious little product that is probably not completely original, either…but one can quickly see the practical nature of making your own gun rest out of materials found in the field.   Just find a suitable stick and you’re in business…you have a sturdy gun rest that will enable you to make a better shot when the moment of truth finally arrives.   I can envision this product being useful for anything from shooting prairie dogs to elk.   Best of all, the device is compact and light-weight enough to reasonably pack into the field on most hunting trips.

HuntinhoistHuntin Hoist

Last but not least is another product this is not exactly original…but nevertheless is a good idea not only for safety’s sake but also for convenience for the stand hunter.   It’s a little device that attaches to your deer stand and allows you to transport all your gear from the ground into your stand once you are safely positioned and ready to accept it.   Think of it somewhat like one of those retractable dog leashes you can purchase at the pet supply store.   Come to think of it…at about half the price…maybe the dog leash would be a suitable alternative to this little device…albeit not with all the same bells and whistles.

Oh, there were lots more products that probably deserve my mention from this year’s 28th annual get-together at the SHOT Show…but I hope this gives you some of the flavor of what walking the show was like.   Most of the booths were filled with high hopes and optimism that this was the year their products were going to become big market sellers.   And who knows…as things turn out some of them might just be right in that thinking.

© 2006 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.   No Reproduction without Prior Permission.