By Travis Thompson
Look – I realize this is the 21st century, and we’re all walking around with smartphones and tablets that give us access to Amazon and Basspro and Mack’s and Huntfowl at any time and any place.
There’s just something timeless about opening your mailbox and seeing an outdoors catalog. Maybe it lies on the coffee table, or nightstand, or, ahem, in the bathroom, and it provides us countless hours of flipping it’s pages and daydreaming about the stuff we need, the stuff we want, and the stuff we could only dream about.
For me, no catalog is greater than the Mack’s Prairie Wings annual Waterfowl issue. 90% waterfowl, this is the one dreams are made of.
For some of you, you may not have a copy, or you don’t know what to truly enjoy in your edition. Let’s be honest, everyone knows to order Tanglefree decoys, or Haydel’s wood duck call, or a Max-5 steering wheel cover. But here are some thoughts on a few products we discovered as we flipped through these pages . . .
Big Bertha – Mojo revolutionized duck hunting with their spinning wing technology. The original Mojo changed the game unlike anything we’d ever seen. Then came the different species mojo’s, the floating mojos, the baby mojos, and, now, a mojo with a bilge pump that spits out a rooster tail in timed increments. What is this world coming to?
Full disclosure – I did acquire a Big Bertha last year, and it works as advertised, albeit mine sits a little lopsided and had to be weighted to create the proper “spray” effect . . . It’s the most impressive thing I’ve purchased from Mojo, but I do think it’s a bit much for some of the spooky birds we cross in Florida . . . Probably would be a better fit for some Mississippi flooded timber.
PowerCalls Torque – Far be it from me to begrudge any waterfowler the call of his dreams. But. I feel like someone needs to say this . . .
Does your call really need to be bullet proof? And $250? I have, like, 9 calls on my lanyard that cost a total of $200 and we kill a ton of ducks . . . $250? This thing had better sound like a 900 number operator to a mallard . . .
Banded Black Label Waders – Here we go.
I actually like Banded Waders. I’ve bought 3 pair, and I thought they were the most comfortable and best fitting waders I’d bought.
(There’s always a “but”)
They last about 20 minutes before leaking. I tried Banded customer service. What’s that? They’re 1 year and 2 days old? Nope. Sorry. Out of warranty.
Here’s the deal. $600 is an egregious amount of money for waders, even if they do come with a lifetime warranty. Save your money and spend it at Cabelas or LLBean and get a pair of breathables with a solid warranty for a third of the price. You’ll thank me later.
Higdon Pulsator – This is actually a great product, but the my inner 12 year old won’t let me flip past the page without giggling to myself about the branding . . .
Mack’s Chap Stick – $5 for chap stick???? Where do we apply it?
Browning Head Lamp – $79 – Guys. Listen me. Do NOT spend $79 on this headlamp.
I’m a Browning guy. Truth be told, my daily shooter is a Browning. This isn’t about guns. It’s about headlamps.
Click on the huntfowl.com shop and buy this headlamp. It’s HALF the price. Is it better than the Browning. I don’t know. Why not? Because the huntfowl.com headlamp is AMAZING. I use it for hunting and fishing charters year round, and have 3 of them, and will be purchasing a few more before the season. I don’t know if it’s better, but I do know I can’t imagine ANYTHING being better than this.
So, don’t take this as disparagement of the Browning. Take it as a pro tip to get a great product at half the price . . .
Hevi Shot Ammo – I’m gonna talk to the mirror for a second, here, because I shoot HeviMetal almost exclusively. It’s a great shell, my gun patterns it well, and it drops birds. Plus I can shoot it with my ported chokes. I’m a fan.
I just always do a double take when I see the price. $430 for a case of shotgun shells? I may have to throw a telethon to supplement my hunts this season.
Bling Bags – We’re gonna finish up here, because this is the rant that has been boiling in my waterfowler’s heart for 20 years.
Why in the hell can’t someone make an actual waterproof blind bag?
Yeti just released their new Panga bag, a completely waterproof duffle; why can’t someone slap some Mossy Oak on that sucker and sell it to me?
Look at the bags in this picture: Drake. Banded. Avery. Add in Hardcore, Redhead, and Northern Flight. I’ve tried them all. Know what? Ain’t none of them waterproof.
Am I the only one who thinks this is the single most overlooked item in the waterfowling world? A truly waterproof bag? Know how many HeviShot shells I’ve lost due to rust? Know how much time I’ve spent cleaning my spare choke tubes? We can build a duck call out of carbon fiber but we can’t make a bag that’ll keep my shells dry? Waterfowler’s of America, what say you?