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GORE Optifade Concealment

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In mid-November, I was invited down to Newark, DE for the GORE Labs2Woods Blogger Summit. I had a chance to meet the people at GORE and came away from the experience extremely impressed with GORE as a company and how they stand behind their products.

You see, GORE isn’t like most companies. There isn’t a hierarchical ladder that prevents employees from the bottom from being heard at the top. That might not seem like a big deal at first, but because everyone at GORE is an Associate it means their opinion counts, their voice can be heard, and their ideas can be explored. 

Almost everyone has heard of GORE-TEX and Windstopper, two of GORE’s most noted products, but the company makes everything from fabrics that protect our firemen and astronauts to guitar strings, fishing line, and medical devices that can plug a hole in your heart.

All of these products were developed because GORE gives it’s employees the chance to be different and think outside the box. And that’s the problem GORE set out to solve: How can a hunter get close to an ungulate without being detected at typical engagement distances?

What I really like about GORE is its scientific approach to solving problems. The Company didn’t just decide to enter the camouflage market, they knew hunters wanted to get close to game without being detected and nothing on the market had been designed specifically for hunting ungulates, or hoofed animals.

The problem with traditional mimicry patterns on the market is that they block up into a mass of gray at close range – the range you need to be at for a successful hunt. So while your new HD camo might look amazing on the track at the store, when you’re in the woods the real concern becomes how is the animal going to react when it sees you at close range? And that’s the problem GORE set out to solve: How can a hunter get close to an ungulate without being detected at typical engagement distances?

To help answer these questions and develop a scientific solution GORE brought in a panel of experts including:

Dr. Jay Neitz, an animal vision expert at the University of Washington Medical School in Seattle.

Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Tim O’Neill, Ph.D., widely regarded as the “Father of Digital Camouflage.”

Guy Cramer, founder and CEO of HyperStealth® Biotechnology Corp., designers of digital camouflage patterns.

In 2009, GORE released Optifade Open County, a pattern scientifically designed for engagement ranges of 35 yards and beyond at ground level. The larger neutral areas of the pattern, or the macro-pattern, are more critical to concealment at these engagement ranges, in a landscape of rocks, brush, and scattered trees.

This year GORE released Optifade Forest, a pattern scientifically designed for close engagement ranges of under 20 yards and for elevated angles of attack – typically 15 feet up in a tree stand. At that proximity, the micro-pattern becomes more critical: it compensates for the contrasted, highly detailed background perceived by the prey.

I live in the world of the treestand hunter and spend 95% of my time hunting from a treestand. When you’re 20 feet up in a tree-like I am you have a bright sky, dark leaves and branches and the vertical lines of trees all around you. It’s these lines that make it easier for a whitetail to pick you out of the tree on that cold November morning. Even if you’re wearing mimicry camo you will blob out with every movement you make because most of the mimicry camo patterns don’t have the contrast to break you up.

With help from their panel of experts, GORE figured out that ungulates suffer from red-green color blindness and have a larger field of view than humans. Using this knowledge they were able to test patterns with different colors, macro patterns and micro patterns on live animals and see how they reacted to each pattern. After a long test period, GORE was able to determine which colors worked best for treestand hunters and how to arrange the macro and micro patterns of the camouflage to help the hunter appear as nothing to the eyes of the ungulate.

To help understand the difference between a macro pattern and a micro pattern think about a tiger and a leopard. A tiger is a stalking predator with a macro pattern to help break up its outline as it chases its prey. Leopard’s, on the other hand, are ambush predators and have a micro pattern that helps them blend into the background as they prepare for their attack.

Optifade incorporates a macro pattern of large fragmented shapes – mathematically configured to match those of the animal kingdom – that breaks up your body symmetry and outline. Additionally, Optifade also incorporates a micro pattern of small fragmented shapes – matching the fine texture that defines our world – which makes you fade into the background.

This is the science behind the Optifade pattern that makes it so effective.

I’ll admit, I was hesitant to put on my green looking Optifade Forest and head out to the dead brown woods, but I’ve been successful using Optifade and I’ve watched whitetails look up at me and right through me as if I wasn’t even there. When a deer picks it’s head up, looks in your direction, and goes back to feeding, that’s the ultimate rush as a predator. You’re out there up in your tree and you have your desired game well within bow range without a clue you are there.

Personally, I’ve been extremely impressed with the Optifade pattern and I think GORE hit a home run with this one.

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Product Reviews

Glider Gloves for Bowhunting Deer [PRODUCT REVIEW]

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PROS: touch screen smartphones (tested on iPhone) function with high degree of accuracy, comfortable lightweight material, long cuffs, 10 finger touch screen capability

CONS: fit was slightly off, fingers were a bit short on my pair, not durable enough for use as an active hunting glove, grip material on glove palm creates torque on the bow hand

MSRP: $24.99

Last season I was contacted by Glider Gloves to field test a pair of their Urban Style Touchscreen Gloves. I had previously reviewed a pair of similar gloves by a company called A glove so I welcomed the chance to review these.

Compared to the Agloves, these gloves were higher quality and had a much longer cuff which is something I always look for in a hunting glove. As social media becomes a larger part of hunting and a growing part of NYBowhunter.com I welcomed the chance to be able to easily send updated to my Facebook fans from the tree stand. The Glider Gloves made it easy to text and check email while keeping my hands warm and concealed from the eyes of any nearby whitetail deer.

One thing bowhunters should note is the gloves have a grip on the palm. Some bowhunters, including myself, prefer not to have any grip on their gloves as it helps create torque which lead to less accurate shooting.

These gloves are great at what they were designed to do – be a comfortable touchscreen glove. However, for hunting purposes, you have to remember what these gloves were designed to do. If you plan on wearing these in the field and climbing up to your tree stand day in and day out you’ll rip through these knit gloves in about a month. If you want these gloves to last as a hunting glove you’re better off waiting until you’re settled in the stand before putting them on so there’s less wear and tear on the gloves.

Overall, I’d recommend these gloves if you’re looking for a true touch screen glove. They’re way nicer to use than similar hunting gloves with a silver pad on the pointer finger and thumb. Just remember, they’re not made for hunting, so don’t expect them to last you for several seasons if you’re rough with them.

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Product Reviews

Fuse Mossy Oak Rugged iPhone Case [PRODUCT REVIEW]

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Last spring I was contacted by Paul at Fuse to try out a new case they had for the iPhone called the Mossy Oak Rugged Orange iPhone 4/4S Shell Case. It combined my two favorite colors – hunter orange and camo – so I gave the case a try.

The case is made up of an inner soft rubber case that acts as a shock absorber and a rigid polycarbonate frame on the out side for added protection.

What I really liked about this case was the fact that it wasn’t covered in a sticky rubber like some of my other iPhone cases so it didn’t pull my pocket out of my pants every time I reached for my phone. Another nice feature is the size of the case, it’s not oversized so you still feel like you have a slim smartphone.

My only complaint about the case was that it didn’t come with a screen protector. It wasn’t hard to find a stick on screen protector online, but it would have been nice if the case included one for 360 degree protection.

This iPhone case travelled with me on scouting missions, spring turkey hunts and fall deer hunts. I really liked the phone case and never had any issues with it coming apart on me, in fact I was really impressed on how well it stayed together. One of my previous cases from another manufacturer used to come apart all the time, but the Fuse case just stayed together.

So how did the case hold up? My phone survived a few drops off of the counter top in my kitchen, it slipped out of my hand and dropped on the floor outside several times and I dropped it in the woods more times than I care to remember, but the case took the brunt of all of the hits and the phone didn’t get a scratch. Had I dropped the phone out of the tree stand it would have been a different story, I think only a fully enclosed phone case would really protect in the event of a 20 foot fall (which I’ve done with a previous case and my phone survived).

Overall this is a quality case for the iPhone. Add a clear antiglare screen protector and you’re set. If you’re looking for a stylish phone case give the Fuse Mossy Oak Rugged iPhone Case a try.

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Product Reviews

Bowtech Releases its First Carbon Riser Bow the Carbon Knight

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Bowtech Archery has released it’s first carbon riser bow – the Carbon Knight. Following the lead of Hoyt with the Carbon Matrix back in 2010, the new Carbon Knight from Bowtech weighs in at just 3.2 pounds (compared to 3.6 pounds for Hoyt’s Carbon Element G3).

Most manufacturers launch their new bows in the early fall (Bowtech usually launches their new bows at the ATA Show), but this one was “just too good to hold any longer,” says Samuel Coalson, Director of Marketing for Bowtech.

The Carbon Knight is said to have a smooth draw and plenty of speed at 330 feet per second. The Carbon Knight features Bowtech’s binary cam design, the Knight Riser constructed from durable carbon, a 7-inch brace height for forgiveness and a 32-inch axle-to-axle length. Draw lengths range from 26.5″ to 30.5″ and draw weights from 50 to 70 pounds in ten pound increments.

The bow is available in Black Ops and retails for $849 (Hoyt’s carbon bows are in the $1,200 range).

The new Carbon Knight definitely looks like an interesting bow and it’s a bow I’d like to try out and compare to some of the other carbon bows currently on the market. If you get a chance to shoot one leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

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