This year's ATA Trade Show was everything we hoped it would be, but these are the products we were the most fond of.
When Wide Open Spaces' David Schlake and Daryk Ganske went to ATA 2020 in Indianapolis, they knew what to expect.
They'd tested out countless bows the year before, checking out the latest and greatest gear in between each shooting session.
Unlike last year, however, they decided to rank their favorite products that debuted at the show and share their impressions on each.
David's Top 3
As a lifelong hunter, I've seen the industry grow tremendously with technology, a trend consistently positioned under ATA's spotlight.
It's my belief that modern improvements help attract new hunters, and the competitive dynamic of a progressive market raises the collective bar for the gear we depend on in the field.
Per usual, ATA offered some revolutionary gear, but it also showed some everyday products that boasted top-tier quality.
Bear Divergent EKO
Is it wrong to say the one thing that set this bow apart for me was the camouflage pattern?
That said, while all of this year's newest bows offered a wide variety of new, innovative features, the Bear Divergent EKO was no different.
The EKO cams allow for adjustable let-off (75, 80, 85, or 90 percent) to for the finest tuning. And, at 338 fps, it keeps up with the best of the best.
But at the end of the day, I'm just a sucker for that Fred Bear camo pattern.
YETI Trailhead Camp Chair
While YETI has become a controversial name for a number of reasons, I value long-lasting gear.
And, one item I'm tired of replacing is my camp chair, as every one seems to either be too cheap, too heavy and bulky or lacking in comfort.
YETI's first take on camp chairs, the Hondo Base Camp Chair, had the durability and comfort figured out, but it didn't fold down to a packable size.
That all changed with the Trailhead Camp Chair, which folds into a bag with just the pull of a handle and two button clicks.
The bag then features two backpack straps to make transportation easier.
TrueTimber Inflatable Ground Blind
Have you ever wanted to hike into public land but didn't want to tote a full-size ground blind? Well, TrueTimber just made life a whole lot easier.
In a surprise ATA announcement, TrueTimber debuted its new inflatable ground blind, which offers hunters a more portable, efficient option when hunting from the ground.
By simply deflating the frame of the blind, hunters are able to pack it into a small backpack that still offers pockets for your typical hunting gear.
Daryk's Top 3
I've been deer hunting for 14 years now and this is my third ATA show. Each year it seems like I learn something new from the bucks I harvest and the bowhunting equipment I use, and this year was no different.
There were a handful of products I will be reaching for in my 2020 hunting season.
Mathew's slogan, "Catch us if you can," hit right at home this year when they showed off their new improvements to the VXR.
Each year you can expect the top bow brand to improve vibration stabilization, speed and weight, but this year they added in something we'd been waiting for in the Silent Connect System.
With the SCS, you can now connect a bow sling that won't pull on cams or affect any tuning of your bow, but rather attach to easily installable posts on your limb pockets.
Gone are the days of walking through the woods and your bow falling out of the clip-on bow slings.
There's no doubt about it, I'll be toting my bow with a sling next season.
Millennium Buck Hut
I'm not going to lie to you. The later the season goes, the more tired I get of freezing in the open breeze on my tripod. It's part of being a patient whitetail hunter, but it'll all change this year.
Millennium released its all-new Buck Hut, which is just small enough to fit in the same tree pocket where my tripod stands.
The stand features fabric siding and a metal skeleton that cuts the winter wind and keeps me yards from the shooting lanes. This entire rig hits your checking account at $699 and features the same comfortable seating you'd find in Millennium's treestands.
Big & J Deer Scents
Deer in Texas are about the most habitual deer in the country. They wake up in the morning, check the feeders for fresh corn or protein, and then head straight back to the bedding grounds.
The only thing that affects this rotation is the rut, and Big & J made a scent for that, too.
It's a given that estrus smell brings in the big bucks during rut periods, so what sets Big & J's spray apart?
I got to sit down with their engineers, who assured me they find the best doe estrus on the market. In fact, I could smell the faint scent of the rut wafting through the booth.
These guys combat baiting restrictions by coming out with oil-based scents that match what you're feeding in the scouting period. When you lay down the spray, the mist lingers in the area for longer and sticks better to the material you cover.
Stay tuned for more ATA 2020 coverage!
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