If there is one thing every deer hunter learns the hard way, it is that there is a sucker born every minute. Let's face it, the outdoor world is filled with tons of silly gimmick hunting gear products that just do not work as advertised. A while back I did a rundown of gimmick fishing lures that advertised this point perfectly. Stuff like the "Flying Lure" or the "Banjo Minnow" which ran on late-night TV informercials and caught nothing once you finally did order them.
Naturally, there are lot of these same gimmick products out there for hunting. In fact, the deeper we dug, the more we found. Unlike the gimmick fishing lures, gimmick hunting products take on a whole new level of ridiculous.
These silly products just never worked as advertised. Most were gone from the shelves of your local Cabela's or Bass Pro Shops quickly. Most left the poor hunters who bought them feeling stupid, and wishing they had spent their hard-earned money on a piece of gear that would be far more useful that hunting season like a new rangefinder or some camo hunting clothes.
This one is a top contender for the silliest hunting call in all existence. Made by Hunter's Specialties, this call was meant to "simulate the sound of a deer chewing on acorns." Some of you may be asking "why?" Well, the gimmick with this one was the call was meant as a "calming solution" for skittery deer. The whole thought was a deer on edge that hears other deer munching away will be less likely to spook. I never bought this one myself, but I've never seen a single review that did not express buyer's remorse. Mostly because the reviews were mostly universal. This thing simply did not work.
Gum cover scent
Have you ever thought you may be taking things a little too far with your scent control? First, we had the soaps, shampoos, deodorants, and scent-free detergents. Later we had ozone generators and specialty charcoal suits from companies like Scent-Lok. I knew scent control had officially jumped the shark the first time I saw gum meant to mask the smell of your breath. Talk about taking scent elimination seriously! This is another one I have not tried, but I've talked to sportsmen and women who did. They all said it tasted terrible and left them wondering why they had flushed their money away. It was a short-lived product that quickly found itself piled in the clearance sections of many a Walmart or Bass Pro Shops. Even then, we are wondering how many actually sold.
There have been a few different variants of this ridiculous hunting equipment idea. Hunters know you should always set up your treestand early if you want to get the deer accustomed to it before the season starts. Well, a few people have had the idea of a decoy hunter you set up in your favorite spot to get the big bucks feeling more secure before your hunt. We found a commercial for one such product on YouTube. I distinctly remember seeing an ad for an inflatable one in a hunting magazine back in the mid-1990s too. Obviously, this idea never took off because what self-respecting hunter would seriously purchase and place one of these in the woods? Your hunting buddies would never stop laughing if they saw you using one of these!
The ground grunter
This is one I did not learn about until recently. This is probably the most ridiculous grunt call ever made for deer season. Which is really saying something in the world of silly hunting gimmicks. The marketing spin on this was deer don't live in trees, so you need to make your rut call sequence sound like it is at ground level. Therefore, this call snaked a long tube down near the ground, so your grunts sounded "more realistic." There are some spectacularly bad reviews for this one online. Most hunters who bought one say the sound does not travel well to the bottom of the tube, which kind of defeats the whole point of it. Also, this seems like something anyone could make with a standard grunt call, a little rubber hose and PVC pipe if they really wanted one.
The Deerview mirror
We have all been there. You are sitting in your treestand or ground blind and hear leaves crunching directly behind your tree. Is it a squirrel? Or the whitetail buck of a lifetime? It is impossible to know without turning or cranking your head around in the stand, possibly spooking the animal out of archery range. The idea behind the deerview mirror was to allow you to see what small or big game was sneaking up behind you. I couldn't even find a recent photo of one, but most had an arm with a clamp to hook onto your treestand. This is another short-lived product because of the absolute absurdity of it. Many who bought it said it was hard to angle into the right position and it would reflect light all over the forest. Also, while it worked fine in the early season, on cold mornings the mirror would frost up, rendering it a worthless addition to your hunting pack.
Vehicle deer whistles
While this technically is not a hunting product, it is close, and we felt bears mentioning on this list. These things have been on sale for as long as we can remember. The whole idea is they emit a sound that alerts deer while you're driving and helps you avoid unwanted car/deer collisions. Sounds like a great safety feature in concept, however there is no proof these things work. Even one of the Amazon listings we have found for the modern ones seems unsure as to their effectiveness. How about simply slowing down in the areas you know deer are active during dawn and just after dusk instead?
Scent free gun cleaning products.
We could almost make this entire list about scent control products alone. Cleaning solutions and gun oils are notoriously smelly, which is why we should not be surprised many companies are now embracing scent-free oils and gunpowder solvents. Like the scent control gum, this just feels like things have been taken a step too far. Our grandfathers did not need scent-free oil to be successful in the field. You are probably better off investing in some new ammo this season.
The cough silencer
To be fair, the idea behind this is a good one. Because a nasty cough can cost you, especially during bowhunting season when you need to get close to your quarry. Unfortunately, this product simply did not work as advertised for most. I read many angry reviews from hunters who took the thing apart to find it was just a tube filled with cotton. Personally, I just use cough drops whenever I've got a cough during deer season. It's a lot cheaper and works every time.
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