While the grouse season up north opens October 1st I generally don't start seriously hunting until around the 15th of October. Generally it's still quite warm before then, and unless there has been a heavy rain there can be a lot of leaves still up on the trees. That said, It's been quite some time, perhaps 10 years or more since I've made an early season, opening day dash to Maine. In the past I'd spent a few early days in the Down East region, and often shot an opening day grouse there. I love the state of Maine, and am considering making a quick, budget trip up there.
As the weather is still quite warm during the earlier part of the season I thought it would be a good idea to get a shirt more suited to the weather. Hunting clothing are usually quite warm. I decided to go the athletic route.
What do you think?
And now a quick word about Under Armour. There has been a lot of people going on about Under Armour being anti-hunting. This is not true. Yes, UA did fire one of their Prostaffers. Yes, the firing might have been contivertial, or unjust. But UA has not stopped supporting the field sports and hunting. UA still has hunting pro staffers. Still makes hunting apparel. Still produces the Ridge Reaper TV show. UA still supports hunting. They just fired one individual. If they'd have fired one of golf or tennis pros, would they then be anti- golf, or anti-tennis? Lay off the hype.
I've picked up some new kit for the upcoming season. As I've stated before, my primary hunting boots are Wellies, but I'd been contemplating giving lace-ups a try. I took the plunge, and bought a pair of Cabelas by Meindle. I'd been looking at Meindle boots, and hearing good things about them. After hearing a serious grouse fool, cover dog fool, hunting guide friend rave about them, I knew they had to be good. As fate would have it, they were not only on sale, but the young man working the register at Cabelas gave me the military discount in lieu of a public safety/first responder discount, which cabbalas doesn't offer (yet Bass Pro does).
I also found a great deal, online, of a light weight, packable, breathable, water proof shooting coat. So I now own another article of Musto clothing. Truthfully, one can't go wrong with Musto. This coat, as well as the new boots, will be making the trip to England with me this year.
I also decided it was time for a new upland hunting vest. I like a strap vest, but I carry quite a bit of stuff with me, so I need storage space. Because I often walk/hike a long way into the woods on my outings I also wanted something that has a lumbar belt to carry the weight on my hips. I looked at quite a few. Some were nice, others not quite there.
One of the first vests I looked at was the LL Bean Pat'ridge II. I really wanted to like this vest, but it needs improvement. The lumbar belt was nice, but the vest lacked adjustability in the back. The belt is attached too high to the game bag, so the entire back section rides up, and the straps bulge out. A loaded game bag would pull down and back at an uncomfortable angle. If changed slightly, this vest would be very nice.
I also looked at the LL Bean Technical Upland Vest Pack. Believe it or not, this thing is pretty nice. It's not got much style, but it has got lots of adjustability, and storage. No doubt this could be an all day hunting vest. The issue that kept me from buying it was the pockets. The front pockets are basically designed so that a box of shells fits right into each pocket. Who keeps that many shells, and only shells in their pockets? In addition to shells I carry a knife, GPS, EMT gel, a compass, a snack, and several other small essentials up front. With a couple of proper pockets, this vest could be a keeper.
The Browning Bird n Lite vest was also on my short list. This vest has been around for a while, and gets the job done. Nothing kept me from buying this vest other than a better deal coming along.
In the end, I ended up ordering a Q5 San Carlos vest through a friend who is a pro staffer for Q5. Unlike the others, the San Carlos rides lower, primarily around the hips, with only the straps running up your back. I like this because I tend to sweat right in the middle of my back and don't need a vest helping that along. I haven't got the vest in hand yet. I'll be picking it up next weekend, but I'll be sure to review it later.
Q5 also makes an upland bird belt. I am very intrigued by the belt, but don't think it'll satisfy my requirements as a hunting accessory, however, it may make a nice dog training belt at some time in the future.
And that my friends, is all I've got for you.