Updated: Feb 21, 2019
Article and Photos by: Beau Martonik
I admit, I can be a gear junkie sometimes... Ok, maybe all the time. I love trying new things and some work out, some don't. This past season there were 5 new pieces of gear (to me) that were game-changers that will be in my pack for years to come. These pieces of gear and accessories were tested from the end of September through January with more days spent in the whitetail woods than ever before. From the Appalachian mountain region of the Pennsylvania Wilds to the Bow Zone of Alberta, with weather ranging from 80 degrees down to below 0, I used these items on almost every hunt.
1. Wild Carrot Scents
I've never been a huge fan of using scents for hunting whitetails. The reason being is that depending on the deer's personality they'll either love it or hate it. In addition, most scents can be messy and get all over you and your pack because of the way that they are packaged. I've been a big fan of using Pre-orbital gland on the licking branch in the past and still use it to this day. When I heard about this new company, Wild Carrot, their packaging first and foremost caught my eye. They use single use, tear away packages that create literally no mess. In addition, their urine comes from one of the top deer farms right here in Pennsylvania, so I decided to give it a try. I used the doe urine, estrus doe and dominant buck scents to hang on a scrape licking branch. They're advertised as single use, but don't take that the wrong way. You can leave them on the branch for an extended period of time in front of a camera on a scrape or in front of a stand site. After an entire season of use in front of 12+ cameras and multiple stand sites, I haven't experienced any bad reactions from deer and many positive experiences. Whether I was sitting at the right spot or not, is a different story.
2. Maven Optics B.3 8x30 Binoculars
I've been using Maven Optics for 3 years now with their B.2 9x45 series, but this year I decided to give one of their smaller pairs a try. The B.2's are great for elk hunting and just about everything else, but I wanted something a little smaller for whitetails. They needed to be great in low light, but still be light enough to use while run and gunning for mountain whitetails. The Maven B.3's fit those requirements. I put these binos through some serious abuse this season. From banging off the climbing sticks and cherry trees while hanging stands, to ice storms in Alberta, and they never failed me. I chose to wear these with a regular harness rather than an enclosed bino bivy making them exposed to the weather and dirt/dust. With that being said, the focus mechanism never felt anything but smooth without fault. I wear my binos around my neck constantly, even in the stand rather than hanging them next to me for quick operation. The edge clarity and depth of field was very comparable to my B.2's with a price point of only $525. After investing in a good pair of optics, I don't think I could go back. They are jus that; an investment. The no fault, lifetime warranty protects your investment, because let's face it, accidents happen! I would highly recommend these optics to anyone looking for a new pair of glass for whitetail hunting, shed hunting and turkey hunting.
3. Sitka Gear Celsius Midi
It's no secret that I'm a believer in Sitka Gear and have been for 5 years now. I chose to add the Celsius midi to this list for multiple reasons. Most importantly, this piece of gear is incredibly lightweight for the amount of warmth it provides featuring 100 g/m2 of Primaloft Silver insulation. Within that lightweight package, it packs down into basically nothing which gave it home in my pack on every hunt this year. When you're hunting mountain bucks and packing miles into the big woods, space is critical in your pack. With all whitetail gear, I need clothing that is silent. This jacket is as quiet as they come, but still packs down like a typical puffy jacket. The harness port makes it easy to layer up and down when conditions change. I wore this piece primarily as an insulation piece under my Stratus Jacket or Fanatic Vest, but used it as an outer layer throughout mid-October with it breathing well enough to hike in on those frosty mornings without working up a sweat. I can't see myself going into the woods without it anymore.
4. Heather's Choice Packaroons
I don't know about you, but I NEED snacks while I'm pulling all day sits in November! I like snacks that have high calories per ounce so that I can get away with bringing less food, but still never feel hungry. This is where Heather's Choice came through with their packaroons. I started using them on western big game hunts, but quickly realized that they are great for sitting in the treestand and for days spent covering a lot of ground scouting. With roughly 320 calories in 2 small cookies, they are healthy and filling at the same time. They have multiple flavors to choose from, with my personal favorite being Black Expresso. Heather was nice enough to offer an exclusive deal to East Meets West followers. Enter code EASTMEETSWEST at checkout and get free shipping off of all orders over $100!
5. Prime Logic
I'm the last person to tell you that a bow will make you successful or not. With that being said, the Prime Logic is truly a bow that fit my needs. Short enough to maneuver in the treestand, but balanced enough to hold on target with ease. I've shot a lot of bows over the last few years while working in an archery shop, but out of all of them, I chose this bow. You can tell that it's built for the hunter. Centergy technology creates quick target acquisition and the parallel cams virtually eliminate cam lean. The bow stayed in tune all year and shot my Iron Will fixed blade broadheads out to 80 yards with no issues (if I missed, it was my fault). Coming from someone that has struggled with target panic and not being able to get the pin up on the target, the center grip seemed to help me find my center much easier! Due to the natural balance of the bow, I didn't need to run a heavy backbar stabilizer for the bow to feel good at full draw. Lastly, Prime has the best warranty in the business including their free strings for life program where they will send you new strings every two years FREE OF CHARGE!
As I stated above, I admit, I'm a gear junkie. If something doesn't work the way I want it to, I replace it. These 5 items are ones that I have no problem recommending to anyone to use in the whitetail woods. What are your go-to gear choices in regards to whitetail hunting?