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Gearing Up for the 2003 Waterfowl Season

by John Dean, Jr.

Drake Waterfowl Systems
Drake Waterfowl Systems specialty clothing is designed by waterfowlers for waterfowlers. Their line of clothing is well thought out and integrates years of practical hunting experience into every product.

WaderTec™ Guide Bib
The first product we have field tested for Drake Waterfowl Systems was the “WaderTec Guide Bib”. This Guide Bib Long Underwear System is designed for maximum comfort on the coldest days. The union suit design is made of soft low-pile micro-fleece that holds tight to the body to maximize warmth, yet offers exceptional mobility with minimal bulk.

The one-piece suit will never come untucked like its predecessor – two-piece long johns. Step-in, zip-up and you will immediately feel warmth. The micro-fleece lining functions as a moisture control layer which wicks sweat away from your body keeping you dry and warm even during high activity periods. A feature men will like (not found on many of the union suits we tested) is the double zipper construction. This feature allows you to “cut back a layer up top” if necessary and while offering the convenience of a lower zipper when Mother Nature calls. The Pro Staff at found the Drake Waterfowl System Guide Bib to be the perfect replacement for the traditional two-piece long johns.

WaderTec Full and Quarter Zip Fleece Jackets
One of our favorite products offered by Drake Waterfowl Systems is the WaderTec Full or Quarter Zip Fleece Jacket. This fleece jacket is like no other. The WaderTec Jacket is constructed of fleece and a breathable 100% waterproof shell that protects the areas not covered by your waders. There are very few garments that take specialty equipment like waders into consideration. The WaderTec fleece tapered design minimizes bulk under waders but is cut full enough in the shoulders to swing on those passing birds.

The most innovative features we found in waterfowl clothing this year was the call pocket with magnetic closure and the neoprene cuffs of the WaderTec Fleece Jacket. No more fussing with zippers or Velcro, just reach into your call pocket, pull out your call and draw those ducks into your rig. The neoprene cuffs not only do a great job of preventing the arms of the garment from riding up but also keep a snug fit to stop debris and rain from seeping in.

As far as camo choices go, Drake Waterfowl offers most of the major patterns such as: New Break-up, Original Break-up, Shadowgrass , ADVANTAGE Wetlands Camo, and ADVANTAGE Max4 Camo. What else can you ask for!

The Stand Up Decoy Bag
Have you ever struggled with those nylon mesh bags in the dark or when your hands are too cold to work properly? The Drake Waterfowl Stand Up Decoy Bag makes these problems a thing of the past. The 24-inch wide by 30-inch tall bag can hold two to three dozen standard size decoys. When empty, the bag compresses flat to easily hide away under a boat seat, just “unspring” the empty bag and it will pop right into shape.

The Stand Up Decoy Bag is equipped with two-inch wide shoulder straps, which makes it comfortable on that long walk to the blind or boat. This is a truly a functional decoy bag that will save you time in the field.

Columbia Sportswear Company
Since 1938, Columbia has been the manufacturer of some of the most extreme outerwear in waterfowling. Year after year they make improvements starting with OmniTech breathable membrane in 2002 and now Columbia has a new versatile camo called Silent Hunter. Silent Hunter has been designed to work in many different environments but excels in flooded timber and your favorite fresh water potholes.

Columbia Duck Club Widgeon – Silent Hunter
The Columbia Duck Club Widgeon Series provides an entry-level version of the Quickloader Omni Quad Parka, which retails for $200. But do not let the price fool you. The Duck Club Widgeon is packed with features that every hunter looks for, everything from a zip out liner which doubles as a lightweight jacket to fleece lined pockets. The Duck Club Widgeon Is fully water-resistant and windproof and built to perform but not break the bank.

Do you Yazoo? I know I do and you should, too. The Omni-Tech Yazoo hat from Columbia is one of the finest specialty hats for waterfowling. The short bill construction will not impair those overhead shots and the fold down earflaps will keep you warm even in the coldest gusts. The inside of the hat is lined with soft fleece pile and Omni-Tech fabric makes this hat 100% breathable and waterproof.

The Omni-Tech High Brass Gloves are a high gauntlet style glove that is perfect for working in your decoys. The glove uses the same Omni-Tech technology yet combines that with a leather palm and trigger finger. You have the warmth and breathability from OmniTech and the touch and flexibility of leather.

Final Approach Eliminator Blinds
Final Approach never seems to let up when it comes to improving on a good thing. The recent release of two of their new models, “Top Gun Eliminator” and “X-Landr” blinds are prime examples of improving on a good thing.

Final Approach Top Gun Eliminator Blind
The Top Gun Eliminator Blind has the same great features of last year’s popular model, the Pro Guide Blind, but boasts about a completely waterproof bottom for hunting in standing water. This double ply waterproof floor extends up every side six inches to protect even on the wettest of fields. Now you can set up where the birds are and pay no mind to the puddles. The Top Gun blind sets up in minutes and weights 22 lbs. measuring 36”w x 85”L x 18H with an interior cockpit dimension of 26.5” W x 50” L. There is enough room to pack a gear bag, flags, and extra ammunition. In action, the Eliminator Top Gun Blind is equipped with spring-loaded doors and fast access flagging holes for when the birds are coming in. The combination of comfort and camouflage makes this the ultimate “Top of the Line” blind.

Final Approach X-Landr Blind
Even though the X-Landr Blind is the smallest ground blind in the Eliminator family don’t discount its versatility and effectiveness. With competition for hunting in public areas, increasing mobility has become more and more important to escape the hunting pressure. Weighing only 15 lbs., this hybrid is a combination backpack and layout blind rolled into one. For the hunter on the move, this backpack will hold up to four-dozen silhouettes or over 200 rag decoys plus a built in scabbard to hold your shotgun and/or flags.

The X-Landr has the same rust free aluminum lightweight frame, padded seat and headrest, as well as a body design made from ¾ inch closed cell foam. Not only does this make the blind even more comfortable but it also works as insulation against the extreme element in late season.

As the weather starts to change and snow beings to fly, Final Approach offers a solution in a snow cover for the perfect camouflage mix. These blinds are super simple to use and go on in only a couple minutes. It’s almost like having two blinds in one. Now you can afford that early season blind in Advantage MAX4 as well as White Snow Camo.

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