As a boy, a trip to the local farm store meant shopping with Grandpa for bolts, weed eater string, hydraulic hose for the JD4020, or on a special day, a new pair of rubber chore boots. The farm store was a place for us to satisfy our needs for everyday life on the farm, not life in the bow stand.
However, the recent grand opening of the new location for my hometown Farm & Home showed changes that are very advantageous for the rural bowhunter. New inventories reveal camo apparel, game calls, a variety of treestands, ground blinds and — most impressive — a selection of ready-to-hunt archery accessories.
Growing up in rural northeast Missouri, we didn’t have the convenience of a local archery shop around the block, which meant we had a 35-mile drive to the nearest Wal-Mart, or at a minimum, 60 miles to an archery pro shop or Bass Pro. That problem is no more!
Chances are, your local farm store now has inventory to satisfy lofty expectations of a cowhand while at the same time, satisfying even the most avid of arrow flingers. Even better, that trip to the store won’t be too hard on the checkbook. Starting this fall, here are a few brands that rural bowhunters will likely find in a farm store near them.
When it comes to apparel, a farming bowhunter will not only expect his or her garments to traverse the toughest terrain in the field, but also to stand up to the rigors of herding cattle or hauling grain when necessary.
In years past, this kind of performance would come at a high cost, and would also lack serious eye-appeal. However, there are now farm store manufacturers delivering this robust construction, performance and clean lines, at a price that will spare enough money to take your sweetheart out for dinner and a movie.
As a teenager, I can remember traveling to that same Farm & Home store in Edina, MO to purchase my first chore coat, a Carhartt. Family-owned and still managed by the descendants of founder Hamilton Carhartt, they continue to produce clothing that is well deserving of the working man’s dollar.
This year, Carhartt has introduced the Buckfield set, a product that will meet and exceed the demands of the roughest farming bowhunter. Comprised of 9.7 oz. Realtree Xtra (100%) polyester and triple stitched seams, this system of a jacket, vest and pants is not only durable enough for building fence, but advanced enough for the most dedicated tree stand dweller.
Offering attributes like articulation, Rain Defender technology, ventilated underarms, safety harness access and storm flaps in the ankle-to-knee zippers of the pants, this line is well thought through.
The second of these companies is Huntworth. Based in Western Pennsylvania, the employees of Huntworth are steeped in a culture of hardwork and performance, providing them the know-how of engineering gear that measures up to the needs of the farming bowhunter. This company’s popularity was formed on years of providing gloves and headwear to the outdoor market.
With its 2017 additions, Huntworth will continue to expand an affordable, but very impressive, camo layering system (base, mid and outer) for both the hunter and huntress. The lineup offers expansive possibilities at each level of the system, allowing for the hunter to customize each outfit to his or her specific needs. Another addition is the option of Disruption camouflage, a proprietary digital pattern that is Huntworth’s answer for those seeking something beyond Huntworth’s Oak Tree EVO pattern.
Time in the stand can be precious for the farming bowhunter, especially during harvest. This means that relying on quality calls to close the distance are imperative when trying to “get it done” under time restraints. Two brands in the farm store space that provide tried and true sound for an affordable price are Hunter’s Specialties and Quaker Boy.
Just a short drive from the headquarters of John Deere tractors is the long-standing call maker of eastern Iowa, Hunter’s Specialties. To say that the folks at HS have earned the bowhunter’s seal of approval for reliability is an understatement and the exact reason this brand is found on most farm store shelves. One might argue that dependability was the lead design characteristic of the 2017 Nemesis Deer Call.
The line features a new soft textured tube call that allows the hunter to create realistic inflection and vocalizations in 7 different finely tuned deer sounds. Operable by one hand, this call will allow for you to change tones with one hand and run the new HS Ruttin’ Buck rattle bag in the other.
For 43 years, Quaker Boy, Inc. has been referred to as the “Hunter’s First Choice” for game calls. The founders, Mr. and Mrs. Kirby, started this company as a supplement to their existing small business, coincidentally named, “Quaker Boy Barber & Quaker Girl Beauty.” Today, Mrs. Kirby still owns and operates the business, living out Mr. Kirby’s well-known goal of building American-made, quality, user-friendly and innovative calls.
What hardworking hunter can’t appreciate that business ambition? Quaker Boy’s most recent edition to the deer call line is the Brawler Grunt Call. This call screams quality from its acrylic mouthpiece and cone to the revolutionary ESO TUBE, providing lifelike tones at great volumes. Carrying the tagline of “Built like a Buck,” this advanced call will not disappoint vocally or at the cash register.
The Stands & Blinds
I can still remember my very first treestand experience from 21 years ago — a 15-foot vertical trail of treated 2×6 scraps leading to an oversized wood pallet that was nestled in the split of a massive white oak. It was well constructed and secure, but I am sure that you can agree with me when I say, “Thank the good Lord for common sense, metal workers and safety harnesses!”
A farmer’s body and ability are his biggest assets, and there is too much on the line to chance the risk of hunting from inferior treestands. Stability could literally decide the livelihood of one’s farm, family and physical well-being.
There is another established farm store brand whose 2017 product focus is exactly that — stability. With over 20 years of producing noteworthy stands and blinds, the Wisconsin-based Rivers Edge Treestands, is taking security to a new height.
At 21 feet, its new Lockdown 21 ladder stand has quality that you can feel all the way up the octagonal third rail ladder. Targeting “exceptional height for better viewing while remaining ultra-stable,” this Rivers Edge stand is going to have you high enough to safely see the whole back forty.
Twenty-one feet below the Lockdown 21, the other method of bowhunting on the farm is from the ground. Like many of you, I have spent a lot of time with my stick and string, hiding behind hay bales, cut cedar branches or in the middle of a brush pile. While sometimes effective, these setups at times offer more adversity than help, making it easy to transition to a hub-style ground blind.
Barronett Blinds, owned by the same parent company as Rivers Edge, has great farm store distribution and is producing a vast line of excellent blinds. One of its blinds in particular, the Big Mike, disguises the archer better than others. At 80 inches tall, this five-hub blind sports a “smaller but taller” footprint that will allow most all bowhunters a more comfortable standing shot, with plenty of interior to boot. This one is well worth a look!
It wasn’t unusual that my buddies and I would travel 70 miles round-trip to buy a pack of broadheads. When your source of income was bucking bales for a whopping 10 cents a bale, it was no fun to spend more money on gas than gear. To the benefit of our young archers today, the farm store now carries the most important accessory for their bowhunt — broadheads.
Reliability and quality have been the epicenter of the products discussed thus far, but arguably most significant in broadheads. It’s no surprise that the farm store’s “go to” products are Muzzy and New Archery Products. These two brands combined are probably responsible for more archery harvests than any other two broadhead brands on the market.
A reputation built on bowhunting staples such as the Flipper Rest, Thunderhead, Razorback and Spitfire, NAP has been the motivator of many happily ended blood trails. Despite the recent loss of its founder and archery pioneer, Andy Simo, NAP has no different intentions than to carry out Simo’s great tradition by continuing to produce steadfast archery accessories.
Its latest broadhead is yet another product founded on reliability, carrying the tagline “Failure is not an option.” The new Spitfire Doublecross offers a four-blade build comprised of a pair of bleeders and the foundation of a two-blade Spitefire design. This two-stage, no-fail design is guaranteed to deliver on any angle of your corn-fed megabuck.
Last, but definitely not the least dependable, are Muzzy broadheads. Whether a three-blade, four-blade or Phantom-style cut on contact, there is a pretty good chance as a bowhunter that you have flung at least one Muzzy during your career. Why? That’s because for years, this brand has manufactured broadheads that deliver “Bad to the Bone” performance, shot after shot without requiring a day’s fencing wages to purchase.
This consistency of on-game output has been carried over to the new Trocar HBX, Muzzy’s venture into the hybrid market. The stainless steel ferrule is topped by a chisel tip while accompanied by a set of large expandables and a pair of 1-inch tried and true Muzzy fixed blades (hence the “hybrid” title). Don’t let the idea of a mixed platform skew your perception, as this broadhead will live up to the Muzzy legacy.
This is just a sampling of reputable brands that I have come across in the farm stores in my area, and in many cases, these products are complemented by several other sound brands. Surprisingly, I have even been to a couple of the stores who may not be able to employ an archery tech, but offer ready-to-hunt bow and crossbow packages from industry standards like Bear, Diamond and PSE.
This convenience to dependable archery gear sure is a nice option for the rural bowhunter. So, as fall gets closer and you are looking to add to your bowhunting arsenal, don’t forget that your needs might be satisfied closer to home than previously thought.