My heart beats wildly as I make my way through the aspen cutting, toward my German Shorthaired Pointer, Wesson. The sound of his beeper collar resonates in my ears. I walk ahead of where he is pointing, and a flash of feathers erupts into the air. I instinctively shoulder my gun, flick the safety forward and shoot twice. The woodcock zigs as my shot pattern zags. Wesson looks at me, perplexed, and we continue on, working our way through the cutting. This is a scene that will replay many times during the upland-hunting season in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Luckily, my gear is better than my aim. Below is my list of upland-hunting essentials for the huntress:
Eddie Bauer Mabton Flats vest
A hunting vest is the most important of all the upland-hunting essentials. Thankfully, Eddie Bauer has a women’s-specific vest that will suit even the most hardcore upland huntress. It isn’t just a man’s vest in a smaller size, either. Cut with the female body in mind, the Mabton Flats vest allows for unrestricted arm movement. It has plenty of pockets for gear, and has external loops to hang a whistle or e-collar remote. The zippered game bag allows for easy access to birds when the hunt is over.
After two seasons of use in some of the roughest terrain, the vest is holding up perfectly. It will continue to be one of my staple pieces while hunting in the North Woods.
The Mabton Flats vest boasts the following features:
• Coated, nylon-lined bellows game bag with zippered access
• Shell pockets with tuck-in flaps for quick access
• Cell-phone pockets
• Side vents for easy movement
•Durable, water-resistant (DWR) finish
• Cotton duck canvas/530-denier polyester/nylon
• Machine washable• MSRP: $199
Eddie Bauer MicroTherm StormRepel down field jacket
As the temperatures drop during the latter portion of the season, my “go to” jacket is the MicroTherm StormRepel down field jacket from Eddie Bauer.
The StormRepel durable water-repellent (DWR) finish causes moisture to bead on the surface and prevents it from soaking through the jacket. It really works! While in the field, my German Shorthaired Pointer splashed me as I gave him water from a bottle, and I noticed that the water beaded up and fell from my jacket. Just to be sure, I poured more down my front and found that, indeed, the water doesn’t penetrate.
The cut and fit of the jacket allows for unrestricted movement and makes for easy shouldering of a shotgun.
The down jacket is versatile and ultra light, and can be easily rolled up and stowed in a game pouch.
The MicroTherm StormRepel down field jacket features:
• 40D ripstop nylon (main body) and Cordura nylon (overlays)
• 700-fill Premium StormRepel goose down
• StormRepel DWR finish that beads water
• MicroTherm microchannel quilting prevents down migration
• Cordura fabric overlays prevent wear
• Stretch panels allow for freedom of movement
• Zip hand warmer pockets
• Machine washable
• MSRP: $199
Eddie Bauer Toppenish Windcutter ¼-zip field sweater
The Toppenish Windcutter sweater is another essential piece for when the weather gets chilly. I like to layer it under the MicroTherm StormRepel down field jacket for extra warmth. With snow flurries on the horizon, I’m glad I have this warm sweater in my arsenal.
The Toppenish Windcutter ¼-zip field sweater boasts the following features:
• Fabric overlaid shooting patches at the yoke and elbows
• Cable knit details on sleeves
• Water-repellent, breathable, windproof liner
• Women's specific design and fit
• MSRP: $189
Próis Hunting & Field Apparel High Plains Brush Pants
The High Plains Brush Pants are designed for women, by women – and it shows in the fit and comfort. I’ve been wearing these pants in the field for two hunting seasons and I have yet to find a flaw. They are truly heavy duty, and the construction combined with attention to detail makes them both rugged and flattering.
The High Plains Brush Pants boast the following features:
• Cotton/poly base with heavy-duty Cordura facings
• Elastic in the side bands and cam-strapping/ladder-locking tabs to adjust to the perfect fit
• Bilateral front pockets with zippered closure
• Back pockets with pillow top covers
• Pleated knees optimize articulation and freedom of movement
• Boot zippers with 1-inch overlay flaps and snaps to keep debris to a minimum
• Additional Cordura scuff plate added to the bottom inside seam to reduce wear
• Cuff line with elastic drawstring and cord locking to keep pants tight to the boot during the hunt
• Constructed with a feminine fit to allow plenty of room through hips and thighs
• MSRP: $169.99
Próis Hunting & Field Apparel women’s cap
There’s nothing worse than an ill-fitting hat that falls over your eyes. The Próis cap is just the right size for a female huntress’ head. It’s available in eight different colors, including blaze orange, khaki and olive. Made of 100 percent canvas, it’s definitely another rugged upland-hunting essential that will last for years to come.
• MSRP: $26.99
Galco Gunleather field-grade belt
No one wants saggy pants when walking for miles. The Galco field-grade belt keeps my britches in place and my concealed-carry gun holster secure. The best part about this belt is its buttery soft leather and made-in-the-USA quality handcrafted construction.
The Galco field-grade belt boasts the following features:
• 1 ½ inches wide with seven holes for expanded range of fit
• Made of dark havana leather with solid-brass buckle
• MSRP: $31.95
T-REIGN large retractable gear tether
This little gadget is one of the coolest space savers I’ve found for upland hunters. I have mine attached to the external loop of my hunting vest and it houses my ecollar remote. It keeps the remote readily available, and at just the right length. It can also be used to keep a whistle or GPS unit within reach.
The T-REIGN retractable gear tether boasts the following features:
• 48 inch Kevlar cord for a quiet, smooth extension
• 10 ounces of retraction force
• The large model has a lock that takes tension off the tether, allowing the cord to remain extended
• Rugged polycarbonate case
• Weather-proof materials are safe to use in any environment
• Made in the USA by the company that invented the personal retractor in 1948
• Rigorously tested and protected by the T-REIGN lifetime service policy
• MSRP: $24.95
It’s truly a joy for me to see so many products made specifically with the upland huntress in mind. Although they might not help with my aim, they certainly keep me comfortable and prepared while in the field.