By Jason Herbert

“WACK!” As the fat 8-point stumbled away into the swamp, a silent smile came across my face. My second lethal arrow of the evening had found it’s mark. The day was October 18th, 2015 and I had accomplished something I’ve always dreamed about, two deer in one night with my bow. And one night really meant, early evening, and to be specific, about 20 minutes had passed between shooting the doe and the buck.

Loyalty is a quality that I possess and one that I’m proud of. My loyalty doesn’t stop at sports teams and friends either, I’m loyal to certain products. If I find something that is fairly priced, reliable, and does what it says it will do, well then… I’m a fan. Here are the top five manufacturers and their products that I am loyal to, and why I like them.

Bear Archery

Started way back in the day by fellow Michigan archer, Papa Bear himself, Bear Archery is about as steadfast as they come in the archery industry. These days, they still continue to make their traditional line of bows that helped them become a household name, but Bear also manufacturers the sweetest compound bows I’ve ever shot. Bear has also threw their hat in the ring of crossbow manufacturers and is making a huge impact with their new crossbows as well.

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Jason with his Arena 30 Bear Archery bow.

Simply stated, I like how Bear products perform. And, not that I’ve ever had to use it, but I like their warranty too. Fred Bear eventually moved operations to Gainesville Florida, and to this day, the company still operates there. Employing hard working American families, Bear Archery practically reinvented modern bowhunting. What else can I say?

FOXPRO

Anything these guys make is sweet. I’m hooked on the FOXPRO Shockwave Electronic Predator Call. I’ve had it a few years and since getting it, I know they’ve made even more advancements. When using the Shockwave, or any predator call for that matter, it’s important to make sure the setup is done correctly. The predators will instinctively circle downwind before committing to the call. If the hunter sneaks in quiet, without getting busted, it is almost a guarantee they’ll have some action. I’ve called in wolves, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, possums, owls, hawks, and probably more animals that I never noticed. I like how user friendly these calls are. Mine in particular has a hand-held remote, and will belt out distress calls for miles. One of my dad’s favorite things to do is bring my call up north on our annual trip to Michigan;s Upper Peninsula. The Upper Peninsula is lousy with wolves, and at duck, my dad paddles out to the middle of the lake and let’s the wolf calls rip. He delights in hearing the eerie responses from real wolves in the forest. I personally get nervous around wolves but by dad served three tours in Vietnam… he doesn’t get rattled easily.

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The author mounting his FOXPRO Shockwave Electronic Game Call.

FOXPRO also makes just about everything a calling hunter could use, from turkey calls to predator decoys, to night hunting lights. If it is a social animal, and can be called while hunting, FOXPRO has a tool to help.

Nikon

From the moment I shot my biggest muzzleloader buck to date in a sideways snowstorm, I’ve been a fan of my Nikon scopes. I like how no-nonsense they are. Don’t get me wrong, these things are state of the art, but there are no extra bells and whistles, just god old basic optics. I’ve also used their binoculars and feel the same way. I’ve even got to demo a few different models for a field test a while back and really liked them both. Check out the review at 1800GunsAndAmmo.com: Nikon XR Inline Muzzleloader Review.

What I like most about my Nikon Inline XR Muzzleloader scope is their BDC reticle system. When I look through the scope, there are the main cross-hairs, and then several little intersecting reference lines below them. As recommended, I went to the company website and entered my exact bullet and powder combination in their BDC calculation system. The website then calculated everything for me, and told me exactly what distances my other points would be accurate for. Just to be certain, I went to the range to check, and results were impressive. In fact, I felt that their calculations were spot on.

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The author with his Nikon XR Inline Muzzleloader Scope.

When I shot my buck, I remembered the distances I learned and held between the main cross-hair and the second. I drilled him perfectly, and the rest is Herbert hunting history.

ScentBlocker

Probably my most important gear besides my weapon, no mater what I am hunting I’m wearing ScentBlocker of some sort. In the fall I’m covered with several pf their products, inside and out. I start with their internal deodorant pills and daily vitamins. Then, I use all of their body soaps shampoos, conditioner, and deodorant. From gear to toe I am covered in their scent adsorbing gear, and I generously coat all of my gear with their Trinity Blast spray. And… I don;t get winded, period. The key to hunting big mature deer and other game animals is to remain invisible. If ScentBlocker puts their name on it, I know I can trust it to do it’s job.

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The author wearing his ScentBlocker Trinity Northern Extreme Bibs.

The company is also expanding their offerings to block everything Mother Nature can throw at us, like wind, rain, cold, heat, etc… I live in their Recon Lifestyle gear. It’s lightweight, thornproof, and stylish. I also enjoy hunting in their new Beast ghillie suit. This spring for instance I had turkeys walking all around me. My son tried it, and tagged a bird in less than an hour as well. Their scent eliminating sprays are phenomenal, and a very practical option for a budget minded hunter who can’t quite buy everything they need in one year. Also, ScentBlocker’s new DUI (Deer Under the Influence) sprays are enjoying great success with game managers and hardcore hunters across the continent. Also, the new Bug Blocker for Ticks and mosquitoes works like a charm, helping my family and me enjoy every moment outdoors. A faith based company, where Christian family values come before anything else, I can be counted on to always wear “The Shield”.

Wise Foods

“It’s the end of the world as we know it…” The old REM song bounces around my mind from time to time when I think about prepping. I don’t now if the end of the world is really coming soon or not, but just in case, I’m making sure my family and I are prepared, and right with the Lord. No pun intended, but I think it is wise to buy anything from Wise. When it comes to emergency food supplies, or survival kits, Wise is the place to go.

Wise offers everything from long term food kits, like 12 months worth for instance, to huge amounts of specific foods, like 60 servings of freeze dried meat. They also offer emergency supplies like survival kits, water filters, fuel sources, and non GMO seeds. Wise is involved in much more, but just for an idea, they also have dried eggs and dairy, as well as camping foods.

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From Wise Foods 72 Hour Kits (pictured above) to Emergency Survival Backpacks, you can get plenty of survival options from Wise.

The reason I like Wise is that they take the prep work and decision making out of the equation. They have everything already dried and packaged and ready for an emergency. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to tinker around with our bug-out bags, and want to control as much as I possibly can for my family. That’s also why I like Wise, they offer so much ore than just food kits. I try to preserve as much as my family’s food as possible, but can’t always save what we need. And I know if I can’t save it, Wise will have it. For those reasons, the whole kits and the piecemeal items, it is nice to know that in an emergency, I also have my Wise kits and packs.

Closing Thoughts

I’m at the point in my life where I have a little bit of money to invest in high quality items. When I was younger, I would always choose whatever was cheapest, and often ended up replacing low quality item X because it was junk. Now, I end up saving money because I may spend a bit more up front for high quality item Y, but when it lasts forever, I end up saving much more money in the long run

When deciding on an item, or a company to be loyal to, there is a lot to consider. I often as myself questions like Where is it made? Who owns the company? Are they Christian? How many employees do they have/ Are they American employees? Are there any warranties available? What do the online comments say? Can I use these items elsewhere?

Ultimately, we all work hard for our dollar. When it comes to purchasing a product, I try to think of the big picture, and not just the dollars and cents. If I know that my investment goes to a good product, that helps support American people, well then, the chances are that I’ll probably become a fan.