Back in the old days, when “Leave It To Beaver” was still on TV and “tweeting” was something only birds did, getting ready for the fall hunting season was relatively simple.

For most of us, it meant scrounging through the garage until we found our hunting vest where we dropped it last year; pulling the old single-shot 16 gauge out of the back of the closet; and making a trip down to the local hardware store to pick up a box of shells and a new hunting license.

Those steps might still part of the process for many of us but nowadays there are a lot more things available to make our time in the woods or the marsh enjoyable. While some curmudgeons might argue that these new “gadgets and gimmicks” are an unnecessary adulteration of our favorite sport, there’s no denying that at least some of them are worth checking out. Each year at expos such as the Shooting, Hunting & Outdoor Trade (SHOT) and the Archery Trade Association (ATA) shows, manufacturers showcase new products they think outdoorsmen will find irresistible.

Some that seemed to have promise this year are: - Blind Web: More hunters are using ground blinds now than ever before for good reason - they offer protection from the elements and are effective hiding spots. They can be even better, however, if covered in local vegetation. The way to do that easily is with a Blind Web – a bungee cord system that stretches to cover blinds up to 74 inches tall. Once installed, foliage is attached and the end result offers almost total concealment while also reducing wind movement.

It weighs only 3.5 pounds, comes with a storage bag and costs a reasonable $59. (www.blindweb.com).

- SagenSaw I: This is a high-quality version of a device nearly every deer hunter finds indispensible – a compact, lightweight saw that can be used to cut through the pelvis, leg bones and ribs while cleaning big game. The saw’s unique “bumper”

makes it safe and effective while high quality steel and a user-friendly design make it easy to use, more so than other, discount store, models. The whitetail version is about $21. A larger one is available for bear, elk, etc. (www.sageninc.com)

- BowSharp Blade Sharpener: This might be best thought of as a Swiss Army Knife for bow hunters. It’s a multifunctional device that features five different tools in one portable package. Tungsten carbide sharpening elements can be used

to put an edge on knives and broadheads quickly and easily while a tool kit integrated into the handle has a full set of eight Allen wrenches from 5/64 to 7/32 as well as flat head and Phillips screwdrivers. A rubberized grip makes it easy to

use under any conditions. MSRP is $16. (www.lansky.com).

- Rage X-treme Broadhead: Bowhunters are constantly looking for gear that will make their deer hunting equipment more lethal. This is one of those things. Rage, a pioneer in mechanical broadheads, is offering the X-treme, a 4-blade system that combine 7/8 inch, cut-on-contact, fixed blades with two hybrid blades that utilize the original Rage slip-cam. The result is a broadhead that flies like a field point, has a 2.3” cutting diameter and is incredibly durable. They cost $35 for a 2-pack of 100-gr. blades. (www.ragebroadheads.com).

- IQ Define Bow Sight: A new innovation in archery gear is the range-finding bow sight. There are several on the market but this is one of the most practical, easy-to-use and cost efficient. The way it works is, you sight in at 20 yards and calibrate the rangefinder to that mark. Then just press a button, that can be mounted anywhere on the bow grip, and the laser gives you the distance to whatever your 20-yard pin is pointing. Pick the right pin for that distance and you’re ready to fire. At $349, they’re not giving them away but it’s cheaper than other models or a separate rangefinder. (www.feradyne.com/iq-bowsight/).

- Banded Swivel Blind Chair: This is advertised as a “blind chair” and it would be well worth the cost if used just for that. With a 2 inch-thick cushion in the seat and back, 15 inch high back rest, seat that swivels 360 degrees, and wide, sturdy

base, it will make waiting for that big buck a much more comfortable proposition.

But, since it folds, has a shoulder carrying strap and Mossy Oak camouflage, it would be a nice item in the dove field as well, especially for those of us with back ailments. Neuse Sport Shop in Kinston has them for $69.99.

- Quick Camera Bag: Using trail cameras to scout potential hunting sites is a popular and growing practice. But, keeping several cameras as well as the gear that often accompanies them handy and in good shape can be a hassle. Moultrie, a well-

known name in trail cams, has a solution in the form of the Quick Camera Bag. It will hold three trail cams in padded, adjustable enclosures and other stuff, such as SD cards and readers, in zippered pouches on the sides and top. A padded carry

strap facilitates taking it into the woods. The MSRP is $39.99. (www.moultrifeeders.com).

- Sawyer Permethrin: This is not actually a new product but one that every sportsman who takes to the woods or fields in the fall should know about. It’s a substance that, when sprayed on clothing, tents or other gear and allowed to dry,  

will not only repel insects but actually kill ticks, mosquitoes, red bugs and a number of other bugs on contact. It is NOT to be applied directly on the user’s skin but is safe when used correctly and it works. A single application of Permethrin will last through as much as six washings or over a month of outdoor exposure. It’s something outdoorsmen in this part of the country will want year around. It sells for around $12. (www.sawyer.com/insect-repellents/).

- Thermacell: I would no more think of going into the woods in early fall without a Thermacell device than I would of heading out without my bow or gun. Those weapons would be pretty much worthless if the one holding them was unable to sit

still because he was being eaten alive by mosquitoes and/or deer flies. Thermacell technology uses a heat activated repellent to create a zone (about 15 feet in all directions) of protection from biting insects. The repellent, allethrin, is a synthetic

version of a compound found in chrysanthemum plants. It’s harmless, odorless and effective. Available for about $25 from most outdoor retailers, the basic Thermacell is a bargain. And, it makes early season hunts for deer, ducks or doves

a lot more fun and productive. (www.thermacell.com).

Ed Wall can be reached at edwall@embarqmail.com or 252-671-3207. His web site is www.edwalloutdoors.com