As a little boy, I lived for the arrival of the Sears & Roebuck "Christmas Wish Book," the yearly catalog that signified the beginning of the frenzied countdown to the holiday season.
The postman's annual delivery left my childhood eyes ablaze with anticipation of seeing what jolly old St. Nick would leave under the tree Dec. 25.
Years later, I still look forward to receiving a wish book of sorts or, more accurately, several wish books via the postal service.
These days, however, the big boy-toy catalogs that are arriving in my mailbox come from the likes of Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's, Archery Experts, Eders.com and Keystone Country, instead of Sears.
After dreaming or is that drooling over the latest and greatest bowhunting gear for 2005, here's a look at a few of the new items that have caught this bowhunter's eye as my preparation for another autumn archery campaign begins:
Advantage Max-1 HD
Bill Jordan helped create the camouflage revolution with his original Realtree pattern a number of years ago.
Months after introducing the popular Advantage Max-4 HD pattern, he's up to his old tricks again with a new western camouflage pattern known as Advantage Max-1 HD for the open terrain of the Rocky Mountain west.
This sharp-looking camo pattern will undoubtedly get plenty of work from elk hunters, mule deer hunters and antelope hunters out west this fall.
Nikon Monarch 12X42
For those wanting a high quality pair of powerful optics without breaking the bank or dipping into the kid's college fund, this pair of Nikon optics is powerful enough to be carried in place of a spotting scope, while remaining light enough to make a tripod unnecessary.
Arctic Shield H3 camouflage outerwear
Makers of the X-Scent apparel line that uses pure silver in the fibers to inhibit the growth of odor causing bacteria on a hunter's body, this Oklahoma company is making a name for itself in the highly competitive scent-elimination garment industry.
New for 2005 is a lightweight line of H3 camouflage outerwear, along with a heavy weight base layer Polywool quarter-zip pullover.
Barrie Archery Snyper XP3 Broadhead
Hot on the heels of the popular Snyper expandable broadhead, Bruce Barrie's company has introduced the devastating Snyper XP3 expandable broadhead with a stainless steel, cut-on-contact Devastator tip followed by three razor sharp stainless steel blades that open rearward through the Cam Action Blade System.
Badlands 2200 Backpack
If it's not broken, why fix it? Simple the folks at this Utah backpack making company believe that the "ultimate hunting pack" can be made better.
With that in mind, they've redesigned this workhorse complete with such things as a "batwing layout," toothless zippers, and the Realtree Hardwoods HD camo pattern.
Binary Cam System
Getting rave reviews is Oregon bowmaker BowTech's new "The Equalizer Binary Cam System." This system, found on the Old Glory, Constitution, and Allegiance VFT bow models, consists of twin cams and dual cables that reportedly act as one. This results in the elimination of individual cam timing and tuning, not to mention superb smoothness, accuracy, and arrow speed.
Double Bull Matrix Blind
Double Bull blinds have led to the demise of many antelope, bears, elk, mule deer, turkeys, and whitetails in recent years. Look for the taxidermy bills of plenty more bowhunters to go up again this fall thanks to the new Matrix Blind which offers an infinitely adjustable shoot-through window system for archers.
Block 4X4 Target
Look in the back of many pick-up trucks at your local archery deer camp and the odds are pretty good that you'll see a Block target, the open layered portable archery target that has collected quite a few fans in recent years. The "Block Party" will probably gain a few more attendees this year, thanks to the new Block 4X4 Target that features spots, diamonds, and two sets of whitetail deer vitals for archers to aim at.
Easton ST Axis Obsession
How do you make this popular Easton carbon arrow even better? Simple, on top of the slim and trim Axis arrow's "Hidden Insert Technology" (HIT), you add a coating of Mossy Oak's Obsession camouflage pattern!
Not to be outdone by their competitors, Team Hoyt fans have something to cheer about this fall thanks to the Utah bow making heavyweight's introduction of the new VTEC compound. Utilizing the company's "Cam & ½" cam system, the VTEC also features a new advanced riser design, AlphaShox vibration dampeners, and a Pro-Fit custom grip.
Attempting to harness the best of fast arrow speeds and shooting smoothness, Mathews has unveiled the new Switchback compound bow. With a new double damper rolling guard, a new "Straightline Cobra Cam," and reported arrow speeds of 318 fps (IBO), this bow should be a hot-seller. In fact, one Texas bow shop operator I know says that it's simply the best bow ever rolled out by the Wisconsin bowmaker.
Mossy Oak Brush
Mossy Oak's Toxey Haas has done as much to create the camouflage revolution as his Realtree counterpart has done. And he's not about to be left behind in the suddenly crowded western camouflage market either. This year, Mossy Oak unveiled their new pattern Mossy Oak Brush at the ATA Show in Indianapolis. Once again, this pattern will undoubtedly find its way onto the backs of many western big game hunters this fall.
ScentBlocker Dream Season
This new jacket and pant scent-elimination garment system features SPF 40 odor adsorption protection, not to mention a micro-warp knit fabric outer shell and RainBlocker technology. Sound like a dreamy scent-elimination set-up? Well, what would you expect from the manufacturer who coined the phrase "Forget the Wind Just Hunt"?
Scent-Lok Savanna EXT
Carbon scent-elimination clothing has come a long way since I purchased my first generation suit a number of years ago. This year, Scent-Lok is teaming up with Gore-Tex to offer an even more technologically advanced garment system that not only adsorbs scent, but also breathes. Another new offering, the Savanna EXT series, is billed by the company as the lightest single-layer garment on the scent-elimination clothing market. The EXT series is reportedly quieter than, softer than, and twice as breathable as the original Savanna garment was.
Spot-Hogg SDP Bow Sight
Inspired by western bowhunting guru Cameron Hanes, the editor of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal, this new Spot-Hogg sight features "seven deadly pins" (SDP) in addition to the all-metal and circular pin guard. Like the other Spot-Hogg products, this one should prove to be popular among archers that live to chase mule deer and elk across the West.
Swarovski Laser Guide 8X30 Optics
Tired of carrying high end optics and a laser range finder around your neck during a western bowhunting trip?
Then why not carry both in the same instrument, something made possible thanks to Swarovski's new Laser Guide 8X30 optics.
Decisions, decisions, decisions. Will fans of this Tucson, Ariz. based bowmaker want to buy this brand new bow with either PSE's new NRG Hybrid cam system or with the NRG One Cam system that debuted a year ago? The guess here is they'll want plenty of both from Pete Shepley's bow company.
Xtreme Scents Silver XP
Scent Elimination Spray
Also using the power of silver's anti-microbial properties this year is Michigan's Xtreme Scents, which is offering a new scent elimination spray. Does the spray containing silver actually work? You be the judge. Or better yet, let a whitetail deer's nose be the judge.
There you have it, a brief sneak peak at some of the latest and greatest bowhunting gear out there on store shelves and in wish-book pages this year.
Something tells me much to my wife's chagrin, of course that it will probably not be too much longer before one or more of these items actually appears on my front porch.
Except this time, instead of a big fella in a red suit pulling a brightly colored package from his reindeer-powered sleigh, it will be a uniformed deliveryman carrying a brown box.
A brown box, of course, that delivers Christmas in July to a bowhunter that is anxiously anticipating the approach of yet another fall of stick-and-string hunting.