In the second part of our guide, we bring you everything you could think of. From suits to sticks, cartridges to cameras – we’ve got everything you need to survive stalks and have happy hunts throughout the season.
Bushnell Forge Optics
Leading US Optics brand Bushnell have re-launched the iconic brand with three new hunting lines – Prime, Nitro and Forge – engineered to provide clarity in any type of weather conditions.
The Forge lines of riflescope, binoculars (pictured) and spotting scopes are built with the best coatings Bushnell has to offer and produce top of the range brightness, resolution and colour.
Forge riflescopes provide every feature hunters have asked for – from exposed, locking zero-stop turrets and first- and second-focal plane models, to ballistic reticles and adjustable-height magnification change levers.
In terms of features, Zeiss’s rangefinding binos have absolutely everything: integrated ballistic information system (BIS II), Bluetooth connectivity, compatibility with the Zeiss Hunting app.
Using this app, your ballistic data can be uploaded to the rangefinder from your phone, with the laser rangefinder and ballistic calculator delivering exact customised output data.
With a measuring distance of up to 2,500 yards (2,300m), the BIS II calculates the correct holdover by using the environmental sensors for angle, temperature and air pressure.
The Victory Rangefinder is available in 8×42, 10×42, 8×54 and 10×54.
Price: Around £2,600
Swarovski EL binos
Available in 8×42 or 10×42, the ELs set the binocular standard for many. Designed around HD glass, they offer glorious picture quality and colour fidelity, while a host of extras such as a padded neoprene strap, flattened lenses for wide field of view, and dioptre adjuster make this a truly impressive package.
Sporting Rifle reviewer Chris Parkin has had them out in the field – here’s what he had to say: “I see a lot of optics these days and it is the little features that make them special. On the ELs, the little things really do add up to bestow a product with a rating I can only describe as ‘customer delight’.”
Swarovski 01737 856812
Leupold BX-4 Pro-Guide
If you’ll be doing plenty of shooting at the start and end of the day, these binos are for you – they’re optimised for low light conditions.
In fact, they’re an excellent all-round optical package, with brightness, edge-to-edge sharpness and minimal glare. A wide range of specifications are available – from 8×32 to 12×50 – in a number of colour finishes, ensuring there’s a model in this range for absolutely everyone.
Price: From £587
Minox BL-HD 8×44
You’ll find deer out at all times of day and you need a binocular to match. That’s where these ultra-compact, ultra-versatile HD binos from Minox come in.
The unusual 44mm objective allows ample light for dawn, dusk and flat light conditions. The glass was developed by Minox specifically for this range and gives a sharp, high-contrast image with excellent colour rendition.
The BL-HDs use a poly-carbonate chassis, have an ‘open bridge’ design, and are therefore light and easy to carry for long periods without fatigue.
Blaser Sporting 01494 481004
Hawk Frontier EDX
Designed around ED glass, Hawke’s top-end Frontier binocular produces stunning colour retention, crisp definition and excellent light transmission. Controlled chromatic aberration eliminates colour fringing, while the water-repellent lens coating offers extra clarity in tough conditions.
A robust hinge design, replaceable twist-out eye cups, high-grade aluminium and a lightweight rubber–coated magnesium alloy chassis ensure this binocular can withstand all you throw at it.
Schmidt & Bender Stratos
In 1.5-8×42 spec, the Stratos is a universal scope, suitable for every conceivable hunting application. An ultra-bright FlashDot illuminated ret in the first focal plane suits those who’ll be taking shots at varying distances, while the 42mm objective helps gather enough light to deal with longer-distance shots.
Thanks to the specially designed large exit pupil, target acquisition has never been easier in the crucial moments, to. Its harmonic exterior design makes the scope an ideal choice for high-quality hunting rifles. Optional bullet drop compensation (BDC) turret, and rail mount tube are also available.
Schmidt & Bender
Leupold LTO Tracker 2
There’s an update to the LTO Tracker handheld thermal unit. This one’s got a 390×390 pixel display and sharper display resolution, as well as six colour palettes to choose from.
But the real news is the addition of ‘Beacon Mode’, which re-calibrates the display as temperatures rise. So if everything’s showing up as warm in the middle of the day, just point it at a rock and activate Beacon Mode, and it adjusts its readings so the rock shows up as cooler – but any animals still show up as warm objects.
Extreme Point Copper Impact
Winchester’s Extreme Point ammo, which sports an extra-large tip for maximum energy transfer down-range, is already well established in the market.
Now, Extreme Point has been launched in a lead-free version, based around a copper core. Winchester report that there is growing demand for non-lead ammo, and this round fits the bill with its monolithic, 100 per cent copper bullet, made for high penetration and guarantee of exit wound on larger species such as red deer.
Leica Fortis 6
New from Leica, the Fortis 6 is made for quick shooting, with a 50 per cent larger pupil and a field of view up to 44 metres to ensure a high degree of safety and speed in target acquisition.
Outstanding images detail and sharpness – as you’d expect from a brand like Leica – make for a sighting experience that’s not only clear but also comforatble. Meanwhile, the classic design ensures functional reliability in any hunting situation.
The Fortis 6 is launched in two variants: 1-6x24i (pictured) and 2-12x50i, both offering 92 per cent light transmission, automatic ‘power-off’ and ‘power-on’ and with a 4a reticle. Prices, initially released in euros, are competitively set below the 2,000EUR mark.
0207 629 1351
ATN X Sight 4K
The ATN X-Sight is a state-of-the-art digital day and night scope (though obviously it’s daytime only for deer), and the new 4K Pro model has been almost totally revamped from its predecessors.
The appearance is the first thing you’ll notice – it’s been slimmed down to more closely resemble traditional glass. And the eye relief is now far closer to what you’d get on a daytime optic, at a very manageable 90mm.
Plus, the battery life has been extended. Gyroscope and accelerometer, rangefinder, ballistic calculator and video out all make this a super-advanced scope.
Prices: 3-14x £849, 5-20x £949
ATN 01432 809960
Sako Gamehead Pro
Gamehead Pro feature Sierra’s GameChanger bullet heads. These have paired the accuracy of Sierra’s MatchKing bullet with the traits of a big game hunting bullet.
Sierra engineers took the MatchKing bullet and gave it a thicker jacket, a harder antimony lead core (3 per cent harder) and a plastic tip – the result is a super accurate tough game bullet.
Matched to their boat tail design, legendary Sako cartridge and production and you have a fantastic new addition to Sako’s range of hunting rounds.
Available in 6.5 x55, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308, .30-06 and .300 Win Mag.
Waterproof and breathable, this high-cut boot is built to deal with challenging days in the field. Featuring ankle supports and front and back stone guards for additional comfort, resistance and durability.
The Altavio boots are designed to be comfortably worn over long periods of time. Features include a Gore-Tex lining to keep feet dry and wick away sweat; Ortholite insole for comfort and shock absorbing capabilities.
Made in polyurethane, it absorbs moisture and allows air to circulate around the foot; Vibram rubber outsole, the world leader in high performance sole manufacture. Combines cutting edge design with advanced rubber compounds to deliver optimum performance.
Aigle 02076 601576
Ariat Catalyst Defiant
Seen here in the 10″ high-leg model, the Catalyst XV Defiant boots are made for hill stalking in some of Britain’s more unforgiving terrain, with a Gore-Tex lining and 400g of Thinsulate insulation.
Suprisingly light despite their robust construction, they’re comfortable straight out of the box without needing a lengthy breaking-in period, and secure when moving on the hill, according to professional stalker and Sporting Rifle contributor Chris Dalton.
A useful handheld tool for deer census-taking and observation, the Scion features FLIR’s most advanced thermal imaging core, which allows users to quickly detect objects with greater detail and offer clear vision in low visibility conditions.
Available in a number of different models with 9Hz or 60Hz refresh rates, the Scion family of thermals offers 2GB of internal storage and a microSD card slot to record both geotagged video or still images for later playback.
Additional features include picture-in-picture zoom, global positioning system (GPS) functionality, and both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities to allow simple file transfer between devices.
Spypoint Link Dark
Keep track of the locations and habits of local deer populations with the latest addition to the Spypoint line-up, the Link Dark, designed to capture high quality imagery without being seen.
Using 42 invisible LEDs, it captures 12MP images as well as HD video, in colour by day and black/white by night. An ultra-fast 0.07s trigger speed means you won’t miss a thing, while a cellular connection means you can receive images and program the device from just about anywhere.
The camera also has multi-shot, time lapse and continuous modes.
Napier Truck Click
Following on from Napier’s famous Auto Click, the Truck Click can turn any vehicle with a tow ball into a suspended gralloch station in just 30 seconds. You don’t need any tools and don’t lose access to the vehicle’s load compartment.
Taking any deer carcase up to 200kg, it’ll safely deposit it into the vehicle when you’re finished – it never has to touch the ground. Just locate flat ground, set up the device and ratchet the carcase to a vertical position – easy as that.