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Yours truly actually "working" at SHOT ... you'll hear this interview on my radio show.

Yours truly actually "working" at SHOT ... you'll hear this interview on my radio show.

(ORLANDO) SHOT Show updates … What innovation there was in our universe was in the highest-tech segment of our world, dog training collars. Translation: ho-hum of a show in many respects. But here are some more notable exceptions:

Dogtra introduced their “RR Deluxe,” a remote bird-launcher release system that has a loudspeaker mimicking both duck call and beep sounds. It interfaces with their pheasant and quail launchers, and uses a standard, codable transmitter that allows you to chain up to 16 launchers if your wife will let you buy them and you can figure out how to code them all! 

The duck call feature is particularly intriguing for added “realism” for retriever trainers. The beeper is described by Dogtra as helping you locate the launcher system in heavy cover (helpful, especially when you’re trying to locate your dog at the same time). I’d like to see uplanders served by a pheasant cackle on version 1.1, or better yet, the last launch of the day featuring a comely synthesized female voice announcing the start of happy hour.

If you live the shotgun lifestyle, you might visit www.shotgunlife.com, a new site creators are describing as in the “Best Gun” category. You’ll find articles (many very long), some product information, and at least a nod to women shooters, so pour yourself a half-skinny-soy-no foam latte’ extra caffeine and take a look.

SportDog is touting their new SportHunter 1825, a slimmer-profile receiver and transmitter system that offers up to 16 stimulus levels (requires a few button pushes – ask your texting-savvy kid to help) and (thank you) vibration AND tone through the collar receiver. Both should come in handy for creative dog trainers. They’ve also built a new “docking” system for charging batteries. No word on whether or not you can combine tone and vibration to perform the drum and guitar solos in the surf tune “Wipeout.”

There’s a black version and a camo version, both are waterproof,  and can be adapted to handle up to three dogs using SportDog’s “Add-A-Dog” (a great title for a spouses’ worst nightmare)  collars.

Next stop on the Awesome Upland Road Trip: Reno, Nevada and the Safari Club International convention, next week. How about for you? Where would you wear a new pair of Irish Setter boots? Tell me in the comments section and you might win a free pair!

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SHOT Show Shorts: Despite the economic laments, things here at the largest shooting and hunting trade show in the world are looking up. The consensus is if it’s “black,” it’s putting manufacturers’ and retailers’ bottoms lines there, too. In other words, self defense firearms, tactical gear and related products (even if used by hunters, a la’ the AR-15-style rifle) are hot sellers despite (or because of) the credit crisis, political uncertainties and general down-in-the-dumpness.

That said, here are some more great new products for guys and gals like us:

Remember MAD magazine? Remember their ongoing cartoon “Don’t you hate …”? Well, most of us could have chipped in with “I hate plastic bumpers that sink after one puppy bite.” Innovator Tom Dokken (Dead Fowl Retrievers) has solved our problem with foam-filled plastic knobby retrieving bumpers. Available in 2-inch diameter size only, they will float until incinerated, appear impervious to puppy teeth and shot, and will also hold injected scent, just like his clever and realistic bird “bumpers.”

(Watch for a new book from Tom on retriever training, with eventually, accompanying video.)

I also saw another new shotgun, this one an autoloader from Weatherby that runs about $700. It’s made in Turkey with an eerily Italian look, and comes in both wood and synthetic stock choices. Weatherby says their Turkish gun differs from competitors in the use of machined rather than cast metal parts and a dual-gas valve system. Hmmm.

And kudos to Smith & Wesson, a relative newcomer to the shotgun market. They received a Field & Stream magazine “Best of the Best” award for their Elite Gold SxS shotgun. A sweet, nimble shooter at $700.

Duty calls – cocktail parties to visit. Gotta go!

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Gun, shells, beer, dog ... I think I have everything.

Gun, shells, beer, dog ... I think I have everything.

My Irish Setter boots are broken-in, the Tri-Tronics Upland Sport G3 collar is charged and ready, and Buddy is in shape for warm weather and skittish birds. The jury’s still out on whether I’m ready for the bushwhacking we will attempt Monday. 

We’re starting in northeast Oregon on a trickle of a stream where I was chased off my fly fishing years ago by a momma ruffed grouse guarding her brood. When I next visited, it was with pro guide Ed Hall, and we were carrying shotguns, not fly rods. I wonder if we shot any of her progeny?

Stand by for news from the field … If I survive! Meanwhile, in the comments section below tell me where you’re hunting in your Irish Setter boots. I’ll pick one person per week from here and our radio show callers, who will win a new pair of Irish Setter boots or a new Irish Setter hunting coat.

Scott (& Buddy)

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