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#6623667 - 01/09/17 09:12 AM Re-thinking duck gear due to recent tragedies
mattyg06 Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 04/22/14
Posts: 1075
While reading about these recent deaths during duck hunts it has made me re-think duck clothing in general. When contemplating traditional gear you realize that most of the clothes typically worn are very poor insulators when wet. Also the clothing works against you if you actually had to swim while wearing it. I think a lot of this has to do with the fit of the gear which usually is very bulky loose fitting. While I was in college I was on the water ski team and I frequently skied in water temps down in the 40s with air temps in the 30s with few problems of being overly cold even after a 30 min session.

Maybe we have made a mistake by trying to use 'regular' hunting fabrics in the wrong environment. I am thinking that maybe there should be a major shift in duck hunting gear to more closely resemble surfing gear. 1mm neoprene can be made to fit very comfortably and could easily be backed with fleeces to provide for better comfort. A very light spring wet suit could be easily worn as a base layer to ensure maximum insulation if submerged. Also these fabrics are incredibly warm when completely wet due to persperation. Also these fabrics are naturally buoyant even without a life jacket used.

I think the current clothing would have to modified for our particular sport but it seems more logical to use this type of 'system' versus what we have been typically using.

Here are some options that I think could converted/modified be made for duck hunting.

Wet suit vest

Long sleeve

Hydroskin Pants

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#6623682 - 01/09/17 09:22 AM Re: Re-thinking duck gear due to recent tragedies [Re: mattyg06]
Pintail711 Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 09/18/16
Posts: 215
Loc: Longview, TX
The majority of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket. It doesn't matter what you wear, if you aren't wearing a life jacket, you aren't giving yourself a fighting chance. The other problem is the boats that people are hunting in. I understand that some people cant afford a 20ft gator trax. Others do not simply know how to properly handle a boat in rough water. Everyone controls their own actions, no matter what is out there for purchase.

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#6623707 - 01/09/17 09:37 AM Re: Re-thinking duck gear due to recent tragedies [Re: Pintail711]
Kilo11 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 12/16/16
Posts: 92
Originally Posted By: Pintail711
The majority of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket. It doesn't matter what you wear, if you aren't wearing a life jacket, you aren't giving yourself a fighting chance. The other problem is the boats that people are hunting in. I understand that some people cant afford a 20ft gator trax. Others do not simply know how to properly handle a boat in rough water. Everyone controls their own actions, no matter what is out there for purchase.


While everything you said is true, I don't see why taking gear that is designed to be worn by humans in cold water and adapting it for duck hunters would be a bad idea. If it was some expensive specialty item that added inconvenience or was cost-prohibitive, then it wouldn't be worth it. But if it's nothing more than wearing Pants/Jacket A instead of Pants/Jacket B because Pants/Jacket A work in cold water and Pants/Jacket B don't, then what's the issue?

At some point back in time, someone probably said, "Wearing a huge floating thing around your body is stupid and inconvenient. Just learn how to handle a boat and you'll be fine. And you know how to swim, right?"

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#6623723 - 01/09/17 09:52 AM Re: Re-thinking duck gear due to recent tragedies [Re: mattyg06]
nate33 Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 11/16/16
Posts: 412
Accidents are gonna happen--------its not possible to be 100% safe. When boats are involved the accident rate goes way up, add freezing cold and high winds and it goes way way up. The bad news for "us" is that these kids were taken out of the gene pool and the snow flakes that are in college safe rooms are still in the gene pool. So its a loss for us all.

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#6623724 - 01/09/17 09:53 AM Re: Re-thinking duck gear due to recent tragedies [Re: mattyg06]
SeaAggie2015 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 04/08/16
Posts: 74
For years and years duck hunters have worn basically the same materials. Designing a new material or new "system" of clothing will not make a difference in the hunting market. Giant waterfowl companies like drake and banded (to name a couple) make quality products that are "ground breaking" in warmth and performance. Now, that being said, I do think buying waders and clothes that fit properly and aren't to bulky is a great way to save yourself some future stress should a situation arise. If you'll pay attention to the people that are involved in these accidents then that will tell you all you need to know. A father and son on tawakoni were out on a day that to windy for the BEST of boats. The boys in the bay were young and had no life jackets. Having the ability to stay home on bad weather days (or walk in), slow down in stump fields (even though your "boat can take it"), and have common since to wear life jackets and make the safe decision is really what saves lives. Not the clothes that they were wearing. Risk management starts WAY before you get to the lake. Not once a problem occurs
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#6623833 - 01/09/17 10:55 AM Re: Re-thinking duck gear due to recent tragedies [Re: mattyg06]
mattyg06 Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 04/22/14
Posts: 1075
Isn't that the point of clothing though... that when accidents do happen you have the best chance of surviving it. Even the best clothing by Drake/Banded are very poorly designed for an aquatic environment. If you don't believe me just find someone with a wet suit and challenge them to a swimming race in 40 degree water while you wear the top of the line Drake/Banded gear. Most likely you get hypothermia and can't no longer use your best survival mechanism.. your brain... because it shuts down in these temperatures while they are leisurely swimming to shore.

Imagine you get thrown in the water with dry suit used by surfers for winter conditions. You're brain will not shut down in the short length of time it would in cotton/wool/synthetics compared to a dry suit. You wouldn't be struggling against your gear but you would float comfortably in relative warm.

Here is another example...Does anyone here put layers of wool on their dog and expect them to swim well and stay warm in harsh conditions or did you purchase a neoprene 'wetsuit' specifically made for dogs?

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#6623855 - 01/09/17 11:03 AM Re: Re-thinking duck gear due to recent tragedies [Re: mattyg06]
BradyBuck Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 10/18/07
Posts: 5516
Loc: Abilene, TX
I'm with you. UA or Drake should make neoprene waterfowl hunting gear. I think it would make a lot of sense especially for those who regularly hunt in colder temps. For me, I might need it once or twice a year.

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#6624021 - 01/09/17 12:39 PM Re: Re-thinking duck gear due to recent tragedies [Re: mattyg06]
BDB Offline
Tracker

Registered: 01/30/14
Posts: 613
Loc: Mesquite
I think its fine to prepare for the worst as far as clothing but keep in mind almost all (and probably all) these tragedies are happening while braking all laws of safety while in a boat. I'll take 100% cotton clothes while NOT breaking boat safety laws before I put on the best clothing and go be stupid in the boat. But sense I have a choice I'll obey all safety rules on boating and clothing. The dad/son on Tawk can't even be considered in these conversations....that dad was 100% CRAZY/STUPID for even being on the lake in that boat. I would like to know how the 3 young adults on the coast got into the water (waves, hit something, driver error etc). The country singer that died last year....they were in yet another VERY small craft were they not?

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#6624078 - 01/09/17 01:10 PM Re: Re-thinking duck gear due to recent tragedies [Re: mattyg06]
mattyg06 Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 04/22/14
Posts: 1075
Surfers routinely go out into 10-15' waves in 40 degree temperatures with 'craft' that are much smaller than the boats listed and survive regularly. That also includes being thrown from their 'boats' and sometimes being held down in freezing water. I can't help but think if surfers had to wear 100% cotton/wool duck clothing that there would be many more deaths. Granted on average surfers are much more athletic than the typical duck hunter, but that still doesn't change the fact that basic duck hunting clothing has no protective value when totally wet.

Think about white water rafting and that clothing... it is much more similar to surfing gear than duck gear.

I see that I won't make any treadway with this group, but just something for y'all to think about next time your arms get wet while putting out decoys.

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#6624083 - 01/09/17 01:15 PM Re: Re-thinking duck gear due to recent tragedies [Re: mattyg06]
Leonardo Online   content
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 01/03/08
Posts: 4881
Loc: Wise County
Originally Posted By: mattyg06
Surfers routinely go out into 10-15' waves in 40 degree temperatures with 'craft' that are much smaller than the boats listed and survive regularly. That also includes being thrown from their 'boats' and sometimes being held down in freezing water. I can't help but think if surfers had to wear 100% cotton/wool duck clothing that there would be many more deaths. Granted on average surfers are much more athletic than the typical duck hunter, but that still doesn't change the fact that basic duck hunting clothing has no protective value when totally wet.

Think about white water rafting and that clothing... it is much more similar to surfing gear than duck gear.

I see that I won't make any treadway with this group, but just something for y'all to think about next time your arms get wet while putting out decoys.



I am in agreement with you. A much more practical opportunity is out there. I think you should take your idea and run with it. Hit up some of these manufacturers or put a plan together for yourself.

I assume many people have never been in a wet suite, or involved in any of your examples, but I imagine they would end up being customers.

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#6624095 - 01/09/17 01:22 PM Re: Re-thinking duck gear due to recent tragedies [Re: Leonardo]
Herbie Hancock Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/23/16
Posts: 1239
Loc: Cypress, Texas
Originally Posted By: Leonardo
I am in agreement with you. A much more practical opportunity is out there. I think you should take your idea and run with it. Hit up some of these manufacturers or put a plan together for yourself.

I assume many people have never been in a wet suite, or involved in any of your examples, but I imagine they would end up being customers.


Yep see if you can't get the wheel in motion if you will.

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#6624098 - 01/09/17 01:24 PM Re: Re-thinking duck gear due to recent tragedies [Re: mattyg06]
Misfire Online   content
Tracker

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 719
Loc: Hood County
There are several issues with using neoprene for hunting.

Neoprene is not very durable, especially when setting and retrieving decoys in brush, rocks or any other abrasive landscape. In the thicknesses that would be required in order to be a "life saver" from hypothermia it is hard to put on/take off, restricts movement, is impractical to layer, bulky, heavy, etc.. One of the big drawbacks is that it builds up heat rapidly and doesn't breathe or wick away sweat/heat. So on days you're not floating in the water waiting on rescue, every moment in the suit is misery. The scuba industry probably has the most innovation when it comes to cold water immersion suits. Some have internal liners, o-ring seals at neck, ankles, hands, etc.. but again, they are not something you are going to wear on a hunt. If you are just talking about keeping hands, feet and arms dry then there are already products for that. If you are talking about full immersion in cold water survival suit, it's going to be hard to mix the qualities needed to save you from hypothermia with the qualities needed to perform regular hunting tasks.
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#6624112 - 01/09/17 01:33 PM Re: Re-thinking duck gear due to recent tragedies [Re: mattyg06]
Sniper John Online   happy
gumshoe

Registered: 08/31/05
Posts: 16639
Loc: North Texas
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#6624176 - 01/09/17 02:21 PM Re: Re-thinking duck gear due to recent tragedies [Re: mattyg06]
Pintail711 Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 09/18/16
Posts: 215
Loc: Longview, TX
Don't wear waders in the boat, put on a life jacket and that will give you a chance if you fall out of the boat.

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#6624197 - 01/09/17 02:36 PM Re: Re-thinking duck gear due to recent tragedies [Re: mattyg06]
SeaAggie2015 Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 04/08/16
Posts: 74
Originally Posted By: mattyg06
Imagine you get thrown in the water with dry suit used by surfers for winter conditions. You're brain will not shut down in the short length of time it would in cotton/wool/synthetics compared to a dry suit. You wouldn't be struggling against your gear but you would float comfortably in relative warm.


I'm not saying that having specialized thermal protection is a bad idea. I'm talking about the practicality. Having been a dive master and having been in wet suits, dry suits, and semi dries, I can fully express my appreciation for that clothing technology. However, what is the first thing I would do (and tell students to do) upon getting out of the water? Take the suit off or pull it half down and put on regular warm and dry clothing. I've seen MULTIPLE people get faint or pass out from the constricting nature of neoprene when the sun is beating down (even though it's cold out). As a surfer that has neoprene, I ask you this: How long do you sit on the surface before getting into the water? My guess would be a relatively short time. Could you put on a wet suit, set decoys, build a blind, go hide a boat, walk back to the blind, sit for however long the hunt takes, go pick up the boat and decoys then ride back to the ramp? I would be miserable before I even made it to the spot. Neoprene is NOT designed for dry use. My argument is not against the life saving capabilities of neoprene in the water, but rather the life saving capabilities of good planning, risk management and common sense.
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