Bob Robb in Illinois: What Did I use?

Sponsored by: Nikon Sports Optics &  Wildlife Research Center

Columnist Bob Robb is hunting Illinois’ famed Brown County while testing some hot new gear. Come along and see how things go.

This past week I have hunted some superb land in Illinois’ Brown County controlled by Brady Arview, VP of Sales & Marketing for New Archery Products (

Bob Robb, center, is flanked by New Archery Products' Brady Arview, left, and Jason McKee. Brady and Jason put Bob on his Illinois buck.

These industry hunts are one way guys like me have a chance to try out some of the industry’s newest gear. On this trip I used equipment old and new. Here’s a quick round-up and some thoughts on what I used to help me arrow a beautiful 3 ½-year old 9-pointer that gross-scored 147 2/8 gross Pope & Young points.

Pull the string on this Hoyt Maxxis and you know why you chose Hoyt.

Bow: I shoot a 35-inch axle-to-axle Hoyt Maxxis ( set at 70 lbs. I have a 28-inch draw length and this bow sends a 400-grain arrow out at 280 fps. It’s smooth, quiet, consistently accurate, and one of the finest hunting bows I have ever shot.

Arrows: I use 28 ½-inch 5575 Gold Tip Pro Hunter carbon shafts ( They are straight as a string and consistent to within a grain or two on overall weight. I love ‘em.

A good broadhead like the NAP Thunderhead is a must for a fast, humane kill.

Broadhead: This hunting season it is back to the future for me as I am shooting 125-grain Thunderheads from New Archery Products ( I have lost count of the number of big game animals I have shot with Thunderheads over the years, and today’s version is better than ever. This one sliced a huge hole in my buck.

The object of camo is to avoid being seen and recognized, Optifade does that.

Clothing: My Sitka Gear ( clothing in the new Optifade Forest camouflage ( is comfortable and quiet. Optifade Forest was designed using the science of deer vision and is designed to show deer something they physically cannot see. The more I wear it, the more amazed I am at how it helps keep me hidden.

Why guess how far when you have Nikon's Archers Choice Rangefinder?

Optics: I never head to the deer woods without my Nikon Archer’s Choice laser rangefinder. It’s the best compact unit of this type I have ever used. I also used a Nikon EDG 8×42 binocular. It’s clear as a bell and reliable as the sunrise. (

Solid, quiet and comfortable, that's the Champ.

Treestand: I got a chance to hunt from some of the hot Non-Typical Treestands’ products here, including the lightweight Avenger and full-sized Champ ( Talk about stands that are easy to set, solid on the tree, quiet as a church mouse, and comfortable! I liked the ones I hunted from so much I ordered two on the spot, along with two sets of Ameristeps’ Rapid Rail climbing sticks system. What else can I say?

Want to know what is happening in your area? The Stealth Cam can tell you.

Stealth CamUnit ( Hunt host Brady Arview had several of these compact, simple to use game cameras up before our hunt, and their pictures helped select the stand site from which I shot my buck. I liked them so much I ordered several while in camp. They’re that good.

We may have played with the Flextone but I was dead serious when it brought my buck in.

Flextone Game Calls ( We played with the Flextone Buck Collector , one of the most realistic-sounding grunt calls out there that also has a built-in short-wheeze call. It’s easy to use, and you do not have to over-blow this call. One thing that is nice about the call is the bellows tube is made from a soft rubber, so when you inadvertently bang it against anything hard it does not make any game-spooking noise.

The proven quality of Scent Killer ensures your trophy won't catch wind of you until it's on the ground.

Wildlife Research Center ( WRC has been making cutting-edge scent control and management products since 1983, and their Super Charged Scent Killer is as good as it gets when it comes to scent-eliminating sprays. It kills odors on the molecular level, is completely odor free, does not leave residue, lasts for days, and kills human odor on contract. We also used Special Golden Estrus doe urine, which is collected fresh each year from does in estrous that have been tested for CWD and found free of this disease when the urine was collected. It’s all natural in and perfect for pr-rut and rut hunting. In conjunction with the game cameras, we also used WRC’s Magnum Scrape Dripper Combo, which is the dripper plus a 4 oz. of Active Scrape buck lure. One thing I love about this dripper is that it has been engineered to drip only during daylight hours, which can encourage bucks to visit the area during legal shooting hours.

When you need light bring out the big boy.

Cyclops ( The 25 Watt Cyclops Nexus is a high intensity discharge light that puts out 3200 lumens (brighter than 25 million candlepower) spotlight that made blood trailing after dark almost as easy as if it were high noon. It has a rechargeable AC/DC charger or a 12 V DC car adapter, battery level indicator, and has will up to 50 minutes of burn time on a single charge. It’s an amazing product. I also used a little Orion hat clip light to get to and from my stand in the dark. It comes in green, red and white, though we used green to help reduce game spooking white light. Its contoured shape fits a cap brim securely, and the top mount design keeps the light out of your direct line of vision. It can produce a lot of light for about 10 hours using two C-2032 lithium batteries. Best of all, it retails for less than 10 bucks.