And Mrs. Fudd would have no idea how much he spent for his high-tech hunting equipment.
“We have guys come in and say, ‘If my wife asks, you didn’t see me,’” said Ricky Aldridge, manager of Walker Farmers Cooperative.
Ten years ago, the Co-op carried just a few hunting items. Now they can fill an eight-page catalog with the latest gadgets.
Some customers prefer to pay in cash to hide the fact that they are spending more in one hunting season than they did for their first car.
Membership at a good hunting club could cost them $2,000 a year. Or they might buy several hundred dollars worth of seed and attractant for their deer plots.
“Everybody used to just go to the woods, sit down and wait for a deer. Now you don’t have to. You can bring them right to you,” Aldridge said.
The Co-op sells everything from chicory and clover to winter peas. These products range in price from $20 for a small bag to $170 for a bag that will cover three acres.
If a hunter doesn’t know which brand or blend he needs, the back of the bag can help him decide based on the type of soil and location of his plot.
This year’s hot item is Mossy Oak BioLogic’s winter bulbs and sugar beets.
“They’ve already sold out, and the season has hardly started,” Aldridge said.
Hunters who plant also have to buy a spreader, which can cost over $1,000 and almost $900 for a disc if they want to pull it behind their four-wheeler.
Most hunters know where to plant because they own a motion-sensored game camera that shows them how many big deer are on their land.
“They (game cameras) pick up everything that comes through — bobcats, coyotes, raccoons, people,” Aldridge said.
Pat’s Archery and Outdoors in Jasper carries game cameras that range in price from $99 to $600.
If hunters don’t want to go into the woods to retrieve the images, they can have them sent to them with their Moultrie Game Spy I35.
“If you purchase the cell service, it will automatically send every picture it takes to your phone or e-mail,” said Jake Williams, an employee at Pat’s Archery and Outdoors.
The clothing hunters wear can now camouflage their scent as well as their skin.
The ScentBlocker brand that Pat’s carries has a carbon lining that can be activated in the dryer 30 minutes before a hunt. A jacket and pair of pants costs $300.
Hunters can also block their scent with special bar soap, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, boot spray and wipes.
Once in the woods, hunters can kick back in their tree stand and warm up beside their portable propane heater.
They don’t need to spray OFF! to keep the mosquitoes away if they have a clip-on ThermaCELL repellent that is powered by a butane cartridge. It costs $24 and can last up to 12 hours.
If a deer comes along, hunters can decide whether it’s close enough to shoot with their Nikon Laser Rangefinder, which ranges any target up to 550 yards and costs about $200.
They can also tape the kill with a pair of i-Kam Extreme sunglasses, which can record audio and video for four hours. The glasses sell for $180.
Some of the technology hunters use in the woods just keep them from getting bored.
Cindy Curington, an employee at the Co-op, has a 17-year-old son who takes his cell phone, iPod and portable DVD player along on his hunts.
“He was watching a movie once and he happened to look up and killed a seven-point,” Curington said.
No matter how much new technology is on the market, good sportsmen know that skill can’t be bought.
“You can give the best hunter the worst equipment and he can kill a deer. You can give the worst hunter the best stuff and he’s not going to,” Williams said.