DANVILLE, Ala. (April 27, 2015) – J. Scott Olmsted, editor in chief of the American Hunter presented American Hunter magazine’s inaugural Women’s Innovation Product of the Year Golden Bullseye Award to Hunter Safety System President Jerry Wydner for the lady’s Contour safety harness during the Golden Bullseye ceremony at the 144th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits at the Music City Center in Nashville, TN, April 10.
Now in their 13th year, the Golden Bullseyes are awarded to outstanding products in several different categories for each of the three NRA magazines, the American Hunter, the American Rifleman and Shooting Illustrated, as elected by the editorial staff of each magazine. Introduced by former NRA President Sandy Froman, the Women’s Innovation Product of the Year was a new category for 2015, created in response to the exponential growth of women in hunting and the shooting sports. The award was the highlight of the ceremony.
“Hunter Safety System answered the call for safe and innovative products with its new-for-2014 Ladies Contour Vest-and-Harness System because it understands women are the fastest-growing segment of hunters,” said Olmsted. “As someone who scampers up trees on a regular basis, Senior Editor Karen Mehall-Phillips field-tested it and immediately began blogging to tout its features.
“Designed to fit a woman’s form, the vest has three black Right-Fit stretch panels that trim bulk regardless of clothing layers to offer a contoured fit,” Olmsted continued. “HSS eliminated a bust strap in favor of a zippered-vest design—the ‘safety’ zipper releases if pressured in any direction—unlike a standard zipper. And in the event of a fall, it will not hinder a woman’s neckline. Patented adjustment features keep the vest snug and comfortable while allowing hunters to remain mobile on stand. At 2.5 pounds, it feels like a lightweight shirt. HSS even included stylish teal-colored accent lines in front of the black panels to create the image of ‘curves’—nice touch, but even that was no afterthought as HSS actually surveyed female hunters on color preference.
“The vest sports a sliding, metal adjustment bar between fabric layers for adjusting the internal straps before adjusting and securing the leg straps. A Suspension Relief/Deer Drag strap features a shock-absorbing tether sewn using “break-away” stitches to cushion the impact of a sudden stop in case of a fall. Users adjust the strap to fit and keep it handy in one of two lined pockets. In the event of a fall, users simply step into it to maintain circulation.
“An included HSS Lifeline keeps users connected to the tree whether climbing up or down, which is ideal considering hunters often move in low-light conditions. Also included is a tree strap, lineman’s climbing strap and an instructional DVD. HSS thought of everything on this one. So we think the lady’s Contour vest and harness system is an ideal choice as American Hunter’s first-ever Women’s Innovation Product of the Year,” Olmsted concluded.
Introduced last year, the Contour has been a break-through product for HSS, which has been a big hit with women hunters, but according to Wydner, it took a lot of input from the women on the company’s pro staff to get it right.
“We had three models of this particular unit that we put together and we’re pretty proud of ourselves for doing this, giving ourselves a pat on the back for thinking we did a good job,” said Wydner. “We brought all the lady hunters in, the specialty hunters that you all know, and we unveiled it in front of them.
“With us patting ourselves on the back, asking the ladies, ‘What do you think? Which model do you like the best?’ Well, we don’t have any of those models any more. As well as we thought we did, we blew it. The ladies started to tell us what we did wrong. It’s that ladies’ point-of-view that says, ‘Sometimes you men don’t get it.’ We had pockets that make their hips look big, we had things that weren’t taking care of the bust area of the vest. And, when they said those things, we looked at them and said, ‘You’re exactly right.’ As well as we thought we did, we needed room for improvement, and the ladies certainly gave it to us.
“But you know, as humorous as that little thing is, treestand safety is a serious game. And statists show that one in three of us will fall, at some time during our hunting career. One in three of us are going to fall at some point. Well that’s serious. Another scary statistic that just recently came out is that 86 percent of treestand falls have been when you’re not in the tree stand. Well that gives us areas to say, ‘We have to address that.’
“If we want to address ourselves as the safety people in this industry, we have to make sure we are coming up with those types of products. And we’re proud to say that we have, and the fact that we’re able now to be able to address the fact that a hunter can stay safe from the moment they leave the ground, until they return back to the ground. And that’s the mission of Hunter Safety System. I want to thank NRA, NRA Publications, and American Hunter magazine for recognizing those facts, for helping us stay safe while we’re out in the field and for spreading the word of treestand safety. We certainly appreciate that. I am so honored to receive this award, thank you very much,” Wydner concluded.
Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Danville, Ala., Hunter Safety System is a leading designer and manufacturer of innovative deer hunting gear and hunting equipment for the serious hunter. For additional information, write to: The Hunter Safety System, 8237 Danville Road, Danville, AL 35619; call toll-free 877-296-3528; or visit http://www.huntersafetysystem.com.