Guide to Hearing Protection for Hunting: Protect Your Ears and Enhance Your Hunting Experience

To hear or not to hear, this is the question. When I was in Hunter’s Safety, they stressed the importance of wearing eye and ear protection when using a firearm. Even when at a shooting range, safety is always Number 1. In a sense, safety should be equally important while hunting, more specifically, hearing protection. 

A lot of time while big game hunting, shot opportunities happen in an instant and do not give the shooter an opportunity to put their hearing protection on. This has been the case for me more times than not. Generally, when I have had the opportunity to take the shot, I do not notice the noise of the shot because of my adrenaline and focusing on the shot. However, I notice the blast of the shotgun a lot more when I am hunting waterfowl. Generally, I feel the after-effects of the shotgun for a couple days.  Because of this, I knew I needed to find a solution.

In The Blind

Here’s the scenario…3-4 hunters sitting in the blind on a crisp, late-fall morning. Shooting hours have started and the sun is just peaking over the mountain tops. Suddenly, a flock of ducks is spotted. Calling commences and the birds are coming in like they are on a leash. As they come closer, they start dipping and diving with their wings cupped and ready to land. The hunters pull up their guns and open fire resulting in success. This is a common occurrence in the world of waterfowl. On average, a shotgun blast is about 155 decibels (according to Noise levels above 85 decibels are considered hazardous to our hearing. Now, with that being said, let’s think about the scenario. With 3-4 guys shooting, there is a lot of blasts going off all at once. Over a couple hours of being exposed to this, one is at risk to having their hearing damaged. 

Hearing Protection and My Two Cents

ear muffs for big game hunting
Walkers Game Ear Razor Muff

If you’re anything like me, I like to be aware of my surroundings, especially when I’m hunting. The years leading up to the last 2 hunting seasons, I would try using standard hearing protection when hunting. In doing so, I felt that it was more inconvenient than it was beneficial. I found I would remove my ear plugs multiple times due to trying to talk with my buddies, trying to listen for birds, or because I was just tired of having ear plugs in my ears. It wasn’t until I started using electronic hearing protection that things changed for me.  

I use both the rope style hearing buds and the earmuff style hearing protection. This gives me the option of which style to use depending on the situation. Generally, I will use the rope style when I’m hunting and will use the earmuff style for target shooting or even while doing yard work. Like with any product, there are pros and cons. Let’s dive in and I’ll share my thoughts about each one.


Let’s look at the Walkers Game Ear Razor Muff Patriot Series first. One thing that immediately stood out to me was how low-profile these were, both when folded down to store and when wearing them. Another feature I have found useful at times is the audio input jack. I have been able to hook up an audio cable from these to the computer or even my phone and listen to videos or music. The sound is great, the convenience of the volume knob on the side makes it easy to use.

Now, with the good, there is some bad. Fortunately, it’s nothing major. Two things I have found I dislike about these, comes down to a clearance issue and the speakers. First, the clearance issue. Depending on the rifle or shotgun I am shouldering, the bottom of the earmuff interferes with the top of the stock. Really, this is more of an annoyance than anything.

The second dislike I have has to do with the speakers. Because the earmuffs are designed to reduce the blast or noise down to a mere 23 decibels, it does struggle with the noise from un-muffled motors and the wind sometimes. For example, while out duck hunting there was an airboat that drove past. For those that have been around them or have ridden on them know just how loud the motor and fan are. The airboat was just far enough away that it caused the speakers in the earmuffs to crackle and pop like a blown speaker. Luckily, the easy fix is to turn the earmuffs off while the airboat was driving by.  


Next up is the Walkers Game Ear Rope Hearing Enhancer Buds. I have enjoyed using these when I am waterfowl hunting. One of the first things I noticed about these were how small and lightweight they are. They are easy to wear and even while stored in the carry case, they don’t take up a lot of room in my blind bag. Another nice feature I would like to mention is that they are rechargeable. Unlike the earmuffs, these do not have a volume knob. Instead, they have three volume levels: low, medium, and high. Generally, I will use my ear buds with the volume on low which still allows me the ability to hear my surroundings without an issue. 

Now, for the dislikes, there are only two I’d like to mention, which are more of an inconvenience than anything. First thing is the earbud itself. Inside the packaging, it comes with 3 different sizes of foam earbud tips to get the best fit for your ear canal. I have found that they sometimes become uncomfortable and must remove them to give my ears a break, but only for a few minutes.

The second item to mention is regarding the speakers. Like the earmuff, I had the same issue of the speakers popping and crackling when an airboat drove past our blind. I also experienced extra noise from the wind also. Depending on which volume level the earbuds are set at makes it that much louder. Again, the easiest solution I have found is to simply turn them off. 


If you have read any of my previous articles, you may have noticed I am a fan of gear that will not break the bank. These two sets of hearing protection would fall into this category. With all things considered, and with both pairs costing under $60, I would recommend these for anyone’s gear list. Whether you are hunting, shooting, doing yard work, or even just trying to get some peace and quiet, I do not think you can go wrong with either of these. 

I hope this article has given some insight to anyone interested in hearing protection while hunting. Be safe and happy hunting.  

Grim Reaper Broadheads – Fixed vs Mechanical

Whether you are brand new to archery or a long-time veteran, you have probably noticed that there are very strong opinions on the topic of broadheads. The big debate and question is should I shoot a fixed blade or mechanical head on the end of my arrow?  I don’t know that there is a right or wrong answer to this question because there are pros and cons to both setups.  Also, there are many variables that should be considered to help answer this question.  I have been a big fan of Grim Reaper Broadheads for many years. The company is a small family-owned business that has been around for 20 years.  They have a robust product line and a proven track record of quality.  As an added bonus, they are 100% made in the USA which helps them with quality control.  Not many other broadhead companies can say that these days. 


Swarovski ATX 65mm vs 85mm lens comparison

A spotting scope can be one of the most valuable pieces of equipment in your pack.  Whoever coined the saying ‘let your eyes do the walking’ was a wise person.  A spotting scope can and will save you countless miles of hiking to evaluate animals, see what that flash of movement was under a tree across the draw, or count rings on a ram’s horns to determine their age.  The number of situations where a spotting scope is beneficial are too many to count, and if you hunt anywhere that requires spotting animals from a distance, you know exactly what I’m talking about.


Learning to Hunt New Areas

Hunting opportunities in the Western United States is more difficult to obtain now than ever before. Starting fresh in the current big game hunting scene is downright daunting. The demand for tags far exceeds the supply and opportunities to hunt old stomping grounds may not come around as often as we would like. I, like many, have come to realize that if you want to hunt every year, you need to adapt by expanding the aperture to look at hunting different units and states. Those willing to adapt will find a way, and believe it or not, spectacular over-the-counter opportunities are still out there.


Reviewing the New Carter Index Release – The “Like Mike II”

When I first got into archery, I only shot index finger style releases and like most new archers, I wasn’t properly executing my shot.  I basically lined up the pin on what I was aiming at and let er rip.  Since then, I have tried many different styles of release aids and have gotten much better at controlling my shot process.  At one point in my archery evolution, I picked up a Carter release called the “Like Mike”.  This is an index finger style release that has some adjustability for tension and travel.  Meaning you can make the trigger easier or harder to go off as well as you can adjust how much creep is in the trigger. Similar to the adjustment of a good rifle trigger.  This past year, Carter announced an upgraded version of the “Like Mike” and called it the “Like Mike II”.  This article will go over some of the enhancements to the new model


“Where It Started” – A Whitetail Hunting Story

As a kid, it was the weekend I thought about for months. It was the couple days out of the year I got to spend doing what I love with the people I love. A week before that first weekend of December, I would lay out all of my clothing and gear. My parents definitely got annoyed that I crowded up the dining room table with hunting gear but I couldn’t help myself. From a 5-year-old that could barely see over the dash of a pickup to the man I am today, I will forever cherish those hunting memories and the ones that are to come. 


Big Country with Big Glass

- Swarovski NL Pure 12x42 -

As a hunter who spends several weeks per year pursuing big game from the vast expanses of the Alaska tundra to the cactus laden desert flats of New Mexico, I am always looking for more efficient ways to accomplish my goals. This year, I had an urge to reduce my optics footprint from a dual binocular 10x/15x system to a hybrid one binocular approach.  With this concept in mind, my thoughts and curiosity constantly wandered towards an optics system utilizing the newly released NL Pure 12x42 in tandem with the modular Swarovski ATX/BTX.  


“Sitka Tool Bucket” – a Whitetail Pack Dump

As a whitetail deer hunter, when I hit the woods I like to be silent and organized. Fortunately, the Sitka Tool Bucket has been the perfect tool for the job my last 5 seasons of hunting. When I first began bowhunting everything I took to the stand with me got tossed in an old camouflage backpack that only had a couple pockets. All the jiggling and rattling that took place, it’s surprising there was even a deer left in the county when I reached my treestand. As my obsession and attention to detail has grown as a whitetail hunter, it was time to take things to the next level and the Tool Bucket did just that. I will take you through my pack setup and some of my favorite features about the Tool Bucket.


BlackOvis Merino 2.0

Most likely you’ve heard the term layering as it relates to hunting clothing and how this technique will give you the optimal benefit under a variety of hunting conditions.   Many of the top hunting clothing manufactures build entire clothing systems around this layering concept.  These systems include essentially three components.  1) base layer 2) insulation layer, and 3) outer layer. This article will focus on the first layer of the clothing system (or the layer that’s next to your skin). There has been much debate and research around the most effective material for this base layer application.  Below is a simple explanation of the most commonly used base layer materials and some of the pros and cons.


BlackOvis Holiday Gift Guide

Every year I sit down to write the Holiday Gift Guide for BlackOvis with two goals in mind. One, help people who may not be hunters give the hunters in their life better gifts, and two, make sure no one has to force a smile while unwrapping a camouflage necktie or polo shirt with deer all over it. Giving a gift to a loved one with a hobby you don't understand can be a challenge. My video game-obsessed nephew got 500 AA batteries from his uncle who has never owned a Nintendo, or Sega Genesis. Electronics need batteries right? It's the thought that counts? Hopefully, this list will give you a few “thoughts” that will count a little more…