Head's Up - Huntsafe
Reviewed by Simon Gibson
Given the tragic shooting-related incidents that happen all too often, I am always interested in devices that may help prevent these. The Huntsafe electronic warning system was developed by keen hunter Anthony Gilmore, after he’d had several unnerving encounters with other hunters while hunting bush country. The Huntsafe device gives you a heads-up that someone else is coming into your hunting area – but is by no means designed to allow you to ignore Firearm Safety Rules
How does it work?
The Huntsafe unit works by sending out its own unique radio frequency (RF) code at 433 megahertz, which is an internationally-recognised free channel for public use. After sending out this unique code, the unit then sits and listens for this same code (which would be sent from another unit).
This send-and-listen pattern is completely random, so no two units will ever synchronize with each other.
The result is a different beeping pattern every time; for example if the unit is listening for 10 seconds (remember, this is random) it will beep for 10 seconds if it’s within 100 metres of another unit. If it’s listening for 5 seconds (again, randomly selected) it will beep for 5 seconds if it’s within 100 metres of another unit. Every Huntsafe unit will recognise any other Huntsafe unit, regardless of how many are sold. However, the aerial size of the unit is such that its effective range is limited to 100 metres in the bush, meaning that your Huntsafe will be activated as soon as it’s within 100 metres of another one. If the unit beeps, another hunter is within your zone, regardless of the number of beeps.
The device is the size of a pack of cards and weighs only 92 grams. It’s water resistant, not waterproof – but just place it in a snaplock bag: problem solved. Two AAA batteries will power it for up to 3 weeks (assuming about 8 hours of usage per day) and it’s equipped with a ‘Low-battery’ alarm. The devices are made in Waikanae by Penguin Electronics.
In the field
I tried the system out on three trips in different types of terrain where on numerous occasions I got a hunting companion to wander off 100 or so metres out of sight and then come back towards me. The units certainly worked; the random nature of the beeping as one device detected another took a little getting used to, but as explained earlier this is quite deliberate to avoid the possibility of two units transmitting or receiving at the same time and therefore not warning of another hunter nearby. To be effective, other hunters in the area need to also be carrying the device, which might seem unlikely – except for the fact that two out of three fatal shootings involve members of the same party, and this is where the Huntsafe will come into its own.
The ultimate responsibility for hunter safety of course still lies with individual hunters to identify their targets beyond all doubt before shooting.
RRP $90 per unit. www.huntsafeelectronics.com firstname.lastname@example.org