This review is very near and dear to my heart. I have a deep passion for the outdoors and have experienced some of the most memorable times of my life hunting with my family and friends. Becoming a father has further renewed my passion for being outdoors and sharing the activities I had growing up with my own children.
It is over halfway through October and the northern Minnesota winds have been tearing off all the stubborn leaves still clinging to the trees. This is my favorite time of the year with so many different types of outdoor activities to do. One that I have been wanting to share with my kids has been Grouse hunting.
The past few years, I have grabbed my now five year old daughter and drove out into the woods. We would throw on our orange and I would even grab and load the shotgun. Her little legs never lasted much more than an hour slowly crunching our way down the leaf-covered trails. I had flushed multiple grouse but never really felt comfortable shooting. The issue wasn’t with feeling unsafe. I always follow safe gun practices especially in the presence of others. There was just this nagging feeling that the blast of a 12 gauge was not good for her little ears. I had nervous dad fears that one blast from that shotgun would scare her so bad that she wouldn’t want to ever come into the woods with me again. We have always used ear muffs for the kids around fireworks or taking my kids on a ride on the lawn mower, but they hamper the kids ability to hear and maintain a conversation; and when this dad (two thumbs up pointing at myself) walks in the woods with his daughter, we have much to converse about. So the birds would fly, I would make a mental note to come back alone someday and hope they were right there waiting for me.
Walker’s Game Ear Youth Active Muff
We found these bad boys trolling amazon one afternoon after the cheap harbor freight ear muffs I had for the kids for around the house broke. I wasn’t aware of the active electronic ear muffs before finding these, and was skeptical when I read how they worked. The claim from their page was as follows:
“Walker’s brings our award winning Sound Activated Compression technology that activates within .02 seconds of a sudden loud noise that could damage hearing. Powered by 2 “”AAA”” batteries (included) and Noise Reduction Rating of 22dB these electronic muffs are built for serious youth hearing protection.”
So basically through some type of space age miracle technology they claim that you and I can wear these muffs and carry on a conversation without even a hint of obstructed hearing. OK, sure I’ll bite, and at the $25 dollar sale price for the pink and $34 dollar sale price for the blue, we figured it was worth a shot.
Not willing to trust my little babies hearing to a claim on an amazon page, I decided to try this out for myself. I think this is an appropriate time to add a little about-the-author info into the review.
I am a 29 year old male.
I have a nice fitting motorcycle helmet sized ADULT XL.
Putting these two facts together, I figured there was no way they were gonna work. But I extended them out all the way and put them on with relative ease. It occurred to me that the good folks over at Walker’s had allowed space for a winter hat in their design. I continued to walk into my metal pole shed and reach deep into the leftover firework bin for a handful of fun little noisemakers called a fuse-less firecracker. A fuse-less firecracker is basically one of those fun little pop-its you throw at the ground on steroids. I power up the active ear muffs and take one of my fire crackers and whip itt the concrete by my feet only to hear…….
It sounds normally like a very loud blast resonating around the big pole shed, but with the ear muffs, It was like hearing someone break a Cheez-it in two.
I was fully shocked and thought maybe it was a fluke. I handed the muffs to my wife and completed the same test over and over. We could talk to each other no problem, but any time we did something extremely loud it was completely muffled. Just incredible.
Armed with my newfound magical muffs, I took the kids out on a beautiful fall afternoon grouse hunt. My daughter is 5 years old and my son is only 3. Needless to say, short little legs do not get along long treks through the woods but we made it about an hour chatting and stomping around in the leaves with no grouse in sight. The kids thought the muffs were great and actually kept their little ears warm in the cool October breeze. I decided to go for gold and try out the full capability of the muffs. I had the kids stand back and I paced in front of them a few yards. Lifting the 12 gauge up in a safe direction, I gave final warning I was going to fire. I pulled the trigger and the ol’ Remington 870 barked as bb’s flew harmlessly to the ground many yards away. I flicked the gun back to safe and looked back for reaction only to be pleasantly greeted by two big smiles. I was especially relieved seeing my boy, who has somewhat sensitive hearing, excitedly saying it wasn’t loud at all!
As a side note, the muffs come with a handy headphone jack and cord which allows you to use them as noise cancelling headphones. These muffs would also be great for any loud activities like fireworks or parades with loud fire trucks!
These muffs provided me with peace of mind that I am protecting my kids hearing all the while taking them on grouse walks. The fulfillment as a father I feel being able to take my kids out into the woods on a hunt for grouse is hard to describe. These muffs allowed my children and I to both enjoy the outdoors together, and that to me is priceless.
Here is the amazon link to the different color options of muffs: