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Here are some Christmas gift ideas for the hunterPublished December 14, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.
Searching for the perfect Christmas gift to give a friend or family member who enjoys hunting? This can seem like a daunting task when such a great variety of products is available, but this guide to holiday shopping can help you get started. Here are some items you’ll certainly want to consider gift-wrapping this year. Visit your local sporting-goods dealer to check out the selections.
If you really want to make an impression, you can’t go wrong with the gift of a new rifle, shotgun or handgun. Most veteran hunters already own one or several, yet all will tell you there’s always room for a new caliber, gauge or style in the gun cabinet. A matched pair of collectible British doubles might set you back $40,000 or more. But more budget-conscious shoppers can find firearms, starting at a cost of just a few hundred dollars, that will long be treasured by the lucky hunter.
A reasonably priced and reliable combo the young deer hunter on your gift list would appreciate is the Remington .243 Whitetail Pro Model 770 Rifle/Scope Youth Combo, made especially for the smaller-framed hunter itching to load a new gun and start shooting. The same combo in 270, 30-06, 308 or 300 Win. would be the perfect instant gratification choice for any adult hunter.
Archery and blackpowder equipment
If you know someone interested in bowhunting, you might ask them to make a list showing some of the specialty items they’d like to find under the tree Christmas morning. The possibilities are almost endless, everything from a brand-new bow like Bass Pro Shops’ RedHead Kronik XT Compound to a new set of arrows or accessories such as broadheads, bow cases, targets, sights, quivers, releases and stabilizers.
The blackpowder enthusiast will probably have some great gift ideas as well. Give something truly special like a new muzzleloading rifle, shotgun or handgun (CVA’s Optima 209 Magnum Break Action .50 Caliber Muzzleloader Outfit would be a great choice), or keep the hunter well stocked with commonly used items such as powder, caps, bullets, lubricants and patches. Accessories such as powder measures, flasks, speed loaders and cappers make great stocking stuffers.
Clothing and footwear
It’s hard to go wrong in this department because every hunter can always use a new shirt, pants, outerwear or other item of clothing made especially for hunting.
Cold-weather apparel is always appreciated, anything from a complete insulated waterproof parka system and bib overalls (check out Cabela’s Whitetail Extreme Gore-Tex options) to more moderately priced items such as thermal underwear, gloves, face masks, caps and hats. And the first time they get caught in a downpour, they’ll be glad you thought about a gift of new rainwear like Columbia’s Omni-Tech Trophy Shot Jackets for men.
There’s clothing made especially for waterfowl hunters and turkey hunters, and specialty items such as scent-control apparel (Scent-Lok makes some great products) that will put a smile on the face of any big-game hunter. For upland hunters, consider a new vest with game bag and shell holders. And what outdoorsman wouldn’t be thrilled to find a new pair of boots or waders under the tree?
The newest technological toys are big hits when it comes to gift giving, even for hunters. Near the top of list would be a handheld GPS unit like a Garmin eTrex or Magellan eXplorist that will help your hunter traverse the backcountry without getting lost and help him navigate to prime hunting spots on return visits.
Other electronic options include game cameras, two-way radios for outdoor communication, electronic predator calls and accessories, electronic collars for hunting dogs, hearing enhancers, and action cameras like GoPro’s Hunt and Fish Bundle.
Does your gift recipient own an ATV? A wide variety of accessories are available, any of which might make a great Christmas gift. Choose from items as diverse as winches, gun racks, bow racks, cargo/storage bags, camouflage covers and tree-stand transporters. Other add-ons include drink holders, halogen trail lights, spotlights, cellphone holders and trailers.
Calls and decoys
Nowadays, there’s a call and decoy made for just about every type of game, from deer, elk and predators to waterfowl, turkeys and squirrels. Calls like Quaker Boy’s Diaphragm Turkey Calls or Knight & Hale’s Flight Control Duck Call make wonderful stocking stuffers, and when you gift-wrap a dozen duck decoys or a full-body deer decoy, you’ll have the gift recipient wondering what that huge package is under the tree.
Hunting and shooting accessories
If you can’t decide on a single gift, consider buying a daypack like L.L. Bean’s Hunter’s Tracker Pack and stuffing it with a variety of small hunting accessories. Some items to consider include a hunting knife, pocketknife or multi-tool; hunting scents and scent eliminators; ammunition; hearing and eye protection; a gun-cleaning kit; a compass; a flashlight or headlamp; a first-aid kit; and a water purifier.
Survival gear like the new Recon Survival Tool and other items from Outlast Survival & Tactical (outlast-survival.com) will be a hit with your hunter, too.
If none of the above is inspiring, consider camping-related gifts. Options include a new tent, sleeping bag, cot, sleeping pad, lantern, cooler, backpack or camp chair.
Cookery items will be appreciated as well, with much to choose from. A new camp stove like Camp Chef’s Tahoe 3-Burner Camp Stove can get your chef started, and a camper’s kitchen (Coleman makes deluxe and basic models) is great for keeping everything organized. Coffee pots, grills, cooking utensils, cast-iron cookware and accessories such as roasting forks, mugs and cookbooks are just a few of the many other items from which to choose.
A hunting trip
For that really special someone, think about booking an outdoor hunting adventure with a reputable guide or outfitter. The cost may be more affordable than you think, and many options are available, from big-game hunting in remote wilderness areas to family affairs where hunters can spend time with their loved ones, enjoying a variety of activities together. A good place to start is cabelasoutdooradventures.com.
And finally, if you still can’t decide on the just-right gift, let your hunter make the selection. A gift card stuck in a stocking shows you really care and makes the perfect present for someone who seems to have everything. You pick the dollar amount, and the recipient can redeem the card for online purchases, catalog orders and purchases made in the store. And if you’re one of those last-minute shoppers, you can even purchase an E-Gift Card to send a gift almost instantly to your favorite outdoor enthusiast.
This doesn’t begin to cover all the hunting-related gifts you’ll have to choose from when making selections this holiday season, but for most hunters, it’s the thought that counts anyway. No matter what you give this Christmas, you know the person who receives the gift will be thinking good thoughts of you when using it.
None Keith Sutton can be reached at .