We’ve all been there on Christmas Day, right?
Most of the time, the box is a dead giveaway — but at least it gives you a little bit of prep time to practice the obligatory “I love it!” silently before you rip off the wrapping paper from Aunt Wilma and see your brand-new tie, scarf or socks for the very first time.
So to prevent any awkward re-gifting situations in the future, now’s the time to start dropping hints and letting everyone know what you really want to see under the tree on Christmas Day.
To make your job even easier, we spoke with managers of two of Louisiana’s most popular outdoor stores — Bowie Outfitters in Baton Rouge (225-766-1200) and Simmons’ Sporting Goods in Bastrop — to come up with 12 of the hottest Christmas gifts sure to make you smile.
Now all you have to do is let Santa know what you want. To see a picture of each item, just click on the numbered link.
This is a great new product combing a swivel-top hunting bucket with a mini-washing machine. The trick is a small PVC pipe inside the bucket that attaches to your garden hose to create a swirling action perfect for cleaning fish fillets, ducks, doves and more.
“I’m so pumped about this product,” Bowie's Lea Benoit said. “Each one of the slots in that pipe inside the bucket is cut to create a swirling effect, so it’s not just filling the bucket with water.
“It’s actually creating a washing machine effect.”
All you have to do is put it next to your cleaning station, hook up your hose and throw your game into the bucket.
“It’s like putting dishes in the dishwasher,” Benoit said. “It gets all the blood out, it gets the feathers off a duck breast, and all the bad water just spills over.
“What doesn’t, you just tip the bucket and pour it out, and you come out with clean meat every time.”
Bowie’s sells the Cowboy’s Game Washer Bucket for $59.95. Click here for more information.
The reason why these waders are flying off the shelves at Simmons’ Sporting Goods is because they’re so lightweight, according to Lindsey Simmons Robert.
“These aren’t like your typical neoprene waders, where you’re lugging around an extra 40 pounds,” Robert said. “They’re super lightweight, but they’re insulated so they’re warm.
“I’ve sold tons and have had to reorder, so I think it makes a really good Christmas gift.”
Simmons’ sells these Banded waders for $329.99. For more information, click here.
It’s taken a while to perfect, but Bowie's Benoit said the Savage’s is really the first successful version of a 17HMR semi-automatic.
“You’ve got a lot of semi-auto .22s and semi-autos in the centerfire range, but as far as rimfire semi-autos go, all the previous models they tried with 17HMR did not work. They were completely unsuccessful,” Benoit said. “This one is the first time this platform has been put together and actually functions properly.
“It’s perfect for squirrel hunting, and it’s a great target-shooting gun. It’s fun to shoot. Bolt-action was the only previous option, but this guy changed the game with the semi-auto.”
Bowie’s Outfitters sells the Savage A17 for $399. Click here for more information.
Yeti is bringing its legendary ability to keep things cold to the soft-sided cooler market — perfect for picnics, the beach or anywhere you don’t want to lug around a big, rigid ice chest.
“It’s like an insulated cooler bag with a carrying strap,” Simmons' Robert said. “Anything Yeti is over the top, and this is their newest cooler.
“It keeps ice for days like a regular Yeti does, but you can carry this one easily.”
Simmons’ sells the Yeti Hopper for $299.99. For more information, click here.
There’s nothing more frustrating than having your skinning knife go dull before you’re finished with your deer or hog.
Outdoor Edge’s Razor Blaze takes blade sharpening out of the equation, said Benoit at Bowie’s.
“This knife actually has replaceable blades. You don’t sharpen them — you just chunk them,” Benoit said. “They look like a real blade. You just push a button and load a fresh new blade on the knife.
“Use it up until it’s dull, push the button and then load another fresh blade in there. A pack of replacement blades (costs) next to nothing. It’s a no-brainer.”
Bowie’s sells the Razor Blaze RB20 for $34.99, and packs of six replacement blades cost about $10. For more information on the knife, click here.
Drake clothing has long been popular with hunters, but Simmon's Robert said some items — like the MST Eqwader Quarter-Zip — are also being worn for their looks alone.
“Anything Drake is the No. 1 selling clothing item in the store over anything else,” she said. “It’s become a fashion thing for high school and college kids.”
The Quarter-Zip pullover features camo on the upper-half of the body and the arms, and solid brown fleece on the bottom.
“People definitely duck hunt in them, but it crosses over,” Robert said. “People who don’t even hunt are wearing this pullover.”
Simmons’ sells the Drake Quarter Zip for $99.99. For more information, click here.
The logo definitely identifies you as a sportsman, and mesh-back hats and long-sleeve performance shirts in mallard, big rack and hook designs make awesome Christmas gifts that will always be a big hit.
And if you’re in the market for an awesome fishing shirt, look no further than our Cool Breeze line for incredible comfort, breathability and SPF protection.
Even better, everything in the Sportsman Store is 25- to 50-percent off during the holidays. Cool Breeze shirts are now $29, performance shirts are $19.50 and mesh-back hats are just $18.
Shop in the Sportsman Store by clicking here. Be sure to use promo code VIP2015 at checkout to get your discount.
“There’s a lot of other action cams out there, but they’re not GoPro,” Bowie's Benoit said. “The GoPro is what changed the game and made every single person a film producer. It’s got the best, crystal-clear image, it’s the most durable of all the cameras and it’s the one that started the revolution.”
Don’t be fooled by knockoffs at cheaper prices, Benoit said. They’re just not as easy or intuitive to operate, and the picture quality just isn’t the same.
“GoPro is still the king, and now with the Sportsman Mount that came out last year you can mount it on your gun or your bow. If you’re going to get one, get the best.
“That’s why GoPro is still the top-seller in the action cam industry.”
Bowie’s sells the GoPro Hero 4 Silver for $399.99. For more information, click here.
The old adage says to buy as much rifle scope as you can afford, but unless you’re going on a once-in-a-lifetime big game hunt, you probably don’t need a scope that costs thousands of dollars.
The Leupold VX-1 is a solid scope at a great price, according to Robert at Simmons’.
“It’s just a really good all-around scope,” Robert said. “I have people that buy it for their first gun, and I have people who’ve been hunting for years who use it.
“It’s just a really good all-around scope for anybody.”
Simmons’ sells the Leupold VX-1 for $199.99. For more information, click here.
If you’re looking for a bow that will really fit a young kid all the way up to a grown man, the Cruzer is what you’re looking for.
“The problem with some of these fully adjustable bows is some of them look like toy bows because they’re so adjustable,” said Benoit at Bowie’s. “But this one looks like a real compound bow. It’s got the beefiness of a real adult-sized compound bow, and the cam system is better.”
The Cruzer adjusts down to a 5-pound draw weight with a 12-inch draw length for kids, all the way up to a 70-pound draw weight with 30 inches of draw for an adult.
“It’s truly a bow that you can buy for a kid that’s 7 or 8 years old, and he can hunt with it until he’s a grown man. He can keep this bow forever,” Benoit said. “It’s a one-stop shop, and it comes with everything that you need. The sights, the stabilizer, the quiver — all the parts and pieces are already on there.”
Bowie’s sells the Bear Archery Cruzer for $399.99. For more information, click here.
This machine takes scent elimination to the next level, and it’s good for your deer stand and beyond, Simmons' Robert said.
“It’s really cool. You can hang it above you when you’re in the deer stand and it neutralizes your scent,” Robert said. “I even have a guy here that processes deer and does taxidermy work, and he has it in his shop and it helps with odors.
“It can be used for a number of different things.”
Simmons’ sells the Ozonics HR-200 for $399.99. For more information, click here.
If you’re spending big bucks on your deer lease, the last thing you want to be doing is continually traipsing in and out to get the cards from your game camera. Covert’s Code Black takes care of that problem for you.
“It will email or text them right to your phone,” Benoit at Bowie’s said. “This camera will let you know when the animal you want to hunt is near your stand without you having to go and disturb the whole area, dragging your scent in there.”
And now, it’s easy to set up with your computer — you don’t even have to go in to your phone company’s retail location.
“All you have to do is buy your carrier’s version, plug the card in and go to their website to select a data plan, which typically costs $15 to $25 a month,” Benoit said. “Then just plug in your phone number and you’re set up. It’s easy — anybody can do it.”
Bowie’s sells the Covert Code Black 3G wireless game cam for $419.99. For more information, click here.