Great ideas that won’t break the bank
Christmas will soon be here, and finding the right gift for the outdoorsman can be tough, particularly for those unfamiliar with hunting.
If any of the hunters reading this think shopping for you is easy, remember the last time you went to the mall gift shopping for your wife or girlfriend. If the memory still causes you to cringe, think about how she feels.
So in the spirit of giving and sharing during this special time of year, here are some gift ideas sure to bring a smile on Christmas morning. Our gift selections are not hard to find and won’t wreck the budget; but they are useful and enjoyable items every hunter will appreciate.
Look in any good hunter’s day pack and you will find a compass. It’s a must for any outdoor activity. My favorite is the Lensatic Military- Style model, which sells for about $10. Used properly, a compass is all that’s needed for most short-distance hunt situations on familiar ground.
Modern electronic navigation devices can take the hunter anywhere and back. Prices for high-end models can run into the thousands, and are worth every penny on remote wilderness adventure hunts. But basic models for the beginner and for those of us hunting in less remote locations are priced reasonably, while offering great reliability. The Garmin eTrex 20 model, for example, goes for $200. I know both hunters and fishermen who own this model and are very happy with it.
Field first aid kits
On the job, we were issued good first aid kits — and I no longer feel comfortable without a small one in the day pack and a bigger one in the truck or at the camp. They have come in handy for both people and dogs. Academy Sports and Outdoors offers some very reasonably priced ones, and homemade kits can be easily assembled.
My picks are the Sportsman Series by Adventure Medical Kits. The Whitetail Medical Kit weighs a pound and fits in any pack. It sells for $50. The Bighorn is a camp model with a detachable field trauma kit for day trips away from camp, which sells for $75. They are made for treating frequently sustained hunting/fishing injuries.
The best way to avoid needing the first aid kit is to not get hurt. One of the best ways I know to accomplish that is a tree stand safety harness. Every fall we hear stories of hunters who fall from tree stands. Yet there are many deer hunters who still don’t bother with a safety harness. Some end up paying the price with serious injuries or death.
Harnesses range in price from $100 to $200 or more. Ask the hunter you are shopping for if he or she uses one. If the answer is no, move the harness to the top of the gift list. And be sure to make your hunter promise to always use it when climbing.
Good hunting reads
Books are among my favorite gifts. Two on my wish list this year are “A River Runs Through It,” by Norman Maclean and “Lord Grizzly,” by Frederick Manfred. (Just saying.)
We have no shortage of great books for hunters of any age. For the young hunter, I can think of none better than “The Old Man and the Boy” and “The Old Man’s Boy Grows Older,” both by Robert Ruark. Since it is hard to quit Ruark once you start, “Horn of the Hunter” is one hunters of all ages should read.
- Scott Olmsted wrote “We all like to think we are pretty good with a rifle in the field, but we all have limits.”
Boy, is he right. But anyone wanting some of the best help to be had with surpassing their limits should get his book, “Make Every Shot Count!” Olmsted shares a wealth of information on every aspect of rifle shooting — anyone who hunts with a rifle needs this book.
My favorite rifle and shooting writer is Craig Boddington. He combines a vast amount of worldwide hunting experience with a healthy measure of common sense to give the reader sound, reliable advice on rifles and shooting. “The Accurate Rifle and Rifleman” and “American Hunting Rifles II” are two of his must-haves. Check out Safari Press (safaripress.com) for other hunting and shooting books.
These are just a few gift ideas for the hunter and outdoorsman. But don’t hesitate to ask another hunter for gift ideas, or go to a sporting goods store and ask an associate about the current hot selling items.
Hunters, remember to be good — and Santa just might be good to you. Merry Christmas.
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