Buying you an outdoors-related holiday gift can be a difficult task for family and friends.
All outdoorsmen have specific preferences in their equipment, and in the majority of cases our families really don’t know exactly what these are. Therefore, to help them select a gift you will use, I am going to make several suggestions. And if one or more of these appeal to you, circle them in red, cut out this column and stick it on the refrigerator door. And don’t be afraid to add to it.
Here’s a look at parts of my current and past wish lists.
I know a lot of you who went afield for the opening weekend of the Southern Zone whitetail deer season found yourselves very wet and cold by 10 a.m. that morning. You just cannot hunt successfully when you are not prepared for these types of conditions. Fortunately, I had Santa bring me a pants and coat outfit last Christmas that kept me warm and dry, even during the frigid weather that we have had lately. Check these out.
RED HEAD BONE DRY
This Bone Dry Cold Weather System (C.W.S.) by Bass Pro Shops offers the ultimate in waterproof, windproof, breathable membrane Parka and bibs. The parka comes with a warm zip-out thermal liner and plenty of pockets. The lining is taffeta lined with underarm gussets for mobility and has a fully zipped front, storm flap, removable insulated hood, removable reversible jacket/vest and 200 grams of Thinsulate.
The bibs are 150 grams Thinsulate with a poly lining and functional pockets, storm flap, and easy on/off leg zippers. Both are offered in a Mossy Oak New Break Up and a RealTree AP HD camo patterns. The parka has a suggested retail price of $150-160, and the bibs are $100-110.
Now, you would think that having this suit, I would also have the proper footwear — but I didn’t. And that is why the first item on my Santa list will be a pair of the Redhead eight-inch Canyon Ridge, insulated Bone Dry hunting boots. They are constructed with a waterproof full grain leather upper and 200-gram Thinsulate insulation, The Cambrelle lining and molded durable rubber sole will keep your feet warm, dry and comfortable all day, whether you are a sitting or on-the-move hunter. Offered in brown leather they are retail priced at $130 (www.bassproshops.com).
It is a fact that hunting from a ground blind is an effective strategy, but depending upon where and how you hunt, a regular full-sized blind is not always the answer. I’ve found the new chair blinds to be productive and convenient, specifically the Nature Vision Quick-Sit model which is built for a hunter who wants to move throughout the day — and do it quickly. It consists of a comfortable over-sized folding arm chair and quick flip-over, low-profile, seamless Treeline camo patterned blind. It has large front and side shooting windows and 360-degree viewing with sewn-in brush loops for added concealment.
It can be set up and taken down in seconds and fits in a shoulder bag with carrying strap. I have been in these blinds and had deer, turkey and wild boar come within five yards of me. Offered in a one- or two-man option, suggested retail price is $70 and $80. I have seen these offered locally at even lower prices (www.naturevisioninc).
Taking videos of the hunt has become quite popular lately. However, doing this can jeopardize the hunt’s success. Getting the camera set up just right and turning it on/off can easily spook your prey. But Bushnell has a new camera that’s always on target — the VideoScope — which, when mounted above the rifle scope, points and sees what you do.
Features include 1.5-inch color display, VGA quality video with audio, 5x magnification, up to
30- minute recording time with 1GB internal memory, includes one-inch mounting rings for attachment to the scope, is waterproof, includes a USB cable, internal lithium-ion battery, and AC and car chargers. Total weight is 7.7 ounces.
The Bushnell VideoScope has a suggested retail price of $250 (www.bushnell.com).
SITE-LITE MAG LASER
All hunters sometime throughout the year will spend a few days at the shooting range getting acquainted with an old or new gun, or just sending a few downrange for fun. I spend quite a few days at the range each year and I have noticed the number of shooters who are in need of some very important shooting equipment. Let me tell you what Santa can do for your time at the range.
First of all, the sighting-in should really begin before you get to the range if you’re going to shoot with a scope.
Once a scope is mounted, you’ll save a lot of time and money in ammo if you bore sight it first. One good way of doing this is with a Site Lite Laser model SL-100mag. This bore site uses an O-ring system that will fit 22-50 caliber long or hand gun and will not harm your bore’s rifling. Just place the target at 25 feet and center the laser on the target. Dial the crosshairs to align with the target, and your gun should be good to 100 yards. It sure is nice to go to the range and get that first shot on paper right away.
Included with the Site Lite Mag Laser bore sight are instructions, target card and scope leveling target. Suggested retail price is $100 (www.sitelite-lasers.com).
Once you get above a .22-caliber cartridge, felt-recoil of a long gun is a reality, and the the more powerful the load, the more it can become an uncomfortable problem.
Many a new big bore caliber gun has gone from its first trip to the range right back to its point of purchase for return.
“Too much kick” is something I
have heard many times. In fact, my last rifle, a Remington model 700 in 300 win mag caliber, had been returned after the original owner shot it just five times.
But to achieve both the best accuracy with the least pain at the range, I use a Sharp Shooter Auto Magnum rifle rest by Inventive Technology. In terms of accuracy, it holds the rifle perfectly still and allows scope adjustment of the scope picture and crosshair exactly where you want it on your down- range target; and keeps it there. Its has all types of vertical and horizontal adjustment and holds all types of long guns; even the auto magnums. And to reduce the felt recoil, there’s a slotted rubber end piece that supports the butt of the rifle and takes the majority of the recoil punishment.
Total weight of the Sharp Shooter rest is 12 pounds, and it comes with rubber feet to keep it from slipping, and adjustable leveling for uneven surfaces. Suggested retail price is $118 (www.inventivetechnology.-
Most hunters and anglers have photos of their trophies from the field or water, but here is a unique way to enhance that photo into more of a 3-D memory. It’s a “cutout” by a company called Papa G’s and its creator, Alan Gold of Norwich, has been doing them for some time. The hunter supplies him with a good digital color photo and he makes it into a cutout approximately 7×8 inches and places it in a varnished standup base.
The photo is placed on backing, then cut all around to give it a 3-D look. I recently sent him a photo of the 6×6 elk I shot last year and it really looks good on my desk. He can also make it into a puzzle for a different kind of keepsake. Cutouts are $30. Those who want to see what they look like can e-mail him at [email protected].
Don’t wait. Santa Claus is coming to town, so make your picks and tape them to the fridge — mine have been there for several days already.