Finding the best presents for your outdoor enthusiasts is simple, even if they have everything. Truth is, they will still have to purchase certain items annually and love receiving useful gifts.
Let’s start simple with general items they will have to purchase:
Licenses: Most states sell combination hunting and fishing licenses. This is a good way to give your outdoor enthusiasts a practical gift to use throughout the year. You may add a trout or state waterfowl stamp to sweeten this gift. Turkey tags, too, may be available now. Midwestern states have these tags for sell at Walmart, Bass Pro, Cabela’s or almost anywhere with an adequate sporting goods counter.
Warm clothing: Warm gloves are always welcomed by hunters and cold-water fishermen. A certain type of glove is required. For example, fisherman need warm gloves for icy conditions, but that still have enough feel to detect light bites through a fishing rod. Hunters needs equally warm gloves that allow them to shoot. Bulky gloves do not offer easy access to a trigger. I recommend that you go to better sporting goods companies like Cabela’s or Bass Pro.
Boots are always excellent for any hunter or angler. Makes sure your boots match the season. For example, heavy boots are welcome in cold-weather goose or duck blinds. Turkey or deer hunters want a camouflaged boot that is not insulated and good for walking. I like high-topped hiking boots for turkey hunting in camouflage or black.
Quail and pheasant hunters do considerable walking. They will seldom want insulated boots. However, sturdy boots that go above the ankle are preferred to keep cockleburs off their socks, a painful experience. Again, go to a better sporting goods shop. I personally prefer high-topped hiking boots.
Colors should match the species, but most will want total camouflage to match the season. Waterfowl hunters that hunt wheat or corn fields might want a color that matches this type of terrain. Camouflage companies became famous years ago by have a color pattern for every scenario.
Turkey hunters will want spring colors that match a spring woods. Archery deer hunters will want fall camouflage while deer rifle hunters by law have to wear hunter’s orange jackets or vests and hats.
Firearms: Most of us have watched the Christmas show where the little boy wants a BB gun and is constantly told, “You’ll shoot your eye out kid.” There is some truth to that funny line. A BB will ricochet off hard objects and yes, once in my youth I was hit on the right cheek by a returned BB that hit a rock.
A child should never be handed any kind of gun until they have finished a hunter’s education class, given free by the Missouri Department of Conservation or Kansas Parks and Wildlife. A lot of responsibility goes with handling firearms, including a BB gun.
Purchasing firearms for a child or adult is tricky. First never buy any type of firearm for a child without their parents or legal guardian’s permission. What type of game do they hunt, will the firearm fit their arm length, what caliber would be too much for them – especially kids and a number of other questions. I believe it is best to let them pick out their firearm and then buy it. That will eliminate the surprise, but they will have exactly the firearm they require. Avoid bargain discount guns and stay with quality.
Gun cleaning kit: Most good sporting goods stores have gun cleaning kits with plenty of clothes, brushes, cleaning rods and chemicals for keeping a firearm in great shape. However, you can put together a good set with the above items stored in a good-sized cleaning box – another good time to ask for help in picking quality items.
Fishing tackle: Small children do well with Snoopy or Barbie type rod and reels. Older children might move up to Zebco spincast tackle. Young adults and adults will want spinning or baitcasting tackle – depending on the type of fish they pursue.
Crappie or bluegill fishermen will want light tackle, while bass fishermen have heavier rods and reels. Catfish anglers will definitely want the heaviest tackle. Only purchase quality equipment for better sporting goods outlets. Again, ask an associate for help.
Hunting dogs: Christmas cards photos of puppies with bows around their necks are cute, but not, at least in my opinion, the thing to do. I believe that choosing the right puppy means letting the dog choose you too.
I have sat in the middle of puppies and they all come over at first before becoming bored and moving away to play. Yet, you will always have one or two that return and some never leave you.
I have a dog, Sprig, that chose me. He is laying on my office floor while this story is being written. He is eight now and has seldom left my side his entire life. To me he is something more than an old dog. He is a best buddy. So, take a picture of the puppy for your gift under the tree, then let who you are buying the puppy for make their special connection.
Outdoor publications: Regional or national outdoor magazines are excellent presents. You can double this gift by joining Ducks Unlimited, Quail or Pheasants Forever or other Conservation groups that include a quality monthly or by-monthly magazine included with a subscription. Midwestern hunters of fishermen would enjoy Sportsman’s Guide magazine, a publication out of St. Louis that features many stories writing by some of the Midwest’s finest authors. Every issue is loaded with tips and stories. You can order Sportsman’s Guide at: www.outdoorguidemagazine.com or call: (314)-535-9786.
There are millions of outdoor presents you can order including my award-winning books: "Missouri’s Great Flood of '93”—Revisiting an Epic Natural Disaster,” “A Return to North American Waterfowl Hunting,” “Take That Kid Fishing,” “Black Moon’s Revenge,” and “Ride the Trail of Death.” The last two titles are western novels. You can contact me through the email at the end of this column.
– Kenneth Kieser, a veteran outdoors writer and member of the Waterfowlers Hall of Fame and National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, writes a weekly outdoors column for The Examiner. Reach him at email@example.com.