Sportsman’s Wish List: 24 Great Holiday Gifts for Hunters
If you have hunter’s on your holiday shopping list, you want to get them stuff they want and/or need. What...
If you have hunter’s on your holiday shopping list, you want to get them stuff they want and/or need. What you don’t want after they tear off the wrapping paper is a polite smile and a luke-warm thank you followed by a kind request for the receipt. Put any one of these gift items under the tree this year and you’ll get nothing but beaming smiles in return.
$85 This one took Best of the Best honors, and my opinion of it now is even higher. It’s a big lockback folder with a powerful LED flashlight in the handle, and is extraordinarily handy. The stainless blade is just under 4 inches long, and the flashlight has a max output of 35 lumens with a running time of 260 minutes. It weighs only 4.3 ounces, and has a real-world price of $85. There are no bugs on it anywhere, and you’ll wonder how you got along without it. –David E. Petzal
$129.99 While they may seem a little gimmicky, as most items of clothing with a remote control are, these heated boot inserts from Thermacell are a great present for the hunter in your family. Rechargeable batteries in the insole provide about 5 hours of juice per charge and the remote control offers two heat settings and an off switch. This means you can keep them off while walking to your stand, and then crank up the heat when you sit. While not by any means ideal for someone on a long, rugged hunt away from power sources, they’re great for the bowhunter who sits for a few hours in the morning and wants to walk back to the truck with feet that can actually still send signals to the brain. And they’re great for early morning snow shoveling too. The insoles come in sizes that will fit a woman’s shoe size 4.5 all the way up to a man’s size 13. –Dave Maccar
Be sure to check out our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide, too.
Forty presents that any sportsman would love to unwrap
$199.99; $179.99 Shotguns editor Phil Bourjaily is always kind enough to listen to my anti-pink spiel when the topic arises, but I’m sure there is some benefit to the ever-present pink logos, zippers, and contrast-stitching on women’s camo–no one is going to put on the wrong jacket unless you get dressed in the dark. Color choices aside, there are some very thoughtful details on the Ridge Reaper hunting jacket, like the drawstring-waist, un-floppy pull cords on the slightly billed hood, and an extra-long zipper on the forearm of the sleeve. These features keep the garment closer to the body in spots where heat can escape and ensure that it won’t make noise as you move in the woods. This is definitely a spendy item, but you are paying for fabric technology, which allows this jacket to be thin and lightweight, yet warm, plus moisture-wicking, waterproof, and scent-controlled. Bonus: If your wife, daughter, or girlfriend is a hunter with a Pinterest account, I guarantee they have already saved this product to some sort of wish list. The same fabric makes the Ridge Reaper pants warm and sturdy. I like that I can move in them yet they don’t feel like pajamas, and they have a pretty contemporary fit for a hunting pant–and by that I mean that the waistband does not sit above my belly button, yet I can still crouch down without gapping in the back. If you are going to gift either of these items to the outdoorswoman in your life, don’t assume that this gear runs a little big, as I do with most other brands. Under Armour bases their fit on athletic wear, so double check the size chart before you buy. –Kristyn Brady
$999 Here is a gift for someone who has been very, very, very good. The Conquest HD is Zeiss’ newest line, which includes the same glass in 8×42. Conquests are light, compact, have excellent ergonomics and good, simple hardware. But above all they are HD, which means High Definition, and Zeiss is not kidding about that. I took a Conquest with me to Maine on a whitetail hunt, and can report that it distinguished itself in dark, in storm, in sunlight fair. In fact, one evening, they showed me very clearly that a deer at which I was looking had no antlers, and that I should not shoot it. I had been ogling this animal through a Zeiss riflescope, and had no clue. That’s how good the Conquest is. A lifetime investment for the serious hunter with a real world price of $999._ –David E. Petzal_
$1700 - $2,200 What do you get the hunter who has all the rifles he needs? You get him the rifle he wants, which must be accurate and reliable, of course, but above all, should be a thing beauty--because a thing of beauty, as you know, is a joy forever. Cabela's Special Edition Sako 85 Finn Bear, Winchester M1886, M1894, and M70 Lightweight, Sporter, and Safari are all classic guns with proven performance, but most of all, they are drop-dead gorgeous, with deluxe-grade finishes. They are special. The gun you need brings you joy when it does the job. The gun you want-- any of these guns--will make you feel good all over every time you look at or run a cloth over it. --Dave Hurteau
M-Pact: $36.99; Winter Armor: $32.99 Ever since I worked as a bike mechanic I've been a fan of Mechanix gloves. Their products got their start as hand protection for NASCAR mechanics that allowed their hands to feel enough to handle tools and small parts. Once Mechanix started offering their original gloves in Mossy Oak, they became a staple for my deer pack and turkey vest. Recently, I got to try out a couple of their other models, now offered in a Mossy Oak pattern, and they don't disappoint. The M-Pact glove has a rubberized grip on the thumb, trigger finger, and palm that make handling a firearm feel as natural as it can while gloved. There are also panels of foam in the palm that absorb shock and vibration while working with tools, which helps stave off hand fatigue. They're well made with rubber knuckles that will protect against any bangs or scrapes. They're a bit stiff when brand new, but after you wear them a bit, they break right in. Mechanix Winter Armor are nice warm gloves for moderately low temperatures that don't make me feel like I'm wearing mittens. I hate bulky cold weather gloves, and these are the slimmest I've worn, while still providing padding, protection, and insulation. A recent snow-and sleet-filled nor' easter gave me a chance to try them out and they are perfect cold-weather gloves if you're staying active. And if you're sitting, they're just fine for 20 - 30 degree weather._ --Dave Maccar_
$549 Sure, there are less-expensive cameras on the market that take nice photos. But after years of comparing those economy models with Reconyx, I'm convinced they simply aren't in the same league. The HC600 is Reconyx's latest offering; a model that sports a "No-Glow" high output infrared system that won't spook game. The unit runs on 12 AA batteries that can power the camera for many months, and the 1/5 second trigger speed is the fastest out there. Another impression: For such a high-performance product, Reconyx cameras are extremely user-friendly. More important, when you want to not only capture an animal, but get multiple shots of him, this is the unit you use. --Scott Bestul
$29.95 Like most ladies, I carry my daily necessities (along with tons of just-in-case type clutter) in a handbag, but a day on the boat or in the field when it's raining requires a different storage solution. Part of fishpond's newest collection of water resistant luggage and accessories, the Westwater pouch has a roll-top dry bag design that offers complete protection from water and a thin layer of removable padding for small electronics and valuables. It is just big enough to fit my camera, which is chunky for a point-and-shoot but definitely smaller than a DSLR, and if I'm only planning on taking photos with my smartphone, this extra-small dry bag is definitely roomy enough for the few things I actually need from my purse. Slide it onto your belt through the loop on the back, or clip it to the outside of a backpack with a carabiner. If you are looking to store a larger camera or lenses, check out the molded Westwater Boat Bag. --Kristyn Brady
about $8.50/5 rounds Does the deer hunter on your list shoot a rifled or smoothbore deer shotgun? Don't know? Play it safe and give them Rackmaster slugs. The Rackmaster is a traditional full-bore Foster slug with an attachment called WinGlide that helps stabilize it in flight. The result is an accurate slug that still puts a full-bore, .729 hole (.615" in 20 gauge) in a deer. At SHOT Show the year Rackmasters came out, the Winchester folks rented a range and had all kinds of targets set up including golfballs at a measured 100 yards. First shot with a rifled gun and a Rackmaster at a golf ball and it disappeared, although I don't know if I hooked it, sliced it, or hit it straight down the fairway. Rackmasters come in 2 ¾ and 3-inch 12 gauge and 2 ¾-inch 20 gauge. --Phil Bourjaily
$50 A hard-charging hunting dog's chest can take a beating in the field. Corn stubble, thorns, plum thickets and other vegetation can bruise, poke, scratch or lacerate as a dog runs over and through cover. The Filson Dog Chest Protector is constructed of a double layer of Filson's famous Tin Cloth, and the open-back design helps keep dogs from overheating when the temperature rises. I've been using one since quail season started and it works beautifully as advertised. --Chad Love
$32.99 With over 10,000,0000 made, there's a good chance the shotgunner on your list owns at least one Remington 870 (for instance, I have four). Give them "The Book of the Remington 870." Author Nick Hahn tells the story of America's Shotgun from its development and introduction in 1950 on through the present day. Hahn describes the gun and the countless variations made over the course of the last 62 years. An 870, after all, can be used for everything from doves to deer to domicile defense and versions for those three purposes and many more have been offered to the public. It is more of an appreciation of the 870 than a definitive, exhaustive work although the early chapter on the development of the gun is fascinating. Did you know, for instance, that one reason the 870 is so trim is that the 12 gauge was made on a 16 gauge Model 11-48 frame? However, the book is primarily illustrated with 870 ads and pages of Remington catalogs past, making this book an absolute pleasure for any 870 owner to leaf through. --Phil Bourjaily
$349.99 The Infinite Edge is the perfect gift for the new bow hunter, male or female, young or old. This new compound takes the recent trend of increased adjustability to the limit, with an industry-first draw-weight range of 5 to 70 pounds. (In fact, with the limb bolts backed all the way out, you don't even need a press to work on the bow.) The draw length adjustability is likewise impressive, from 13 to 30 inches, with no need to change cams or mods. Lightweight and handy, the bow weight is just 3.1 pounds and measures 31 inches from axle to axle. The accessory package includes a 3-Pin Apex Sight, Hostage XL Arrow Rest, Octane DeadLock Lite Quiver, tube peep sight, and a BCY String Loop. --Dave Hurteau