Christmas gift ideas for the outdoorsman

By Don Mallicoat –

Black Friday is behind us; that mad rush to the big box retailers to fight the crowds for bargains they only offer that one day a year. The problem is, and this comes just from personal observation, those things they are offering just don’t appeal to your typical hunter, angler, or shooter. We like, shall we say, the basics for pursuing our hobbies. So now that rush is behind us, what do we get for the person who spends their sparse free time in the outdoors? Here are some ideas and categories of things you may want to think about.

Let me caveat this with a few general comments. It is VERY important to find that right gift by dropping hints, looking for folded over pages in outdoor catalogs, or if all else fails just outright ask. Because just like anyone else who has a hobby we can be right particular about having the right piece of equipment, or the exact ammo our firearms prefer (believe me guns have a sweet spot), and by all means don’t buy fishing lures or trout flies without doing your research. In my opinion, stay away from outdoor clothing. There are an amazing number of camo patterns and they don’t all work under all conditions. Yes, hunters match the terrain just like avid trout anglers match the hatch.

Let’s start off with an easy one: ammo. All hunters/shooters can use some ammo for target practice. And if your shooter has a .22 rifle or pistol all the more easy. They package these little rounds in bulk packs of 333 to 1400 rounds. It may cost a little more but I would recommend staying with high velocity rounds particularly if the gun is a semi-auto. For the centerfire rifle/handgun shooter they will always appreciate ammo. Find out what they shoot by rummaging through their shooting bag and write down the caliber and bullet weight. If they are a shotgun target shooter a case of #8 Target Loads in their favorite gauge (normally 12 or 20) is always appreciated.

If they are a serious target shooter have they ever talked about starting to reload their own ammo? The upfront cost may seem daunting, but a quality reloader will last a lifetime and they save a money over the long run. We do a reloading class at the store and to make our point computed the cost of reloading for one of the most popular handgun ammos, .45 ACP. If you have your own brass and only have to buy other components it costs less than $10 a box of 50 to reload. Retail price on most .45 ACP target loads is around $25 now. Visit a local gun store that sales reloading equipment and they can help you get started.

Deer season will be over when Christmas arrives but the hunter can always use something either to prepare for next year. Maybe they have been dropping hints about some new piece of equipment. Do they have a rangefinder? Those are increasingly popular with both archery and rifle deer hunters. They can also be used by the turkey hunter so they provide year round use. Maybe a new scope a little more powerful than the one they have now or a higher quality.

There are all sorts of stocking stuffer ideas: targets, ear muffs, shooting glasses, again small quantities of ammo. Do they shoot a lot? How about a new range bag to pack all their gear to the range? If they are a shotgun shooter small gift ideas are limitless: shell bags, shooting towels, glasses, and range bags. Cleaning supplies like solvent, patches, and brushes are always welcomed.

For the angler you are always safe with lures. Trout anglers like accessories. Trout flies are always nice and the local shop like Curtis Wright Outfitters can help you there. Fly shops also have all those accessories like leaders, temperature gauges, hats, glasses that you need. For the bass angler, lures are always appreciated. Bass Pro Shop makes lots of money selling the latest, greatest lures out there. As they say, you’ve got to hook the angler before you hook the fish. Look for the tale-tell signs like a “To Do” list of new lures or folded catalog pages. Another hint is the latest copy of their favorite fishing magazine. I can guarantee that the lure a pro used to win the latest tournament will be hot with any bass angler.

So forget the big screen TV. Don’t get the hunter or angler another shirt and tie combo. Get them something to enjoy the great outdoors!

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