November 12, 2013
Christmas shopping of yesteryear was easy. All any red-blooded American wanted was "an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time." But today times have changed. Now there is so much more to choose from. We have sifted through the chaff to get to the makings of a fine Christmas morning for man, woman, or child. All of the products would make any outdoors enthusiast rabidly rip wrapping paper. To wit, here is our assortment of gifts that run the gamut for hunters, regardless of age (except for the booze, of course). And none of them will shoot your eye out.
We first encountered Tervis
a decade ago on a sport-fishing trip in Florida. This double-walled, vacuum-
insulated, non-sweating, indestructible drinkware kept cold drinks icy while we caught mahi mahi. Since that time, our staff probably has drunk more bourbon out of Tervis Tumblers than gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. Like everyone else who adorns products with Duck Dynasty, Tervis now has a line of Duck Commander glasses. While we usually don't want a picture of anyone staring us in the eye while we are sipping booze, you do have to like the artistic closeup of the beard on one of the glasses.
Sig Sauer SB15 Stabilizing Brace
An AR pistol is a shockingly handy hunting tool. From coyotes called in close to prairie dog summer shoots, an AR pistol is a lot of fun and surprisingly accurate (we have tested several that group less than an inch at 100 yards off the bench). While the platform is proven accurate, shooting one in the field can sometimes prove problematic — until now. Sig Sauer
introduced the SB15 at this year's NRA Show. We didn't pay much attention to it until we tested a sample several months later. The results were staggering. It makes an AR pistol much easier to shoot. Molded from soft rubber, the SB15 is
designed to fit around the shooter's
forearm and secures with Velcro closures. Installation is easy: Simply slip it over the pistol's buffer tube. If you have an AR pistol, this is a must-own item.
While in Christmases past the ubiquitous rattling box of cartridges wrapped up under the tree was a present to treasure, it may not be a possibility for kids (young and old) this year at any price. If you haven't looked recently, ammo in some calibers is still non-existent on store shelves. Shooters this year may have to satisfy themselves with the next best thing: the Beamhit 190-1 from EOTech.
After using it, we feel it may actually be better than live ammo for training! The Beamhit system utilizes a laser module inside the gun and a reactive target tied into a PC to record data such as shot speed, accuracy, group size, and score. Not only is it fun indoors practice, regardless of weather, but also each squeeze of the trigger is free. There is no better way to prepare for next hunting season!
Bird Dog Whiskey
Christmas is one time when you can almost guarantee a visit from the in-
laws. Buy yourself a little liquid therapy stocking stuffer to help lubricate the visit this season. Choose from five varieties: Bourbon, Peach, Hot Cinnamon, Blackberry, and Maple. Bird Dog Whiskey
blends the finest aged white oak barrel Kentucky bourbon with all-natural flavors to create a smooth, easy-drinking whiskey. In 2010, Bird Dog Whiskey received the Gold Medal in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Another cool thing? They are partners with organizations you can appreciate, so with every drink you are doing something good for the cause for RMEF, Pheasants Forever, NWTF, Quail Forever, DU, and other fine conservation organizations. So do your part to save wildlife and drink up.
Many hunters feel that European mounts are the way to go for looks, cost savings, and long-lasting style. The only problem is displaying them on the wall. With Skull Hooker
, you can position a Euro mount at a variety of angles and presentations. New for this season is the Bone Bracket, designed to work with racks that have been cut off with the skull plate. Who doesn't have a pile of old deer racks hanging over rafters in the garage or barn? Now you can easily display them with the same high-quality powder-coated steel mount as the original Skull Hooker. Available in matte crinkle finish black.
34.99 (small), 59.99 (large)
Cabela's Instigator Bow
Instigator by BowTech is the
perfect bow for small-framed archers or youths with upcoming growth spurts, as it offers a massive range of adjustment in both draw weight and draw length. With draw weights between 30 and 65 pounds and a draw length that adjusts from 23
to 29 inches, the Instigator allows new archers to work their way up as their strength and size increase. The Instigator is packaged with accessories from Octane, including a three-pin Apex sight, Hostage XL arrow rest, and Deadlock Lite five-
arrow quiver. A five-inch stabilizer, wrist sling, alloy peep sight, and D-loop also are included in the bow package. Available in right- and left-hand configurations with Realtree APG camo.
Saddleback Dry Bag
It is refreshing to see a company in
today's world of price-driven disposable everythings focused on multi-generational products. Heirloom-quality is best used to describe anything from Saddleback
, and the owner, Dave Munson, stands behind it with a 100-year warranty. From their website: 'If, for any reason, your piece doesn't live up to what we said it would, then contact us or have one of your descendants get ahold of one of my descendants and we'll take care of you. ' Enough said. All Saddleback merchandise is made from full-grain leather, brass rivets, metal buckles, and devoid of breakable items like snaps and zippers. We have been fieldtesting a Saddleback briefcase for the past three years that has now logged over 100,000 miles across four continents, and it is only getting better looking with age.
Our pick for the ultimate Christmas gift is the Dry Bag. Ideal for the travelling hunter, the top can be rolled to adjust the length as well as to prevent rain or dust from entering. Long items like a fly rod tube or tripod can be rolled into the top for convenient carry.
Magellan Explorist 350H
For serious hunters, a GPS is a must-have item. Mark your camp, your kill site, or a likely looking area with good trails. Most agree a GPS is an indispensable tool — now Magellan
introduces a model specifically for hunters. Features include 30 different hunt-specific waypoint markers (scat, sign, kill, etc.),
preloaded topo maps, GMU/WMU hunting zones with alerts to keep you in the right area, and satellite imagery from Digital Globe for preseason scouting. The entire package is wrapped in a waterproof, shockproof camo shell for rugged use.
We are pretty sure that Santa has both of these two new devices from SPOT
mounted on his sleigh. The SPOT Gen 3 is a simple one-touch GPS locator/tracker/messenger. It tracks your movements and relays them back to a website where others can see your real-time progress. It also sends out prepared text messages/emails to a contact list to let them know you are fine, you need help, or you simply need more supplies. In an emergency, it also features an SOS button that will send out a distress signal with your exact coordinates to rescuers.
For hunters needing more communication options, SPOT also introduced the first affordable satellite phone that is compact (weighing only seven ounces) and small. The battery features four hours of talk/text time and 36 hours of stand-by time. It can also be tethered to a computer for email/data service. Service can be activated by the single month or all year for as low as 25 cents per minute — unheard of in the sat-phone world. It is one tool every hunter should keep in the backpack for an emergency.
149 & $
Garmin VIRB Action Cam
Filming your own hunts has become one of the hottest trends in the hunting world. In the November issue, we tested all of the latest action cams, but the VIRB from Garmin
was so new we didn't get it in. After testing it, we loved the easy set-up and the 1080p footage. And it is one of the few units available that has a built-in 1.4-inch chroma display screen, so you can actually see what you are filming as well as filmed (menu changes are a snap with the screen as well). Combine the best-in-class footage with the removable (so you can carry a spare), long-runtime 200mAh lithium-ion battery (three hours) and
the ability to operate with a remote, smartphone, or existing Garmin product with ANT+ (Oregon GPS, Garmin watch, cycling computer) and the VIRB is clearly in a class of its own. By the way, did we mention it can also display critical data like accelerometer, altitude, outside temperature, and even your heart rate? That ought to be interesting the next time your floatplane takes an unexpected dive!
Zippo 4-in-1 Woodsman
This multi-use combo tool
is not only handy to have in camp or on a hunt, it is probably the only present under the tree that will help you get rid of the tree itself after the holidays. At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, it chops, it hammers, it pulls stakes, and it saws — all in one tool. But wait, there's more. Order one today and you will make a man or a boy an extremely happy camper.
makes a wide assortment of products — many of which are ideal for Christmas gifts — from gun cases and holsters to packs and shooting accessories. New for 2013 is their Daytona line of cases. It comes in two rifle lengths (40 and 46 inches) and a shotgun configuration. The tough Endura outer combined with the foam padding protects the contents inside the case, and the polyester interior makes for easy clean up. With four pockets to carry accessories like glasses, hearing protection, and extra ammo, this case is one present that won't get left in the closet.
Possibly the ultimate stocking stuffer,
Piranta is one of the best knives a hunter can ever own. This blaze orange handled (thank God, not another easily lost camo knife), liner-lock folder incorporates technology from the modern medical scalpel. Features replaceable surgical blades in several lengths and profiles, and when one gets dull, pop it off and install a new blade instantly. Ingenious! The process takes only seconds, and a dozen blades can be bought for the price of a Happy Meal.Now that makes us happy.
Game Animals of the World
Books are always a great gift item, and if a hunter was to have only one book, Game Animals of the World
should be it. At 330 pages, it covers 164 game species around the world. With 460 photographs, this is the most comprehensive hunting book we have ever reviewed. Each species has a map with the distribution, sketches of tracks, scat, photos of the species in their natural environment, animal description, conservation standing, habitats, Rowland Ward and SCI minimums, behavior, and preferred food, as well as the recommended ammunition for each.
ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent
ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent
is one of the few truly hunt-changing products on the market these days. Newer innovations are simply tweaks or niche satisfying changes to already existing products, but ThermaCELL remains ahead of the curve. If you've ever stumbled around the muggy, sticky swamps of Louisiana on a spring turkey hunt or spent time on some rusted up Jon Boat in gator country without this repellant, it was a wasted trip.
Nearly every nasty bite could have been prevented if the soft, supple ThermaCELL cloud had been blocking the bugs (they say one units works at up to 25 feet). The portable unit is easy to slide in a pocket or strap on your bag and you'll become accustomed to the dull hum that helps to disperse the repellant. Not only is this a perfect gift for the holidays, it's a year-round life saver for any serious hunter.
Cabela's Perfekt Hunting Boots by Meindl
Meindl has long been known for making killer boots, man. Now they've teamed with Cabela's to bring their Deutschland quality to our doorstep. Just like German precision bolt guns, these Cabela's Perfekt Hunting Boots by Meindl
are worth the money.
They feature memory foam that automatically adjusts to fityour foot and Gore-Tex membranes with moisture-wicking linings that keep things dry in even the harshest conditions. We tested these boots in a foot of snow on a recent mule deer hunt in Alberta, and after 14 miles of trudging through the Rocky Mountains there wasn't a hint of moisture inside. Yet another reason to shell out substantial dollars for this stellar footwear.
Remington Universal Gun Care System
The most popular addition to Remington's
full line of superior gun care and maintenance accessories, the innovative Rem Squeeg-E Universal Gun Care System includes all you need to clean any firearm, from a .22 caliber pistol or revolver to 12 gauge shotgun. Developed around the revolutionary Rem Squeeg-E technology, the rod or cable attached pull-through bore cleaners eliminate the reliance on ineffective and wasteful patches by removing all dislodged debris, ensuring a mirror-clean chamber and barrel in just one pass.
We saw an early version of this uber-cool device a couple of years ago and have been waiting to try one out since. The wait was worth it — where else can you cook a camp meal and charge your phone at the same time. That's right, Biolite
is an incredible personal stove that burns about any type of natural fuel (sticks, branches, pine cones, etc) that also has a USB port that produces electricity from the heat of combustion. Since you don't have to carry liquid fuel into the backcountry with you, the 2 pound stove is very manageable as well as practical.
IceBreaker Base Layer Wool
Try as science might, it is pretty tough to beat good old Mother Nature. If it was easy, wool, silk and down would be relics of our sporting past, but they are not, they are preferred by many hard core enthusiasts over synthetics offerings even today — ourselves included! Of all the natural offerings, wool is the wonder material that is nearly impossible to beat. Warm when wet (wool retains 90% of its heat even when wet), breathable/whicking and when in the Merino variety, luxuriously soft which makes for an ideal base layer. We have been testing Icebreaker base layers from New Zealand Merino
wool all fall and find it near perfect.
We first discovered the good old "Let 'er Buck" hooch during our whisky roundup back in 2009 and have been faithful followers since. If you are looking to impress your father-in-law with a stocking stuffer grab a bottle of this blended Canadian whisky
and let the good times roll. If you have a bit of the don't give a damn attitude toward the in-laws, buy a bottle for yourself as well and head to the den with a copy of Ruark or Corbett to pass the holiday season away.
FoodSaver GameSaver Titanium
For the past year we have been using the GameSaver Silver
and have been extremely pleased with its ability to keep game and fish fresh far longer than conventional butcher paper wrapping. Now GameSaver
introduced the Titanium
, specifically for hunters and anglers. It features a large 15-inch sealing tray for high capacity bags loaded with large cuts of meat and has dual pumps for single or double sealing. It also features XL rubberized buttons and a removable drip tray for easy clean up plus vacuum hose take offs for sealing canisters or quickly marinating game meat.
We have been testing Hanwag
boots all season from the Rockies, to Africa to the midwest whitetails woods and have discovered if you want one pair of boots that fit right out of the box, provide unparalleled support and are built to last a lifetime, this is it. The cool thing about Hanwag is they have them available in his and hers and they don't skimp on the hers — they are built just as rugged as the male version. We tested the Alaska GTX in mens and Alerstone GTX in women's and have not found either wanting.