Christmas gift ideas


Almost every year someone asks me for a gift idea for the sportsman on their list. With all the gear and gadgets available today you’d think it would be easy to make a recommendation but frankly, whenever asked, I have to think about it.

I always tell anyone who asks not to consider gifting things like camouflage clothing or boots for a hunter because these are personal choices best left to the recipient. The same thing goes with purchasing someone a new rod or reel. For me, practicality is the name of the game and I like getting things that are handy or convenient to use.

Trail cameras are a good example. Nothing gives me more pleasure than checking my trail cameras to see what showed up in my absence. I have pictures of deer of course, but I also have photos of bears, turkeys, fisher cats, raccoons, opossums, foxes, and coyotes. This is why I think a new trail camera would make an ideal gift even if the recipient already has one. I have eight cameras that I put out every season and wouldn’t mind if I got one more.

If the person is a bowhunter consider giving him or her a fletching jig or even a complete kit to make arrow repair a simple matter. A new fetching jig can make a welcome gift because a torn fletch on an arrow can be replaced in a few minutes at a fraction of what it would cost to have it done professionally. While you’re at it, consider including a bottle of instant fletching glue and enough new fletching material to get the process started.

Staying warm in the outdoors is always a consideration and nothing can ruin a hunt quicker than having cold hands or feet. A box of chemical hand and foot warmers known commercially as HotHands would make a welcome gift not only to hunters or fishermen they will be appreciated by campers, snowmobilers, and even construction workers as well. These warmers contain a blend of iron filings, charcoal, and a few other non-toxic ingredients to provide enough heat to take the sting out of a cold winter’s day. Presented in either a box under the tree or even a few stuffed in a stocking, they’ll be much appreciated.

For a little more money, ok, a lot more money, consider giving someone you care about a heated vest. I have one and it’s amazing how much longer I can stay put in a freezing deer stand or when ice fishing. These vests are powered by state-of-the-art, rechargeable lithium batteries and the amount of heat they put out can be regulated as needed. Most batteries will put out maximum heat for three to six hours and can last all day when set at a lower temperature. Look for one that uses a battery that produces at least five volts. Some vests come with the battery and some do not so, be sure to check before purchasing a vest of this type. These batteries are costly and can run to 40 dollars so, a lower-priced vest may not be a good bargain and can become more expensive quickly if the battery isn’t included.

Lastly, whether for a hunter, fisherman, camper, hiker, or for use around the kitchen a good quality knife sharpener will go over big time. I have an electric sharpener my son-in-law gave me last Christmas and I love it. It came with three abrasive belts and it quickly produces a sharp edge on my hunting as well as my fish fillet knives. I also use it to sharpen my kitchen knives and my wife’s scissors.

The key to getting a sharp edge is to hold the blade at the proper angle when running it across the abrasive or stone. Gatco makes a knife sharpening kit that will do a great job as well. The precision sharpening guides of this device provide fast, easy, repeatable, and consistent results at an affordable price.

If you give one of these gifts this Christmas you may find the recipient more than grateful. No need to thank me.


Categories: New York – Mike Raykovicz

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