Some gifts better than others for the outdoors enthusiasts
Some gifts better than others for the outdoors enthusiasts
BY JOE MACALUSO
Advocate Outdoors writer
Made that list and checked it twice, and there’s no question that naughty and nice figure into the equation, but there’s one more shopping day until Christmas that you don’t have time to add up all those minuses and pluses for your favorite outdoors person.
There are some simple statements about what not to buy, unless you know, down to the millimeter or style or pattern, just what he or she needs.
Don’t buy clothing, especially camouflage, because there are so many patterns on the market today, and what looks good to you in a store might not be the only best suited for your special hunter to use in their hunting location.
Unless your chosen has outlined in specific detail — very specific detail — don’t buy a hunting weapon, knife, rod, reel, fishing line or boots or any of those silly fishing and hunting signs that you think are cute but most often will wind up as target practice at the camp.
Find his or her favorite store, find someone to direct you to the area of the store holding the item you think your intended needs, find the price, then get a gift certificate nearest that dollar amount. That way you’ve presented them with any of the many options that go along with selecting such a gift.
Saw something the other day that seems to be a can’t-miss item for any hunter, angler, hiker or camper.
It comes from Darex, the Work Sharp/Drill Doctor people and it’s the Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener 2.2.1. It’s compact, about the size of a small harmonica, coarse and fine diamond plates with bevels to guide the blade along the plates at the correct sharpening angle, coarse and fine ceramic rods with groove to sharpen fish hooks and a leather strop.
“The new Guided Field Sharpener is the voice of our customer in your hands,” Darex president Hank O’Dougherty said.
Couldn’t agree with him more, because the diamond plates are held by magnets to the base and can be removed, and there are guides in the base that allow a hunter to sharpen the broadheads on arrows.
It runs $34.95, and is compact enough for any hunting pack, tackle box or backpack. Available locally or on this website: http://www.worksharptools.com.
Need stocking stuffers?
Try good, warm socks. Believe it or not there aren’t that many good ones out there these days. This is one item where price more often matches quality. In today’s dollars, I’ve never worn a pair of $6 “warm” socks that have kept my feet warm and dry as well as the $12 pair.
Gloves. All kinds out there today. Try to stay away from bulk. Layering over hands is as important as layering over the rest of the body, so thin liners go on first, followed by the thicker, denser gloves. The outer layer should be hefty enough to keep wind off the hands and long enough, with enough of a cuff to pull over the end of the coat to reduce wind at the wrists.
First-Aid kits: Make your own, but they are readily available in wide variety of applications at all outdoors shops.
Flashlights: The smaller the better these days. Whatever brand you buy, make sure to include extra batteries. Units with flashers help in emergencies.
Bar towels: Packs of 12 or 24 towels are available. Hunters, fishermen and campers can use them. Get them too dirty, wash them and use for rags after that. Very handy and very affordable.
A Louisiana lifetime hunting/fishing license. Great for youngsters.
Junior memberships in one of several sportsmen’s organizations like CCA, Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, Quail Forever, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Get youngsters started early in learning to support groups that support their outdoor activities. Annual memberships are affordable and groups supply reading materials suitable for young eyes and minds. Adult memberships are make good gifts, too.
SeaTow has come into south Louisiana. Like to think of it as Boat/U.S. on-the-water AAA roadside assistance for boaters. It’s an annual membership and could help your loved one get back to port after a breakdown.
Ever hear of outdoors summer camps for kids, camps that teach youngsters the basics in hunting and fishing skills? There around and have seen places like Covey Rise near Robert and Honey Brake at Delta Farms offer weekly summertime camps for youngsters.
A paid entry into one of several charity bass tournaments, sporting clays or clay shooting events in 2013. Autism, Children’s Hospital, Children’s Miracle Network, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Kiwanis projects, St. Michael Church restoration, the Cancer Society and any of a number of other worthwhile charities benefit from these events. Check the Jan. 6 Advocate Outdoors for a list of charity tournaments for next year.
A guided fishing or duck hunting trip. Most deer hunting trips in Louisiana are very pricey, but fishing and waterfowl trips are affordable, especially if you tie them together with other family members. Most coastal fishing trips cover up to four anglers, but some offshore trips can take as many as 20. Duck/goose trips are usually for two hunters.
A gift that gives back is a Hunter/Fisherman Trip Log pad. Get a clipboard. Print out sheets with common information on it, things like make, model and license plate of vehicle, ditto for the boat and trailer, the name, height, weight, age, cell phone number, any physical limitations or disabilities of the hunter/fishermen, then leave blank a line for the date, location of hunting or fishing trip, launch or take-off location, and estimate time of return. Common to these should be contact phone numbers for the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, State Police and any local law enforcement agencies. Then you need to get a pledge that your hunter/fishermen fills one out every time they leave home.
How about an ‘app’
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries send out an item last week that it has lunched its first iPhone application.
It’s free from the App Store, and offers hunting and fishing regs, freshwater and saltwater fish identifications, size and bag limits on fish, waterfowl IDs and wildlife management area schedules.
It can be downloaded from the App Store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/louisiana-department-wildlife/id53619693.
There are so many “apps” used in the outdoors that you could choose to give any of a number for a Christmas present. The GPS tracking, weather, tides and sun-moon charts are just a few and most are very affordable.
The recreation survey
The pages upon pages in the final 2006-2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation released last week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows a solid upturn in the number of Americans choosing to spend their time outdoors.
The survey showed 90 million-plus American 16 and older “participated in some form of wildlife-related recreation in 2011.” That’s a three percent uptick from the same time in 2006. Most of that increase was traced to increases in hunting and fishing activities.
“Wildlife recreationists spent $144.7 billion in 2011 on their activities, which equated to 1 percent of the Gross Domestic Product,” the USFWS noted in the survey, which also stated by 33.1 million fished, 13.7 million hunted and another 71.8 million engaged in another form of outdoors activity.