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  • Patrick Durkin

Consider these Great Gift Ideas for Outdoors-Folks

Updated: Nov 29, 2019

This marks roughly the 35th time I’ve compiled a list of Christmas gift ideas for hunters and anglers, and I’m ashamed to concede those lists mostly focused on gifts for guys.


If you’re looking for unique gifts for the special women in your life, dust off your collections of turkey spurs and elk ivories (tusks or whistlers), and contact Rocky Mountain Scrimshaw & Arts (rockymountainscrimshaw.com). The owners, Tom and Mary High, will turn them into unique jewelry.


No, they won’t get the finished products back to you before Dec. 25, but your loved ones will know it’s worth the wait. My wife and three daughters all have custom-made earrings made from elk ivories I sent to the Highs, and they wear them well.


If you’re not into jewelry, or you don’t save spurs and tusks, keep reading. Something in this list of gear, books and other gift ideas should fit your budget.


Are you tired of jamming all your ice-fishing gear into backpacks designed for hunting or camping? Check out Lakewood Products’ Ice Pack (lakewoodproducts.com), which stores the largest tip-ups, and has gear pockets for tools and up to five jig poles. The pack has adjustable shoulder straps with a large loop handle that lets you carry it while wearing gloves.


If you’re hunting for a sleeping pad for camping and backpacking, try the Static V by Klymit (klymit.com). It’s only 2½ inches thick, but surprisingly comfortable. It inflates with about 15 puffs, weighs just over 1 pound, and rolls up to the size of a 1-liter bottle.


Do you know a hunter, birdwatcher or football fan who needs binoculars? Consider the Diamondback 10x42 or 8x42 (vortexoptics.com/vortex-diamondback-hd-10x42-binoculars) from Vortex Optics.


Also check out these three items from TheMeatEater.com for the table and field. To season your wild-game foods, MeatEater introduces its own select spices. For an enjoyable drink during meals or afterward, consider a bottle of MeatEater Bourbon (shotsbox.com/product/meateater-straight-bourbon-whiskey-750-ml/), which is distilled in Kentucky. And if you know a newbie deer hunter, get them an 8-step field-dressing instruction cloth that doubles as a handkerchief. The “How To Gut A Deer Bandana (store.themeateater.com/collections/landing-page/products/deer-cloth) will help them tackle the job confidently.


How is your family’s footwear? If they need a durable, lightweight, sure-footed boot for Wisconsin or the West, check out Irish Setter’s new VaprTrek boot for men or women. Or if they need warm boots for ice-fishing or late-season treestand sits, try the IceTrek, an extreme cold weather boot. Styles with the BOA lacing system are well-suited for ice fishing, letting you tighten or loosen the boots with your gloves on.


If you want a rugged, lightweight daypack that also handles serious meat hauling, look at Mystery Ranch’s Pop Up 28 (mysteryranch.com/pop-up-28-pack). Its heavy-duty aluminum pole-stays collapse into the pack’s back-panel and compress out of the way when not in use. The pack’s pockets securely carry tripods, water bottles and trekking poles.


To securely store fishing rods, it’s hard to beat a set of adjustable Raximus Rod Racks (www.raximusoutdoors.com, www.rodrail.com), which look great in game rooms but are equally handy for the ceiling above a garage door.


And don’t let anyone hit the road without Flatout Tire Additive (flatouttire.com), which prevents flat tires on trailers, RVs, ATVs and UTVs. It’s synthetic, so it lasts a lifetime, forever ready for when needed.


The one-piece Master Cook Station from GCI Outdoors (gcioutdoor.com/tables-camp-kitchens/master-cook-station) features an extended aluminum countertop, a lower rack for storage, three plastic side tables, a telescoping lantern pole, and soft-shell sink with a drain that collapses when folding up the unit.


OK. Time for some quick ideas: To stay tick-free and camouflaged, get the ElimiTick Cover Up hat, pants, gloves, jacket and facemask set from Gamehide (Gamehide.com). The Mr. Buddy Heater (mrheater.com) warms tents, shanties, garages, deer blinds and duck blinds. The Wraptor Tackle Roll (www.wraptortackleroll.com) is an alternative tackle box with vinyl pouches that save space and store lures without tangles.


Newbold Targets (newboldtargets.com) are polymer self-healing rifle/handgun targets that let bullets go through to prevent ricochets. Dryshod Rubber Boots (dryshodusa.com) offer models for every aspect of hunting and fishing; and Neptune Fish Jerky (oneforneptune.com) tastes great and offers more nutrition than beef.


No brand names needed here: Simply visit stores and study your options for kayaks, snowshoes, trekking poles and ice-fishing flashers. Theses game-changers make the outdoors more fun and accessible. And before you head outdoors, install onX maps (onxmaps.com) on your smartphone so you always know your location and who owns it.


If you’re looking for good books to give someone – and then read yourself – consider these titles:


“That Wild Country: An Epic Journey through the Past, Present, and Future of America's Public Lands,” (amazon.com) by Mark Kenyon, host of the “Wired to Hunt” podcast. Noting that every American is a public-land owner, Kenyon explores many of the famous lands that some politicians want to sell off. His journeys take readers on a tour of wild, public landscapes that he thinks should remain open and accessible.


If you liked last year’s “Right off the Reel” book, a compilation of legendary Milwaukee Journal outdoors columns by Gordon MacQuarrie, check out the sequel, “Dogs, Drink & Other Drivel.” This book, which was also compiled by Dave Evenson of Cumberland, features MacQuarrie columns from the 1940s and 1950s. Visit the Barnes Area Historical Association website (www.bahamuseum.org) for information and order forms.


Steven Rinella is still signing copies of “The MeatEater Fish and Game Cookbook,” the best-selling 368-page full-color book that earns its keep in the kitchen and on the coffee table.(https://store.themeateater.com/collections/landing-page/products/the-meateater-fish-and-game-cookbook-signed-copy.


“Will To Live: Saga of Survival” was written by Gary Edinger (garyedinger.com), a Wisconsin logger/outdoorsman. The book was popularized recently in a film sponsored by Filson and Danner Boots.


If you want to inspire girls and women to hunt, consider this new book from Wild River Press, “Why Women Hunt,” (wildriverpress.com, whywomenhunt.com) by K.J. Houtman of Minnesota. Houtman profiles 18 female hunters, including Wisconsinites Trisha Steffen of Medford and Hannah Stonehouse Hudson of Bayfield, to learn how and why they hunt.


As always, I hope something here made your Christmas shopping a little easier. Happy holidays.

Jewelry crafted from elk “ivories” make unique gifts. -- Patrick Durkin photo

Specially distilled MeatEater bourbon. -- Submitted photo

The new MeatEater spices. -- Submitted photo

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