Hunting to me is more than one dimensional, it has many facets. Bows, centerfire rifles, shotguns and sharp knives are all things that I feel make me a complete outdoorsman or woman. So instead of flipping through a catalog and giving you things I have only seen on the Internet or on the store shelf, here are my holiday gift suggestions for the hunter in your life that I actually own and use or otherwise have experience with.
Button Buck clothing can be a great gift for both the hunter and his or her little ones. As a father I know this: my son and daughter absolutely love their Button Buck gear and wear it proudly wherever they go. As a father I can see the quality in the shirts, no cheap big box store bottom-shelf products here, Button Buck clothing is made entirely in the USA and printed by hand. As any parent or grandparent knows, kids’ clothes take a beating, but Button Buck’s premium products keep on going even with the most active kids. With slogans such as “Suction Cup Archery Champion”, “Vegetables are for Deer”, “Hunting’s Future”, and “Food Chain Champion”, there is something for every kid in the clan.
I received my 8” Bee Stinger Pro Hunter mid-season this year and with gusto I put her on my Mathews bow in hopes to tame my groups and I did just that. More than just a vibration dampener the Bee Stinger Pro Hunter actually aids in your shooting. While most other stabilizers focus on dampening your shot, the Pro Hunter focuses on making you a better shooter. Bee Stinger’s carbon tube construction and variable weight forward design enables the Pro Hunter Stabilizer to slow down and steady your sight picture when you draw. The internal dampening system that is located inside the carbon shaft also aids in reducing the vibration of your bow, making for a more comfortable day in the field or on the range. Availible in 8”, 10” and 12” carbon shaft lengths and 0 to 11oz weighted ends starting at $79.99 on up to $109.99.
I am a knife junkie to say the least, so when a friend forwarded me Gerber Gear’s new #Unstoppable #HelloTrouble campaign I was beside myself with their new direction as a company. A few days later I had a few new knives show up at my door, two of which were part of the Myth Field Dress Kit–the Fixed Gut Hook 3.75” blade and the Small Fixed Knife with a sleek 3.25” blade. And don’t forget about the innovative and interchangeable knife sharpener that is built in the sheath. All in all you have a complete package that is ready to cut and cut and cut endlessly, whether you are in the field dressing a deer or at the farm cutting some rope. They truly are #Unstoppable and can keep you going for $84.
Everyone deserves something custom once in their life and something that is quality made. We have become accustomed to off-the-shelf products that fall apart. Not so with a custom Sako from custom gun maker Chesebro Rifles. Sako rifles themselves have a long history: like many other gun companies, they started out manufacturing rifles for their country’s armed forces (Finland) in the early 20th century. I recently took possession of a Sako 995 action chambered in 7mm Remington Magnum with a 1:9 twist 32” Benchmark barrel from Chesebro. Sako rifle construction is exceptional; the action is crisp and clean while the barreling, trigger work, and stock fitting from Chesebro is top-notch as well. Not being just a number at a gun counter is refreshing as well, as is actually getting a response to questions and information from a true expert and not just a guy in a green shirt. It was a great gift to me this year, and I believe would be a great big ticket item for you or your loved ones as well.
Crooked Horn’s RF Hook-UP ($39.99)
I hide nothing that I do indeed have a deep affection towards Crooked Horn products–they invented the Bino System and have come up with many industry-leading designs. The RF Hook Up is just such a product. It pairs the tried and true Bino System with their new RF (rangefinder) Sidekick. For only $39.99 you are able to carry your binoculars and your rangefinder and ready to access them when you need them. The RF Sidekick has a detachable tethering system that slides up and down the elastic strap and has a secondary securing system that latches over the eye cup. The RF fits most compact rangefinders on the market today which makes the product versatile and easy to use. Being that they are made in the USA, Crooked Horn’s quality is far superior to any others on the market today and their “No Fail Policy” does not hurt either all for $39.99. www.crookedhorn.com
Optics: just the word makes me shutter and my bank account dwindle, but for good reason. If you can’t see your game from afar, you will not be able to get close and seal the deal. Optics are the single most important piece of equipment that you could have with you in the field and the Leica Trinovids are the perfect blend of quality and precision at a great value. Having 95% of the same construction as their top-of-the-line Ultravids, minus a few lens coatings and one less additive to the glass, the Trinovids are nearly identical. They are even built on the same chassis as the Ultravids. All you shed is a few features for a $700 dollar price reduction, landing you at $1,500. Money well spent, so instead of buying a new pair every other year purchase one pair that you will have for 10 years–it’s much more cost effective that way. Amazing optics to say the least and worth every penny you invest into them.
When you need to see really far away the Swarovski Optik ATX/STX Spotting Scopes are modular perfection with their ability to change out lens objective sizes from 65mm to 85mm and on up to 95mm. With just a turn of the system, you can change and adapt to whatever situation you are in. The ATX (Angled Eye Piece) and the STX (Straight Eye Piece) also allow you to change your position according to your needs. With the Swarovision you are also getting glass that does not blur around the edges of the optics, has vibrant colors, and allows you to be able to look through your optics for hours on end without experiencing eye fatigue. The picture quality at long distances allows you to confirm that bull or buck across the mountain is worthy of hiking over to. It will save you a lot of time and effort if you just take great optics and look first. The ATX or STX start at around $3,000 for the Eye Piece and the 65mm Objective lens and goes up from there.
I have had a multitude of different SKB cases over the years and the Hunter XL has been as rugged as any I have owned. Manufactured by poly forming the plastic outer shell and adhering EPS foam and plush fabric to the inside, the case secures your bow in a way that it does not rattle around. Retail for the case is $179.99 and that will hold 12 arrows and your parallel limb bow securely, protecting it from water, dust, and hard knocks that may occur while in transit. The interior dimensions of the case are 41” long x 17” wide x 6” deep, which will accommodate almost every parallel limb bow on the market today. I personally have had gasoline, mud and rain soak my case and the contents are still intact and safe. And let us not forget the kid test, if it can hold up to my kids jumping on it, the case if good for me.
An outdoorsperson’s passions can take many forms, and one of mine is is bowfishing. And what better way to outfit a bowfisher than with a bowfishing kit from Cajun Archery. From their entry level tried and true Drum Reel to the new sleek Zebco 808 Big Game Bowfishing reel and accessories, you are able to start out small or slay the big ones while on the water. The entry level reel kit includes the Drum Reel, fiberglass arrow and mounting rod start at reasonable $27 for their basic model on up to $32. The premium Zebco Bowfishing Reel kit starts out at $84 and top out at $105 for their premium Reel Seat and Yellow Jacket Arrows, my personal set up.
A relative newcomer to the release market is Hot Shot Manufacturing and their line of high quality releases. With shooters like Stan Potts in the line up, you know the product has to be quality. The newly released Nano utilizes the “Lever-Link” trigger system that makes for the quick and highly adjustable trigger tension. The Nano produces less friction than traditional bearing designs and that translates into a crisp trigger system that allows you to forget about your trigger and just focus on shooting. The Nano’s Lever-Link system also reduces the need to clean and lubricate your release, being that it is comprised of less moving parts. Simply put it is a small, crisp, and effective way to shoot your bow and I am personally glad I made the switch. Not bad for a release priced at $75.
Images courtesy respective manufacturers