If there’s one thing I’m not, it’s a difficult guy for whom to buy Christmas gifts. There are always new and interesting items related to my passions for shotgunning. Some are big some are small, but any of them under the tree or in the stocking marked “Billy” are welcome! Got your reading specs, Santa?

CloseRange_300x250Real Avid Gun Tool

Okay, okay; I already own at least four of these, but until there’s one in every range bag, blind bag, and glove compartment, this will end up on my list. Especially this year because there is now the Real Avid Gun Tool Pro with a more compact design, lighter weight, and added tools. The Pro X even adds a removable, magnetic LED light which can be a huge plus. But the original Gun Tool works just fine, too. For the firearms hunter and shooter, it’s like carrying a gunsmith workbench in your pocket with 18 different mission specific tools for handling common firearms field maintenance issues. The original Gun Tool is only $24.99 so it’s a perfect stocking stuffer for every shooter on your Christmas list.

ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellants

Just because bugs aren’t out there right now doesn’t mean they won’t be come turkey season. They’ll be back with a vengeance, guaranteed. Every hunter (every outdoorsperson, for that matter) needs a ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellant Appliance, and preferably several. Santa, you ought to look at going into partnership with these folks and just make ThermaCELL a “standard issue” Christmas gift. And Santa, for those of us who know how good ThermaCELLs are, refill packs are always appreciated, too.

OnXMaps Hunt Maps

I did my first bird hunting last fall with an OnXMaps Hunt Map chip in my GPS, and I am hooked. This is the absolute definition of “the greatest things come in the smallest packages.” The tiny chip instantly turned my GPS into one of my favorite hunting tools. I chose the map for the cluster of states I hunt most often and it clearly shows me the type of land I’m hunting on (private, public, and what kind of public land). It’s a confidence booster for ferreting out those remote covers that seldom get hunted. Now, Santa, I’m hoping to add the individual state maps that actually provide private landowner information right there on the GPS screen! Each chip is $99.99 and can be updated as data changes.

campchef abmCamp Chef Pellet Grill/Smoker

Santa, you’ll have to put on your thinking cap to get this one down the chimney, but if you do, I promise next year I’ll leave out smoked pheasant and goose breast instead of milk and cookies that you must get really tired of. The Camp Chef Pellet Grill/Smoker will take my outdoor cooking to the next level. No matter what you like to smoke, this unit simplifies the process and gives you more precise temperature control throughout the process. Fill the hopper with your favorite wood pellets, plug it in, set the temp, and you’re smoking. There’s a digital temperature readout to toggle between smoking chamber temperature and internal meat temperature. It makes smoking easy and sure. (Tell you what fellow smokers, if you’ll leave the request in the comments section below, I’ll share a brine recipe I’ve developed with just a touch of jalapeno heat that turns Canada Goose breast into the best thing you ever put in your mouth!)

Federal Premium Black Cloud Ammo

Yes, I’ve always asked for shotgun shells for Christmas, back to when I was a boy! Another item a shotgunner can definitely never have enough of. The Federal Premium Black Cloud High Velocity three-inch load with 1-1/8 ounces of shot at 1,635 feet per second is my hands down favorite duck load. I stockpile it and will take it anyway I can get it. I know a case is on the heavy side for the sleigh, Santa, but it doesn’t take up much space! I guess I probably shouldn’t ask for a case of the Black Cloud Close Range at the same time. Would that just be greedy?

Merry Christmas Santa—“and a ptarmigan in a spruce tree” to you, too!

thermacell_logo_squarelow 150Tip of the Week

I already own a set of ThermaCELL heated insoles—the ones with the removeable, rechargeable batteries. That way I can leave the insoles comfortably in the boots and just take out the batteries for recharging. But another pair is on my list so I don’t have to remove the insoles at all when I change boots. I can keep the pair in my tall Wellies I wear when I take the dogs for a hike in the snow, and then have another pair that stays in the low chukka boots I wear in the winter to the range. See, Santa; I’ve got a plan!

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These insights brought to you by Federal Premium Ammunition, ThermaCELL, Camp Chef, and the Quebec Outfitters Federation.

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  • Jon Pries

    Okay, “Billy,” please email me the brine recipe for the smoked goose breasts!