Christmas shopping is hard for some people and easier for others. It seems like people who are passionate about things — golfers, fishermen, sports fans, etc. — are easy to shop for. You know what they love. And if you have a friend or family member who’s a hunter, it’s no secret. You know this because he or she:
- Is currently wearing camo
- Disappears for hours or days at a time, comes back smelling like the woods. If you’re lucky.
- Keeps his boots, camo, and hunting gear in the truck. Just in case.
- Avoids gasoline, smoke, hugs from women wearing perfume, and other sources of “human scent” at all costs.
You have no trouble identifying the hunter in your family, and you’d think this makes Christmas shopping all the more easier. There’s just one problem.
Hunters are hard to shop for
Deer hunters — especially bowhunters like myself — are particular (damn near superstitious) about their hunting gear. These are people who get up at 3 in the morning, drive for an hour or more, coat themselves in animal urine, and then climb a tree in the bitter cold to sit for six hours. All with the hope that a deer will come within range. We leave very little to chance. If there’s something that will help us find, attract, ambush, kill, or gut a deer, the odds are it’s already in the truck.
Even something obvious that might make a nice gift, if you’re not a hunter you’ll probably get it wrong. You might not know that a scouting camera should have infrared, what kind of binoculars are best for heavy timber, or whether your hunter prefers fixed blade or mechanical broadheads. Every hunter is different when it comes to these things.
You Can Still Give Hunting Presents
I don’t mean to say that you can’t give something hunting related to a hunter this holiday season. You can and absolutely should, because in November and December, most deer hunters are still fanning the obsession. We’re living, breathing, and dreaming about deer and deer hunting. Give us something to help with that, and you’ll be a hero this Christmas. If that should help your hunter take a deer this season, you’ll be a legend. But given the difficulty in shopping for hunters, I’ll give you a couple of options:
- Find out exactly what they want. If you want to give a big gift, like a scouting camera or a pair of good hunting binoculars, it never hurts to ask. Or have a friend or spouse find out what the hunter wants, as in the model number. Amazon Wish Lists are a great place to snoop around; my mother used mine to find out which fiber-optic sight I wanted for my bow.
- Get something obvious that any hunter could use. Outside of a hunter’s core set of gear, there are some staple items that we’re probably not as obsessive about, but sure do appreciate having when we’re out in the woods. Like things that keep us warm, well fed, or entertained while out on the deer stand.
5 Simple Gifts for Any Hunter
Here are a few things that most hunters could use, especially this time of year, no matter how picky they are.
|Stainless Steel Thermos with Folding Handle
A sturdy, well-insulated thermos filled with beef stew or soup or something warm is a hunter’s best friend. The hunter you know might have one of these already, but I’ll bet it’s kind of nasty after being left in the truck without being washed. Dozens of times.
|HeatMax Hand & Body Warmer
Ever since the Boy Scouts, I’ve been amazed at the Hot Hands hand warmer. Exposed to air, these little exothermic wonders give off heat for 8 hours or longer. On a frigid morning of hunting, I’ll open a couple of these, stuff them in my jacket pockets, my gloves, and other… places. You can never have too many.
|Heatmax Insole Foot Warmer
A larger version of the Hot Hands and a brilliant idea, these packets are designed to go into the hunter’s boots. And a hunter with warm feet is happy, happy, happy.
|Smartwool Hunting Heavy Crew Performance Socks
Along those same lines, thick woolen socks are something a hunter can never have too many of. They get lost, they get holes in them, they get skipped on the wash. You give a pair of clean socks, and everyone wins.
|Hunters Specialties Field Dressing Gloves
Here’s another good one, something hunters occasionally forget when going afield: a pack of field dressing gloves. You don’t absolutely need gloves to dress a deer, but they’re not a bad idea. Plus, there’s the subtle message you send a hunter when you give this as a gift: that you expect them to have success. And that sort of holiday cheer will go a long way.
Last but not least, there’s something you can give a hunter that doesn’t cost anything: a bit of leeway and understanding. Hunting season