My brain has been flooded with ideas for my 2013 Gift Guide. There are so many cool new toys, gadgets, apparel, and quality merchandise out there for hunters. There are more than enough items on my list and many I have reviewed over the past year or two. Believe me when I say I know how difficult it can be for someone to have to buy a gift for a hunter. I am one of those difficult hunters to buy for! One, I feel I have everything I need for hunting and I really can't think of anything I want to have someone else buy me. The second reason is that I am very picky when it comes to my gear. I know many of you face the same dilemma and I am here to help.
There are quite a few items on this list. I decided this year to add in a great many items to give you all some variety. Some of you may want gear, some may want food, and some may want to read books. Overall, I think you will all be able to find something worth giving to your special hunter this year.
Schnee's Wilderness Boots - Some of the best hunting advice I have ever received was that in preparation for any hunt, I should always take care of my feet. Hunting should be fun and full of adventure, and not worrying about constant foot anguish. Always take of your feet. Remember that because at $319.00 a pair, the Wilderness boots are not inexpensive. Made in Italy, they have superior construction, are tough, waterproof, and insanely comfortable. I would recommend these boots to any bow hunter looking for a pair of all-terrain boots that will last them for years. I use these boots on nearly every hunt I go on, cold weather or hot.
SuperFEET Insoles - When you are hunting, blisters, swollen arches and bruised bones are the LAST thing you want to be thinking about because they will totally ruin a hunt. On my elk hunt last year, my boots performed great, but the bottoms of my feet suffered because I didn't have the right insoles and my feet paid the price. Plus, my bones took a mean bruising from the punishment of the Rockies. Not this year my friends! I have been using the SuperFeet merinoGrey insoles and my feet are the happiest they have ever been! They retail for $45.99 and let me tell you, I am putting these on my Christmas list! I need a few more pair!
Wildlife Tags – Does your hunter have a mount that needs a little something extra? Wildlife Tags are great for showing off who took the animal, when they took it, and where. Prices for each Wildlife Tag are very reasonable. The 3"x2" retails for $9.99, and both the 4"x3" and custom tag are $14.99. Wildlife Tag donates one dollar ($1) of each tag purchase to Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry in support. What a great way to give back to the community!
TightSpot Quiver – This quiver will be the last quiver you buy. Each one is solid, adjustable, and the warranty is unbeatable. For $162.95 they are worth the money. I own one for each bow I own, but if you wanted to use one quiver, you could swap them from bow to bow by simply adding a mounting kit to the second bow.
JetBoil Cooking System and Mountain House meals – Do I need to say more? I love my JetBoil and I love Mountain House meals for backcountry hunts and even on day trips. Having a warm meal on a cold day will do wonders for you! Especially the Beef Stroganoff! The JetBoil retails for between $75-100 and you can find deals if you look hard enough.
HHA Optimizer Lite Ultra Archery Sights - Most gear options I usually leave up to the bowhunter to choose, but this time you will be safe in getting a single pin sight from HHA Sports for the bowhunter in your family. They just won single-pin sight of the year for the 10th straight year from Bowhunting World Magazine! The HHA Optimizer Lite Ultra single-pin archery sight mounts easily, can be adjusted to suit your needs, and when utilized properly will have you shooting some of the tightest groups ever! It has dramatically affected my shooting style. Quality products like this are worth every hard-earned penny. You can count on quality craftsmanship, solid construction and a well-performing single-pin sight that has certainly increased my confidence on the range. This is one archery product I highly recommend to any bowhunter looking to increase their ability of consistently hitting the center of your target.
Western Hunter and Elk Hunter magazine subscription – A couple of great magazines for any hunter. There are excellent gear reviews, hunting stories, and tips that will make you crave more. Plus, you get to read about some amazing adventures as you plan out your own. You can get a year of both for $29.99. What a steal!
RZ Mask - In the hunting application I think the mask works very well, fits comfortably, but it does have a relatively steep price tag of $34.95. The benefits are that you do get three filters with the mask. When you consider the filtering and fit you get what you pay for. Plus, you don't have to clean any oily residue from waxy paint from your face.
Badlands Packs – If you want the best built, most comfortable packs on the market, then pick up a Badlands pack. There is a pack for every hunter in their arsenal. I own a few of their packs and use them for different hunts. My favorite is the 2200 as I have found it to be the most versatile pack I have ever used.
MINOX Optics – These might seem like the priciest item on the list, but they will save you miles of walking and strain on your eyes. You can expect quality German glass, with an emphasis on quality.
Piranha Bowstrings - Take the time to get the bowhunter in your family a new set of strings they will love! Eddy is one of the best string builders out there and the quality of his strings is excellent. More often than not, bowhunters fail to replace their strings in a timely manner. This will be a gift that keeps on giving!
Jerky from House of Jerky - This was all perfectly dehydrated and flavorful meat. I would recommend their products to anyone, especially outdoors men and women. Why? Beside the fact that it tastes great and is good for you, it packs extremely well and is great snack. The recommended serving size is one ounce. I think that should be changed to "Serving Size: One Bag."
Hi-Country Wild Game Jerky Seasoning – Have a hunter who likes to make their own jerky? These spices are top notch and full of flavor and kick. I liked it so much I am going to give some other Hi-Country Jerky Seasonings a try. At $8.29 a kit you can't go wrong. You don't need to be a psychic to see that there will be plenty of tasty homemade jerky in my future.
KoolerGel™ - Now why would I put KoolerGel on a list like this? Probably because I use it each and every time I go out hunting. I have saved hundreds of dollars from not having to buy extra ice for my hunts. You can buy Kooler Gel directly from Trophy Bag Kooler, LLC, or from one of the retailers listed on the TBK website. For under $10 you get a six pack. Trust me, it's a sound investment.
Camp Dog Cajun Seasoning - Papa Scott sells it in different sizes and offers other products on his site. The 8 oz. canister of original Camp Dog Seasoning sells for only $7.50 and that seems like a steal to me. That's the one I bought. Like I said, a little goes a long way and this stuff is great. Everyone I know that tries it loves it! Be sure to get some!
Grand Trunk Hammock - If you are planning on hiking into the backcountry, or just taking the family out for a picnic, leave the sleeping on the ground to the critters and enjoy the luxury of resting in a Grand Trunk Parachute Nylon Double Hammock. The Grand Trunk Double Hammock retails for $64.99 from their website and I believe that is more than reasonable.
Six Nutrition Vitamins - A 30-day supply of the SIX Nutrition Vitamins for Men costs $59.95. Considering it is six pills each day in a convenient pouch, and the fact that they worked well for me, I will say that's a good price. Better yet, buy the three month supply and save $30 or so. Keep in mind the guarantee, but I am going to bet you won't need that.
HuntingGPS Maps - The investment is worth it in my opinion. $99.99 gets you the map on an SD card. $129.99 for the BaseCamp download, but one of the best is the maps for Google Earth. To me that is worth not venturing onto private land, getting a ticket or being shot at. Check out their website for more details on the mapping software and how it can work for you.
The Mindful Carnivore by Tovar Cerulli - Most of you will be pleasantly surprised when you read this book. By the end you will feel like Willie and Uncle Mark are part of your extended family. I am not going to give all details away here, but I highly recommend picking up a copy. While it started off slow for me, the meat of the book and the ending were thought provoking, powerful and entertaining. It'll give you insight into the mind of a vegetarian-turned-hunter, the inner battles one has to address and the highlights of some great dynamics between friends and family. For $12.99, how can you go wrong!
Last, but not least… Arrows - a bowhunter can never have too many arrows. Enough said and happy shopping!