Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? I doubt it; and if you’re shopping for a hunter, it can prove a daunting challenge, what with all the specialized equipment and personal preferences. In an effort to make the process a tiny bit easier, allow me to offer a few suggestions.

Let’s start with the deer hunters. Trail cameras are extremely popular among deer hunters. They’re our eyes in the woods when we’re not there, and it’s a gift that keeps on giving. Every time you pop an SD card into the card reader, it’s like opening presents. You never know what you might capture. Granted, there are myriad choices, but with few exceptions, most are reliable and offer all the features the average hunter will want or need. Most good sporting retailers should have a display with several models, often from the same manufacturer. Just find one, or several, that fit your budgetand don’t forget the batteries and SD cards. If your deer hunter already owns one or more cameras, those batteries and cards make great stocking stuffers.

Speaking of stockings, they’re another great gift idea for the hunter in your life. The most important thing to know here is that cotton is rotten. It holds moisture and when wet will make a hunter’s feet cold. Get wool or synthetic socks instead. If the hunter you’re buying for tends to get cold feet (literally, not metaphorically), consider light, polyester sock liners and mid-weight synthetic ankle socks.

Continuing with that theme is base layer clothing, what we old-timers call long johns or long underwear. Whether a hunter is sitting or still-hunting, it’s important to have a base layer of synthetic apparel that will wick sweat away from the body rather than soaking it up. Probably the most recognizable brand is Under Armour, but plenty of other, often more economical options exist.

Knives are a popular gift as you can never have enough. But some hunters are particular about their knives, making it hard to choose the right one. Since nobody wants a dull knife, a portable pocket knife sharpener might be a better option. And it’s hard to go wrong with a multi-tool, unless the person you’re shopping for already has one, or three.

Do you have turkey hunters in the family? If so, do they own a turkey vest? If not, they should. It provides a convenient means for organizing and toting the plethora of paraphernalia turkey hunters are noted for carrying afield. There are special pockets for calls, strikers, shells, license… you name it, as well as a large game pouch on the back for toting turkeys after a successful hunt. And most have a padded seat to keep your assets comfortable.


Waterfowlers can be tough to buy for, but keep in mind they need most of the aforementioned comfort clothing like socks and base layers. You could also try a lanyard for their growing collection of calls, or a blind bag. The bag is sort of the duck hunter’s equivalent of a turkey vest, but instead of wearing it, you carry it. Like the vest, it has plenty of compartmentalized pockets for miscellaneous items.

I’ve tried to avoid brand names or specific items, but one is definitely worth mentioning: The Rapid Rod from ATSKO is a collapsible gun-cleaning rod that weighs just a few ounces and takes up very little space in a vest, bag, pack or pocket. Hunters can also carry it in their vehicle or take it to camp. It’s inexpensive and could well prevent the premature end to a day’s hunt should they get a wad or a shell stuck in their shotgun barrel or mud in the muzzle of their rifle.

How about a gift for the whole family? Consider the ever popular and immensely overabundant wild game cookbook. I wouldn’t be surprised if more books are published each year on how to cook game than on how to go out and acquire it, so I couldn’t even begin to offer specific suggestions.

And that opens up a whole other realm of possibilities related to processing wild game. If your loved one does it himself, a vacuum sealer is invaluable; if they already have one, more bags are always useful. A meat grinder is another handy tool for making burger, sausages and jerky. If he’s into the latter, a jerky shooter or gun is a good option, too. Of course, then he’ll need a food dehydrator, as well as some spices and preservatives.

I could go on, but this list should at least get the wheels of thought turning. If you’re still waffling, there’s always the old stand-by: gift certificates. That way the hunters in your life can get what they need, or want.

Bob Humphrey is a freelance writer and Registered Maine Guide who lives in Pownal. He can be reached at:

[email protected]

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