I am often asked for gift ideas for many of my friends that share my interest in the outdoors. Finding that perfect gift can be a daunting task, especially is the shopper does not hunt and fish.
Some items such as hunting bows, rifles or shotguns, require some input from the one receiving the gift. The choices are myriad and we outdoors guys can be downright picky when it comes to what we wish to hunt with. We don’t just want a ‘rifle’, no; we want a particular caliber with a particular action, barrel length, etc. The same goes when shopping for a bow. Draw lengths, poundage, etc. must be considered when buying a bow, one can’t just pull a bow off the shelf and assume it will be the perfect gift. This does not rule out buying Dad a bow, rifle or shotgun but it does require a bit of information as to what he really wants. It can be tricky to get this information out of him without giving away surprise!
But we outdoor types use a lot of equipment. To choose a gift that is sure to please, it’s obviously important to know which outdoor sports Dad enjoys. The shelves of sporting goods stores are stocked with all sorts of useful equipment. For many years, I have carried a Swiss Army knife. I feel naked without my Army Knife while outdoors and probably use it more than any piece of equipment that I own. The one I use has a awl, can and bottle opener and a couple of blades. I use it for everything from opening a can of beans to trimming fajita meat. Many outdoor folks carry a multi tool on their belt that is basically a mini workshop contained in a small leather scabbard. I have a multi tool that I’ve had for many years but find it a bit heavy to carry on my belt. But, it’s never far away when I am in the outdoors. Both these items can be purchased for a very reasonable price. The Army knife for about $20 and the multi tool, depending upon brand, for a few dollars more.
Most of us that hunt and fish also enjoy outdoor cooking and there is a kazillion gift ideas in this category. Ten years ago, I received my first electric smoker, a Smokin Tex model 1400 and I’ve used my smoker to prepare everything from smoked chicken to cold smoked cured sausages and ham. If there were one item that I would hate to be without, it’s my electric smoker. I would love to know just how may pounds of meats I’ve cooked on my smoker in the last decade but it’s a great many. Granted, a larger cash outlay is required to purchase Dad a smoker but if it’s a Smokin Tex, it will last a long, long time.
Every sportsman needs a propane camp stove and I have a heavy duty model with two burners. I also have a very portable propane fish cooker that I use for everything from frying turkeys to boiling crawfish.
Last year, I received a portable folding fish cleaning table that I’ve discovered many uses for. I take it with me on hunting trips and use it when butchering game. It’s very comfortable to have a work surface just the right when standing and cleaning fish or prepping a meal. These units can be purchased for around $100 at the larger sporting goods stores.
Cast iron cookware is an absolute must for the Dad that enjoys preparing meals at fishing or hunting camp. I have an old Dutch Kettle that I’ve used for 30 years that is indispensible at camp. I’ve used it to prepare everything from venison stews to cabbage rolls at camp. A big cast iron skillet with lid is equally handy; the one I use on a regular basic has accompanied me on most of my outdoor trips for several decades. Its prepared chicken fried venison with cream gravy and work fajitas in many, many camps. This heavy form of cookware is very forgiving when cooking over outdoor wood fires, it’s slow to heat which prevents scorching food and once heated to cooking temperature, it retains heat a long time.
If Dad is a serious camp cook, he might be interested in a little utensil called an omelet maker. Few outdoor cooks are aware these little gizmos exist but once they learn about them, they head post haste to a kitchen supply store and buy a couple. An omelet make will certainly make omelets but they will do a great deal more! I remember my uncle using one back in the sixties to prepare cornbread at camp on a Coleman stove. I still have the same cooker and use it often. These little units hinge in the middle and are turned about half way through the cornbread cooking process. They are available at many kitchen supply stores and are a must have for any serious camp cook. On campouts where dishes such as stews or beans are prepared, cornbread is a welcome side dish. We don’t always have an oven to prepare cornbread but these little omelet makers will make enough cornbread for 3 in about ten minutes. I usually use the packets of pre mixed cornbread mix and just add an egg and some fresh or powdered milk.
If the Dad you are shopping for is a hunter, consider getting him an assortment of supplies from Texas Raised Hunting Products www.texasraisedhuntingproducts. This company makes scents that really work for deer, hog and predator hunters. Order a few bottles of Scent Guardian that will allow Dad to simply hunt and forget about wind direction. It really works, it actually totally removes the scent of gasoline from a rag.
Hopefully these tips will help you choose a unique gift for the Dad in your life. If you are a Dad, you might just need a few of these items for yourself!
Listen to “Outdoors with Luke Clayton and Friends” weekends on radio stations from Nebraska to Texas or anytime online at www.catfishradio.org.