If you’re looking to buy a gift or two for the outdoorsman on your list, how about a collection of 2018 options, “12 days of Christmas” style?


Thanks to a variety of retail stores and specialty stores here in the North Texas area, there’s literally no shortage of Christmas gift ideas, nearly all within an easy drive of the Texomaland area. And with online options added in, the possibilities are nearly endless this holiday shopping season.


With that in mind, here are a few suggestions as Dec. 25th approaches:


1. Knives of Alaska / DiamondBlade — Made right here in Denison by Charles and Jodi Allen and the rest of the KOA gang, these highly respected outdoor cutlery products are among the best hunting knives that money can buy. For the whitetail, big game, waterfowl, and/or bird hunter on your list, I’m a big fan of the KOA Bird/Trout Sure-Grip folder, the Cub Bear caping knife, the Legacy fixed blade, or the Brown Bear Cleaver/Cub Bear Caping Knife combo set. For information, visit the company’s website at www.knivesofalaska.com, phone them at 903-786-7366, or drop by for a visit at 3100 Airport Drive in Denison. While you’re visiting with the Allen’s about their fine KOA products, also be sure to inquire about their top-of-the-line DiamondBlade cutlery products too (www.diamondbladeknives.com).


2. Strike King Crankbaits — If you look in my tackle boxes, you’ll probably discover that I’ve never met a crankbait that I didn’t like. With that in mind, I really like the Strike King Red Eyed Shad lipless crankbaits, the KVD 2.5 squarebills, and the 5XD and 6XD deep divers. Look for these great stocking stuffers at local Walmart locations and at Academy’s Sports + Outdoors in Sherman. And while you’re there, see if one of the sale’s associates can get you fixed up on a new rod, reel, and line set-up to throw these great bass fishing baits with.


3. Mathews VERTIX Bow — They seem to do it every year, but the new Mathews VERTIX compound bow is said to be as good as any that the Wisconsin bow maker has ever turned out. With a six-inch brace height, a 30-inch axle-to-axle platform, a redesigned grip interface, and new patent-pending SwitchWeight technology, expect to find a smooth shooter that sends arrows downrange at sizzling speeds of up to 343 feet per second. To find the VERTIX locally — or the newest offerings from Hoyt, BowTech, and others — please visit Big O’s Archery Shop at 1520 Texoma Parkway in Sherman or call at 903-870-2114.


4. Ruger 10-22 — It’s a squirrel hunting or back-40 plinking classic, the time-honored Ruger 10-22 rifle. Give a new shooter a 10-22, a box of .22 shells, and some carefully supervised time on the range and they’ll learn lifelong shooting skills that will aid them in a Texas deer blind as well as some great target-punching fun. Check Academy, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, or your favorite local gun shop for availability.


5. Sure-Shot Yentzen Duck Calls - Invented by the late Jim “Cowboy” Fernandez, the 1959 world duck calling champion who passed away earlier this year, the tradition of these Texas-made double reed duck calls continues with Charlie Holder’s Sure-Shot Game Calls down in Groves, Texas. If you’ve got a duck hunter on your list, either the time-honored walnut-wood Yentzen Classic ($66) or the new Yentzen One2 ($165.00) are great options. The latter is as good a call as there is out there on the market, featuring a patented SCREW-LOCK design and a proprietary CNC body that gives a superb raspy hen sound that can help seal the deal on Red River Valley greenheads. For information, visit the Web site at www.sureshotgamecalls.com or call 409-962-1636.


6. Texas State Parks Pass — For $70 ($25 for an additional pass for someone at the same address), you and your loved ones can get a year’s worth of TPWD state park access including at Eisenhower State Park on Lake Texoma and at Lake Ray Roberts State Park to name a few. The TSPP is available at state park offices or online at tpwd.texas.gov.


7. Fly Fishing Outfit — For Texas warmwater and saltwater fly fishing enthusiasts (bass, stripers, redfish and more), give the train-stopping power of an Orvis Hydros SL Fly Reel coupled with an Orvis Helios 3 fly rod in a 9-foot, 8 weight model. Available online at Orvis.com or at the Orvis Store locations in Dallas, Plano, and Southlake, there are also other complete outfit options available. Another option are the great fly rods made by Dallas-based Temple Fork Outfitters. In addition to great fly rods like the BVK model, Rick Pope’s crew also make some top-end conventional tackle rods too. You can find TFO rods at Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Tailwaters Fly Shop in Dallas, by calling 800-638-9052 or by visiting TFORods.com.


8. Striped Bass Fly Fishing Trip — Other than the Atlantic Coast during the fall blitz, there is no better place in North America to catch a striped bass on the fly rod than at Lake Texoma. Orvis endorsed guide Steve Hollensed is as good a guide as there is in the business — he is also one of the best certified fly casting instructors in the nation too - and he can guide anglers of all skill levels to a superb fly rod outing. Best times to book are late spring, summer, and early fall months. For details, give Hollensed’s website a visit at www.flywaterangling.com or call him at 903-546-6237.


9. YETI Coolers — A Texas-based company in Austin, you can’t go wrong with a YETI cooler for anyone who gets outdoors. For the deer hunter, think something like the Tundra 65. For the angler on your list, how about the Roadie 20 or the Hopper Two 30? Add in a YETI Rambler Tumbler and/or a Rambler Thermos Bottle and you’re all but guaranteed to make someone smile on Christmas Day. Available at numerous local retailers or online at Yeti.com.


10. Maven 10X42 Binoculars — This fall, I’ve been using a pair of 10X42 Maven B.1binoculars, something that works well both in the woods and at football games. To say I’m impressed with these custom made binoculars would be an understatement, since these bring top notch European quality at a more affordable price. If you’re interested in some great top-shelf optics, give this Lander, Wyoming custom optics maker some consideration. For more information, visit either MavenBuilt.com or call toll-free at 800-307-1109.


11. Outdoors Reading Material — Want a good deer hunting book? How about Field & Stream’s The Total Deer Hunter Manual by Scott Bestul, something usually available from Books-A-Million? Or maybe a deer hunter’s devotional like Steve Chapman’s A Look at Life From a Deer Stand, available at LifeWay Christian Books in Sherman? Want a good fishing book? Then how about Kevin VanDam’s Bass Strategies at Bass Pro Shops or Amazon? How about a yearly magazine subscription, something like Texas Parks and Wildlife, Retriever Journal, Pointing Dog Journal, North American Whitetail, Wildfowl, Gun Dog, Bowhunter, Petersen’s Bowhunting, Petersen’s Hunting, Texas Trophy Hunter’s Journal, Traditional Bowhunter, Deer and Deer Hunting, or Texas Sportsman to name a few? There are also more literary journals like Garden and Gun, Gray’s Sporting Journal, and Sporting Classics too. To find these, visit Books-A-Million, Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, and other book and magazine dealers.


12. Non-Toxic Shotshells — Waterfowl hunting campaigns are going full bore and so far, it’s been a pretty good season. For the duck or goose hunter on your gift list, a box or two of non-toxic shotshell loads like HEVI-Steel, Remington Sportsman Hi-Speed Steel, Federal Premium Ammunition Black Cloud, or Winchester DryLock Steel Shot are all good choices in either 3-inch or 2 3/4-inch shotshell lengths of #2 shot. Look for these non-toxic shotgun shell loads at Academy, Walmart, or the Dave’s Ski and Tackle / LoneStar Foods store location in Denison.


These ideas should help get you started in looking for that perfect outdoors gift this holiday shopping season. And look for a few more hints in the weeks to come.


In the meantime, Merry Christmas!