Last-minute stocking stuffers for outdoors enthusiasts

By Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat

As the final few days of this year’s COVID-19 challenged Christmas shopping season come and go, here are a few last minute outdoor gift ideas if you need a little help before that big fella in the red suit makes his annual Christmas Eve run next week.

For the whitetail or big game bowhunter on your list, there are plenty of great Christmas gift ideas ranging from a new Mathews, Hoyt, or BowTech bow, not to mention the latest in arrows, broadheads, and accessories. To find all of that and more — or maybe even a gift certificate — head over to Big O’s Archery Shop in Sherman, located at 1520 Texoma Parkway. Hours are limited to Saturday, Tuesday, and Thursday, so give the shop a call at 903-870-2114 for full details and Christmas week shopping hours.

Personally, I’m partial to the SITKA Gear whitetail clothing lineup that Big O’s carries, especially when it comes to the amazing Fanatic jacket, bibs, and vest that are perfect for cold weather late season hunts. Hunting recently during a cold snap, I stayed toasty warm on my deer stand while using the Fanatic gear despite being a guy who literally get cold on the Fourth of July.

With a quiet Berber fleece face, a GORE WINDSTOPPER barrier, body-mapped Primaloft Silver Insulation, a diagonal-zip design, a zippered front muff, a magnetic closure rangefinder pocket, a safety harness pass-through port, and internal gasketed cuffs, the Fanatic jacket might be the best piece of late season bowhunting gear that you can find on the market. Unless it’s the Fanatic vest, which I equally love.

As I’ve mentioned in this space often, if you’re looking for a knife of any type, it’s hard to go wrong with anything made over in Denison by Charles and Jodi Allen and the rest of the Knives of Alaska gang. These highly respected outdoor cutlery products are among the best hunting knives that money can buy in my humble opinion.

For the duck hunter or upland bird hunter on your list, I’ll say again that I’m a big fan of the KOA Bird/Trout Sure-Grip folder. For deer hunters, there is the Sidewinder folder, the Cub Bear caping knife, the Legacy or Jaeger fixed blade, and the Brown Bear Cleaver/Cub Bear Caping Knife combo set. And they’ve even got a new professional boning knife this year.

For information on such KOA products, 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.

And 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). Those knives are a bit more expensive, but they’ll last a lifetime, will carry a sharp edge for a long time, and are heirloom quality hunting gear items that can be passed down from one generation to another.

There are plenty of other local spots to shop for hunters and anglers over the next week, places ranging from Academy Sports + Outdoors, Dave’s Ski & Tackle, Walmart, and Orscheln’s. If you can’t find what you want there, other possibilities include Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Scheels, and Buccee’s down in the Metroplex area.

At many of these spots, you’ll find big ticket items like a new Traeger pellet smoker and grill, not to mention accessories like bags of flavored wood pellets, cooking utensils, or a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven from Lodge to help cook a delectable holiday meal.

These spots also carry plenty of smaller items too. Going back towards the bowhunter theme, how about a Muddy or Hunter Safety Systems hunting harness or vest; a Browning trail camera; arrow pullers; bag or 3D targets; treestand bow holders; EZ Climb treesteps; a bow hoist rope; SD cards for trail cameras; SD card carrying cases; headlamps; bow stabilizers; bow releases; a limb saw or a tree saw; climbing sticks; or a new treestand or ground blind?

For the gun hunter on your list, other deer hunting possibilities include a blaze orange vest, gloves, beanie style hats, Nomad hunting duds in either Mossy Oak or Realtree, a box or two of deer hunting rifle ammunition, a brick of .22 rimfire shells for plinking and practicing, a new grunt call, or even a brand new Christmas rifle to go under the tree?

If there is a duck hunter on your list, give consideration to the following ideas: a SITKA Gear Delta Wading Jacket in Optifade Timber; SITKA Gear Gore-Tex waders; a YETI thermos bottle and/or a YETI Rambler cup; a Sure-Shot Game Calls Yentzen One2 duck call; duck call lanyards; fleece gloves; face masks; a game-hauler/duck strap; boxes of #2 shot, three-inch non-toxic shotgun shell loads by Winchester, Federal, Kent, and/or HEVI-Shot. Also consider a camouflage floating shotgun case; some Hoppe’s cleaner or gun oil; or a new duck hunting shotgun like the Benelli Super Black Eagle 3. A Browning A-5 is also a good choice for a new scattergun, along with a Browning Citori over-and-under.

Got a bass fisherman on your list? Well, it’s always hard to beat a YETI Rambler to carry around your favorite hot beverage for those early morning boat launch ramps. Lures are always good stocking stuffer ideas, baits that include squarebill crankbaits; diving crankbaits (shallow, medium and deep diving); suspending jerkbaits; spinnerbaits; jigs; and topwater baits by manufacturers like Strike King, Berkley, Rapala, Spro, Cotton Cordell, Booyah, and more. Bags of soft plastics by Lake Fork Tackle and others can be good choices as can spools of monofilament, fluorocarbon and braided line.

And then there is always the need for your favorite bass angler to have a new rod or reel on the front deck of their boat. A good way to handle that gift idea — anglers can be picky — is to give a gift certificate to a favored outdoor store for the when the holiday frenzy is over with for another year.

Hopefully a few of these gift ideas in today’s space will help jolly old St. Nicholas finish off the holiday shopping list you have, and just in the nick of time for next Friday’s arrival of Christmas Day.

Time is winding down quickly, so shop local, be safe, wear a mask, social distance yourself from other shoppers, and get those last few items knocked off your list before Dec. 25 dawns on the calendar.

Time is short, the season is challenging, and we’re all in this together. So good luck and Merry Christmas!