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OUTDOORS: Christmas Gifts for the Sportsmen
BY Luke Clayton, Special to the Star Courier
About this time each year for the past two decades, Iíve devoted a column on Christmas gift ideas for the sportsman or woman.
During the course of a year, I have the opportunity to do everything from fly fishing to bow hunting elk. I am exposed to a wide array of products that make my hunting and fishing trips more fun and successful. Some work and others just clutter up my truck, tackle box or backpack. Here are some very useful items and opportunities that should help with your Christmas shopping.
Thereís still plenty of time to get the item shipped to your front door.
Hunting Blind: The GhostBlind weighs only 12 pounds, has mirrors on the outside and conventional camouflage on the inside. Youíve probably seen it on outdoor television shows. Larry Weishuhn used the GhostBlind last year to harvest a monster buck and Iíve been using it successfully for the past two seasons with very good results. Learn all about it at: ghostblind.com.
Electric smoker: The Smokin Tex Electric Smoker makes preparing great-tasting smoked meats a snap. Iíve used mine for several years to prepare everything from jerky to hams to the Thanksgiving smoked turkey. Check them out at: smokintex.com.
E-Z Mount umbrella holder (for your boat): Itís difficult to think about shade for your boat while fishing during the holiday season, but by May an umbrella for your boat will be as welcome as a well-tuned engine.
Leon Woodall offers these easy-to-mount umbrella holders. They are very sturdy and easy to mount on the base of your boatís seat. www.umbrellae-zmount.com
Rattlebox: For years, Iíve been carry a set of rattling horns (antlers) around for rattling bucks. I now use the Rattlebox, which straps to ones leg and provides one-hand rattling. This new rattling system has proven very effective on hunts this season. www.blackmountainproducts.com
Electronic game calls: Cass Creek Electronic Game Calls make excellent calls for most species of game, birds and predators. Iíve been using these lightweight and durable calls for the past year and found them to be very dependable with realistic sounds. They are also very affordably priced.
Lightweight wild hog trap: Gater Boy Hog Traps make a 53-pound aluminum wild hog trap that is easy to assemble in the woods. I use a 6-foot model but feel confident the 5-foot model will work just as well.
Assembly took 15 minutes.
The trap comes pre-drilled with bolts. These traps are ideal for the hunter that wishes to trap one or two hogs at his hunting lease.
Hawg Lite: The Hawg Lite mounts to your bow or rifle and, when a toggle switch is tripped, lights up the night with red, green or white light. Itís very useful when hunting hogs or predators at night.
Check it out at: hawglite.com.
Spices and seasonings: Frisco Spices offers everything for the sportsman that enjoys making sausage, jerky or curing meats at home. Check out the products at: friscospices.com.
Small boat: Small boats have become very popular the past few years.
The Nucanoe can best be described as a hybrid craft, combining the best features of the canoe and kayak. Iíve used one the past couple years for hunting and fishing. With an affordable price tag, these boats might be just what your sportsman needs to gain access to the backwaters for duck hunting or fishing. Check it out at: nucanoe.com.
Rifle sling: Check out the Cross Fire Rifle Sling at: crossfiresling.com. These slings are leaps and bounds ahead of the old style, single-strap rifle sling.
Light system for night-hunting hogs: Check out the Feedlite at: ultramaticfeeders.com.
This light mounts to your corn feeder or a nearby post of tree and automatically lights up the area around your feeder each night. Iíve had one in the woods the past five years and found it to be very low maintenance and effective. Also check out The Remote, which remotely activates your feeder.
Guided fishing or hunting trip: Most sportsmen would be excited to get a gift certificate for a hunting or fishing trip.
Here are a few fun things to do in the outdoors during the winter months: A guided quail, pheasant or chucker hunt near Lake Fork at Yantis. Bring your own dog or hunt with a guide. For more info, go to: hiddenlakeshuntingresort.com. I enjoyed a couple of fun hunts here last season. A new lodge was completed in time for this yearís guests.
Airboat fishing trip on the red river: Winter is prime time for catching huge blue and flathead catfish in the Red River below Lake Texoma. Sparkyís Guide Service offers some exciting trips on this stretch of river. For more info, check out: sparkysguideservice.com.
Camouflage clothing: Iíve discovered a new line of camouflage that Iíve been using on all my hunts.
M2D Camo is designed to blend into the woods or fields. It certainly doesnít make a fashion statement but it does work extremely well in hiding one from the eyes of everything from wary waterfowl to deer. It works as well in bright sunlight as shadow. Check it out at: m2dcamo.com.
Before deciding exactly which gift that will best suite the sportsman on your list, you might casually hand them this column and say something like this: ďI never dreamed there were this many things available for guys that like to hunt and fish. Have you ever used any of these items?Ē
You might just get the clue you need to purchase that perfect Christmas gift this year.
Outdoor tip of the week
Recent cold fronts have pushed ducks into the state and overall the first split of the duck season is off to a great start.
Iíve enjoyed some excellent hunts in Kaufman County, encountering good numbers of teal, gadwall and wood ducks. Iíve seen some early arriving mallards on a couple of hunts. On calm days, when there is no wave action in your decoy spread, consider using one of the wobble decoys that create ripples on the surface. The old school method of creating ripples in and around a decoy spread is employing a pull string. With this method, six or eight decoys are connected underwater with a light string which runs back to the duck blind. When the string is pulled, the decoys dart about on the surface, creating ripples.
Ducks usually wonít come in to a spread of decoys setting motionless on the surface. Live ducks are always paddling around and creating ripples.
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