By Babe Winkelman
The Winds of Thor have begun to blow cold in the North Country of Minnesota where I make my home, and the holiday season, with all its hoopla, is in full swing. It’s hard to believe that 2005 is almost over.
I know it is a tired cliché to suggest that time flies when you're having fun, but that’s exactly what I’m having fun. And lots of it. The hunting season is in full swing. Late fall fishing is still a viable possibility. And ice fishing, well, that’s only one nasty Alberta Clipper from reality.
For hardcore hunters and anglers, there are so many outdoor activities to participate in this time of year that finding the time to hunt for holiday gifts can be exasperatingly difficult.
A magazine article on the topic suggests that time-strapped folks like you and me should consider purchasing more gifts over the Internet. It’s easy, fast and safer than ever. Good idea. The article also makes this bold pronouncement: If you don’t want to get a clunker of a gift, make a wish list and email it to your friends and family members. The conventional wisdom here is that if no one in your circle knows what you want for a gift, they’ll probably stoop to purchasing yet another ugly turtleneck.
Sound advice, indeed.
In the spirit of the holiday season, I’ve assembled a holiday gift list that may help you in your search for the perfect outdoors gift for the hunter or angler in your life. Here’s hoping it helps. Happy holidays.
#Optics: Want a better look at the world? Want a fool-proof way to judge distance on your next big game hunt? Want to spy the lonesome chickadee at your bird feeder? Nikon’s binoculars, riflescopes and rangefinders are great ways to bring nature’s critters into focus Great gifts all. For more information: www.nikonsportoptics.com
#Shooting sticks: Simply put, shooting sticks will increase your accuracy with a rifle and produce more clean kills. Period. End of story.
And Stoney Point offers the best shooting products in the business. Period. End of Story.
There are multiple models of shooting sticks from which to choose, including the portable and versatile Steady Stix II and Safari Stix.
Stoney Point also sells walking and hiking staffs, as well as reloading and gun-cleaning products. For more information: www.stoneypoint.com.
#Game calls: Hunters Specialties, the king of outdoor accessories, offers an entire ensemble of game calls. Turkeys, big game, waterfowl, predator, you name it. H.S. Strut, a name familiar to hardcore turkey hunters, was created in 1985. In honor of its 20th anniversary, Hunter Specialties is offering a limited edition commemorative box call, which is made sycamore and walnut. Very nice. For more information: www.hunterspec.com.
#Shotgun: Okay, this is big-ticket gift item, but why not spoil a loved one? And you can’t go wrong with a Browning shotgun, of which there are several models. If you’re purchasing a scattergun for your son or daughter, size matters. Browning manufacturers two shotgun models for smaller-framed shooters - the Gold Micro and the BPS Micro. For more information: www.browning.com.
#Bow: If your significant other wants to upgrade his or her compound bow, look no further than Mathews. Mathews’ Solocam technology has revolutionized the compound bow. In my judgment, Mathrews’ Switchback model is second to none and would make an excellent gift. A silky smooth bow, indeed. For more information: www.mathewsinc.com.
#Archery target: The Block by Field Logic is the industry standard. It is a must-have for archery hunters. The patented "friction foam" literally grabs the arrow, stopping it with virtually no damage to the target, yet still allowing the arrow to be removed easily with one hand. The foam is self-healing and stops any arrow -- even broadheads. For more information: www.fieldlogic.com.
#Tackle box: Plano makes the best soft- and hard-sided tackle boxes on the market today. They are durable, waterproof versatile and reasonably priced. In other words, the perfect holiday gift. Also, don’t forget Plano’s archery and gun cases. For more information: www.planomolding.com.
#Lures: You can’t buy a tackle box without an assortment of lures. The Techni-Glo Lindy Rig by Lindy Legendary Fishing Tackle is a good start. A mainstay for hardcore anglers, the Lindy Rig is one of fishing’s most effective live bait rigs. It also has been enhanced with Techni-Glo color - color that research shows provokes more strikes in low-light conditions and in dirty water. Techni-Glo Fuzz-E-Grubs and Techni-Glo Max Gap Jigs also work extremely well, too. Try them as stocking stuffers. For more information: www.lindylittlejoe.com.
The Banjo Minnow: The Banjo Minnow looks nearly identical to an actual bait fish and can be manipulated to mimic the action of a wounded minnow. The illusion is so realistic that it triggers fish to strike aggressively. When other lures aren’t cutting it, the Banjo Minnow often does. For more information: www.banjominnow.tv.
#Cooking: Want to improve your wild game and fish cooking? I’ve developed a line of Babe Winkelman Brand marinades, seasonings and game and fish breading mixes that will turn any meat into a memorable meal. For more information: www.winkelman.com.
Babe Winkelman is a nationally-known outdoorsman who has taught people to fish and hunt for nearly 30 years. Watch his award-winning Good Fishing and Outdoor Secrets television shows on Versus Network, Fox Sports, Wild TV and many local networks. Visit www.winkelman.com for air times where you live.