Outside Chance

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By Jack Payne

Gifts for the Outdoors Person

This article is a short piece on interesting gifts that most outdoors folks could use that are on the inexpensive side. Insulated long johns have come a long way. Smart Wool carries a wool product that whisks away body perspiration and has a soft to the skin feel. They stretch and give without pinching or feeling tight. Various weight styles to match your outdoor adventure and none of the scratchy feeling of wool in the past. Under Armour is another trusted name.

Hunting socks from Smart Wool are designed for the various levels of activity. From the work boot sock, to an extremely warm ice-fishing model and a pair for the avid hiker. Each whisks away body perspiration and keeps the feet dry. They work even when wet, which I can say, happened three times during this hunting season. Worked the daylights out of my medium weight and could use a heavy weight pair for ice fishing.

Anyone who uses jigs could use a jig eye buster. This handy tool removes the paint that often is found covering the eye of a jig or a tear drop. Cost 3-5 bucks.

Lead head jigs and tear drops are the basis of my fishing. Both catch fish year around. Consider purchasing some lead head jigs in the 1/8 to 1/4 ounce size. I like the painted jigs and they are very cheap, 25 cents to a dollar each. Second, consider purchasing tear drop or ice jigs. Stopper Lures carries a wide line of them as does many other manufactures. Glow in the dark, glitter and the black colors all work great. Cost, a buck or two a piece.

A Mr. Heater Buddy heater is very nice. We use when fishing during the cold weather. Warms up your hands and dries out your gloves when fishing out in the elements. Fishing or hunting from a shanty or a tent blind, they throw out a ton of heat.

A compass is a must. Two are better if you fish. Keep one in the boat and one with your hiking or hunting cloths. A compass works when batteries fail.

A hand held GPS makes a great gift. A fun family event is GEO cache. Search for hidden objects. Go to the GEO Cache website and you will find tens of thousands of hidden spots across the state. It’s a lot of fun. Second, scouting deer and turkey in the winter is a prime way for better success next season. Mark the trails, beds and roosting spots. Mark your open water fishing hotspots and come back to them once it freezes over.

Rain gear is a must for all adventures. There are many options available. It depends on your activity level, how small you want it to fold up, if you will be out is a driving rain and wind or just for emergency protection. So ask yourself what you will be doing before you purchase.

Similar to a compass is the need for a good flashlight. I love the LED lights. Get a head mount light to be hands free when fishing or climbing up and down a tree. Keep a second light in your back pack or in the glove box in case you are stranded in the dark.

We use a small Coleman LP gas stove most of the year. We carry it on the boat for the long days on the water. Nothing beats a brat when fishing or when tail gating. Don’t forget the small mini LP tanks.
For the better part of 30 years an electric fillet knife has filleted all of my fish. To me, nothing is faster that an electric knife. Easy to learn and virtually no waste. We use ours on panfish, walleye and anything else that swims and hits the frying pan.

A wool sweater and a wool shirt I love. They are used in all of my outdoor adventures from hiking, walking the dogs, hunting and fishing. Wool is warm and stays warm even when wet.

If you are looking for a last minute idea for the outdoors person then this list just might help. Turkey hunters, early season bow hunters and campers will like Thermal Cell bug chaser. This hand held device is battery-operated and will keep gnats and mosquitoes ten feet away. It really works and is virtually odorless. I will have one before next spring.

One item that I do have is a hand warming muff. While hunting in cold temperatures even down to zero my bare hands never got cold. It straps around your waist and when you slide your hands in they stay nice and toasty warm.

I never have enough of the Moon Glitter and Skandia teardrops nor do enough of the Whip r snap plastic baits from Stopper Lures. Add in their Hot Leg foam spiders and I am a happy angler.

Last, a nice gift would be to rekindle old friendships from the past. In some cases this is simply a phone call. Life is short and a good friend to enjoy the outdoors with is worth their weight in gold. Starting a new friendship is simply asking someone to join you for an afternoon doing just about anything outdoors. This past year two new friends joined me in a boat and two others are going on a 5 day fishing trip; should be a lot of fun.