"How Did You Know?" Gift Ideas
Updated: Nov 10
The older I get, the more I appreciate the opportunities to get together with family to tell stories and reminisce. Holidays and birthdays are perfect examples of these times. However, I would be lying if I didn’t get a little excited when I open a gift that can be used in the field or on the range.
That is the catch. For the outdoorsman, a “good” gift is one that will get used. This Blog idea was inspired by the wife of a friend. It started with a very simple question; “My husband likes to hunt, but I have no idea what to get him. Any ideas?” Since I knew her husband personally, I asked her price range then recommended a specific scope for his .243. The present turned out to be a huge success.
Not knowing the sportsman in your family, the answer is not so simple. The best I can do is give ideas on items that I have used and would buy again. This might be the gift where they look at you and say; “How did you know?”
Portable cell phone charger ($20-$45)
Long sits in the blind lead to web searches, sending text messages and playing games. All of this, plus the cold weather, drains the battery on the cell phone. Having a portable charger ensures the phone has enough juice to take the trophy photo.
Before you Order: Make sure the charger matches up with the type of phone.
Handwarmer Muff ($30-$70)
This would be the first item I would purchase if I ever have to start over. I own several in different camouflage patterns. My favorites are the ones that have a zippered pouch in the front. The pouch is very handy for shells, phone, license, etc.
Bore Guide ($15-$60)
I am amazed at the number of people who will spend thousands of dollars on rifles, yet will not spend $50 to protect the barrel. Bore guides help protect the trigger, rifling, and crown when cleaning. If they won’t buy one, buy it for them.
I own several different types. For an all purpose model look at Tipton or Bore Tec. If you want a much higher quality bore guide contact Dave Halblom. http://www.flyingfishfundamentals.com/ Dave is a great guy to work with and will custom make exactly what you need.
Before you Order: Know the make and caliber of the rifle it will be used in. If this is a surprise gift, this information will be inscribed on the barrel close to the action.
Example: Remington model 700 .270
Gun Cradle/Vice ($35-$125)
This is an example of a gift the average hunter probably will not buy for themselves, yet is very useful. Which makes it the perfect gift! I own and use two different kinds. For the majority of my “at home” cleaning I use Tipton’s Best Gun Vice ($110). At tournaments or on hunting trips, I use Sinclair’s Gun Cradle ($45)
Socks? Who the heck wants socks for a gift? Not many...until it is ten degrees and they will be in the stand all day. Then, the right socks are worth their weight in gold. Advice, don’t go cheap on these. We already have enough cheap socks. That is what we buy for ourselves.
For warm weather hunting, purchase a moisture wicking liner. I like the ones from Fox River, but I am sure there are plenty of good ones out there. For cold weather, get the moisture wicking wool socks made for arctic weather. For the really cold hunts, I like the moisture wicking liner under the knee high, Merino wool socks.
Gloves are in the same category as socks. They are super important, yet most people don’t buy the good ones, then complain when they get cold.
I (almost) exclusively use fingerless flip top mittens. If you are not familiar with these, they look like a glove with the fingertips cut off but have a mitten end that can be flipped on and off over the fingertips. They are incredibly warm yet give the shooter the option of having their trigger finger exposed when the time comes to shoot.
On super cold hunts, I will wear a pair of Terramar Thermal Silk gloves underneath these fingerless mittens with a hot pack in the mitten part.
Speaking of hunting, a fool-proof gift is next year’s general hunting license. Many states require the individual to have a small game permit, then the hunter adds different stamps and licenses to be legal. This one is a for sure score in brownie points.
Scopes ($120- $2,000)
Another “I can’t believe moment” is when someone buys an accurate rifle then just throws the cheapest scope on it and expects the rifle to drive tacks. The rifle is only as good as the scope and the scope is only as good as the rifle.
There are a plethora of good scopes out there. Unfortunately, there are a plethora of bad ones too. Personally, I like Sightron Scopes. Good glass, lifetime warranty, great customer service, all at a reasonable price.
If you want specifics, for the average hunter, The SI Hunter 4-12x40 would be tough to beat. However, Sightron (and other companies) make a huge array of scopes to fit any shooter’s needs. If you do not know which model they would like, maybe think about a gift certificate. More on those in a little bit.
Scope Covers ($15 - $40)
Once you have a scope, you need to protect it. I am a big fan of Scope Shield Scope Covers. Excellent protection at an affordable price. Lots of different styles and colors. Scope Shield even makes a cover that protects the action too. Custom orders are available.
Before you Order: Measure the length of the scope. Round up to the nearest inch.
Ammunition ($20 - ?)
Not all ammo will shoot the same in every rifle. Therefore, unless you know exactly what they want, stay away from ammo. However, if you do know exactly what they shoot AND you can find it, then this could be the best gift of the year.
Outdoorsmen love gift certificates. Especially shooters. The reason is straightforward; many marksmen have specific items that work for them. If it is not that exact item, they may not use it. If you are not 100% sure they will use the gift, buy a certificate. Here are some places that you might consider.
Brownells = pretty much everything reloading/shooting related https://www.brownells.com/
Midway USA = pretty much everything shooting related https://www.midwayusa.com/
Graf & Sons = general shooting/reloading/cleaning equipment https://www.grafs.com/
Natchez = general shooting/reloading/cleaning equipment https://www.natchezss.com/
Optics Planet = Scopes, Binoculars, and Rangefinders. https://www.opticsplanet.com/
Amazon = a whole lot of stuff https://www.amazon.com/
Who doesn’t like stocking stuffers? The little gifts that show you care.
Cleaning Jags and Brushes
Before you Order: Make sure you order the same caliber as the rifle.
These little dudes can make a miserable hunt tolerable.
I don’t know why flashlights are so easily lost, but they are. When we can store several in different locations we will always be able to “find the light.”
Christmas? Birthday? Just because? Regardless, these ideas may make your shopping a little easier. Until next time, enjoy the experience.