Lynn Burkhead — Consider these outdoors Christmas gift ideas

Herald Democrat

As Dec. 25th approaches on the calendar, the clock is ticking and we’re getting down to the final couple of shopping weekends for Christmas gifts.

And with supply chain issues persisting in many sectors of American life — including the outdoors industry — shopping during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic era remains a bit of a mystery and a challenge.

But there is still hope for old St. Nick as he finishes up his annual holiday list, especially if there’s a Texomaland outdoors type who likes to hunt, fish, and get outdoors.

With that in mind, here are a few gift ideas for the remainder of the 2021 shopping season. There will be more ideas in the weeks to come, but for now, here’s a good start:

Hunting Ammo — If you’re a Christmas shopper, and not a shooting enthusiast or hunter who likes to chase bucks and ducks, then you might not be aware of this simple fact that has made life difficult for many outdoors enthusiasts throughout 2021.

What’s that fact, you ask? Simple — there’s an ammunition shortage!

Meaning that if you can find a box of rifle ammunition for the big game hunter or deer hunter on your list, a box or two of non-toxic shot for the waterfowler on your list, or some upland bird hunting loads for the quail and/or pheasant hunter on your list, you’ll be an instant rock start kind of hero around the tree on  the morning of Dec. 25th!

One word of warning, however, as you peruse the aisles of scarce ammo supplies at Academy, Walmart, Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Scheel’s and any other store where you might find a few meager rounds on the shelves. And that’s to make sure that you get the right rifle caliber or the right shotgun gauge size, since ammo — scarce supplies, or not — isn’t interchangeable from one rifle, shotgun, or shooting discipline to another.

Outdoor Reading Material — If I can’t be outside hunting and/or fishing, I’m often found curled up in the recliner reading about the outdoors.

Lately, I’ve been enjoying the new book of outdoor essays by T. Edward Nickens entitled The Last Wild Road. In my humble opinion, Eddie Nickens is one of the country’s best outdoor writers and his monthly columns and stories in Ducks Unlimited, Garden and Gun, and Field & Stream are can’t miss material. So is what you’ll find in this hardback book by Nickens, available on Amazon or at the local Books-a-Million store.

For the duck hunter on your list, try Wildfowl (www.wildfowlmag.com), Ducks Unlimited (www.ducks.org), and Delta Waterfowl (www.deltawaterfowl.org). For the upland bird hunting enthusiast, try Gun Dog (www.gundogmag.com), Quail Forever (www.quailforever.org), Pheasants Forever (www.pheasantsforever.org), Covey Rise (www.coveyrisemagazine.com), or the all-encompassing Gray’s Sporting Journal (www.grayssportingjournal.com).

What about the deer hunter, big game hunter, and/or bowhunter on your list? For all of the above, it’s tough to beat North American Whitetail (www.northamericanwhitetail.com), Petersen’s Hunting (www.petersenshunting.com), Bowhunter (www.bowhunter.com) and Petersen’s Bowhunting (www.bowhuntingmag.com) to name a few. Here in the Lone Star State, the magazine put out by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (www.tpwd.texas.gov) is also a good choice.

Got an angler on your list? Gray’s Sporting Journal, the TPWD magazine, and Bassmaster (www.bassmaster.com) are all good options. If they enjoy fly fishing, try Fly Fisherman (www.flyfisherman.com). If they love all forms of fishing, In-Fisherman (www.infisherman.com) or Game and Fish Magazine (www.gameandfishmag.com) are also good choices to consider.

Sitka Gear Clothing — I’ve said this before in this space, but I remain convinced that the Sitka Gear hunting duds in my closet are some of the best I’ve ever owned. They’re expensive, but are well made and feature high quality materials and components, making them warm, dry, quiet, durable, and hunter friendly in the field

There are a number of choices that you can’t go wrong with when it comes to the Bozeman, Mont. based company’s waterfowl, big game, and whitetail hunting clothing systems, but I’m extremely partial to the Fanatic series in Sitka Gear’s Whitetail lineup. I’m a hard hunter to keep warm, thanks to age and medication, but the Fanatic lineup in Gore’s Optifade Elevated II camo pattern does just that.

But the company also has clothing for milder weather too, like the Texas-friendly Subalpine and Open Country camo patterns, one I wore last week on an out-of-state hunt with daily temps ranging from the upper 40s to the lower 70s. Add in the Waterfowl Marsh and Timber patterns available for duck and goose hunters, and there’s certainly something for the Lone Star State hunter on your list.

In my opinion, like most high quality gear that is built to last, it’s worth it over the long haul even if the initial price tag is higher than you might find for other hunting clothes. If that sounds interesting to you and if you’d like to see the latest from the Sitka Gear lineup, either visit www.sitkagear.com or stop by Orvie Cantrell, Jr.’s Big O’s Archery Shop in Sherman (you can also call Orvie at 903-870-2114).

Knives of Alaska Boning Knife — As most hunters — and smokers of briskets, ribs, and poultry — know, a good knife is a necessary part of field dressing, butchering, and cooking chores. That’s true of late season venison on the back 40 of your deer lease to carving the holiday turkey for the family dinner table to dressing a limit of December pheasants in the Texas Panhandle or even slicing up a brisket fresh off the backyard smoker.

If such a cooking and meat cutting tool sounds like a great gift idea for someone on your list, then don’t forget a product from the local Knives of Alaska company, the Denison area knife maker located near North Texas Regional Airport that is owned and operated by Charles Allen.

Allen’s company announced last year that it was unveiling its new KOA Professional Boning Knife, the perfect blade to slice up steaks from a venison hindquarter, to take the backstraps out of a freshly downed wild boar, or to trim the fat away from a brisket before its hours long bath in smoke and slow heat.

Built with D2 Tool Steel, the KOA boning knife has a full tang, black Suregrip handle, a blade length of 5.50 inches, an overall length of 9.75 inches, a non-glare finish, a weight of 3.8 ounces, and a made in the USA, lifetime guarantee.

Coming in both flexible and semi-flexible options, this boning knife will handle a lot of meat-making chores from wild game to fish to poultry to a big brisket, at any easy to handle cost of $49.99. To find out more about the new KOA Boning Knife, visit KOA at 3100 Airport Drive in Denison, call 903-786-7366, or go online at www.knivesofalaska.com.

Local Guided Trip — This might be the simplest shopping suggestion of all if you’re looking for a great gift item to slip under the tree or into a stocking for the hunter or fisherman on your list.

If so, why not consider a guided trip for stripers, largemouths, ducks, deer, turkeys or some other species like redfish along the Texas Gulf Coast? There are plenty of local options here, not to mention possibilities a short drive away, all of which can produce smiles and photographs that will last for a lifetime.

Well, supply chain issues or not, that’s a start for this year’s outdoors related gift ideas as Christmas Day approaches and the jolly old elf starts loading up the sleigh at the North Pole.

Look for some bigger gift ideas — can anyone say a new bow or a new shotgun? — as well as some stocking stuffer ideas over the next couple of weeks as the big December holiday approaches.

In the meantime, good luck, safe shopping, and Merry Christmas!