Lynn Burkhead — Outdoors gifts of all kinds as St. Nick’s ride looms
Don’t look now, but we’re getting down to crunch time in the Christmas shopping season. And with only a week to go, the chance to order something online is probably slipping by the wayside.
So, with a nod to local stores like Big O’s Archery Shop in Sherman, the Sherman Academy Sports + Outdoors store in Sherman, area Walmart locations, and the Metroplex trio of Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, and Scheel’s among others, here’s some final week encouragement if your gift getting list isn’t fully checked off just yet.
For starters, you can always opt to go the gift card route, especially if a big ticket item like a new bow, a new waterfowling or upland bird hunting shotgun, or a new deer hunting rifle falls within your budgetary needs. Ditto for a gun safe; a new scope or pair of binoculars from makers like Maven, Vortex, Leupold, and Bushnell. Or maybe you’ll be wanting to find a new Block archery target, a Morrell Yellow Jacket bag target, or a big 3-D Glen Del buck archery target.
But if you’re trying to find something smaller — maybe even a stocking stuffer idea — then read on, St. Nick, and his gift buying associates.
If a knife that works in the kitchen or out in the field is on your list, there’s no shortage of such knives available this December. One I’ve been experimenting with lately is the 15500 Meatcrafter by Benchmade (https://www.benchmade.com/15500-meatcrafter.html). Perfect for slicing up a brisket or boning out a whitetail hindquarter, this knife uses SelectEdge technology, a 28 inclusive edge angle on CPM-154 stainless steel, and an engineered blade flex to work in the field and in the kitchen.
Another great cutlery option is a hunting knife by Charles Allen’s Denison-based Knives of Alaska company. You can’t go wrong with the Strike Force folder, the Bird/Trout folder, the Steelheader (especially handy in cleaning a limit of Texoma stripers), the Cub Bear skinning knife, the Legacy fixed blade, or the Alaskan Brown Bear Cleaver, which are all excellent choices.
There’s also KOA’s year-old Professional Boning Knife option (https://www.knivesofalaska.com/Store/professional-boning-knife/professional-boning-knife---flexible), a great hunting and kitchen blade that I’m hoping to find under the tree next week. St. Nick, are you taking notes?
Available in flexible or semi-flexible models, the KOA Professional Boning Knife comes with D2 blade steel, a 18-20-degree bevel, and a Rockwell Hardness of 59-61. With a Sure-Grip handle, this is perfect for getting a rack of ribs ready for the smoker or trimming the silver skin away from a prime cut of venison backstrap or a tenderloin!
You can find KOA knives—or those by KOA’s sister company, DiamondBlade — at several outdoor retailers around North Texas, at the local KOA office at 3100 Airport Drive in Denison, or by calling 903-786-7366.
If you’ve got a Grayson County bowhunter on your list, a new Mathews V3X bow, or the new compound rigs coming out from Hoyt and/or BowTech are now arriving at Big O’s Archery Shop in Sherman. See Orvie, Jr., and get a new bow hot off the delivery truck, or maybe even a gift certificate if you’re not entirely sure which bow your archer wants under the tree this year.
Also keep in mind that archers need arrows, broadheads, targets, treestands, flashlights, and bow accessories, and Big O’s has plenty, as do several other area outdoor retailers.
And stuffing a YETI Rambler thermos bottle in a backpack or a YETI hard side cooler in the back of the truck will never hurt a bowhunter’s feelings. If that sounds good, you can find YETI products at most local retailers.
What about stocking stuffers? Well, since bowhunters have to get agonizingly close to whitetails, a bottle of Tink’s 69 doe-in-estrous scent or a bottle of Dead Down Wind Field Spray is always welcome in a hunting pack. So is the new Dead Down Wind Dead Zone 2 Go Ozone Car Plug-In, which fits nicely in a stocking.
How about some new hunting clothes? If that’s a consideration, you can find all kinds of Mossy Oak and Realtree camouflage offerings at local Walmart stores, Academy locations, and other outdoors retailers down in the Metroplex.
You can also find lots of Sitka Gear at Big O’s Archery Shop in Sherman (1520 N. Texoma Parkway; 903-870-2114). Good choices for deer hunting across the southern Great Plains include several clothing options in the company’s Open Country pattern. The Fanatic hoody, the Apex pant, and a Kelvin Aerolite Vest in Open Country will fit the bill for most cool morning hunts in Texas and Oklahoma. They’ll also help a hunter blend into any Lone Star State landscape where a mixture of hardwoods, mesquite trees, upland grass, and/or cactus flats are going to be found.
While Sitka Gear is a bit pricier than some other camo clothing options, it’s warm, dry, comfortable, quiet, and extremely well built for numerous seasons of rugged use. In short, if St. Nick is willing to deliver such hunting duds — and duck hunters have their own lineup of Sitka Gear clothing available in Marsh and/or Timber pattern options too — it will bring a smile to the face of the hunter on your list for several years to come.
Speaking of duck hunters, decoys are always a can’t miss gift idea because we never have enough of the plastic fakes stowed away in the garage or attic. I’ve typically purchased Avery’s Greenhead Gear decoys over the years, but my two 20-something year old sons swear by the great looking blocks produced by Avian-X. Decoys by Tanglefree and Higdon also work well, and most can be found at North Texas retailers.
Duck calls are always a great thing to slip into a Christmas stocking, and one that is well received, made in Texas, and sounds great is the Sure-Shot Game Calls Yentzen One 2 double-reed. Another good double-reed is the Zink’s Green Top Rocker. And you can’t go wrong with a Rich-n-Tone call, either the Original, the Short Barrel, the Daisy Cutter, or the Mondo.
By the way, dear old Santa, is this the year I finally get a cocobolo RNT Mondo in my Christmas stocking? I sure hope so because I’ve tried to be extra good in 2021. Just don’t ask my wife!
Bass fishing’s prime time isn’t that far off, so you can never go wrong with a baitcasting reel from Shimano, Lew’s, Quantum, or Daiwa. A graphite rod — do note that there are all kinds of options here, so check with your angler to get an idea of what they need and want — from Lew’s, Duckett Fishing Rods, St. Croix, or Temple Fork Outfitters are all good options.
What about lures? Maybe a Strike King KVD 1.5 or 2.5 squarebill crankbait, a Z-Man Chatterbait, a Spro Dean Rojas Bronzeye Frog, a Yum Yumbrella Flash Mob Jr. Alabama rig, or a package of soft plastic Senko’s will all work well on Dec. 25. And fishing line — either spools of monofilament, fluorocarbon, or braid — will always look great in a stocking too!
If you’ve got a fly fisherman on your list, an Orvis Clearwater fly reel is a good choice, available at any of the Orvis store locations in Big D. You can’t go wrong with a Temple Fork Outfitters fly rod, maybe a TFO Lefty Kreh Legacy Series fly rod or an Axiom-II in either in 8 or 9 weight selections. And for line nippers, pliers, tippet, leaders, fly line, and good regional fly selections, see Tailwaters Fly Shop in downtown Dallas.
Finally, what about the outdoors cooking enthusiast on your shopping list? For a big ticket item, a Traeger Pro 780 Wi-Fi Pellet Grill and Smoker at Home Depot is a great choice. A Lodge cast iron Dutch Oven at Walmart will also work for smaller budgets, as will a bag of Traeger Premium Hardwood Pellets in Hickory, Pecan, or Mesquite. And for the stocking stuffer size gift, how about a bottle of Matt Pittman’s Meat Church Holy Gospel blend of seasoning, available at Academy?
While I don’t know if anyone other than my wife actually reads this — and maybe, on a rare occasion, jolly old St. Nicholas too — hopefully you can find something gift giving inspiration here for someone you love who loves the Creator’s great outdoors.
Good luck with your final week shopping, stay safe, and Merry Christmas!