Christmas shopping for the outdoors person
By Luke Clayton
Nov 21, 2023
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For the past 38 years, sometime around the end of November, I’ve listed some gift ideas for the sportsperson on your list. Some items, such as the Smokin Tex electric smoker ( is at the top of the list every year because the majority of my friends are outdoors people and they all like cooking the fruits of their hunts/fishing trips and I consider a good smoker as essential gear. But there are other items that you might not find on the shelves of box stores that are equally useful.

This week, I’ll give some ideas that might help make your shopping easier. Many you will need to order so that’s the reason I write this column several weeks before the big day.

It's time to think ahead and shop for the outdoor person on your list. Do they need a new cast iron skillet or possibly an electric smoker? How about a kit for starting a campfire anywhere? Luke's column this week might help you decide. (photo by Luke Clayton)

One big mistake I have seen in the past is folks buying a gun or bow or fishing rod for that matter, that they think their sportsperson will like. If your hunter wants a ‘gun’, just any gun won’t work. He or she has a particular make, model and rifle caliber or gauge shotgun in mind. The same holds true for the bow hunter. A bow needs to be set up by a professional, one doesn’t simply pull one off the shelf and begin shooting. If you have a gun or bow in mind as a gift, I’d advise you to give a gift certificate to a particular store and let your sportsman go in and choose the exact model that he has in mind. Make sure and spend a bit of time at the bow/gun shop talking with a knowledgeable person that can help you with costs, etc. Ammo for the shooter or arrows for the bow hunter is a bit easier to choose. Do a bit of snooping into your outdoor person’s gear and simply purchase the ammo he shoots or the make and length of arrows in his quiver. You might just sneak one of the arrows out and take it to an archery shop and give him a dozen of the same style cut to the proper length.

BLACKBEARD FIRE STARTERS Every hunter, fisherman or camper needs to be able to start a fire quickly in any weather. In some situations, one’s life depends on starting a fire. This company offers several products that make fire starting easy in any situation.

BROW TINE INNOVATIONS offers several unique items for the hunter that include a quick attach bow hanger that straps to a limb or trunk of a tree and a self contained system for raising and lowering items up to a tree stand. Check the website out for a look at several useful items that were invented out of necessity by a mechanical engineer/hunter.

THERMAL SCOPES FOR NIGHT HUNTING Night hunting for hogs has become extremely popular and thermal scopes are the ultimate tool for night hunting. AGM Global Vision offers and entry level thermal scope for around one thousand dollars that is more than adequate for shooting hogs out to a bit over 1,000 yards. The company also offers higher resolutions scopes for shooting longer distances. Check out the website and see the various models and videos showing their application.

GOOD READING Most outdoors folks love reading a good book. My favorites include anything written by Robert Ruark, especially “Use Enough Gun” and “The Old Man and the Boy.” Corey Ford is another favorite, if you’ve never read “The Corey Ford Sporting Treasury” I highly recommend it. In this book is the short story “The Road to Tinkhamtown” which Is my all time favorite piece of outdoor literature. You can Google the title and read the story for free. I’m betting you will enjoy it as much as I.

On a more current note, Jeffrey Miller’s new book “Forever Towards the Sunrise” makes for some great reading as does Larry Weishuh’s “Deer Addictions” which is a great read detailing hunting a number of deer species in a great number of places. Larry Weishuhn aka “Mr. Whitetail” presents some great insights into deer hunting and in typical Larry Weishuhn writing style, you will feel as though you were right there with him on every hunt. Another book that I am very proud to have co-written with Weishuhn is “Campfire Talk” which has been out only a month or so. Larry and I write about a  smorgasbord of outdoor topics from catching big catfish and trophy stripers in Texas to Larry’s hunts across the globe. All books mentioned can be purchased through Amazon with a title search.

GUIDED TRIP Most sportsmen enjoy an occasional guided fishing or hunting trip and most guides/outfitters offer gift certificates. You might have a good idea of a trip your sportsman or woman might enjoy but if not, a bit of ‘detective’ work might give you a clue. A question such as, Have you ever fished at Lake Texoma for stripers? Or, I read where Lake Tawakoni produces some huge blue catfish during the winter months will give you a clue. As most of you know, I am pretty well connected in the
outdoor world, feel free to drop me an email if I can help you.

BIG BORE AIR RIFLE Most package stores do not carry big bore air rifles, designed for hunting game such as deer and hogs. Pyramyd Air is a one stop shop for anything airgun related and they offer a wide variety of air rifles, portable compressors, tanks, etc. Through the years, I’ve had many people that I hunt with inquire as to where I get my airguns and accessories and I point them to Pyramyd Air.

SPICES AND CURES FOR GAME/FISH Many hunters butcher their own game animals such as deer and wild hogs. Butcher Packer Supply offers everything for the home butcher. Ready to use sausage seasoning kits are available as well as kits with everything needed to transform a wild hog ham into a cured, smoked delicacy. Ever tried brining and smoking fish? They have what you need!

A BIG THANK YOU to the folks at the Bow Barn Archery shop on Interstate 30 in Greenville. Larry Weishuhn and I were present for their annual Customer Appreciation day and the barbeque and fellowship was top notch. I’m already looking forward to next year. Next on the outdoor agenda is The First Annual Lake Fork Campfire Expo scheduled for Feb 10 at Fisherman’s One Stop on Hwy 115. Presented by Lake Fork Area News and Fisherman’s One Stop. For booth information, call Donna Wooldridge 469-552-1824.