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NAW 2012 Holiday Gift Guide

NAW 2012 Holiday Gift Guide

No matter the occasion, everyone appreciates a thoughtful gift. But when the recipient eats, breathes and sleeps whitetails, coming up with the right gift can be an intimidating process.

First off, as a group, deer hunters are pretty finicky about their gear. It's not always easy to know which of 1,000 items in a store of catalog is exactly the right one. On the market are a vast number of whitetail-related products, and without specific guidance, it can be hard to know which ones are most appropriate. No wonder a Cabela's gift card is such a popular item these days. (And of course, that's still a fine alternative, particularly if you're just not sure which way to go in selecting a hunting item.)

The second reason some are reluctant to give whitetail gifts is timing. Many deer hunters have wrapped up their annual time in the field before gift time even arrives. So rather than purchase something that might not even be used for the better part of the following year, some gift givers simply go in another direction.

But that second argument holds less water every year. Today's whitetail enthusiast is expanding his "season" far beyond the traditional hunting period. Increasingly, he's spending time in the field shed hunting, scouting or working on habitat improvement. With this year-round increase in time outdoors comes an increase in the number of appropriate gifts in a range of categories. In fact, some whitetail gifts can start getting use use before the holiday decorations even have been put away.

If you're searching for just the right whitetail item for someone on your holiday gift list, check out the following suggestions. Almost everyone who chases deer would be happy to find one of these beneath the tree:

Bushnell BackTrack

The Bushnell BackTrack Point-5 isn't a hunting-only GPS, but it hits the 'happy medium ' of features in a small, affordable package. There's a digital compass that also shows latitude and longitude coordinates, and there are displays of current time, temperature, and altitude. The unit can mark and store up to five locations, so it's handy for finding your stand in the dark and for making it back to your vehicle after a day in the woods.

Price: $125.95

Cabela's Diamantina Jacket

Sometimes what a deer hunter really needs for comfort and function is a light jacket — and Cabela's new Diamantina from Cabela's is a first-rate example. It's made of Merino wool, which has the highest weight-to-warmth ratio of any wool. This stylish jacket's 'technical ' cut and feel make it perfect for duty alone or as a layering garment. The subdued Outfitter camo pattern also blends in well with many habitats across the continent.

Price: $199-224

Flex Fire Hose Pants

Not all good hunting clothes feature camouflage. The serious whitetailer needs durable, rugged garments for a host of assorted activities around the calendar, including working food plots, clearing brush and repairing fences. And industrial-strength Flex Fire Hose Pants from Duluth Trading Co. can literally help you take those chores in stride. They even feature three percent Spandex for a little extra stretch when bending down to grab that big shed antler.

Price: $64.50

The Firefly

For a deer hunter, keeping tabs on the wind takes more than using a smartphone to check the readings at the nearest weather station. What matters is what's happening on this stand now, not 20 miles away or an hour ago. For that reason, the pocket-sized, battery-powered Firefly is a great addition to any whitetailer's pack. It detects and then clearly displays the direction of any wind or thermal, even one too light for a hunter to feel on the skin.

Price: $59.95

Gibraltar Frontier Socks

You don't fully appreciate the right socks until you go to the deer woods wearing the wrong ones. Fox River's Gibraltar Frontier socks are rated for temperatures of 20 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, making them a great choice for the kind of weather that keeps other hunters at the house. Made in the U.S., they're extra heavy and have a Spandex compression arch for good support and long life.

Price: $19.99

The Claw

Trudging through thick woods is hard enough without having to battle a gun strap that keeps trying to work its way off your shoulder. Now there's a simple way around that problem: 'The Claw ' from Quake Industries. This soft-touch molded nylon sling features a polymer shoulder pad just tacky and stretchy enough to keep the gun where it belongs. The patented, non-metallic Hush Stalker II sling swivels won't squeak, rust, rattle or scratch your stock and are stronger than the conventional variety.

Price: $24.95

164 Elk GT Boots

The name might suggest this model is strictly for western mountain hunting, but that's hardly the case. This rugged but featherweight boot from Zamberlan is an outstanding choice for mild-weather whitetail pursuits, especially for the avid hunter who wants to push well beyond where others tread. The Vibram soles get plenty of bite, and the GoreTex membrane repels moisture with ease. These boots are tough and well made.

Price: $230


With the advent of specialized bowhunting accessories has come a need for ways to get all that stuff to and from the tree stand. Game Plan Gear's BowBat XL not only helps protect the bow and arrows from damage during transport, there are enough compartments for other items that a hunter can leave his or her pack at home. Once in the stand, the Bowbat XL converts into a padded backrest, providing some cushioning and minimizing the sounds of clothing against rough bark.

Price: $124.95

The Booger

Its name is funny, but the patented Booger from Walnut Grove Hunting Products can literally be a lifesaver for a tree stand hunter. Simply lower this spring-loaded tool on a rope to retrieve any small item you dropped or forgot to bring up the tree with you. It's really convenient (plus safer and less disturbing to the woods) to be able to haul that item up to you, rather than climb down to retrieve it.

Price: $24.95

A Year of Deer

Know a hunter who has whitetails on the brain nonstop? Probably. So help him or her scratch that itch with North American Whitetail's own 2013 calendar. Featuring spectacular images from the deer woods, this dynamic calendar is printed on heavy, coated stock, making the bucks practically pop off each 12x12-inch page. Included are interesting facts about deer behavior, as well as predicted peak movement times for fish and game every day of the year. And then some — the calendar actually includes 13 months.

Price: $12.95

Cabela's Dangerous Hunts 2013

If you think buck fever is bad, just imagine what happens to your heart — and your shooting — when an elephant is bearing down. Now you can find out during an exciting round of Cabela's Dangerous Hunts. OK, maybe a video game isn't the same as facing down Africa's Big 5, but with dual heartbeat monitors and a motion-sensing infrared camera, the new Top Shot Fearmaster controller does add another dimension to this popular game series. Even the animals are smarter, with artificial intelligence software that learns as you play to put you in ever-advancing challenges as you make your way through the game.

Price: $60

DeLorme inReach

You never know when disaster can strike, so you always want to be prepared for it, and what better way to gather your bearings than with the DeLorme inReach? This pocket-size, ultra tough, two-way satellite communication device can be used alone, or paired with an iPhone or iPad. The inReach also features a two-way S.O.S. signal, meaning your signal will be confirmed upon and ensures help is on the way.

Price: $249

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