4th Annual AHT Gift Guide for Hunters

Being recognized as an avid outdoorsman by those who know you comes with it the responsibility of serving as the gift idea source for any of my friends and family shopping for the hunter on their list.

It’s a role I take great pride.

And for the last four holiday seasons, I’ve been able to convince those shoppers to go beyond the “it’s the thought that counts” and buy something their hunter or huntress will appreciate – and for goodness sake use!

With that, I give to you the 2012 edition of the AHT Gift Guide, a collection of products that I think make great additions to the accoutrement pile of your favorite hunter.

Havalon Piranta Series Knives
Knives are not new to our list, but this is a new style.

Havalon's Piranta Series Knives come in a few different colors

Havalon’s Piranta Series Knives come in a few different colors

These razor-blade precision knives are lightweight and make for a fantastic wingmate when skinning downed game. Having one in your hand when you’re caping an animal prior to taking it to the taxidermist cuts time and energy and makes life downright easier. These are available at most outdoor stores and typically run $40.

Extra Juice for that Phone
Having a phone alongside you in the stand has become a must for most outdoorsmen.

The popular mophie, which I use while hunting

The popular mophie, which I use while hunting

In addition to the increased safety (always have it where you can reach it if you were dangling by a safety harness) a phone provides, it’s a great communication tool so that you can connect with your hunting buddies. It also allows you to stay in contact with work if you happen to be (a-hem) out sick that day. The problem is you don’t see too many stands with a cell tower plopped next to them, meaning poorer signals often times drain your phone’s battery life. Thus, having an extra power source for your phone can be a handy resource. Among the more popular is the mophie charger shown in the picture. When charged, it can often times double your battery life from the stand. There are plenty of others available (make sure you buy the one right for your hunter’s phone), and the price for these typically run $80. You can find them at most department stores with electronic sections, or at your popular online retailers.

Keep your Gloves on to Text
One of my favorite hunting cartoons I saw this year was of two hunters complaining via text message that they’re not seeing any deer with deer running in front of them while they’re staring at their phone screen!

Gloves made to help you keep typing on your touch phone without taking your gloves off!

Gloves made to help you keep typing on your touch phone without taking your gloves off!

Often times I picture me and my hunting buddies as those hunters! That said, my buddy Jason helped me learn about a pair of thin layered gloves by Red Head that have metallic-like tipped thumb and index fingers to allow you to type on your touch phone while you text. They work! And they’re not too pricey at $14. You need to buy this particular pair at Bass Pro Shops, which owns the Red Head brand.

Safety Harness
This is another return gift to our list, but that’s because safety harnesses have come a long way in recent years with their overall comfort and ease of use.

The Spider system

The Spider system

While still pricey for many models, the newer designs allow you go comfortably wear outer layers over top of the harness and still achieve maximum comfort. Among the more popular designs this year are the Live Wire systems by Spider. These typically range in price from $110-$140 and come in popular sizes from youth to big fella. Dick’s, Cabela’s, Gander Mountain, Academy Sports and Bass Pro Shops (among many others) all carry several models.

How far is that from here?
If your hunting giftee was seen kicking up dust and cussing like a sailor this archery season, it could be because he or she missed a deer by misjudging the distance of a shot. It happens. A lot.

A popular model among the higher priced variety of rangefinders

A popular model among the higher priced variety of rangefinders

The price on range finders has come down significantly in recent years and there are a number of affordable, and very effective models now on the market. In a discussion recently amongst hunting buddies, we all agreed that it might be one of the most “necessary” pieces of equipment we take hunting with us these days. And it makes for a nice gambling tool to see how far different things are from your inlaws picture window if things get a little boring around the holiday dinner! New models have different margins for errors and long-distance capabilities, and are available for anywhere from $80 to several hundred dollars. Do a little research online to find the best fit for your wallet.

McAlister does it right
Among my favorite outdoor purchases in 2012 forced me to include it into the Gift Guide.

The heavy jac from McAlister

The heavy jac from McAlister

McAlister makes a waterproof hunting jac / shirt that I personally field tested in cold, wind and rain in 2012. And I’m pleased to say it passed easily. I ended up purchasing both the lightweight and heavyweight versions of the shirt for different hunting conditions. They’re extremely comfortable and have several pockets for phones, shells, etc. They are typically $75-$100 each depending on weight of insulation and available at places like Mack’s Prairie Wings or several online retailers.

The ol’ standbys
Try as I may, I decided to go against my conventional gut and include a couple of items that have been on the AHT Gift Guide the last several years. Why? Because they shouldn’t be overlooked as a gift for a hunter if he or she doesn’t already have one. They’re becoming (or in one case have become) great tools to help enhance the hunting experience.

Rarely do I, or any of my hunting buddies, go afield without some video recording device in tow. While I personally carry a Kodak Zi8 most of the time, there are a number of popular models available.

The Hero 2 by GoPro

The Hero 2 by GoPro

The GoPro HD Hero 2 has to be one to consider thanks to its quality and durability. As I write this, the Hero 3 also has made its way to the shelves of most retailers. They typically run $200 (Hero 2) to $300 (Hero 3) but offer a few updates in the newer version to make it worth considering.

Finally, I’m not sure we’ll ever take the idea of a trail camera off of our gift guide list! Their functionality continues to rise at the same rate their price continues to drop.

The Truth Cam 35 Ultra by Primos

The Truth Cam 35 Ultra by Primos

You can buy a fantastic trail camera with great battery life for under $100. That seems almost unheard of when thinking back just a few short years ago when the 35mm film versions were several hundred dollars. If your hunter doesn’t have one, it’s a great toy to buy him or her.

And if you don’t feel like spending more than $10, consider hand warmers, gloves or a nice bottle of scent eliminator. They may not be flashy ideas, but I’ll bet they get used. For past gift guides, click here.

Happy Holidays all!

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