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December 21, 2014

Outdoors: Celebrate dad with trips, gifts

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Posted: Sunday, June 8, 2014 12:28 am | Updated: 1:57 am, Sun Jun 8, 2014.

Hopefully gift givers for that special dad have already done some research on presents. Father’s day is only a week away. Kids and even some spouses may need to start a list. No need to wait until the last minute and rush out for a gift that is less than practical.

It sometimes can be a little difficult to find that perfect gift for the outdoor type dad. However, some reconnaissance and field research can put you on the right gift track. One thing to keep in mind is to make sure the gift is practical. No ties or frilly colored dress shirts are allowed.

However, knowing some kids may procrastinate in the dad-gift-buying task, I have compiled a list of gifts that should suit most any dad in love with the outdoors.

Take dad fishing

I have never known a dad to turn down a new fishing rod or reel. Look for more recognizable names that mean quality like Zebco, Quantum, Daiwa, Shimano and ABU Garcia. Rods made by these same folks are welcomed by dad along with bass angler named rods like Skeet Reese, Boyd Duckett and Rick Clunn. Quality spinning and casting reels can range from around $50 to over $200. Expect about the same for rods to match the reels.

Tackle bags are a good idea to help dad keep his lures, hooks and baits organized. Top brand names include Plano and Browning. There are various styles and sizes. Some large pockets for extra items like pliers, sunglasses, and even a poncho. Look for the bags that include the plastic storage boxes. These will help dad get his stuff together.

Now that dad has all the tackle maybe a fishing trip is in order. Check out some local guides and fishing lodges around the state. Show lots of love and spring for an out-of-state trip or even to Canada. Late winter to early spring is prime time for a Florida or Texas bass trip.

If closer to home is better suited for your budget check out fishing guide services on Guntersville, Pickwick and other lakes close to home. Just across the state line in Tennessee and north Georgia there is some fantastic trout fishing. Most guides offer half-day and full day trips. Depending on the location a good trip can be had for around $200.

Since pop is sure to catch a big one his trip he will want to know exactly how much his catch weighs. A BogaGrip is a top scale for weighing fish. With all stainless steel construction the scale will last a lifetime. Also, the scale can be calibrated and certified by the International Game Fish Association, the official keep of angling records.

On to the hunting trail

If your dad is into hunting, especially deer hunting, a scent lock or odor repelling suit is a top choice. Look for one that is also water repellant in dad’s favorite camo pattern. Many top camouflage clothing companies offer these types of suits for various climates. Depending on the brand a complete outfit can range from around $200 to $400.

Hunters have a lot of stuff to carry afield. A large purse is not sufficient or practical. Too, dad might get a little ribbing from his hunting buddies. A quality backpack however can be the ticket for dad to place his hunting gear.

Backpacks range in different sizes and can hold a ton of stuff. Many have special pockets for binoculars, rangefinders, games calls and other related gear. Look for packs with padded shoulder straps. Also the pack should be waterproof. Expect to pay in the range of $50 to $150 for a quality back pack.

Special dads and special hunters need special gear. Duck hunters love a good pair of insulated waders on a cold December morning. Deer hunters would appreciate a comfortable tree stand. A climbing model with a soft seat will make dad’s trip to the deer woods more enjoyable.

One of the new style pop-up blinds will be welcomed. Most blinds are compact and can be easily carried to woods or field. Some models can be setup is only seconds. Don’t forget to add a comfortable folding chair, in camo of course. The chair can serve double duty around the deer camp or in the dove field.

Summer time is a great opportunity for dad to brush up on his shooting skills. He will get a blast out of a new skeet thrower. There are many different models available from simple single action to more complex multi throwers mounted on a table with an operator’s seat. Don’t forget some of the local skeet ranges. Circle W and Selwood farms offer skeet and trap shooting.

Father’s day is a good time to plan a hunting trip for dad. Lodges around the state can provide deer, duck, turkey, wild hogs and other game trip destinations. Some offer combo sessions like deer and hogs or deer and ducks. Look for a reputable lodge or guide service that has been around. It could work out that dad may take you along on the trip.

Yearlong gift ideas

Whether your dad is a fisherman or hunter, he probably enjoys reading magazines related to his outdoor activity. Subscriptions to various specialty magazines can fill in a void and give dad some alone time.  He can scope out a how-to article or maybe plan an outdoor excursion.

Specialty magazines focus on a particular sport or species of animal. Bassmaster Magazine, Deer and Deer Hunting Magazine, and Ducks Unlimited are just a few of the specialty periodicals. They cover all aspects of biology, tactics, locations and conservation. Buckmasters is an organization directed solely to deer hunting.

Certain organizations not only offer periodicals but also support conservation issues for a particular species. The National Wild Turkey Federation and the Alabama Wildlife Federation offer not only high quality magazines, but also contribute to conservation matters.

Other magazines dad may be interested in receiving include, Outdoor Life, Field and Stream, Sport Afield, Crappie, Great Days Outdoors and Alabama Game and Fish. Most of these cover a variety of hunting, fishing and other outdoor sports.

There are many other gift ideas we haven’t touched on. Flashlights, rain suits, hunting socks, gloves, hats shirts and other practical gifts are welcomed by dad. Remember to keep it simple and understand that the gift should be useful.

Buying a Father’s Day gift for a special dad is not hard work. However, giving an inappropriate gift to dad could result in some yard work this summer.

Charles Johnson is the Star’s outdoor editor. You can reach Charles at ChrJohn7@aol.com

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