No need to panic, I have once again come to the rescue with a list of gift ideas for dear old dad. Maybe your dad has dropped a few hints. Dads, it is still not too late to leave a note or two lying around with a few favorite items scribbled. Or you can leave the page corners on fishing or hunting catalogs turned down.
With no hints or plain outright list from dad, the gift buyer will have to use some outdoor reasoning to come home with a winner gift. You must make certain the present is practical and useful, lest the 100 ties and dress socks end up in the storage closet.
Think big on the small stuff
A limited budget doesn’t have to be a problem for a savvy gifting guru like you. Fishing lures are a great gift for dad. Every time he makes a cast and hooks the big one he will remember you. Check out his tackle bag or maybe the floor of his boat. Usually he may leave a lure or soft-plastic bait lying around.
Crankbaits made by Strike King, Rapala, Heddon, Bomber and Rebel are quality lures. Usually you can pick up three or four baits for around $20. Color choices should be in the shad or crawfish styles. Mix it up with a deep diver, medium runner and maybe a top water.
In the soft plastic arena, there are literally hundreds of choices. Stay with the basic worm, lizard or crawfish imitation. Dark or natural colors, like green pumpkin, watermelon seed, or just plain purple are hard to beat. Expect to pay from $3 to around $5 per pack.
An outdoorsman always needs an extra flashlight. The new LED-style lights offer plenty of lumens and are compact. Maglite, Browning, Coleman and Streamlight offer many different models and styles. Bowhunters and night anglers may prefer the strap-on headlight models for hands free operation. Quality flashlights can range from $25 to over $100 bucks.
If dad is a boater, a new auto-inflatable Personal Floatation Device (PFD) would be well received. Models by Mustang are comfortable to wear even while fishing. The PFDs are U.S. Coast Guard approved and can auto-inflate in seconds if the wearer is thrown overboard. Depending on the model, prices can range from $100 to around $250.
Whether dad is an angler, hunter, camper or hiker, he will appreciate a hand held GPS. New models are compact, easy to operate and read. Some models come complete with topographic maps. Trails can be saved and downloaded to a PC or map points can be shared from other users and devices.
The GPS units make it easy to locate your tree stand in the pre-dawn darkness or make it back to the truck after the sun sets. Models by Garmin, Magellan and Lowrance offer many different features with prices ranging from around $120 to $400.
Quality foot wear is important for hunters. From long walks under wet conditions to sitting in sub-freezing temperatures, a good pair of boots are worth their weight in gold. A top-of-the-line boot is made by Muck. Don’t let the name fool you. These boots are 100 percent water proof and can keep toes toasty during freezing temps.
There a several styles available and all are the pull-on type. Special material helps keep feet from sweating and the knee high models are perfect for crossing creeks or traversing through muddy bottoms. Expect to pay from $120 to $200. Also, Lacrosse brand boots offer quality footwear for hunters and anglers in the same price range.
Anglers and boaters will enjoy the cool comfort of a pair of boat shoes. These specialty shoes are available in many different brands and styles. The neat part of the boat shoes is it doesn’t matter if they get wet. Closed-toe type sandals or something in a Croc are great for hot weather on a boat deck.
Top brands include Sperry, Fila, Columbia, Keen and Croc. Certain styles slip on and off easily. Prices vary from around $49 to $99 to fit any budget.
Down a different trail
Dads like surprises. One gift that will continue to surprise dad month after month is a magazine subscription. There are specialty magazines to fit any hunting or fishing niche. Common titles like Bassmaster, FLW Outdoors or Bassin’ target bass fishing specifically. These are loaded with seasonal tips and tactics for Mr. Bass.
Some titles cover hunting, fishing and boating around the state. Great Days Outdoors and Alabama Game and Fish are a couple of good choices for all-around coverage from season to season. National titles like Field and Stream and Sports Afield include all types of fishing, hunting, shooting and other outdoors sports across the nation.
Some magazines are species specific. A few more popular titles are Deer and Deer Hunting, Turkey Call and Ducks Unlimited. You can garner from the titles the type of hunting they cover. Subscription rates vary from around $12 to $30 per year. Also, there are bonuses and membership privileges with the organizations.
If dad is an avid reader, quality printed books may be the ticket for him. There are many different books from hunting and fishing tales to how-to strategies. Something that is catching on in the book area is E-books. These can be downloaded easily to a smart phone, tablet or PC. E-books are as cheap as $.99 each.
Your dad may be a hat aficionado. A felt fedora or western-style hat will top off his Father Day. Sometimes a special hat for hunting, fishing or a night on the town can set dad apart from the crowd. Hats are not just for show. They keep the sun and rain off the top of a thinning head.
Lots of love
Gifts for dad are great. Dads all around appreciate the gifts and thoughts that are behind them. But, sometimes there is a special gift. It may be only a card or note saying how much you love your dad along with a thank you for teaching you about the outdoors.
While dads enjoy spending time outside, they especially enjoy it with their kids. A perfect gift may be a special fishing or hunting trip, and you take dad along this time. Local outfitters can provide bass, catfish and other guided trips from a day to several. Maybe a deep-sea fishing trip down to the coast will interest dad.
Hunting lodges can provide hunts and activities for the entire family. Some lodges offer hunting and fishing combos. Now is a great time to get ahead by booking a hunting trip for you and your dad.
Hopefully we rounded up enough gift ideas for you to lavish dad with next week. One key for buying for dad is to keep it practical and stay out of the tie shop.
Charles Johnson is the Star’s outdoor editor. You can reach Charles at ChrJohn7@aol.com