Outdoors

Any dad would welcome a hunting trip with his son or daughter. Take some time and make plans.

The big day is only two weeks out. Father’s Day is upon us once again. Before the gifts can be purchased some idea for a gift is needed. Having a plan and a good starting point will make the experience much easier.

Some folks are already thinking ahead. I have had a few folks ask me about some gift ideas for their dads. Granted buying for dads can be difficult. And outdoor dads can lean a little on the picky side. They can prefer specific items of color, style and size.

Dads can make the process easier by dropping a few hints. One of my favorite ploys was to leave a catalog open to a certain page. Or even bookmark a page in the catalog with a sticky note. Also, a dad might send an email link or a web page. Sometimes a subtle hint is not enough.

Whatever method one may use to facilitate a list is fine. Gather some ideas, plan out a shopping day and hit the woods or rather the local stores.

Gifts for anglers

No angling dad can ever have too many fishing rods. It’s like a lady having to many shoes, it’s just not possible. There are specialty rods for every species of fish and lure. If dad is a bass angler, a casting rod for worms, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and even drop-shotting will be welcomed.

Top brands are Quantum, G-Loomis, Abu-Garcia and Eagle Claw. There are many other brands, but space here is limited. Depending on brand and rod type expect to pay from around $79 to $300 for a decent rod.

Dad may already have a good rod but would enjoy a new reel. There is a difference in spinning and casting reels so determine what type of reel your father would desire. Daiwa, Lew’s, Quantum and Shimano are a few top-quality brands to compare.

In fishing reels check the number of ball bearings in the unit. Reels with seven or more bearings will be a wise choice. The more ball bearing the smoother the real, which relates to better performance and durability. A nice reel will run around $100 to $300.

Fishing tackle bags and organizers help dad locate the right lure at the right time. Plano and Frabill make many different styles and types of tackle storage and organizer gear. The gifts are usually around $39 to $99.

Kayak fishing has become popular in our region. The angling dad may enjoy a kayak designed for fishing. New models are stable and provide comfortable seating, rod holders and dry storage. Along the same lines a canoe can carry two or three anglers.

Some notable fishing kayak brands are Hobie, Old Town and Jackson. For canoes look for Mad River and Old Town. Entry level kayaks start around $500 up to around $2,000. A top-notch canoe is around $500 to $1,000.

Don’t forget paddles and life vests.

Fishing fathers will also enjoy a good pair of sunglasses. Costa, Wylie X, and Oakley are quality brands. Don’t cheap out here, a worthy pair of sunglasses start around $100 and up.

Other items a dad can use for fishing are boat shoes or sneakers, rod socks and tackle. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and soft plastic lures are great gifts from the kids.

Gifts for hunting dads

Often with Father’s Day in June, dads that hunt are sometimes left out. What dad wouldn’t benefit from a new rifle or shotgun. Dad may already have a favorite firearm he uses on certain hunts, but a new one will be a welcomed gift.

Browning, Ruger, Remington and Savage are all top brands. A deer rifle or shotgun will start out around $400 for each.

Maybe a new scope for dad’s favorite deer rifle is on your list. Vortex, Nikon and Leupold are some top brands. Look for variable power in a 3 x 9 or 4 x 12. Look to spend from around $350 to $700 and up for a tough, well-built scope.

While we mentioned optics a new pair of binoculars or spotting scope is a wise choice. Deer and turkey hunters can benefit from a lightweight, durable pair of binoculars. Again, Nikon and Leupold are the top brands. These can start around $100 and move up to over $1000 depending on style and power.

For the deer hunter on your list, a new tree stand may be ticket. Climbing stands by Summit, API Outdoors and Ol’ Man have some great stands. Climbers usually start around $250. Lock-on style stands are also popular with hunters and the same manufacturers have models starting around $100.

When using his tree stand, dad will want a high-quality and dependable safety harness. Hunter Safety Systems and Muddy are some good brands to check out. A decent harness will start around $89.

A new set of camouflage outerwear will make dad smile on Father’s Day. There are many different patterns and styles for all types of hunting situations. Deepening on brand and style a couple hundred bucks should get you started. Also, throw in a camo duffle bag to store the gear to and from hunting trips.

Turkey hunters will be excited for some new calls. A box call, special crystal or slate along with some tube yelpers and diaphragms are a wise choice. Choose a local call maker like Camp Callers or Woodhaven. Calls can range from around $6 to $100 depending on type.

Waterfowl hunter dads also will enjoy some new calls. There are a plethora of duck and goose calls available. Companies like Camp Callers, Haydel’s, Primos and Duck Commander make many different callers for any type of waterfowl. Prices start around $15 and go up.

Pop-up blinds have become popular in the past few years. Deer and turkey hunters can capitalize their trip with a portable blind. With a blind, dad can continue to hunt in inclement weather. Many different brands are available and most start around $100.

Gifts for all-purpose dads

There are many gifts that can serve dads in any outdoor venture. High-performance coolers like Yeti, Coleman, Orca and Pelican all have great products to fit any budget. Prices start around $200 depending on size and brand.

Knives are another useful gift. Folding or fixed blade can be used anytime outdoors. Filet knives will come in handy around the camp to clean and prepare a batch of fish. Look for models by Browning, SOG, Benchmark, Gerber and Buck. Prices start around $20.

I always mention flashlights. A quality, durable light can be a life saver under certain conditions. New LED style models are bright and offer a long battery life. But, these are not cheap. Top-end models can start around $80 bucks, but they are worth it.

Other gifts that can be useful in various outdoor activities are sleeping bags, boots, portable heaters, lanterns and backpacks. And don’t forget about a fine rain suit. Go with something like a Frogg Toggs or a suit with Gore-Tex.

Memberships to various wildlife and conservation organizations make great gifts. Buckmasters, B.A.S.S., Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation and Alabama Wildlife Federation to name a few popular ones.

There is one other gift you can give your dad and it shouldn’t cost you a dime. And that is your time. Take your dad fishing, hiking or plan a hunting trip next fall. The time will be well spent, and the memories will be a treasure for a lifetime.

Charles Johnson is the Star’s outdoor editor. You can reach Charles at charjohn@cableone.net

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