A list to consider when Christmas shopping for hunters

Published 12:21 am Sunday, December 20, 2009

NATCHEZ — Time spent with hunting husbands can be scarce for wives during the winter when Dad and the boys are away each weekend at the hunting camp.

Adding to the challenge of being the wife of a hunter is knowing what useful gadget to buy your man for Christmas.

“These girls, when they buy stuff for their husbands, they don’t know what they’re buying, and they end up getting a gift card,” SportsCenter employee Vernon Smith said.

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With this in mind, here are 10 items that seem to be on every hunter’s wish list this holiday season. Wives, study carefully!

1. Walker’s Game Ear HD

This item, which a hunter plugs into his ears like a hearing aid, both quiets what needs to be quieted in the woods, and intensifies sound that needs to be intensified.

The Game Ear is useful because it not only protects your eardrums from sounds like muzzle blasts, but it can help a hunter hear deer better.

“At a certain decibel, it cuts off all sound,” Smith said. “It also picks up deer scurrying through the woods. It’s great protecting your ears from the sound of a fired gun, and does a fantastic job of helping you hear game.”

2. Rain suits

In year’s past, this might not have been near the top of the list, but the amount of rain the Miss-Lou has received makes rain gear a must-have this hunting season.

“As much rain as we’ve been getting, rain suits have come in handy,” Bowie’s employee Chris Perea said. “It’s not just one type of hunter getting them. Bow, muzzle-loaders, gun hunters… it’s across the board as far as who’s buying them.”

3. The Bushnell Back Track

This mini-GPS, roughly the size of a stopwatch, maps out your hunting area so you won’t get lost. You use it by “marking” when you get out of your car and when you reach your hunting spot or stand. It can take up to three marks, and will get you to and from your car without any problems.

“It’s a glorified compass,” Smith said. “You get out of your car, hit it, get to you spot and hit it again. Very useful to keep you from getting lost.”

4. The Caldwell Lead Sled

This gun rest is designed to reduce recoil and make firing much more comfortable for the hunter. It boasts an “up to 95 percent recoil reduction” rate, and comes with filled shooting bags. SportsCenter carries them.

5. Primos Trigger Stick

This allows hunters who don’t use a stand to pursue deer and stand the stick on the ground to prop the gun when they’re ready to fire.

“A lot of people don’t want to sit in a stand,” Smith said. “The stalker-type just wants to walk up to his deer and shoot it. This helps steady the shot.”

6. Primos Mini Blood Hunter

Found at SportsCenter, this small flashlight gives off red and green light. The red light enables the hunter to see in front of him while retaining night vision. The area of light is also small enough to keep from startling game.

The green light illuminates blood left by game to better enable hunters to track deer. Both have high- and low-density outputs.

7. Gun slings

These are selling quickly at Bowie’s, and seem to be a necessity for any hunter that has come into the store and bought a gun, Perea said.

“It makes things more convenient. It’s easier to carry hardware when the gun’s in a sling. We’ve sold at least 15 to 20 of them, and some were actually buying rifles at the same time.”

8. The Power Balance wristband

SportsCenter employee Chip Sturdivant can be seen demonstrating this band on someone almost anytime of the day the store’s open.

According to Power Balance’s Web page, www.powerbalance.net, the band uses holograms inbedded with frequencies that react positively with your body’s natural energy field.

“It makes you better balanced, more flexible and stronger,” Sturdivant said. “It’s the most amazing thing I’ve seen in a long time.”

When worn, the increase in these three areas can prove important when moving through the woods, aiming at a target or even climbing up or down a stand.

9. A gift card

When all else fails, the safe bet is to purchase a gift card at an outdoors or sporting goods store. It’s better to let the husband pick something for himself instead of guessing wrong about what he wants.

10. A large buck

This one is probably No. 1 on a hunter’s Christmas wish list, but since you can’t buy one at the store, the other nine will have to suffice.