Finding the best gifts for hunters in 2017 might seem hard at first — after all, it’s tough to choose a rifle, shotgun or bow for a hunter — but it turns out that finding hunting gifts is easier than you think. Why? There are all kinds of hunting gear that hunters need, use up, and want to try out, including stocking stuffers.
Best Gift Ideas for Hunters: Our Guide
We take pride in our gift guides for hunters because we not only recommend a particular can’t-go-wrong hunting gift, we also tell you why our choices are cool gifts for hunters.
Meanwhile, what about experienced hunters? Finding gifts for hunters who have everything is easier than you think: Sometimes a hunter already has a piece of gear . . . but they could actually use an upgrade.
Here’s just one example: I know a buddy who has an old backpack that he modified to use for hauling out elk quarters when he’s far off the beaten path. Problem is, it’s falling apart. Boom, there’s your opening for a great hunting gift.
Tips for Choosing Hunting Gifts
There are other clues you can look for to find gifts for hunters. Has your hunter complained about binoculars? Have they fogged up, leading to missed opportunity? If you have a duck hunter, are new hunting waterproof boots in order? If you have a hunter who processes your wild game meat at home, say, making jerky, a new smoker could make the perfect gift. Would your hunter like to get into smoking wild game . . . and start sharing it with friends and family over the holidays? If so, take our smoker recommendation below and encourage your hunter to get started.
Has your hunter missed a shot recently? If so, consider a rangefinder. Rangefinders are critical for bow hunters, of course, but they are especially great for new hunters who have a hard time judging distances. Our versatile 2017 pick this year boats a new vibration reduction feature that promises to help active hunters range quickly and accurately.
What if your hunter is a woman? Most of the hunting gifts here still apply, of course, but not all the clothing comes in versions for women — but that’s starting to change across the outdoor industry. If you’re looking for hunting gifts for women, check out camo hunting clothing for women at Cabela’s — multiple manufacturers are now making some high-quality gear cut specifically for women hunters, including Sitka, and Cabela’s is doing a particularly good job of stocking it as well as its own brand of camo.
For more detail, let’s dive into our hunting gift recommendations for 2017.
45 Best Gifts for Hunters 2017
To create our ultimate guide to hunting gifts this year, we combined the best gifts from our previous hunting gift guides, adding hot new hunting gear for 2017 along the way. In addition, we took a look at reader interest among past guides, which we used to help us build this guide to tease out hot gifts for hunters heading into this holiday shopping season. Oh, one last note: We purposely avoided covering specific rifles, shotguns and bows and most truly specialized high-end gear, focusing instead on can’t-go-wrong gifts for hunters in more affordable price ranges.
For hunters who hunt in the late afternoon and early evening, a blood trailing light is critical for helping them locate downed animals in the dark, especially in rough country with thick cover. The Primos Bloodhunter HD Blood Trailing Light uses 600 lumen CREE XM LEDs with an optical filter that reduces select colors to help amplify the visibility of blood. This specialized flashlight is one of our top gifts for hunters again this year because most hunters want any edge they can get when tracking in the dark.
When you plan to cover some distance during your upland bird hunts and you plan to carry plenty of shotgun shells — and hopefully birds — it’s time to check out the new Orvis Pro Series Hunting Vest. It has two water bottle pockets, which means you can pack enough water for you and your dog. Beyond its striking good looks, this new Orvis vest boasts a comfort-oriented strap system and slips in 220 square inches of blaze orange for visibility. Oh, one more thing: This type of strap-based vest is our go-to choice for hot early-season hunts. And when the temperature dips in the fall? You can easily layer underneath it.
The bane of most hunters is scent. Deer, elk, and pretty much every other animal has a far better sniffer than humans, and they use their nose all day, every day. The newly updated Scent Crusher Ozone Gear Bag destroys odor-causing bacteria and actively removes scent-causing particles. Here is how it works: You place your hunting clothes inside the bag, set the timer and let the ozone producing module pump ozone into the bag. When it’s done, you pull the gear out, scent free. Pretty amazing, really. But it gets even better. A lot of times hunting clothing is only a little dusty or dirty . . . and doesn’t need to be fully washed in the washing machine for the next day’s hunt — but there is likely some human sweat and stink on the inside of those clothes, which a scent killer spray won’t reach. Instead of washing the hunting clothes, your hunter can dump them into the bag for a few minutes and they’ll come out fresh and ready for the next hunt. Amazing. Works great at hunting camp for those week-long hunts. All you need is a car charging port or, if you’re off the grid, a MyCharge AdventureUltra battery works wonders. We like the new RealTree Camo version with a slightly smaller Ozone module the best, but the original pumps out the same ozone specs and works just as well. One last option here: The Scent Crusher Hard Tote. It’s great for long-term storage as well as throwing in the back of a dirty pickup.
If the Scent Crusher Ozone Gear Bag is out of your price range, you can help eliminate the odors of that early morning bacon, egg and cheese biscuit smell that’s taking over the inside of the pickup and lingering on hunting clothes. The Scent Crusher Ozone Go plugs into your vehicle’s 12v outlet and kills odor on the way to your hunting location. If it works to eliminate scent that humans can smell, it most certainly cuts down on scent animals can smell. Oh, there’s one added side benefit: It can help freshen the inside of smelly vehicles on the way back from hunting camp. Or a fishing trip. Or the ski hill.
Once a hunter uses binocular straps, they’ll always use a chest-strap system because it works so well. There are lots of binocular strap options, but most hunters can appreciate this Mossy Oak version. Makes a great stocking stuffer for hunters, too. If your hunter hunts in wet or snowy weather or tackles truly brushy and wild terrain, they’ll need to tuck their binoculars into their jackets or shirts . . . or for an upgrade, scroll down to look at the bino cases with shoulder harnesses below.
Night vision may be the most unnecessary hunting gift — but it’s also one of the coolest gifts for hunters, if only to get a look at whatever critter is making noise on the trail in the dark on their hike in before dawn. We’re seeing lots of interest in the Firefield Nightfall 2 this year.
For most hunters in most places of the world, hunting for deer is hard, and getting a mature buck to show himself in daylight is either being in the right place at the right time . . . or getting right into the thick of his world and rattling as if two rival bucks are fighting it out in his territory. When it works, it’s an amazing experience. The way to do it is with a pair of antlers you have from a previous buck or sheds. Problem is, real antlers are poky, dry out, or look like real antlers to other hunters who might not be as intelligent as you might hope. Consequently, a rattling system makes a particularly good gift for deer hunters. We’ve had great luck with the Knight & Hale Rack Mag Rattling Deer Call, and they’re a yearly favorite hunting gift — no doubt in part due to the affordable price point. (Read our how to rattle in big bucks post if you want to learn more.)
Hunters like camo. Pure and simple. Depending on what kind of hunting you’re doing, it might be an outright necessity. Shirts are always welcome and jackets are pretty safe hunting gifts. Jacket and pant combinations are excellent, too. As are pants alone. The bottom line, some hunters will wear camo everywhere while others will only wear camo in the field. Still, all hunters appreciate high-quality hunting clothes — even if they don’t spend money on themselves, which makes camo gear one of the best hunting gifts. Now, on to the Cabela’s O2 Octane camouflage pattern specifically: Cabela’s developed it a couple years ago and it’s darn good. It blends with a wide variety of terrain. We’re big fans. Better yet, Cabela’s offers many sizes and many styles at fantastic price points that blow away the pricier competition. One of our buddies wears Sitka camo pants and shirts . . . but he has the O2 Octane Rain Jacket and Pants because the price-to-value ratio is so great — and the O2 Octane camo pattern is effective. Oh, one more thing: If you’re looking for fashionable camo in addition to functional camo for the whole family, Under Armour Camo is hard to beat.
Part of a hunter’s ability to be effective and make great shots is confidence, and one thing that can help are shooting sticks. These extendible sticks give hunters a stable rest even if they are in the middle of an open meadow. Better still, this translates into more effective hunters who make better, smarter shots. We like that. Plus, shooting sticks are especially good for younger and less experienced hunters, which makes them a great hunting gift for a variety of hunter ages. For a fantastic blend of stability and quick deployment, try the third-generation Primos 65815 Trigger Stick Tripod (pictured). If you want something super fast and lighter, it’s hard to beat the new single-pole Primos 65813 Trigger Stick Monopod.
If your hunter has a lousy pair of binoculars or none at all, binoculars can make a fantastic hunting gift. You have many choices. One of the best all-around options is a binocular that’s 10×42. This “size” of binocular has a great balance of magnification (10x) with the size of the objective lens (42mm) which leads to an “exit pupil” measurement that provides a lot of light (learn more about binoculars here). Higher quality binoculars produce clearer, brighter images — which usually equates to cost. We particularly like the Vortex, Alpen, and Bushnell because these companies offer no-fault warranties, even on their entry-level binoculars. If you break your optics, they will replace them. Hard to beat that. Here are a few more can’t-go-wrong options, including the sweet Razor HD if your budget goes that high:
- Alpen Shasta Ridge 10×42 — great price-to-quality ratio
- Bushnell H20 10×42 — best option when you’re on a tight budget
- Vortex Razor HD 10×42 — high-end everything
It’s always tough to stop when you’re hunting and take time out to get a drink of water. The result? Dehydrated hunters. The solution? A water bladder hydration system that fits into most every modern backpack, including most backpacks made for hunting. The drinking tube connects to a backpack’s shoulder strap and lets your hunter take sips on the go. Plus, hydration systems are quiet in the woods, which hunters need. All-in-all, they’re one of the most versatile hunting gifts because they work for so many types of hunting and scouting.
The great thing about the Hunter’s Tote Bag series from L.L.Bean is the quality and the color. What hunter doesn’t appreciate camo? Either way, hunters have a lot of miscellaneous gear to pack around and keep track of, and a Hunter’s Tote makes a great gift for hunters because they’re unlikely to splurge on such a simple bag — no matter how useful it really is. It’s stout enough to handle several boxes of 12 gauge ammo or just cold-weather hunting gloves and hats. As for us, we always need a decent bag to help us get sandwiches and snacks and a thermos of hot coffee out to the pickup in the wee hours of the morning. We bet your hunter does, too.
Hey, we know this isn’t the most creative hunting gift idea, but heck, these are damn fine hard-working socks — and gift givers seem to know how important a good pair of socks is to a hunter. There are other brands of wool socks that are also great — as long as you get at least 60% merino wool — but most every hunter we know appreciates Carhartt fit and durability for their boots. If you’re looking for a lighter boot sock for hunting or hiking, the Darn Tough Merino Wool Cushion Boot Sock will last nearly forever, and if you grab a few pairs from Backcountry.com, most orders over $50 will ship with free two-day shipping, which is particularly sweet when you don’t have a lot of time.
The GoPro HERO6 Black action camera is still the best all-around action camera available in 2017. You can mount it to a bow or shotgun or attach it to a head band or chest mount. The video quality is fantastic, delivering up to 4K video at a smooth 60 frames per second. The enhanced video stabilization helps for moving footage — or can help tone down the adrenaline thump of your hunter’s heart when a big animal is front and center. The touch zoom display makes it easy to frame photos and video — but that’s less of an issue when you consider the ultrawide lens captures most of whatever you point the GoPro at.
Also known as “walkie talkies,” two-way radios let hunters communicate with each other over miles while out in the woods far away from cell phone towers. Not only can they make hunting together more effective, they are also great for safety, letting hunters know where each other are — or even call for help if a hunter gets lost or injured. This best-selling Midland set is priced right, boasts great coverage, automatically locks onto the local NOAA weather channel, has a vibration alert, comes with headsets, rechargeable battery packs, a car charger, plus they can run on AA batteries if you’re far off the grid.
The new Badlands Bino XR binocular and rangefinder case is one of the more expensive binocular case and shoulder harness systems available today, but if your hunter uses a rangefinder often, it’s a drool-worthy bino case. Here’s why: First, the rangefinder case in the bottom makes it easy to protect your rangefinder from the elements and also retrieve it for fast usage. Second, the magnetic bino case can be opened and closed with one hand, silently. Third, two external side pockets are great for a wind checker or your reeds for calling elk. It also has a built-in rain cover, another handy back pocket, and a comfortable shoulder harness (not pictured). Any downsides? It fits binos up to 10×42 — which is one of the most popular hunting sizes. If you think your hunter might use bigger 12×50 binos, go with the Alaska Guide Creations X50 Classic Bino Harness.
If the Badlands Bino XR price point is out of your budget, we’re surprisingly impressed with the much more affordable ALPS OutdoorZ Extreme Bino Harness X. The harness is comfortable enough to get the job done all day and it’s totally adjustable. It also does a good job of holding the case close to your chest. There is a small side pocket that fits most wind checkers while the other side of the case has four lashing points for attaching other gear or a small case. A microfiber lens is included in the front zip pocket, too. A small bungee cord keeps the top flap down and lets the case open silently. The ALPS OutdoorZ Extreme Bino Harness offers the best price-to-value ratio we’ve seen for this type of bino case. Oh, one more thing: If you’re an elk fan, choose the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation version.
The old convection-style boot dryers are still going strong, slowly drying a pair of boots over several hours, which helps protect the boot from drying too fast and cracking. They are pretty good, but what’s better? A heated boot dryer that more actively blows warm air and dries your boots out much faster — but slow enough to avoid stressing the boot. In our view, a faster boot dryer is critical when you have more than one pair of boots to dry and you need to get back outside. Of course, the PEET Advantage Boot Dryer works with gloves, too.
Any hunter can appreciate a hard-core cooler. Something tough, something big, something that’s insulated well enough to do its job. If that’s just keeping beer cold on a hot August scouting trip, that’s fine. But when it’s time to haul big game out of the woods in September, a good cooler can be the difference between a “gamey” steak and a fine meal. There are a lot of variables, of course, but we can almost guarantee your hunter will find a use for a high-quality cooler. If you want the best cold-to-cost ratio, the best cooler for your money, go with the Cabela’s Polar Cap Equalizer Cooler. It’s awesome — in all sizes and colors. As for YETI, all the YETI coolers are awesome, too — they just cost a bit more.
The great thing about this Outdoor Edge kit is that it has all the tools a hunter might need to process big game out in the field so it can be hauled to civilization in a backpack — or even just hauled up out of a steep canyon to get to an ATV. It comes with a light and easy-to-use sharpener, which is critical when you’re out in the field, but this affordable kit can help if your hunter processes and wraps meat at home, too. Most hunters can appreciate the great value packed into the Outdoor Edge Butcher-Lite 8-Piece Kit, which can go into their hunting pack, stay with the ATV or stay at hunting camp until it’s needed.
The Nikon COOLPIX W300 is the most rugged point-and-shoot rugged waterproof camera we’ve seen in its class, which means it will withstand the worst most hunters will dish out. It starts up fast, takes great photos and video, including the all-around great 1080p at 60 fps, as well as 4K at 30p for those stunning vistas. It also boasts 5-axis vibration reduction that fights camera shake when you’re taking video. Very nice. It has built-in GPS, WiFi, and the Bluetooth for connectivity. Why not a GoPro instead? We’re fans of the GoPro, too, but the GoPro gives you a fixed wide-angle lens (no zoom) while the Nikon offers a 5x optical zoom — very handy for taking video of animals so you can actually see the animals later.
There are hundreds of hunting pack options, ranging from heavy-duty rail haulers to fast and light day packs. You want your hunter out and about with a pack because he’s more likely to take water, food, a survival blanket, a jacket, and a first-aid kit with him. Might be the difference between life and death . . . out in the woods, if there’s no one around to hear you call for help, you’re on your own. Just saying. The hunting backpack is not only practical, it’s a core component of hunter safety, too. One of our favorites starts with the Eberlestock Mainframe Pack, which is a great, easy-to-use load carrier that you can strap most any existing day pack to . . . or add on other Eberlestock packs like the Transformer Backpack, which is zipped into the Mainframe Pack in the photo. The duo is relatively nimble but capable of hauling heavy loads. Highly recommended.
Scouting, hunting, and hauling the game home is just the beginning. Next it’s time to process Mother Nature’s healthiest meats . . . and a smoker is the best way to make jerky, summer sausage sticks, or smoke salmon. If the outdoorsman on your list doesn’t have a smoker, he most likely wants one. Seriously. Seems boring, but it’s not. The 40-inch Masterbuilt 20075315 Front Controller Smoker with Window and RF Remote Control is big enough and flexible enough to handle the needs of most any hunter and fisher who’s either a beginner or gets frustrated with their old-school smoker box.
Base layers, a.k.a. long underwear, give you an opportunity to surprise and delight your cold-weather hunter. The absolute best is merino wool, which usually feels pretty good against your skin — much softer than other types of wool. This all-natural fiber has the magical ability to keep you warm but also guard against overheating. It works when wet (unlike cotton) and it has natural funk-fighting anti-microbial qualities. A lower-priced option is a synthetic polyester type of blend. Some have anti-microbial fibers woven in and are good buys for the money. But wool is the best, and Cabela’s has introduced a new set of merino base layers that are a great value for the cost. Of course, we’re fans of any Icebreaker or SmartWool merino base layer, and the KUIU Ultra Merino 145 Zip-off Bottom is particularly good for active hunting situations in September and October when temperatures fluctuate wildly.
The new Nikon MONARCH 7i VR Rangefinder adds a brand-new feature: vibration reduction. If you have ever run up a ridge to get closer to an elk or deer, you know what it’s like to suck wind with a pounding heart while you try to be quiet and figure out the distance to the elk or deer. Trying to range a monster buck under these circumstances means you might have a hard time getting a good reading because you’re shaking too much. The same problem comes with adrenaline. The VR feature in the MONARCH 7i VR can reduce the visual effect of hand movements by around 80 percent, resulting in a quicker, more accurate range. Of course, a good hunter will still need to settle down before taking a shot, but this new vibration reduction feature is a game changer for active hunters — and a welcome feature for aging hunters who could use a steadier look down field.
*Note: Choose the Nikon Arrow ID 7000 VR Rangefinder version for bow hunters (same features, different marketing, camo case).
Bird hunters need a good shooting vest, which gives you easy access to shotgun shells as well as a rear pocket for carrying birds. Heck, there’s more to it than that, though — while a shooting vest is utilitarian, it’s also part of the tradition, an element of a uniform, and that tradition alone makes it a great hunter gift. A vest reminds a hunter to put on their game face and pay attention — something is going to take flight soon. We’ve known bird dogs that get excited when they see a shotgun, and the smartest ones recognize vests, too.
If your hunter hunts rattlesnake country, snake-proof gaiters might be worth their weight in gold — while most rattlesnake bites don’t result in death, some do, and nearly all result in massive health care bills. Most snake-proof gaiters are bulky and stiff, but the TurtleSkin SnakeArmor Snake Gaiters are more flexible, which means your hunter is far more likely to actually wear them. They’re made from a super-tight weave of high-strength ballistic fibers and polyester.
Finding the right best glove for any given moment in a day is wicked hard. The heavy cold-weather gloves are too hot when the day warms up while thin gloves threaten to delay shots due to numb fingers. And grip? Critical. A nice soft fleece or wool can make holding a rifle a constant challenge. The best hunter gift gloves have unencumbered trigger fingers but also grippy materials. Fortunately, it’s hard to go wrong with gloves as a hunter gift — hunters will choose different gloves for different tasks. We’re fans of the thoroughly inexpensive-yet-astoundingly excellent Mechanix Wear MultiCam FastFit Tactical Gloves. They’re not cold-weather gloves, but most any hunter will find a use for them. Great stocking-stuffer pricing, too.
Rifle hunters need to be able to find the best round of ammunition for their particular rifle because different bullet types and sizes from different manufacturers perform differently. Unless your hunter is shooting hundreds of rounds a year, it’s hard to know exactly how well a particular round performs. A shooting sled holds a rifle very steady and will save your hunter a lot of time, as well as build confidence in particular rounds at particular distances. The Caldwell Lead Sled 3 — or any Caldwell Lead Sled version — is definitely one of the best hunter gifts for deer and elk rifle hunters.
If your hunter has a high-quality scope already . . . it’s best to stay away from scopes. But many deer and elk hunters have cheap or really old scopes — and they would love any replacement that is a step up from what they have. Better scopes won’t fog at the wrong time, and they’ll deliver clearer, brighter images. You might have to ask a hunting buddy if you don’t know if your hunter needs a new scope, but it’s hard to go wrong the Vortex Diamondback HP line. If your hunter drops his rifle and breaks his Vortex scope, Vortex will replace it. It’s hard to beat a warranty like that, which is another reason why Vortex products make great hunting gifts. Get the 3-12 power with the Dead-Hold BDC reticle if your hunter rarely shoots longer range shots or go with the 4-16 power Dead-Hold BDC version if your hunter is starting to shoot longer distances.
The best go-to hunting coats are usually waterproof and are built tough. The Cabela’s MT050 Whitetail Extreme Parka with GORE-TEX and Thinsulate is freakishly awesome. Not only is it waterproof and moderately breathable, it has different levels and types of insulation placed in key zones. It’s loaded with pockets, a four-piece adjustable hood, and it even has an internal snow skirt. The O2 Octane camo pattern is flexible enough to work well in a wide variety of terrain, too. If you’re hunter heads out in cold weather, this hunting coat will make a great gift.
When you get off the beaten path, there’s sticks and sharp rocks. A hunter is going to get cut, if not by the hazards of the woods then maybe by his own knife or a buddies while handling big game. It happens. Worse can happen, though, and a good first-aid kit will include a manual to help a buddy provide emergency medical care. Bottom line? A light first-aid kit should be in every hunter’s pack, and while we consider first-aid kits one of the most important hunter gifts ever, they’re just as important for camping and hiking, too. Our favorite hunting pack version for most hunters is the Bighorn version because of its overall contents, but any Sportsman Series kit from Adventure Medical Kits makes a great gift for any hunter.
Animals move around a lot, but they also establish patterns. What about big bucks? It’s hard to know where they are when they move at night. Elk? Same thing. Especially in western states that have seen elk herds decimated by wolves, if you want to find where the bulls are, a game camera is critical. We have some buddies who set up four cameras every year because the elk just aren’t in the same places every year. As for everything else, game camera owners get surprised with photos of bear, raccoons, foxes, cougars and other hunters. All good stuff. A game camera is one of the best hunter gifts ever invented! We like the Bushnell 16MP Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 Trail Camera because it covers all the basics at a reasonable price. (For the latest in connectivity, try the Spypoint Link-S 12MP Solar Cellular Trail Camera.)
Some pieces of gear are signifiers — items that remind a hunters who they are, what they care about. They have the power to turn a hunter’s mind away from the stresses of everyday life. A camo lunchbox cooler speaks of the great outdoors and reminds a hunter that it is a tool that enables adventure. Fill a camo cooler with sandwiches and suddenly the whole day opens up. Sure, a non-hunter might scoff at this idea, but it’s the same for other people with other things. Ever have a pair of boots that reminded you to get out on the town? Hit the trails? Go have fun in the snow? Objects can bring meaning — even camo coolers. We kid you not.
While some animals depend on their sense of smell, some have astounding eyesight and can spot the slightest unnatural movement. Good hunters will naturally use a bush or tree or clump of tall grass to break up their silhouettes and obscure themselves from sharp-eyed critters. A lightweight ground blind can extend the areas where a hunter can hunt, letting them set up near trails and natural funnels that don’t have cover for hunters. Odds are, your hunter knows a place where a blind would be handy, making a ground blind one of the more interesting hunter gifts available today.
Most hunters have ear plugs for sighting in rifles or shooting clay pigeons, but what about the hearing damage that can occur while hunting? Sure, most big game hunters don’t fire all that often, but still, over time it could have an effect. Of course, some shots require quick decisions and fast action — so there is no time to mess with ear protection. But every hunter has been in a situation where they had plenty of time to get a smart, well-calculated shot . . . and even bird hunters have stepped into areas where they were 100% sure they’d get into the thick of it. In these situations, it’s hard to beat ear plugs that you can wear like a necklace . . . and then pop in when you need them. For short-term use while hunting, most any banded set will be far better than nothing. Do your hunter a favor and get a set — they make great stocking stuffers for hunters, too.
The Outdoor Edge Razor-Pro/Saw Combo blends the form factor of a traditional hunting knife with an interchangeable razor system for instant super sharpness. We’re big fans for the ease-of-use, plus appreciate the system for hunters who aren’t confident in their sharpening skills, especially out in the field. Oh, one more thing: The price-to-value ratio is fantastic here. What about the Havalon Titan? It’s great, too, as is the new Gerber Vital Big Game Folder. All are can’t-go-wrong hunting gifts.
Most hunters don’t end up in situations where they run out of ammo, but having a few extra rounds of ammunition handy is certainly a good plan. One of the simplest ways is with an ammo holder that slips over the butt stock of your rifle. They’re also available for your shotgun. As a stocking stuffer for hunters, buttstock shell holders tend to be under $15, too.
Every now and then a hunter forgets his hunter orange hat, jacket, or vest. Or a buddy forgets his. And sometimes, well, you get out into the woods in thick cover and realize there are far too many other hunters in this area. So you want more hunter orange coverage. That’s why you take a lightweight safety vest that folds into a tiny package. Plus, it’s great for covering a massive rack of antlers that you strapped to your backpack to haul out at twilight.
Not all other hunters are super smart, so backup orange safety vests always make great stocking stuffers for hunters.
There are all sorts of different kinds of elk calls, including bugles, but every elk hunter ought to have a cow call. Even if you’re after bulls, well, bulls in rut will follow the cows. If you get into a situation where you need to cow talk, your hunter will appreciate the ability to chat it up. In addition, even if your elk hunter has reed calls already, most hunters like having an extra cow call or two so they can throw out different kinds of tones to sound like more than one cow elk.s
The Sceery Special Cow Elk Call is one of our favorites — it’s particularly good at quieter high-pitched cow and calf calls. Note: Cabela’s seems to have plenty in stock at a great price.
One of our hunting buddies with teenage boys was able to grunt back and forth with several bucks last year — a cool experience, for sure. While some hunters barely know how or when to grunt for whitetail, others have used smart calling tactics to lure big bucks into range . . . so do your deer hunter a favor and give them a new tool to try out. Plus, sometimes the grunt is the only thing that will turn a big buck your way — or stop him in his tracks to give you time to take a shot. Better yet, a grunt call is a good learning tool because it can help you understand buck vocalizations, which some hunters can learn to mimic without a call, which again, means a hunter might be able to can stop a walking buck while they have a rifle to their shoulder or their bow at full draw.
We’re not sure why, but we are more accurate bird hunters with fiber optic sights on our shotguns. In green. You can get orange or red or yellow, but for some reason we like the green better. These sights provide a dirt-simple beacon that somehow makes it easier to find a pheasant in flight and line up your shot. We have not yet found a fellow hunter who didn’t appreciate them.
We believe all hunters should have a waterproof or rain-resistant jacket but not all do. So what happens when Mother Nature decides through a fit? Survival might depend on staying dry. More to the hunting gift point here, though: One of our buddies was busted by a bull elk because he was wearing an all-black rain jacket that gave up his position too easily. The Cabela’s Space Rain Jacket — especially in the versatile O2 Octane camo pattern — will work in a variety of terrain, plus it’s light and packable enough to throw into any hunting daypack and barely feel it. We’re huge fans of the price-to-value ratio here. Nab the Space Rain Pants if you can, too — Cabela’s lists the inseam as 31″ but in our experience it’s a bit longer, which helps cover the tops of your boots.
On the flip side of smelling like a buck or doe, smelling like the inside of your pickup and a breakfast burrito is no good either. Enter easy-to-use spray-based scent removers. There are a few good brands on the market, but we’ve had good luck with Wildlife Research Scent Killer Gold. When your hunter steps out of the pickup, he can give himself and his hunting buddies a few sprays and maybe increase their chances of getting a shot when the wind turns against them. Sometimes all you need is an extra three or four seconds. Because many hunters use this stuff up every season, scent killers are a great stocking stuffer for most any elk or deer hunter.
If your hunter gets out into a bad situation with cold and stormy weather, you want him confident in his ability to stop and build a fire to survive. The alternative is to freak out, get lost, overheat with sweat trying to get back to the pickup, not making it and then dying of hyperthermia once the sweat starts freezing. An ability to start a fire is a confidence builder, and while most hunters won’t need to stop and build a fire, having the ability to build a fire can help keep a lost hunter calm in the face of adversity — and that’s the real life saver here.
*Note: If the Titan kit is out of stock, we’re also big fans of the Gerber Fire Starter and the Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel 2.0 with Emergency Whistle.
Heads-Up Alert: Catch-All Gear Bags at Cabela’s
These great little gear bags have plenty of pockets and are durable. They’re great for hunters, fishers and anyone who has miscellaneous gear to keep track of. Best yet, you can nab them for $14.99 — we bought two earlier this year and just added two more. Grab a couple before they’re gone.
Still Looking for Great Hunting Gifts?
Shop Cabela’s for more specific hunting gift ideas: