Woodland Trails: Christmas ideas for the outdoors person
Got your Christmas shopping done? I've got most of mine done but I have a few more smaller items I need to pick up for my kids. Being lovers of the outdoors, both my children, Josh and Erin, are pretty easy to shop for. I just look around my favorite stores for things I would like to use and then get it for them.
If you are reading this column then you too must have a love for the outdoor life and may also need a few ideas for your Christmas list.
With ice fishing upon us I am going to start out with some of the best ice fishing lures for panfish. Demons, Ratso's, Shrimpo's, Marmooska's, Fiskas, Lunar Grubs and Moon Glows and Glitters are tops.
If you are after walleye I like Buckshot Spoons, Jigging Raps and Eye-Dropper's to hook a shiner minnow on.
For pike stick with Beaver Dam tip-ups with live shiner minnows or sucker minnows. Be sure to check out the little ice fishing tackle boxes to hold all your goodies!
If you need an ice auger, stick with the Lazer hand augers or a Strike Master Lite power auger or one of the Lazer power augers. The Strike Master Lite has a composite auguring component that makes it almost weightless. I also like the Strike Master Electric auger for many good reasons such as no gas leaks, no flooding, no fumes in your shack and easily replaceable battery power packs or power cables to use on your car or ATV battery.
And then there are fish finders. I would have to place Marcum at the top of the list. Their cameras and flashers are the best, most proven types out there. With their higher wattages, they blow the competitors out of the water or would that be off the ice?
The LX-5 is an awesome flasher, and their cameras are the best made! Humminbird has come out with a new great flasher/liquid crystal display unit that is the best idea I have ever seen that is new this year!
So what do you wear on the ice? Ice Armor suits and gloves are about the best there are. Waterproof and windproof they make you warm and dry. Under Armor underwear is tops. The design for close fitting warmth in a lightweight material is the best system I have ever seen. When it gets really cold I'll put some heavy fleece on over the Under Armor because the old layer technique is still the best way to go.
A portable ice shack is a great idea for a family investment. Clam has always been the best and they are still the best with total options and sizes. For a good family shack for four there is the X-4. My son owns the X-2 which is undoubtedly the best two-man shack made.
Otter is a great shack, and Frabill is good shack for the money. With all the new heaters and rope lights, ice fishing today is just not what it was when we used to use empty coffee cans filled with charcoal to keep warm!
Hand-held GPS systems are really taking hold of outdoor folks. Lowrance I-Finders, especially the Expedition, is my pick for ease of use and chip availability. The best chips are Lake Master chips that go into these units and can either be hydrographic based for lake bottom contours or topography based for hunters. Both have tons of info relating to public lands, lodging and roads that even have fire numbers to keep you from getting lost!
The best boots out there are Danner boots. The quality craftsmanship and so many options, styles and soles make them the best there is. For cold feet Smart Wool is a good choice for awesome socks as are the Danner socks.
Snow shoes are fun and it looks like we are going to have a real winter this year with snow! Although the new smaller metal-framed shoes are fun I still prefer the old-fashioned wood and leather shoes for tradition and deep snow because of the size of the foot print that will hold you up. If you like to run, then go for the metal frames and get in a good workout all season long despite snow and cold.
If you are looking at a new gun or bow here are my choices. Thompson Center Encores Pro Hunter is tops. With interchangeable barrels you can go from muzzleloader to 30:06 to .22 rim fire or shotgun in seconds just by changing barrels. Bow Tech has come out with the new Exterminator bow with a roller guard that makes it one of best and fastest bows ever made!
One final item that I love is a trail camera. I like the Moultrie trail cams best. It's fun to see what's going on in the woods at night when you aren't there. I spotted several nice deer, fawns, gray fox, red fox, bear and wild turkey that I had no idea were there. The picture quality is great and the batteries last a long time.
I hope you like my ideas, and if you double up on any of these goodies you can get my address from the paper and send them to me. I'll be sure they get some good use. Merry Christmas!