This week we decided to help Santa shop for us by putting together the “Sportsman’s Christmas Wish-list.” As I started to list all the things I want to find in my stocking, I thought, “Let’s have some fun and spread this assignment around a bit.” So, I solicited help from outdoorsmen from various walks of life and recreational pursuits, asking them to each share one piece of outdoors gear they’ve used that would make a great Christmas gift. Here’s what they said:
Wally Visneski is a recently retired Pennsylvania State Forester. “When fighting forest fires at night, once that flame is extinguished it gets dark real fast.” Wally recommends a LED headlamp like the one pictured below, available in many stores. “It is also nice getting into that tree stand before daylight, or finding your way back to your pickup truck after dark. I think I own at least half a dozen different styles of head lamps” and deep in the Clarion River forest, these lamps put light exactly where it’s needed. He adds, “In a time of economic uncertainty, we want to buy a practical, inexpensive gift that will be used and appreciated. This can be used year round for hunting, fishing, hiking, any kind of activity where artificial light is a must.” I couldn’t agree more.
Bob Chaplin is a Duck & Goose hunting outfitter and founding father of the Ohio Waterfowler Association. Every week he teaches greenhorns the ins and outs of what can be an intimidating pursuit. He says, “I know of 2 items that should be on the list of anyone just getting into the sport of watefowling. Zink Calls offers duck & goose calls that come in polycarbonate with an instructional DVD to help you with all basics needed to be able to start calling today. And for only $30 you’re not going to break the bank.” Chappy will be at Fin Feather Fur Outfitters in Ashland today (November 23rd) representing Zink Calls, but you can find this call & video package at other stores as well.
Scott Lawski is a Martial Arts instructor and a licensed Paramedic from Columbus. This combination makes him no stranger to open wounds and hurry cases where your average first aid kit just won’t do. He suggests Quikclot Silver for the sportsman; a ready-made trauma dressing with a powdered cauterizing agent that stops the bleeding instantly. One slip of the knife or axe, one unsteady foot on the sharp rocks, a spill on your mountain bike, or any number of mis-haps and you’ll be glad you put this backwoods dressing in your kit. One package is big enough to treat several wounds. I’ve seen Scott in action and all I can say is he knows his stuff.
Eagle Scout Frank Abbey is a Combat Marine from Wellington who bagged a terrific 10 point Lorain County buck a few weeks ago. “For the highadventure minded outdoorsman, is a Jetboil stove. They are compact, lightweight, completely self-contained, easy to use and boil water in a jiffy. Perfect for a heavy duty trek in the backcountry, or for a day on the river, in a hide, or on a lonely ridge somewhere.” When I asked Frank what piece gear came in handy during his deployment to the sand-box he said, “Smartwool socks were a lifesaver. Also a wristworn GPS by Garmin is another awesome piece of gear. My Lieutenant had one and it came through for us more than once.”
Brandon Baker is an expert outdoorsman from Avon Lake with several desert deployments under his belt as well. He echoed Frank’s call on the utility of GPS. “I had a Garmin Rhino hand held GPS that was a life saver a few times, literally. I still use the same one for walleye fishing, and bow hunting in southern Ohio. It’s a very valuable tool.” Brandon and I must think alike because we both recommend the Multitool from SOG, and we both wear the Dirty-Bird line of waterfowl clothing from Browning. “I am telling you from field trial, it is the best on the market. It is 100% waterproof, and blocks all elements.” My personal recommendation; every outdoorsman needs protection from insects, and Therma Cell revolutionized bug control without stinky, sticky sprays. I admit I was skeptical, but nothing else works as well, and you can take it anywhere. In the boat, the field, by the pool, the campground or on a picnic, Therma Cell makes an invisible barrier to mosquitos. If you’re still stumped, give the gift of camping! Gift cards to Ohio State Parks are available online or by calling 866-644-6727 Get Outdoors!