Last-minute Christmas gift ideas

Mike Bleech Outdoors Columnist

To the rescue once again with last minute gift ideas for outdoors folks. No, not me. The wife, Jeri.

Here is the reality of shopping for Christmas gifts during the last few days before Christmas. Yes, this is when do most of our shopping. Still, women do a huge majority of the hunting. Women give more gifts and they buy a good share, I will guess most, of the gifts men supposedly bought. And I will happily admit that Jeri is a better Christmas shopper than I am. I get some cool stuff. She, from me anyway, gets the same old crap year after year.

All of these gift ideas can be purchased locally.

First on her list is a 12 inch-high, galvanized Tarter Farm fire ring, with a cost of $44.99. We spend many evenings sitting by our backyard fire pit. It is just a bonus benefit that I enjoy splitting firewood, in the quantity need for a fire ring. Ashes go in our composter or directly on the yard since in my area there is only about an inch of topsoil over clay.

Maybe you want to keep your backyard farm off the ground. Then check out either the Landmann Deep Fire Bowl or the Courtyard Deep Fire Bowl. Both cost $149.99, and can be used as a fire pit or for cooking. One nice thing about these units is that they can be moved around. Both have screen lids to avoid sending light embers into the air.

When I was a kid there were packs of feral dogs running around several local areas. They were something to be respected. I was treed a couple of times. From that time on I carried a sturdy walking stick. A walking stick gives your body the third leg and makes walking easier. Bragos Walking Sticks sell for $34 to $39, a tiny price to prevent rolling down a hill.

Several local stores stock bird feeders. I dare say that watching birds is the most popular outdoor activity, or at least the most frequently practiced activity. What better way to watch birds that out your window.

Cool thing, there are numerous styles of a bird feeder. In many cases, different feeder styles are intended to be used with specific kinds of feed. A greater variety of foods will attract a wider variety of birds. (Hint: try a cardinal feeder and a bag of safflower seeds, something the recipient might not already have.) You can not have too many bird feeders, and they do wear out.

You can spend nearly as much or as little as you want for a bird feeder. Smaller plastic finch feeders start at about $8.99 and range to, and beyond, $85.

And, of course, you might as well also buy a bag of bird seed to match the feeder.

Stocking stuffers? Do you want stocking stuffers?

How’s this short list of outdoors items from Coughlin’s: Storm Matches for $4.49, Drinking Water Tablets for $12.99, fire sticks for $2.99, or a whistle for $1.99.

Any hunter will greatly appreciate receiving The Claw rifle sling. How many times in a day do you have to hitch your slingback onto your shoulder? It’s enough to give a goy a sore shoulder. Reduce that by about 90% when you replace your current sling with The Claw. They sell for $24.99 locally.

Anyone who spends time in the outdoors will make good use of a Stanley Thermos. A 16-ounce personal size that costs $22.99 is perfect for hunting. Ice fishers might consider larger sizes that cost to at least $47.

One very cold winter day while checking trail cameras on the Kinzua Quality Deer Cooperative, in McKean County, a large tree fell across the road behind me, a dead end road. I had to get back past that tree, which was about 14 inches in diameter or walk a few miles out. A bow saw and a towing strap got me out of that jam. Bow saws cut very well. The trunk was cut at a strategic point, then a nylon strap was used to secure and tow the tree off the road.

Bow saws are widely available. The one Jeri located cost $14.99. The saw can be used to cut campfire wood and perform other camp and home chores.

Every winter hunter and winter angler will be able to get comforting use from good hand warmers, toe warmers, and body warmers. One trusted brand is Grabber.