You remember how it was to be a kid around Christmas dont you? You didnt really want socks or pants, even if you had outgrown all your old ones and really needed them. You didnt even want the latest toy that all your friends were talking about. What you really wanted was a new BB gun, fishing pole, or tackle box.
Its the same way today. Even with all the electronic gadgets on the market today there are still a lot of outdoor kids that want nothing more for Christmas than something to use while hunting or fishing. If youre a parent of one of these kids then you might be at a loss for what to get them this year, but really picking a gift for an outdoor kid is not nearly as hard as you might think.
I get this question all the time, "I want to get my kid a new shotgun/rifle but dont know what to get him/her." This is a big issue because of the expense involved but dont worry, you can get a good firearm at a reasonable price with just a little shopping.
There are more options than ever before when it comes to youth sized shotguns. Remington offers the Model 870 Express Youth, Mossberg has a Youth 500 Bantam pump and Harrington & Richardson (also marked New England Firearms, NEF) produces the Pardner Pump Compact. Any of these three pump shotguns are reliable and can be had for $300 or less. My son has shot a NEF 20 gauge pump the past five years with no issues and he consistently shoots as well as the adults around him.
If youre in the market for a youth rifle then your options are just as wide open. Rossi makes a single shot youth rifle that you can get with a scope for $250. Harrington and Richardson has the youth Handi-Rifle scoped for around $300. If you want a bolt action then Mossberg offers a youth version of the 100 ATR for around $300, without a scope.
If your kid would rather spend time on the water than in the woods then Ive got something for them as well. The Pelican Apex is an eight-foot sit on top kayak that fits small kids very well. It is short enough to turn quickly but stable enough to be used to play in the surf at the beach. Add to it a Carlisle Day Tripper paddle and you have a nice inexpensive combination that the kids can use for a few years before they want to upgrade to a larger ride.
Im not forgetting about your little angler either. There are plenty of rods and reels to choose from this time of year but its hard to beat a tried and true Zebco 33 Rod & Reel Combo. If your fishing buddy is a little bit older and prefers a spinning rig, then move them up to the Mitchell 300Xe Rod & Reel Combo. I have one of these and use it for everything from crappie to bass to catfish. It is a very versatile rig that they can use for a long time. If you buy them a rod and reel be sure to throw some line and lures in their stocking so they can rig it up and go fishing immediately because you know theyll want to.
Outdoorsmen are gadget freaks. Now combine this preference for gadgets with the enthusiasm of an eleven-year-old boy and youll soon figure out that little outdoorsmen love gadgets even more than we do. This makes stocking stuffers for younger hunters and anglers some of the easiest gifts to buy because they will love just about anything, but here are a few suggestions.
Does the little hunter in your house like to chase ducks? Then they will love a duck call in their stocking, even if you wont. However, instead of giving them a regular call, the best compromise to keep them busy in the blind (and you from pulling your hair out while they use it around the house) is to give them a Primos Shaker Mallard Call. This call takes little skill to work, meaning you could train a monkey to do it, and wont sound like a herd of third graders blowing trumpets when your kid uses it. Plus you can get one for under $20. If they like to hunt deer instead of ducks then switch this over to a grunt call, either way the kids will play with it all day long.
I have more knives than I need but I still want more. Youre little outdoorsman is the same way. You cant go wrong with a pocket knife or multi-tool in the stocking. Years ago, my son received a small multi-tool for Christmas. A few days later I found screws on the floor all over the house from where he had used the small Phillips head screwdriver on the tool to remove all the striker plates from the doors to every room. You can spend a lot on a multi-tool, but you really dont have to. Gerber has a few offerings (Dime Pocket Multi-Tool, Bear Grylls Compact Multi-Tool) that are compact or kid sized but have plenty of functional tools for under $20.
If you arent comfortable with knives and really dont want to subject yourself to the nonstop noise of a duck or deer call then you cannot go wrong with putting a flashlight in their stocking. Kids love flashlights and if you get them one of their own it might keep them from borrowing, and losing, yours. Head lamps are always a good choice due to the novelty of wearing something on their head. Or, for around $15 you can get them the Streamlight Stylus Penlight. The good part is that it can take a beating without whimpering and the green light wont spook deer so they can play with it in the deer stand without worries.
Buying gifts for outdoor kids really isnt all that hard. Just think about something you would like and then downsize it a little bit. If all else fails, you can always get them a Red Ryder BB gun. Every kid should own one of those in their lifetime.