Another year of putting great upland gear to the test has resulted in a list of field tested items that will make any bird hunter ready to unwrap this holiday. We enlisted the assistance of author and huntress Christine Cunningham to help round out our gift ideas for the female uplander in your life. Here are some gift ideas that shouldn’t need to include a receipt:
The Brute Cooler is appropriately named — hard core, roto-molded, large handles, rubber latches — it’s got it all. Made in America by Brute, a family run company with excellent customer service. The 50 qt. ($319) will keep your birds chilled for at least five days, but go with the 75 qt. ($369) if you want to throw lunch and drinks on board too.
The 1816 by Remington Gunsmith Shirt ($90) and Upland Bird Pant ($158) belong together afield. The shirt is a heavy weight blend of hemp and cotton, feels soft but sturdy enough to be bullet proof. Wore the pants daily for the entire first half of the season in all kinds of weather and cover for over 250 miles. Looks like they may have another 250 miles in them, but it might be time to wash them once. On Cyber Monday 1816 is offering 20% off and Free Shipping to all Ultimate Uplanders. Use promo code ULTIMATEUP
We ended up hunting in South Dakota in some of the most brutal conditions I’ve ever experienced afield. Filson’s Stryker Jacket ($325) gave us the perfect balance between insulation and weight. We had no problem wearing our strap vest over top and staying warm. The best part is we could still smoothly mount the shotgun without feeling over burdened by too many layers.
If you own bird dogs, you need to know about Ruffwear. Their dog boots have been a part of our essential gear for years because of the premium design and construction. And now Ruffwear is making the Mt. Bachelor Pad dog bed ($70 – $90) which shares the same awesome construction of their other products and is perfect for road trips. When you’re done with the trip, throw it in the washing machine and then roll it up and stow it.
Hunting in Alaska this year I went 20 days without a shower. Never again. NEMO makes the Helio Pressure Shower ($99) specifically for these backcountry adventures. It’s also a great solution for hosing off bird dogs that have rolled in mystery stench. Honestly, in Alaska I may have smelled worse than the dogs. The Helio packs up small and tucks away in a corner until needed.
Normally I’m all blast and no cast. But even the toughest bird dogs need to take breaks. Sage convinced us that during these down times we should try slinging some flies. It is addictive. The Sage One Fly Rod and 4250 Reel combo ($995) and a handful of flies gave us everything we needed to chase fish while the dogs recuperated from tough days afield. We’ll have the One in the truck on all our trips now.
The W.R. Case Pheasant Hunter ($120) may look like a collector’s edition but don’t be fooled. The stag handle and fixed blade feel great in hand and are perfect for taking apart birds in the field. When finished filleting, slide it back into the leather sheath, throw it in the truck console and head to the next field.
Turn your vehicle into a mobile bird hunting command unit just by adding the Nite Ize Steelie Car Mount ($35). Whoever is riding shotgun can use a smart phone or tablet with the Socket ($19) to checkout GPS and satellite imagery in real time while headed to the next covert.
I hate when I go to clean the shotgun while traveling and find the bottle of solvent has leaked and is empty. These Hoppes 9 Wipes ($9) put an end to that. And to make sure the truck still has that new gun aroma, I’ve added the Hoppes 9 Air Freshener.
The SportDOG Launcher System ($425) is a great tool for owners of pointing breeds hoping to train steadiness to flush and shot. To add realism to training, the transmitter can signal the launcher to emit the sound of a pheasant cackle or shotgun report eliminating the need for multiple assistants or cap guns. SportDOG continues to make quality products that allow you to fully train your own bird dog.
Whether you have a mom, sister, wife, daughter or girlfriend who is an upland hunter, there’s no shortage of upland stuff they will want or need. Here’s Christine’s picks for the female hunter.
A new pair of shoes does not have to be a pair of luxury heels to be exhilarating. Waterproof and breathable field boots that transition well from the field to the everyday are a great gift for women hunters. My favorite are Dublin River Boots ($199). Another classic is the Le Chameau Jameson Lady Zip GTX ($520). These are not a good choice for chukar hunts in sheep country, but they are a stylish option for most game fields.
A well-constructed wool shooting sweater that keeps you warm in the field can pull double duty as an outer layer. The Beretta Windshield Sweater ($125) with its soft wool exterior and windproof liner, is an attractive mid-layer that acts as a wind block.
My favorite merino socks are from Darn Tough Vermont ($20) and are guaranteed for life. The Merino beanie from First Lite ($35) is available in a variety of colors including Hunter Orange. Merino wool glove liners from Minus33 ($18) are perfect for inside mittens.
Camo Ammo and SureShot jewelry have their gauges covered for shotgun casing jewelry and offer spent shell bracelets, necklaces, earrings and even a bejeweled flask. If you go with the flask, include a bottle of Bird Dog Whiskey.
This year, Syren USA, a division of Caesar Guerini, produced a line of field and target shotguns designed exclusively for women. I reviewed the Syren Elos Venti ($2,980) in 20 gauge this fall and fell in love with it. Why not make it a his and hers shotgun holiday, pickup an Ellipse in 20 gauge too ($4,325).
There’s nothing like curling up by the fire with a good book. Christine’s Women Hunting Alaska ($19) makes a great read for inspiring the women in your life to challenge themselves afield. And Mouthful of Feathers – Upland in the West ($5) is a great compilation by talented writers of bird hunting tales for your tablet.
Be sure to get outside, stretch the legs and burn some powder with family and friends over this holiday season.