Sure, Father’s Day hit the big time thanks to New York retailers and marketers, but that doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy a tie or a shirt this year. Here at OL, we think Father’s Day is just an excuse to get your old man the hunting gear that he’s too stingy to purchase for himself.
So, our editors have put together a list of 18 hunting gear and accessories they recommend for any dad who loves to hunt. And if you’re a father yourself, just show your kids this link and give them mommy’s credit card. They’ll know what to do.
These gear patches are a small gift that make a big difference. This particular pack comes with two black and two clear nylon patches, and will mend everything from tents and tarps to rain jackets and waders. I’ve used the basic black tape on my favorite pair of tattered sneakers and a ripped hunting pack, with great success. All you do is peel, stick, and smooth. If you want to apply a structural repair when you have the time, you can remove the patch without leaving a gummy residue all over your stuff. —Natalie Krebs
This probably won’t become a family heirloom, but I haven’t met a dad yet who doesn’t need another extra pocketknife to stash in his truck or on the workbench. This knife has a kid-friendly price tag, so young gift buyers can afford it themselves. The Mountain Ti has a satisfying weight to it, yet is light enough to tuck away in a pack and forget about until you need it. Plus, it’s got the straightforward profile you want in a backup knife: a belt clip for convenience, a sturdy handle, and a sharp, compact blade.—NK
At the risk of sounding like this is just another species of Fathers Day tie, let me make the case for giving your dad good-fitting socks for every day, not just commerce-driven holidays. First, he won’t be borrowing yours. Second, every single dad in North America needs socks. And lastly, the new generation of high-end socks is unlike anything that came before. These are hard-wearing technical garments, every bit as important to a hunter as good gloves or a reliable rain jacket. Two of the best brands out there are Farm to Feet and FITS, both are made in America and both utilize a blend of organic and synthetic materials to create socks that work as hard as the old man does. —Andrew McKean
Even if your old man is a pro at calling turkeys, he won’t turn his nose up at this push button call. Quaker Boy took an already simple design and refined it into a fuss-free box of awesome. Without an external button the lightweight call yelps when you want it to and stays silent when you don’t. You can tuck it into a vest and run and gun without squeaking or fumbling to secure or release a peg. It might become Dad’s new lifeline for when the trusty box call isn’t pulling in birds. —NK
Most dads like things that were made in America. And the best dads are bowhunters. Combine the goodness of both and you’ve got one sharp gift idea. I’ve personally used the Wasp Drone for a couple of years now and have been nothing but pleased with its flight characteristics, durability, and out-of-the-package sharpness. Crafted in America, the 100-grain heads feature three blades and a cutting diameter of 1 1/8 inches. For a pack of three broadheads and two sets of replacement blades, they’re a heck of a bargain as well. —Tony Hansen
I have a dad. And his truck has a distinct aroma. I call it “eau de olde farts.”
I used to cringe as a kid when traveling to a hunting location in his truck. I was young and full of hunting knowledge. . . and I knew I was spooking plenty of deer after a journey in his rusty Chevrolet.
This little plug-in wonder is the cure for the olfactory. Plug it in and it emits ozone to sanitize the interior of your vehicle.
For duck hunters, bird hunters, and anyone else who routinely totes around a wet dog, this affordable little gadget can also work wonders.
And it’s equally effective on dads who enjoy a little Taco Bell during drive time. —TH
Most noise-cancelling earmuffs suffer from two flaws: they are so big and bulky that it’s hard for a shooter to make appropriate contact with a gun’s stock; and the batteries are routinely run down because it’s hard to know if you’ve turned the units off. This slender, effective noise-cancelling unit from Howard Leight solves both problems. The earmuffs have such a slender profile that it’s no problem getting your cheek tight to the stock of a rifle, and their rounded edges makes moving with, say, a sporting clays shotgun a cinch. The positive on/off switch should solve the dead-battery dilemma. The electronics are finely tuned, amplifying conversation and ambient noise, but dampening down loud noises to a tolerable 82dBs without a lot of distracting static. —AM
The problem with most ultralight backpacking cookware is that it’s just too small. Sure, it’s light, but when it comes time to feed more than a single person, it’s as unsatisfying as a mid-sole blister. Last year I started packing this two-person cookset on my backcountry hunts. It’s actually large enough to feed three people, but what gets my vote, and continued use, is its efficiency. All the pieces, which includes two lidded bowls, a small and very smart stove, utensils, and a 1.8-liter cooking pot, fit in the case, which itself doubles as a capable bowl and water-carrying vessel. The whole caboodle weighs about a pound and a half, and if you want to add a small butane cartridge, you can pack it inside the bowls and add another few ounces. Smart. And light. —AM
I’ve seen a lot of do-everything tools come along, from the original (and still uber-handy) Leathermans to the ridiculously over-engineered units that are great for functionality but far too heavy to actually carry anywhere. This new multi-tool from Gerber strikes the balance between plenty of utility and portability. The 12-piece toolkit has what you’d expect: a pair of excellent blades, very capable wire cutter in the spring-loaded jaws, and bottle opener with slot-screw bit. But what caught my attention is the magnetic bit driver with Phillips bit. The hardened bit is stout enough to handle any job you can torque with the butterfly handle but light enough to pack flat in the included sheath. —AM
You have total and complete confidence in your old man, right?
Well, show him that confidence by getting him a deer cart. Nothing says “I know you’ll kill a big buck in a place your truck has no chance of reaching” better than that.
Featuring 20-inch rubber tires for traversing uneven terrain, the cart can handle up to 500 pounds and folds up for easy transport. —TH
If you spend even a single night out of doors, do your body a favor and spend it on this inflatable backpacking pad. At less than a pound, it’s light enough to carry on even the most spartan backcountry hunt, but what it provides is freedom: freedom to sleep wherever you want, even among the hard-to-reach animals you might be hunting. The NeoAir deflates into a tiny pack about the size of a Coke can. I pack mine even if I don’t plan to spend the night in the backcountry; it gives me peace of mind that I’ll be warm and comfortable even if I get stranded or need to spend an unscheduled night on the mountain. Or in my pickup. —AM
I own two of these targets and would love a third. I’ve shot the fire out of them for about three years now and, honestly, they look darned near like new.
The foam is as good as it gets and arrow removal is pretty easy. No, it’s no the “two finger” variety you’ll find in a bag target but try shooting a few broadheads into those targets and see what happens.
This target handles broadheads with ease. Place one at 25, 40, and 60 yards and you have a backyard range others will envy. It’s not a bargain bag, but it’s an investment that will last. —TH
If your dad is like mine, he hunts with the same old duck decoys he’s had for decades. They worked last season, so they’ll work this season. But decoys have come a long ways in terms of realism, and it might be time for an upgrade. An easy way to inject life into an old decoy spread is with the Puddle Pack. It includes 2 magnum mallards, 4 standard mallards, 4 green-winged teal, 2 wigeon, 2 wood ducks, 2 pintails, and 2 black ducks. Mix them into your existing spread depending on when and where you’re hunting. Put the teal and woodies in during the early season and then swap them out for the magnum mallards when the northern birds start coming down. I hunted with Hard Core dekes last season and can attest that they look ultrarealistic on the water and the included Texas rig tackle is ideal for the run-and-gun waterfowler. —Alex Robinson
If Dad’s in the market for a new big game rifle he’ll appreciate your sense of thrift and quality if you surprise him with a Mossberg Patriot. The Patriot is an excellent rifle for the money, offering solid performance and good aesthetics at a friendly price.
It comes in a whole slew of calibers, everything from standard offerings like .243 Win., .308 Win. and .270 Win., up to thumpers like the .375 Ruger. It is built on a two-lug, push feed action that is fed by a detachable polymer box magazine and has a two-position safety and Mossberg’s user-adjustable trigger.
The stock is built along the lines of what is know as the “American Classic” look, with a flat comb and dimensions that were popularized by the Winchester Model 70 back in the day. It’s stylish, functional and has withstood the test of time. —John B. Snow
This line of scopes from Leupold hits a sweet spot for performance and value in a solid hunting scope. It sports the iconic gold ring around the objective bell and has a well-executed matte finish on the 1-inch aluminum tube.
It comes in a couple different power ranges. The cheapest, at $399, also happens to be the most versatile, with a magnification range of 3.5-10X and a standard duplex reticle. This is perfect for 95 percent of hunting chores and represents a good middle ground. If your focus is on shooting predators at longer distances, consider the 4.5-14X model. There are a couple different reticle styles to choose from with holdovers for different distances that up the price of the scope a bit, but none of them offer any kind of improvement over the basic duplex style, and, in fact, probably create more problems than they solve. —JBS
Marlin’s gone through a few tough years and so, too, perhaps, has your father. Well, brighter days have arrived. Marlin is once again making high-quality lever guns in the factory it shares with Remington in Ilion, NY.
The 336 is a piece of American firearms lore, and if your dad (or you for that matter) doesn’t have one in your collection you should fix that oversight this Father’s Day.
The 336 W is chambered in .30-30, which is one of the most pleasant and effective deer rounds ever.
The rifle comes with serviceable buckhorn open sights, but the receiver is tapped for bases to mount rings and an optic. Should you choose to go this route, consider a low-magnification scope that can be dialed down to 1X. When that mossy-horned buck jumps up in the Tamarack swamp this fall, you’ll be glad you did. —JBS
The Goldenboy by Henry is one of those special guns that puts a smile on the face of whoever shoulders and shoots it. This classic lever-action is chambered in .22 LR and now that the supply of those rimfire rounds has risen to the point where you can actually purchase a brick without having to do some type of semi-shady backalley deal, .22s have become a viable option to add to your collection. And you won’t do any better than this rifle. It has a 20-inch barrel, holds 11+1 rounds and runs as slick as an eel on a waterslide. —JBS
Much as we hate to admit it, our dads are not invincible. But a crossbow can turn an aging former bowhunter into a bowhunter again. How’s that for a great gift?
The G3 Invader package has everything needed to get your dad in woods again. The integrated ACU-52 rope cocking system is self-retracting and makes easy work of the 165-pound draw weight.
It’ll zip bolts (the package includes three) downrange at 330 fps and the included 3X multi-line scope makes putting them on the mark a cinch. —TH