When it comes right down to it, all you really need to go bird hunting is a license, a shotgun, and some shells (and maybe an orange vest). But where’s the fun in that? The latest and greatest hunting gear can help you—and more importantly, your dad—shoot better, stay more comfortable in the field, and bag more birds. So whether your dad likes to chase pheasants or sit in a blind for Canada geese, these 10 Father’s Day gift ideas will help him do it. And, you might even find something for yourself as your scroll through.
It’s not easy to come up with something new and truly useful for cleaning a shotgun barrel, but the Shotgun Pig is it. Made from spongy polymer and color coded by gauge from 10 to 28, it features a unique magnet tip for attaching patches. The shotgun pig compresses like a squeegee to thoroughly clean the barrel, and it’s made to resist all types of oils and solvents.
This handy plastic ammo can holds four boxes of any gauge shotshell all the way up to 3 ½ inch 10 gauge. The lid has an O-ring to keep all water out, so Dad’s ammo boxes won’t get soggy and fall apart the way they so often do in the duck blind. It comes in O.D. green, either with removable internal dividers or without.
The new, revised, expanded edition of the Total Gun Manual comprises 375 illustrated tips to make Dad a better shot with rifle, pistol, and shotgun. The book covers all the basics of choosing, shooting, and caring for your guns in a highly readable entertaining format. Dave Petzal and I had the chance to go over the original Total Gun Manual and add to it and make it better, and F&S contributors Richard Mann and Jeff Johnston contributed their expertise on handguns and AR-style rifles. If I sound biased here, it’s because I am proud to have my name on this book.
The bird hunting Dad who has everything still needs a new blaze orange vest, because the old ones fade. This bare-bones mesh blaze vest is designed for early and mid-season hunts where it’s easy to overheat while you’re putting miles on your boots. It has an expandable game bag and two snap-closed bellows pockets faced with elastic shell loops. It’s perfect for sharptail, chukar, and early-season grouse hunts, and just fine later in the year over layers, too.
Lightweight and supple are not adjectives you usually associated with briar chaps, but these are made from breathable wader material, making them totally waterproof, yet so cool and comfortable you can forget you’re wearing them as you bust through the thickets. For chaps so thin, they are remarkably tough. They will spoil Dad for anything else.
Rugged Gear’s newest shooting cart carries a whole squad’s guns around the sporting clays course in soft neoprene holders. With six pockets on the back, a gear bag, two drink holders, a towel and small cooler, the cart will carry everything Dad and his buddies need for a day of sporting clays. There’s a protective cover, too, in case it rains. With its camo fabric and large wheels, this cart could also work in the dove field, for those days when one shotgun isn’t enough.
Once assembled, this portable blind holds two people comfortably, or three very close friends. Grass up its stubble straps and it hides well in the marsh or along a fenceline. Three viewing ports let you watch birds without popping your head up, and the shooting door folds open in an instant when it’s time to shoot. It weighs 50 pounds and disassembles completely for transport.
Beretta’s already great 3 1/2-inch A400 Xtreme got a makeover with an enlarged bolt handle, bolt release, and loading port to make it easier to handle in cold weather. The barrel has been redone with a super-long forcing cone to improve patterns and ease recoil. It also has a new stepped rib. The Kick-Off recoil reducing system now features a soft comb insert to make this gun kick even less, if that’s possible. In all other ways, this is the same reliable, cycle-all-loads, do-everything-but-pluck-the-ducks-for-you gas gun that Dad secretly (or not so secretly) desires.
If Dad is hard on his gear, he wants Bigfoots. The B2 version is sort of the Bigfoot lite, not as large as the originals, but with the same stable foot base that eliminates the need for stakes. These decoys are extremely durable, which makes them the top choice for many serious goose nuts who don’t bother bagging their ‘Foots, but just toss them into the trailer. They have flocked heads and come in both active and feeder packs and are exclusive to Cabela’s and BassPro Shops.
The Bug-A-Salt is a spring-powered shotgun that fires grains of salt as its pellets, and it’s deadly to flies at close ranges. The Lawn and Garden version is the 3 1/2-inch magnum of the Bug-A-Salt line, firing a heavier payload for bigger prey at longer distances. I find the Bug-A-Salt better suited for spot and stalk than it is for wingshooting, but either way, it will keep Dad’s hunting instincts sharp and the hunting camp fly-free.