They taught you how to hunt, the right gear to use, and even how to walk quietly through the woods. What will you give them this holiday season?
It’s a pretty good bet your mentor didn’t introduce you to hunting for any material reward. They did it to pass on their knowledge, and probably because they recognized something in you that encouraged them that you’d perpetuate the tradition. Still, it’s more than a nice gesture to get your mentor something for the holidays. It’s a recognition that you appreciate all the time and attention they poured into you.
The gift you select will be as individual as the relationship with your mentor, but here are some ideas that any hunter, especially one who has spent a lifetime in the field, will appreciate.
onX Hunt Elite Mapping Subscription • $100 (per year)
What better gift can you give a hunter than the gift of bearing. An annual Elite subscription to onX provides state-specific maps that detail public-land boundaries, private landowner names, and overlays like hunt-unit boundaries, CWD areas, and even the dates of forest fires, so you can target elk and deer in succulent green-up areas. The Elite subscription allows access to all 50 states, and the Premium subscription ($30) allows access to one state. Or you can purchase a state-specific chip for a Garmin GPS that includes a Premium subscription for $120. Just make sure you buy the right state!
CRKT Hunt’N Fisch Knife • $56
Every person on your gift list deserves a knife, but this one is special. It’s a hard-working, beautifully balanced knife that looks like it costs a lot more than it does. The Hunt’N Fisch (designed by Larry Fischer in Boise, Idaho) comes with a tooled leather sheath, spined groves for blade control, and a versatile drop-point blade. The G10 handle fits the hand well and features handsome brass bolsters. The braided lanyard adds a nice touch to a production knife that looks like it was handmade.
How To Hunt Everything Hardcover Book • $23
I’m obviously biased here, since I wrote most of this book, but it’s a handsome compendium of nearly every huntable species on earth, including a few your mentor probably hasn’t pursued. Whether he or she dreams of hunting Africa, packing in to a Canadian big-game camp, or pursuing a grand slam of grouse, there’s tons of information here along with some magnificent photography.
Leather Cartridge Pouch • $23
Maybe your mentor warned you against stuffing your pockets with loose rifle shells. They can clink and rattle when you move, creating more noise than you want. You can show him or her you got the message by gifting them this beautiful pouch that holds five rounds of their favorite centerfire cartridge. A slot in the back fits belts up to 2 inches wide so that extra round is always at their fingertips.
Whiskey Glass Set • $20
I don’t know if it’s true that whiskey tastes better in a fine glass, but it certainly doesn’t taste worse. This six-pack of non-leaded crystal stemless glasses will look good behind a bar or on the tailgate of your pickup at the end of a long day of hunting. Hopefully, you’ll be right there with your mentor when they break out the Johnnie Walker and raise a glass to toast the thoughtful gift.
Otterbox Elevation Tumbler Mug • $25
The other end of the drinking day, and utility, this mug is a simple reminder of the early mornings and road trips you probably shared with your mentor. There are no shortages of insulated tumblers on the market, but this one gets our nod for its elegant design, excellent lid, and finger-grabbing handle. It comes in stainless steel, but we like the powder-coated colors for extra distinction—like your mentor.
Conservation Group Membership • $35-50
This is one that’s hard to find on Amazon, but it will put more ducks on the marsh, deer in the woods, elk on the mountain, plus more acres to hunt well into the future. It’s a membership to your mentor’s favorite conservation organization. Sign them up for a year—most basic memberships run less than $50 per year, and include a magazine subscription. Your gift, in their name, shows your mentor that you get the big picture of conservation, and our collective responsibility to pull on the oars.
Cast Iron Dutch Oven • $324
Not your standard coal-black Dutch oven, this is cooking gear for the 1 percent. But it’s a marvel of design, moisture-retaining performance, and the perfect kitchen gear for a hunter who also loves to cook game, whether that’s elk stews or perch chowder, venison shanks, or wild-boar chili.
Camp Chef PRO90X Three-Burner Camp Stove • $320
Whether it’s for making camp coffee at the trailhead, crawfish boil for the buddies, or grilling burgers for the family on the back deck, this heavy-duty propane stove will produce the BTUs. There’s nothing fancy about it, just three durable burners on a stand that will hold your biggest pots. A cast-iron griddle works great for burgers, bacon, or backstrap. And it’s a reminder to your mentor that creature comforts come in all sizes and types. Maybe it also gets you invited on his or her next deer hunt.