Father’s Day is less than three weeks away. You still have time to order online and avoid that day-before emergency dash to the hardware store for a last-minute gift! If your dad is the hunting, shooting, outdoors type, here are 12 things he’d love for Father’s Day this year — starting with the all-else-fails, never-go-wrong option:
You can never have too much, you know. I learned that lesson during the great .22LR shortage of 2013 (and ’14 and ’15…), when I had to go crawling to my Dad to beg for some ammo so my kid could keep up her monthly plinking sessions. “Didn’t I tell you to stockpile?” he said as he pulled two bricks out of the gun safe for me. “How do you like me now, huh?”
Buy Dad some ammo. Spend as much or as little as you want. And even better, take him to the range Father’s Day afternoon and shoot with him.
2. A Knife That Works
I got Dad a good knife after the last time we turkey hunted together and I asked to borrow his knife to dress out my gobbler. He handed me a tool box full of cheap, old, dull, crappy knives. I bought him a new knife after that — a good one.
The CRKT Ruger-branded line offers plenty of options that are durable enough to take out whatever Dad wants to dish out. The Accurate model was designed by master knifesmith Bill Harsey as a simple fixed-blade hunting knife. With a full-tang handle and 8Cr13Mov Hardness 58-59 HRC Steel blade, it’ll handle just about field-dressing task. Available in a drop-point or a rising-clip blade for around $100.
3. Hot Soup On A Cold Day
A few months ago, Dad saw a collection of Yeti Rambler Bottles on my kitchen counter. He was none too subtle with his “hints” about “Boy, I sure could use that middle-sized one.” He’s a contractor who works outdoors when he’s not hunting, so he needs to keep hot stuff hot in winter and cold stuff cold in summer — not to mention packing coffee or soup onto a deer stand during frigid Pennsylvania winters.
I’ve been field-testing the Rambler Bottles (pictured above) for a few months now, and I have to say, they’re ridiculously handy. Spill-proof, leak-proof, keeping coffee hot well into the afternoon — what else do you want? They come in three sizes; for all-day treestand sits or long days in the duck blind, go with the $60 36-ounce or the family-sized 64-ounce for $90.
4. A Multi-Tool That’s Not Over-The-Top
All outdoorsmen and women need a good multi-tool to get them out of a minor jam every now and then. You can go hog wild getting every imaginable tool in one heavy package, or you can keep it simple and get everything you need and nothing you don’t with Gerber’s lightweight (9 ounce) Multi-Plier 600. No corkscrews here! Just the tools you use most in a quality stainless steel, featuring replaceable tungsten carbide wire cutters and Gerber’s one-hand opening pliers. About $90.
5. A Better Way To Fix His Stuff
Stuff gets torn up in the woods — you snag your jacket on a limb and rip it, drop your backpack and poke a hole in it, discover a leak in your waders on the coldest day of the year, etc. Tenacious Tape Gear Patches offer an easier way to fix those minor annoyances on the spot. They’re like duct tape, but better. Made of tough fabric with ultra-aggressive adhesive, these patches can go on just about anything to patch a hole — no sewing, no ironing. They’re waterproof, so they’ll stay put in the washing machine, and because they come in different shapes, you can even use them to personalize your gear — whether there’s a hole to mend or not! $10 a pack in black or camo.
6. A Cool Shirt He Won’t Roll His Eyes At
My dad, being old-school and very much a man’s man, rolls his eyes at anything his daughters or wife consider “cool” when it comes to his clothes. If yours is like that, don’t tell him the Vintage Duck Shirt from Walls (pictured above) has a vintage-hip flair. Just tell him it’s warm and soft, with fleece lining on the inside, and durable, with lots of useful pockets and extra room in the elbows and back. It’s got a weathered, lived-in look that Mom can live with. $81.
7. Protection For The Hearing He Has Left
My dad is like most men of his generation who have hunted their entire lives — he suffers a lot more hearing loss than he’s willing to admit, and he’s reluctant to do anything about it (like get hearing aids). We’re all going to be in that boat eventually if we don’t take care of our hearing every time we shoot.
There’s no shortage of hearing protection on the market in all price ranges. For those who are already having a hard time hearing gobbles two ridges over during turkey season, electronic hearing protection is where it’s at. Muffs like those from ProEars work well, and I’ve had great luck with the custom-fitted options from WildEar. The Master series is molded to your ears (you do this yourself at home and mail it in to have electronics added; it’s surprisingly easy) and feature four digital hearing enhancement programs to adjust the volume of everyday sounds up to five times normal volume. Sound Guard protects your ears from gun blasts, and because they’re custom-fit, they’re super comfortable for all-day wear.
At $1,099 a pair, this is a major splurge for Dad. If he wants custom-molded comfort but doesn’t necessarily need sound amplification, try the non-electronic model from WildEar. For $149, Dad will get soft silicone custom-fit hearing protection with 26dB noise reduction rating in a variety of colors and options.
8. Shooting Glasses He Can Wear To Work
If Dad’s hearing is taken care of, consider protecting his eyesight with a pair of quality shooting glasses. The sunglasses from WileyX are all ANSI certified as protective eyewear, but many of their models are made as streetwear, so they can act as Dad’s everyday shades. No swapping out necessary when he gets to the range. There are a million different combinations of frames and quality lenses to choose from. Check out the under-the-radar Black Ops Revolvr line (pictured above) for around $80.
These days, trail cameras are a little like ammo — you just about can’t have too many of them. Today’s models are lighter, smaller, and more durable than ever. Wildgame Innovations’ bargain Terra 5 (pictured, left) will run you just $50 and offers infrared LEDs, less than 1 second trigger speed, video capability, 5MP still images and a 50-foot illumination/detection range.
If you’ve got more money to spend, take a look at the Moultrie Panoramic 180i, which lets you capture a full 180 degrees with 14MP resolution and invisible infrared illumination. This one will run you about $300.
10. A Safety Harness
Everyone who hunts off the ground needs one, period, and they don’t last forever. For $130, get Dad the Hunter Safety System HSS-Hybrid Flex, which offers a safely snug fit without restricting movement. No dangerous dangling straps or weave-through buckles to get in his way; just a trim design with tons of pockets to keep him comfortable and safe on stand.
11. A Membership To A Conservation Organization
100 years ago, whitetail deer and wild turkeys were all but eradicated in North America. Waterfowl populations were decimated by market hunting, and big game species were struggling to recover from the rapid westward expansion of the 19th century. Conservation-minded sportsmen petitioned the Feds to change that with legislation, and those populations all rebounded. Today, conservation organizations like the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and more continue the work necessary to provide the habitat and responsible protections these species need to continue to thrive. For around $30 or $40, sign Dad up as a member to an organization that helps the species he hunts most.
Dad can charge his phone, camera, GPS or other electronics anywhere with the EnerPlex Kickr IV. It uses solar-on-plastic technology to give you 6 watt true output — it’ll charge USB devices at the same rate as a wall outlet. It’s water-resistant and the company says it will withstand shocks, drops and “minor punctures,” not that we recommend testing that out. Dad can throw it in his backpack and never notice it’s there — it folds up and weighs just 0.6 pounds! $99.