Christmas gift guide for duck and deer hunters

It’s easy to buy great Christmas gifts for hunters.

Christmas will be here before you know it, and I’m guessing that a whole lot of you haven’t finished shopping, especially if you’re looking for the best hunting gifts. With that in mind, I’ve put together a list that might make your shopping a little easier.

On the low end of the gift buying cost are lots of things you might consider. There are flashlights, pocketknives, and camouflage clothing like hats, shirts and pants. Socks always make a good gift, as do small gadgets like hand warmers and how-to books. All these things are easy to find and won’t break the Christmas spending budget.

Probably the best thing you could ever give somebody, especially a family member, is a gun. I’ve still got my first gun from a Christmas many years ago. It’s a single shot .410 that I still use for squirrel and rabbit hunting.

The best gun you can get a young hunter is a .410 or 20 gauge. These guns have very little recoil, are user friendly and can be used to hunt small game and birds like doves and ducks. Plus, they are relatively cheap. Probably the best all-around shotgun you can buy is a .12 gauge Remington 870 pump. This shotgun will last forever and is tough as nails. It’s perfect for hunting ducks and geese, and is usually under $300.

On the topic of duck hunting, one of the most popular gifts is a Mojo motion decoy. Cost is around $100 to $200, but this is the No. 1 decoy out there.

Another great thing for duck hunters are waders. I’ve been using the RedHead brand for years. They come in the best camo patterns and are tough and comfortable. Cost for a good pair of waders is anywhere from $150 to $300.

There’s no way we can talk about Christmas gifts without including deer hunting gear, and it all starts with a rifle. Buying a rifle is no easy task if you’re not into the hunting scene. But this is a gift that will always be cherished. My advice is to go to a reliable gun dealer. They can point you in the right direction. One of the best is Leger’s Gun Range west of Beaumont. I’ve bought many guns from Randy Leger. This is a shop where you can buy a rifle, scope, ammo and a gun case. Talk about the ultimate gift – that’s it. Some of the most popular calibers for deer hunting include a 30.06, .223, .270 and a 7mm Magnum.

Other than rifles for a deer hunter, you might consider giving them a game camera, a pop up blind, a corn feeder, rifle scope or binoculars.

If you get in a bind and seem to be running out of shopping time, remember that the top three gifts for hunters include a knife, binoculars and gift cards from your local sporting goods dealer.

Texas angler wins Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing

Tyler Courtney of Lubbock will be upgrading his 1998 Triton for a 2016 version after winning the grand prize in Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing, a fantasy game that follows the Bassmaster Classic and the Bassmaster Elite Series.

Before each tournament begins, fans predict the best angler in each of five groups, or “buckets,” and are awarded points based on the angler’s finish. Big prizes are awarded to the top player for each event and to the best overall player of the season.

Courtney beat more than 30,000 other Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing players and won a Triton boat with a Yamaha motor, a trailer, MotorGuide trolling motor and a Lowrance Mark 5X. His prize package is valued at $37,793.

Courtney, 28, had never even played Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing until this year. He stays busy with his sales job, but he did give his Fantasy Fishing picks some time during the season.

“I would spend 15 or 20 minutes on the Monday before a Bassmaster Elite Series event, looking up each angler’s past results on a lake,” said Courtney. “When I got to the lower buckets, I would choose an angler who lived close to the lake, hoping he would have some experience there.”

Playing Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing is free. The season for 2015 is complete, but play will resume in early 2016 to kick off the Classic and the Bassmaster Elite Series season.

How ‘hawkward’

As a Van Zandt County game warden and a Fannin County game warden checked bow hunters in Van Zandt County, they got a call for assistance from the Sheriff’s Office. Upon arriving at the scene, the wardens found sheriff’s deputies had detained a man on warrants out of Van Zandt County. They also saw something interesting hidden in the man’s vehicle: a sharp shinned hawk in a bucket covered with blankets. When the wardens questioned the man about the hawk, he admitted to shooting it that morning with a 12 gauge shotgun. The man said he was on his way to dump the bird when he was pulled over. The wardens booked the man into the county jail on his outstanding warrants, with an additional charge of possessing a raptor.