Game & Fish Editors Choice Christmas Wish List 2019

Our editors share their picks for the hunter or angler on your holiday gift list.

Game & Fish Editors Choice Christmas Wish List 2019

Photo by Ron Sinfelt

Game & Fish Magazine editors love to hunt and fish, too. And we love new gear.

Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller and editors Dr. Todd Kuhn, Drew Warden, Josh Ward, David Johnson and Scott Bernarde share their picks for great Christmas gifts for 2019. Some are can’t-miss items and stocking stuffers, others are great in the field or on the water, and all are just plain cool.

Thiessens Heavyweight Bibs and 3-N-1 Parka

G&F Editors Holiday Gifts
Thiessens Heavyweight Bibs and 3-N-1 Parka

All-day sits in a treestand, ground blind or elevated box blind require comfortable clothing—both in terms of fit and warmth. I spent four consecutive, cold, windy days in a box blind this season in western Nebraska in late November wearing Thiessens’ Heavyweight Bibs and 3-N-1 Parka and never once got cold. The 300-gram Thinsulate insulation in the core areas proved quite helpful, as did the proprietary Wind Defense technology. The bibs and parka both have articulated designs, so even though you’ve got heavy clothing on, you don’t feel too restricted. $179.99/Bibs, $199.99/Parka; thiessens.comDW

Academy Outdoors CCA Dura-Hold Grip Pliers

G&F Editors Holiday Gifts
CCA Dura-Hold Grip Pliers

Having a pair of pliers that can handle multiple tasks is critical on the water. This pair, available from Academy offers a comfortable, textured grip for secure purchase and even comes with a handy molded nylon sheath for carry. The really nice thing about these pliers, though, is its dual cutter design, which features a center wire cutter as well as integrated tungsten cutters. This means it’s up the task whether you’re trimming mono, fluoro or braided line. $24.99; academy.comDW


Mobile Warming Premium BT Socks

G&F Editors Holiday Gifts
Mobile Warming Premium BT Socks

Socks are typically the standard fallback of the last-minute shopper, but no one will mistake you for an unimaginative aunt when you present a pair of these babies from Mobile Warming. Each sock uses a slim, rechargeable 3.7-volt lithium-ion battery to deliver heat to the toe area. The wearer can control the temperature via an app that connects to the socks wirelessly through Bluetooth. Four heat settings range from 135 degrees, lasting up to four hours, to 98 degrees, which a single charge can maintain for up to 11 hours. The cotton/nylon/elastic fabric is comfortable and anti-microbial, and the integral wires leading to the heat zone under the toes don’t tangle. The socks aren’t bulky, and they fit as well as the ones you’re wearing right now. We used a pair on a recent whitetail hunt in Saskatchewan, where the temperature dropped below -10, and didn’t get cold feet all day. $129.99; mobilewarming.comAH


Ontario Knife RAT Folding Knife

G&F Editors Holiday Gifts
Ontario Knife RAT Folding Knife

Smooth feeling and looking is this popular folder from Ontario Knife Company. The RAT series of folding knives are high-quality folders suitable for everyday tasks at a great price. Made of AUS 8 stainless steel, the 3 1/2-inch blade (overall length of 8 1/2 inches) can take a surgical-like edge and is easily re-sharpened. Other notable features on Ontario Knife Company’s RAT Folder: Durable, hardened stainless-steel liners; heavy-duty liner lock for a stout lock up; lightweight Nylon 6 handles for a solid grip in wet or dry conditions; dual thumbstuds for easy left- or right-hand operation; open-post design for easy cleaning; four-position clip. $48.95; www.ontarioknife.com — SB

Cuda Titanium Bonded Braid Shear

G&F Editors Holiday Gifts
Cuda Titanium Bonded Braid Shear

A must-have for any angler who uses a lot of braided fishing line — freshwater or saltwater — is a good pair of shears. Any angler who forgot the braided-line cutter at home, or doesn't even have one, wishes they have one nearby when re-tying. Cuda's 5.5" Titanium Bonded Large Braid Shear fits the need very well. Large, non-slip handles allows great control, and the dual-serrated, stainless-steel titanium-bonded blades are tough, sharp and leaves a clean cut — even on mono. $9; cudabrand.comSB

YETI Rambler 24 oz. Mug

G&F Editors Holiday Gifts
YETI Rambler 24 oz. Mug

The best kind of coffee is coffee that’s hot and plentiful. Enter the new YETI Rambler 24 oz. Mug. It holds a generous serving of your favorite beverage (even cold ones), keeping them the hot while you enjoy them at your pace. Built-in handle enhances stability and eliminates the need to buy an accessory one. One piece of advice: buy the accessory Magslider Lid ($9.99) for this one. The closable lid keeps coffee hotter for longer and lessens the potential for spilling. A wealth of colors and customizable options available online. $29.99; yeti.comJW

Outdoor Solutions Long Range Shooting School

G&F Editors Holiday Gifts
Outdoor Solutions Long Range Shooting School Facebook image

Gifting a trip to one of Outdoor Solutions Long Range Shooting Schools offers expert, one-on-one instruction to students of all shooting skill levels. Students learn how to perfect their shooting form and shoot accurately to extended distance with amazing consistency. Targets are ranged from 100 out to 1000 yards. The schools (Utah, Texas and Michigan) are geared toward hunters, with shooting equipment provided by manufacturing partners. Students shoot Remington’s Model 700 5-R Gen2 chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor with suppressors from Advanced Armament and factory ammo from Hornady and quality optics from Zeiss. outdoorsolutionscorp.com/long-range-schoolsTK


Take Smartphone Photos to Max

G&F Editors Holiday Gifts
Hand-grip smartphone stabilizer (Photo by Scott Bernarde)

Here’s a handy gift idea for hunters and anglers who use their smartphones to record their successes. Everyone knows how difficult it can be in the field or on the water to take great images while holding your phone by its edges. A simple hand-grip phone stabilizer is the way to go. You can pay hundreds for a motorized Gimbal-style stabilizer, but for much less, I’ve found a great hack. Static smartphone holders — such as this one found on fanataseal.com — still gives you a solid hold on the device, easier clicking of the shutter button, and even a few extra inches of reach for selfies. A low-tech choice in a high-tech market, but I have one with me every time. $19.99; fantaseal.comSB

Shimano SLX DC 150 Reel

G&F Editors Holiday Gifts
Shimano SLX DC 150 Reel

Shimano’s new SLX DC 150 baitcasting reel turned heads at this year’s ICAST, the world’s largest sportfishing trade show. It lived up to the hype when I put hands on the reel this fall while bass fishing in South Texas. Shimano’s I-DC4 Digital Control Braking technology allows for smooth, backlash-free casting courtesy of the microcomputer that monitors spool speed 1,000 times per second to apply proper braking and optimize distance. The SLX DC 150 is super easy to cast, and should be even for baitcaster newbies. Available in three different gear ratio options: 6.3:1, 7.2:1 and 8.2:1. $189.99; fish.shimano.comDW

Expert Info Every Month

G&F Editors Holiday Gifts
Give a subscription to Game & Fish this Christmas.

Give the gift of knowledge for hunters, anglers and shooters with a subscription to Game & Fish Magazine, America’s only national outdoors magazine with a focus on regional content. Our experts cover everything from gear, to tips and tactics, to great places to hunt and fish. We show you what to use, how to use it and how to improve your skills. $10/year; subscribe here  — SB


Hunter Safety System Pro Series with ElimiShield

G&F Editors Holiday Gifts
Hunter Safety System Pro Series with ElimiShield

Give the gift of safety this year. It’s a well-known fact that treestand falls are a leading cause of injury and death among hunters. Many of these accidents might’ve been avoided had hunters been wearing a fall arrest system (FAS) such as the Pro Series from Hunter Safety System. ElimiShield Hunt Scent Control technology is heat-fused into the harness for odor protection, and a built-in USB port is included for connecting portable devices to a separate USB battery pack (not included), a nice feature for all-day sits. Key straps are included with the device and an included DVD illustrates how to properly use every aspect of the Pro Series system. Once familiar with proper usage, the harness is quite easy to use. $139.95; huntersafetysystem.comDW

Sitka Dakota Pants

G&F Editors Holiday Gifts
Sitka Dakota Pants

Marketed as waterfowl apparel to wear beneath waders, Sitka’s Dakota pants might be one of the most versatile in the company’s extreme solid lineup of quality products. Though available in Waterfowl Marsh and Waterfowl Timber patterns, the Mud color is suitable for everything from casual Fridays at the office to walkabouts for big game. Well built, quiet and warm, the Dakota Pant stretches in the right places and features storage options to keep things handy for hunters. $299; sitkagear.comJW

Mystery Ranch Treehouse Pack

G&F Editors Holiday Gifts
Mystery Ranch Treehouse Pack

Sometimes keeping gear accessible can be a challenge when sitting in a treestand. The Treehouse pack from Mystery Ranch is purpose built for those hunting from elevated stands. The face panel is accessed via two zippers and opens at a 45-degree angle, with two rigid stays keeping the bag from opening completely and dumping the bag’s contents to the ground below. Interior fabrics are quiet, and the pack has MOLLE webbing on the sides of the interior and ample zippered and sleeve pocketing for gear. Hunters planning on hiking in to access their hunting spot can also securely attach their bow or a light treestand to the pack using the front compression straps. Meanwhile, the waist belt system with belt wings allows you to position the load evenly for comfort. $250.00; mysteryranch.comDW

3 Stocking Stuffers That Will Get Used

G&F Editors Holiday Gifts
3 Stocking Stuffers That Will Get Used

You can’t go wrong with these stocking stuffers. All will be used, that’s for sure. 1. ThermaCell refills. Anyone who has a ThermaCell insect repeller will need to refill it to continue to keep the bugs away. (If your gift-getter doesn’t have a ThermaCell, it’s a gift that easily fits in a stocking … by the way). 2. Box of .22 shells: .22 rifles are fun for hunting and target shooting. That means the supply runs out frequently. 3. Batteries: Nothing is more annoying than finding out your light doesn’t work at the fishing dock or the way to the treestand. A pack of sizes AA, D, C and 9V will be appreciated. — DJ

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