WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Some sound hints for the holiday hunt

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Some sound hints for the holiday hunt


MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! Well, now, how is the Christmas shopping for the outdoor sportsman going?

Last week, we tried to help you with some “stuff” for the fishermen in the family. This week, we are looking at the hunters and target shooters.

Here in Connecticut we have varied hunting seasons, with spring turkey hunting, fall archery for deer, turkey and firearms for gray squirrels, and then upland game, (pheasant, grouse, rabbit and woodcock) and then firearms (rifle and shotgun) for deer, as well as a waterfowl season.

In this day and age, it goes without saying that just about any clothing or boots in camouflage will do the trick, although I still haven’t quite figured out the need for camouflage underwear, but then maybe it’s best not to go there.

When it first hit the market, camo clothing was basic military, but now you can get it in just about any pattern you want. One of my favorite items of clothing is a reversible vest with camo on one side and blaze (fluorescent) orange on the other, because as you move into the varied seasons the blaze orange is mandatory. In fact, I think that anyone going into the outdoors during the hunting season should wear something blaze orange.

Materials used for hunting clothes has now become high-tech, although I still prefer the silence of wool trousers and coats while in the woods. However, we are now in the “Space Age,” and with this has come a whole new concept in what outdoor clothing should be. Of course, none of this is cheap.

A knife for both the hunter, trapper and fisherman is always a great gift, but be careful when purchasing one. Get a brand name to ensure quality. Here’s a great tip from personal experience: Get a knife with a bright colored handle so that if it is placed on the ground in the woods, it is easy to relocate. (Now why would I know that?)

One of the niftiest presents I have found under the tree for my outdoor ventures has been those chemical hand warmers. They come in a package and then are placed in your pockets or gloves. Believe me when I tell you they will do the job of keeping your hands warm.

Something for the deer hunter in the family? Why not a tree stand? They come both in the ladder type, which I have used for many years, as well as climbing tree stands. These put your hunter up in the air high enough so that they are able to spot wildlife movement much easier.

Again for the deer hunter: How about a grunt call used to entice a buck into tagging range? Yes, they do work.

After a deer is harvested, the hard work of dragging them out of the woods begins and, believe it or not, this can be made easier. Try using one of the plastic sleds they use for ice fishing the next time a deer has to be hauled. You will be surprised.

Firearms and archery equipment for the deer hunter are always a welcome gift, but nowadays the purchase of many firearm-related articles and ammunition are not as easy as they once were. My suggestion is that you go to a shooting range like Blue Trail Range in Wallingford and get a gift certificate and let the recipient of the gift get what they want.

And while you are at it, why not get them a gift certificate for some shooting time at the range? Target shooting is still a popular sport.

Contrary to what some politicians try to tell us, not all firearms are bad. Over the years, shotguns have become specialized, especially those used for upland game, waterfowl and wild turkeys. You can even get specialized slug-shooting shotguns for deer hunting that are very accurate.

Don’t forget the waterfowlers in the family. The choices are many, including camo boots and foul-weather garments that will keep a hunter warm and dry in just about any weather.

Duck decoys and Canada goose decoys are big favorites for many waterfowl hunters. While most of the duck decoys are made for floating on water, goose decoys are made to be set up on land and water. And don’t forget a goose call to go with it.

There are also all kinds of portable blinds for waterfowlers, some used on the water and some used in cut-over fields.

There are also all kinds of warm clothing now available for anyone who likes to be out in the winter weather. There is state-of-the-art thermo underwear that will keep them toasty warm while in the duck blind or deer stand.

For the upland game hunter, a game vest to carry their harvested bounty is always a great gift. One in fluorescent orange serves a double purpose because it will cover the fluorescent law during the firearms season.

A good pair of hunting boots made for being out in the cold winter weather is always a good gift and much appreciated by the receiver. And there are stockings that go with them.

If you want to go “All In” for just about any hunter or even a youngster you would like to get started hunting, get a gift certificate from Millstream Hunting and Shooting Preserve in Lebanon, Connecticut.

At Millstream, no hunting license is required. They put out the birds for you to hunt, either with your bird dogs or theirs.

Millstream is a beautiful place to hunt pheasants, Chukar partridge and Hungarian partridge (your choice). They also have special seasons for waterfowl, wild turkey and whitetailed deer, but you do have to have the proper permits and licenses for these type of hunts.

Over the years, I have hunted Millstream a number of times and have quality hunts every time. If this sounds like something you might be looking for, why not give Don Favry a call at 860-836-5744 or 860-295-9974. And, if you like, use my name for a reference.

Hey, gang, MERRY CHRISTMAS from The Old Codger, my Darlin’ Edna and the “Kids” (our two pups, Charlie and Abby). See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops wherever they may be serving this holiday to keep us safe.


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