Clayton: Christmas gifts for the outdoors person

Luke Clayton
Special to the Empire-Tribune
Outdoor folks can be difficult to shop for. Hopefully this week’s column will help you choose the just right gift. Pictured is an innovative Skin M Right gambrel for hanging game animals.

Those of us that hunt and fish and spend a great deal of time in the outdoors can be somewhat difficulty to shop for. Oh, a gift card from one of the big outdoors stores can always be put to good use but really cool gifts under the Christmas tree is what makes a fisherman or hunter smile!

In this week’s column, I’ll list a few items that you might not know about but it’s a good bet the angler or hunter on your shopping list would be thrilled to have. Many of these items are not available at local stores and will have to be ordered but there is still plenty of time to do your shopping via the UPS truck!

Luke Clayton

Electric smoker: For many years I have used my Smokin Tex electric smoker ( to prepare everything from smoked links made from wild game to whole venison hams. These smokers are made to last and make outdoor cooking as easy as adding pieces of wood to the firebox, setting the thermostat and walking away. I often cook meat on low temperature overnight at 190 degrees. No more staying up all night! Smokers come in various sizes. Check out the website to find the one right for your needs.

Skin M Right Gambrel: Mr. Terry House invented what I consider to be the perfect gambrel for skinning game animals. Rather than using hooks, this gambrel uses wire loops to secure the animal while skinning. With three sets of loops, the gambrel is perfect for skinning everything from a javelina to a bull elk. Relatively new on the market, chances are good your hunter may not have heard about this item but it will make his work after the harvest much easier. I love mine! or call 281 799 6169 to order.

Mechanical Frog: Bass fishermen will remember the Mechanical Frog that was popular a couple decades ago, it was on the shelf of every fishing tackle store in the state. Well, the 22-Five mechanical frog is back and improved. It can be ordered online at I’ve fished with these baits a great deal. They can be cast to an open spot in heavy cover and rather than drag them out quickly as with a conventional topwater plug, the 22-Five frog stays in place, in the strike zone to trigger strikes.

Seasonings for making ham/sausage at home: Many of us enjoy making sausage, jerky or smoked fish at home from the fruits of our outdoor adventures. Butcher Packer Supply ( offers everything needed for processing fish and game at home. This is where I’ve purchased all my seasonings for many years. A couple packets of sausage or jerky seasoning in a stocking will put a smile on your hunter’s face and some tasty eating on your plate!

The Game Alert: is a motion activated device by HOGMAN OUTDOORS ( that mounts near a feeder and notifies the hunter when game approaches at night. I’ve used mine several years for hunting hogs at night. With the Game Alert, just set back and relax. A red light glows when hogs come in to feed letting you know it’s time to get the rifle/bow ready for the shot. The light does not spook game but rather lets the hunter know when game approaches, then the hunter’s weapon mounted red or green light or night vision is used to make the shot.

A guided hunting or fishing trip: Even the most veteran outdoors person enjoys the luxury of an outing with a competent guide. If the outdoors person on your shopping list is a fisherman, consider what species he or she favors and get a gift certificate from a guide that targets that species, the exact date for the trip can be worked out later. If you are shopping for a hunter, a guided hunt for wild hogs, deer, turkey or exotics might be in order. If I can help you find the right trip, feel free to email me through

Cast iron cookware: Most outdoor types enjoy cooking outdoors and nothing beats cast iron for that. Cast iron Dutch Kettles and skillets are widely available at outdoor stores. Lodge is well known as a manufacturer of quality cast iron cooking implements but there are many brands on the market. You might consider getting a pair of heat-proof gloves as a bonus gift for your outdoor cook, an Amazon search will provide you with many options. A trivet is a raised rack that keeps flat bottomed Dutch kettles up off the coals and serves double duty as a place to keep cookware off the ground.

Through the years, I’ve had readers quiz me as to which firearm or bow to choose for a Christmas gift. I always try to dissuade them from going out and buying a gun or bow without first knowing exactly what suits their outdoors person’s needs. Sometime a bit of detective work is in order; as the recipient of the gift’s best hunting or fishing buddy to bring up the subject in casual conversation to determine the ideal gift. 

Regardless the gift you might choose, it’s a good idea to get it ordered soon. I’m told shipping will be a bit slower this year.

Email outdoors writer Luke Clayton via his website