I loathe wearing ties. You know that scene in Casino Royale when the villain straps a naked James Bond to a seat-less chair and proceeds to whack him in the undercarriage with a rope that would normally be used to secure an ocean liner to a dock?
I’d endure a session of that a year if it meant I didn’t have to Windsor another knot around my neck.
I only bring this up because Father’s Day is a few days away, and ties have become the unofficial mascot of this holiday. For some reason, well-intending wives and offspring continue to think it would be a grand gesture to gift Good Ol’ Dad another reminder that he has a spiffy Power Point presentation on the effects of halogen lighting on employee productivity on Monday.
It’s a noose that isn’t fit for me. Before marriage I had two ties. Only one of them was a clip-on. Since then I’ve accumulated quite the collection - two more and I’ll have enough rayon and polyester strips to lash together to fashion a tether to haul my bow up and down from the treestand.
In the world of hunting, there are too many cool gadgets out there to be trifled with bogus gifts like neckwear. For the purpose of this post, I’ve created a list of awesome gear that will thoroughly excite the modern hunting dad. Men, print it out and post it on your fridge.
Covert Scouting Camera – I have used the DLC Covert Cam since last September and been very, very pleased. The kit is lightweight and compact. Unlike your standard issue trail camera, the unit saves space by housing all it’s adjustments in a remote control. So instead of dials and buttons to adjust the settings, you plug the control into the camera, make your selections and let it ride.
The battery life is outstanding, especially when using the infrared feature for night-time pictures. My first set of batteries lasted three months – it would have lasted longer had I realized that the camera ceased snapping pictures after 15 shots because of a bad digital card and not spent juice. So I can’t say how much longer they’d lasted, though the second set is rolling strong.
I don’t care for the flimsy plastic lid over the battery case - broke that in a hurry. Also, the digital card ejector was ruined pretty easily. Have to take the needlenose with me to extract it – but you can plug a USB cable into the camera and into any number of picture viewers. (There are newer models that have a viewer built-in.)
Therma-Cell – Kids, if your dad doesn’t own a Therma-Cell yet, I’d go ahead and purchase a couple sessions with a shrink just to examine his faculties.
Therma-Cell changed my hunting life, and I assume it has done the same for countless other hunters. One, it is invaluable turkey hunting. Two, it has its place in the early season teal and wood duck phases when awaiting shooting light in those nasty marshes these birds typically inhabit. Three, I love it bowhunting for deer in September and October. Yes, it releases scent but not nearly as much as OFF! or other such DEET-based products. And while bug suits will keep the skeeters from getting breakfast, the swatting of swarms away from your ear and out from under a facemask does nothing to attract deer.
There are mornings I’d rather not hunt than enter the woods without my Therma-Cell.
Under Armour – Whatever the purpose, Under Armour gear works. Their warm-weather shirts and pants wick sweat away effectively. When a breeze blows, it feels like a cool compress is placed on your chest. Likewise, their cold weather gear is far less cumbersome than most thermal gear and will keep you toasty in waders or in the stand.
Sure, Pops may not be in the shape he once was and Mom may chuckle seeing him in it, but Under Armour gear will prove its worth in the woods when fewer people are around to mock him.
NIKON D3100 – For my 30th birthday, my mother bought me one of the beefier models of the Nikon Coolpix line. It was portable and had all kinds of neat settings. Just one problem – it took horrible, horrible pictures. I wanted to smash it after my trip to Montana where a decent camera is required. Actually, the thought of smashing it still warms my heart.
Well, Mamma tried. To their credit, Nikon was excellent about refunding the money. And I’ve long been a fan of Nikon products. So I put the cash into a D3100. And for my photojournalistic needs it has paid dividends.
It’s a little bulkier than I’d prefer for a daypack, but the picture quality is admirable. I like the 18mm objective lens for taking wide-angle, close-up shots that captures the details of harvested game and grip-and-grin hero photos. The 55mm end of the spectrum is a little lame for far-off shots; however, I take far more close-ups than anything. It’s your preference, and Nikon has a selection of other lenses. The price is a tad prohibitive – especially if you’re raiding a piggy bank – but it’s worth it for that buck-of-a-lifetime.
165 Quart Maxcold Igloo Cooler – I’ve long been a fan of so-called coffin coolers for hunting. One, it can carry to camp all your food and perishables and items that won’t be making the return trip. On the way back, it can carry up to 3 whole, dressed deer.
This cooler is the cat’s meow. I dropped two dressed hogs into it last March, and hauled them both whole to the processor, wasting no meat. The hinges are reinforced. And the top arches if you need that extra room for antlers and caped game.
In all fairness, I’ve not yet loaded mine down with drinks and ice to see how long it will keep. And like most coolers I’ve run across that have hatches in the lid, it leaks rain, but it is versatile and I'm rather pleased.
Coolers may not be that exciting to the kids, but they are of great value when you find a durable one.
This is but a rudimentary list of items that I’ve tried and would recommend. We could add many more, but let’s face it – it’s Father’s Day, not Christmas.
As a father-to-be of twins this fall, I’m naturally scared of the future – of my children following in their mother’s formal, socially-responsible sensibilities and the forth-coming collections of ties and homemade crafts.
It may be too late for me. Hopefully, though, this list may inspire the loved ones in your life think a little harder and reach a little deeper in their wallets and piggy banks to show you they like you.
(And if you buy any camo-clad items, make it Mossy Oak!)