Country Ideas For Outdoor Christmas D&

By Lynn Burkhead, Herald Democrat

In case you haven't noticed, there are less than two weeks of shopping time remaining until jolly old St. Nicholas loads up his sleigh at the North Pole and heads to Texomaland for Christmas Day.

If you're needing to give Santa a little gift giving help this holiday season, here are a few ideas to consider for packages to place under the Christmas tree:

1. I've never been shy in my belief that Charles Allen's Knives of Alaska cutlery company in Denison is among the best in the business (ditto for his DiamondBlade company too). Just last week, I had the chance to borrow and try out a KOA product I'd never used while working on a whitetail. The sharp little Cub Bear Caping Knife (a part of several combo packages including the new Caribou Combo, which is on sale for $154.99) excels in close-up work on a whitetail cape and will be a fixture in my hunting pack from now on. There are plenty more worthy products in the KOA line-up, ranging from hunting knives to kitchen cutlery to everyday kind of pocket knives (the Strike Force Auto with a serrated blade might be the best I've seen). For information, visit KOA at North Texas Regional Airport, check out the company's Web site at, or call them at 903-786-7366.

2. For the bowhunter and/or deer hunter on your list, a visit to Big O's Archery Shop in Sherman (1520 Texoma Parkway; 903-870-2114) is like walking through the old Sears, Roebuck and Co. Christmas Wish Book catalog! For starters, he's got a full line-up of new 2018 adult compound bows including the Mathews Triax, the BowTech Realm, the BowTech RealmX, and the Hoyt REDWRX. Cantrell also carries a solid line-up of youth bows too. For the late season bowhunter on your list that is still working on an unused deer tag, something warm from the Sitka Gear Whitetail clothing line-up is a good choice. Need a stocking stuffer? Cantrell recommends a Limb Saver Kodiak Sling ($29.99), an Outdoor Edge Razor Lite or Havalon Knife ($35-$50), a treestand bowholder ($15-$20), and a broadhead case (($3-$5). Finally, consider giving private shooting lessons where Cantrell — who has been in business since the 1980s — can help your favorite archer hit the bull's eye more often in 2018.

3. For the bass fisherman on your list, how about something from Academy Sports & Outdoors in Sherman where longtime Texoma resident Mike Hoops is the manager? The store is full of baitcasting reels, graphite rods, and lures, any of which would be welcomed by the angler on your list. Specifically, the H2O Express HD Mettle baitcasting reel features an aluminum frame, a six-pin centrifugal braking system and 10 ball bearings to make this a smooth, durable and strong option for bass anglers. Retailing for $79, visit the local store, call 903-813-3860, or visit online at If Academy doesn't have what you need, don't forget Dave's Ski and Tackle in Denison and Bass Pro Shops down in the Metroplex.

4. Toxey Haas' Mossy Oak ( camouflage is always a good gift choice. If you've got a deer hunter on your list that likes hunting from a box blind or a Double Bull style ground blind, it's hard to go wrong with Mossy Oak's new Eclipse pattern. Introduced in August, Eclipse features a black overlay version of the company's popular Break-Up Country pattern with a few cutout camo snippets of the pattern thrown in for good measure. Where regular camo patterns standout in the dark confines of a blind, Eclipse erases the human form in the shadowy recesses where a hunter is waiting for the buck of a lifetime. With a number of hoodies, quarter-zips, shirts, pants, and hats — most featuring prices in the $20-35 range — look for the Eclipse pattern at your local Walmart store or at the online Mossy Oak store at

5. If you're looking to impress the deer hunter on your list, you can never go wrong with a Browning Trail Camera, either the Strike Force, the Strike Force Pro, or the Command Ops. Ditto for either a Primos Double Bull ground blind or an Ameristep ground blind. For the hunter that likes to climb trees, a River's Edge ladder stand or a Millennium M50 hang-on stand can be good. And if your hunter chases whitetails in a part of Texas where there aren't many trees, how about a quad-pod stand? These kinds of products can be found locally at Big O's Archery, Academy, Tractor Supply, and Orscheln Farm and Home (in Durant).

6. After surviving Hurricane Harvey earlier this year, Charlie Holder and his Groves, Texas based Sure-Shot Game Calls company are back to the business of building and selling duck calls. Years ago, 1959 world champion Jim “Cowboy” Fernandez founded the business and pioneered the time-honored walnut-wood double-reed Yentzen Classic ($65.98). In recent times, Holder and his crew have taken the design further with the release of the Yentzen ONE2 ($159.99). With a new reed system, a redesigned Screw Lock system, and a reengineered tone chamber, the ONE2 model can hit everything from loud highballs to intermediate feed chuckles to low raspy contented quacks as you finish the mallards over a decoy spread. With free ground shipping right now, visit the Web site at or call 409-962-1636.

7. Staying with the waterfowlers on your shopping list, another set of duck decoys is never a bad gift idea. For starters, how about the Avian-X Central Flyway Pack of three gadwalls and three wigeons, both designed to bolster the standard mallard decoys that most local waterfowlers already have in their decoy bag? If that sounds intriguing, check for availability at the Allen or Fort Worth Cabela's store locations. Other places to look include either Mack's Prairie Wings (, 877-622-5779) or Rogers Sporting Goods (; 816-883-4545).

8. As I mentioned in this space a year ago, it's hard to beat the products from Austin-based YETI Coolers ( From the company's 14-ounce YETI DuraCoat Rambler Mug ($24.99) to the 36-ounce YETI Rambler thermos bottle ($49.99) to the YETI Hopper Two 30 soft-sided cooler ($349.99) to the deer camp friendly Tundra Series hard-sided coolers ($349.99 for the 45-quart model), something from YETI is sure to bring a holiday smile. To see these products and more, check out any of the local YETI dealers like Academy in Sherman.

9. For the hunter and/or angler on your list, consider giving a taxidermy gift certificate. I checked around with some friends and got the following recommendations. For deer, longtime Trenton resident Rodney Alexander is a solid choice (see his Facebook page or call 903-640-3508). Another top choice for deer according to Dale Moses is Roy McCraw of Resurrection Taxidermy in Bonham (see his Facebook page or call 903-449-3330). For big game, Doug Rodgers recommends Rocky Stanley of Rocks Taxidermy over in Montague (469-524-9665). For waterfowl, Brock Benson recommends Pat McGruder of Avian Arts in Frisco (, 972-832-1244) while Jim Lillis recommends Jeremy Holmes in Sherman at Fallen Feathers Waterfowl Taxidermy (see his Facebook page or call 903-328-0541. For turkeys and upland birds, Rodgers recommends Terry Covington of Outpost Taxidermy in Little Elm (972-346-2825). For fish fiberglass replicas, I'd recommend the Pierce brothers at Lake Fork Taxidermy (, 903-765-9999).

10. Finally, you can never go wrong giving a good guided hunting or fishing trip with local guides here in the Red River Valley. On the fly fishing side of things, a trip (or fly casting lessons) with Tom Bean's Steve Hollensed ( is a good bet. Ditto for a trout fly fishing trip on the Lower Mountain Fork River with Rob Woodruff ( and his wife Jenny, also a guide on the Lower Mountain Fork River ( For Texoma stripers, Bill Carey's Striper Express (; J.D. Lyle (; John Blasingame (; and Mike Beeson ( come to mind. Hunting guides include Dakota Stowers of North Texas Outfitters (ducks, geese, turkeys, hogs, deer — and Erik Burns and Clint Johnson of Bullzeye Outfitters (ducks and geese —

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