I have a confession to make. I’m a hoarder.
And, if you’re as passionate about the outdoors as I am, chances are you’re a hoarder, too.
In addition to a love for the outdoors, avid sportsmen and women, it seems, also share an affinity for hunting and fishing gear that often resembles a compulsive disorder. We stockpile items incessantly, and we’re fine with it.
For example, hunters have no problem color coordinating a number of different camouflage outfits, storing several different guns in the gun safe and stacking hundreds of decoys of all makes and models in every corner of the garage. This is normal behavior. It’s not overkill. These items are necessary. And important. And if they still have the retailer’s tags on them from more than a decade ago it doesn’t mean they won’t get used — it just means they haven’t been used … yet.
For anglers, must-haves often appear in the form of crankbaits and jigs of all different colors or new reels attached to new rods of various lengths and actions. Like their prey, anglers just can’t seem to stay away from shiny objects. Plus, it’s not unheard of for the most diehard anglers to accessorize their fancy new-fangled depth finder with a brand new boat. That’s just how it works.
With Father’s Day this weekend, the fact most sportsmen really don’t need anything presents a problem when folks want to buy them the perfect outdoor-related gift. It’s hard, because how do you buy something for someone who has a compulsion to buy one, if not two, of everything he needs?
If you’re in a pinch, here are three simple ideas to help you out this Father’s Day.
1. Gift cards
At face value, buying a gift card might seem like you’re taking the easy way out, but, in reality, giving a gift card is a great option for a number of reasons.
People who love the outdoors are often very particular about their gear. Sometimes it’s simply because the gear they use works and they don’t want to try anything different. Other times, their gear choice might be based purely on superstition. Whatever the case may be, putting the wrong type or brand of gear in an avid sportsman’s hands is easily avoidable by simply giving him the power to purchase what he wants.
Gift cards are not the easy way out. They’re a welcome gift that give an angler free reign to pick a few items from the shelves of a favorite bait shop or a hunter to buy some necessary off-season supplies to ensure the rest of his gear stays in tip-top shape.
Gift cards are worth their weight in gold to outdoorsmen because they signify you welcome and appreciate their passions, which means the actual dollar amount is rather insignificant. Plus, gift cards from locally owned businesses help cycle dollars through the local economy, an added bonus that should never be forgotten.
Sportsmen often keep trinkets or mementos from special hunts or fishing trips, and they are also likely to have heirloom-type items passed down to them from their fathers, who likely received them from their own fathers. Having meaningful outdoor-related items engraved with initials, dates, favorite sayings, Bible verses or even brief descriptions of a specific hunt or fishing trip can provide added value to already priceless things.
Popular items to have engraved are fillet or buck knives or even duck, goose or turkey calls. Even firearms can be engraved on their receivers, if they’re not collector’s items that need to be kept in original condition to maintain their value.
If you plan on having an item engraved, please ensure you have permission. This rules out any good intentions going awry by unintentionally engraving an item that might have collector’s value.
This Father’s Day, keep in mind that most fathers with more than a few hunting and fishing seasons under their belts would rather give than receive, so perhaps the greatest gift you can give to someone who loves the outdoors is your time.
While a fisherman might be reluctant to give up the exact location of his honey hole, he’s often more than willing to pass on the knowledge he’s gained from years in the boat. Along the same lines, hunters absolutely live for the opportunity to share what they’ve learned from hard-won experience in the field.
These stories reflect who we are at the very core of our beings, and it’s largely through story that the outdoor tradition is passed on from one generation to the next.
If nothing else this Father’s Day, give the outdoor father figures in your life your time. Allow them the gift of being able to give back, because there is no greater way to honor them than validating who they are as individuals who love the outdoors. Listen to their stories, learn from their experience and share in the outdoor heritage they want to pass on to you and future generations.
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