A Waterfowler’s Guide to Last-Minute Christmas Gift Giving
Tyler Shoberg, Associate Editor on 12/19/2013
Having duck hunting buddies is a love-hate relationship. The omnipresent ribbing, camaraderie, juvenile pranks, fond memories — at one moment you’re laughing, and the next you’re ready to leave them at the boat landing so they can think long and hard about shooting before calling the shot the next time ducks are over the decoys.
C’mon, man! That’s just rude.
In the end, the good outweighs the bad, and you wouldn’t think of spending a day in the marsh without them. So why not give something this holiday season that shows just how you view your relationship? The following gift guide offers up five goodies that will assure your best hunting buds remain that way, without making them think you like them too much. We’re talking pat on the back here, not an uncomfortably long hug.
These gifts are especially good for last-minute givers taking a quick pit stop at the local gas station. Procrastinators, rejoice!
Jolt of Confidence
You know full well that your buddy’s temperamental outboard chews through spark plugs faster than Uncle Joe gobbles antacid tablets after an all-you-can-eat buffet. And no matter how many times your chum has been deep in a marsh trying to start that motor at sunset, he’s always down to the last plug.
At a couple bucks apiece, a half-dozen spark plugs in a brown paper bag is plenty festive and won’t break the bank. You can bet you’ll be remembered when that burned-out hunk of smoldering metal is yanked, and there are six brand new plugs ready to jolt ol’ Bessy back to life.
A Few More Rounds
Hunting buddies are notorious ammo moochers. Maybe it’s because they’re always unprepared, or maybe they just blow through rounds as if they were storming a beach during World War II.
Give them a couple boxes so the next time you guys head out for a hunt, you can “accidentally” forget some ammo at home and pilfer their stash for a change. Don’t let on that you had ulterior motives to your selfless gift giving.
Hole in your waders? Duct tape. Front site on the shotgun keeps falling off? Duct tape. Last-minute blind concealment for a piece of shiny conduit? Camo duct tape.
With 10,001 uses, everyone’s favorite do-it-all, metallic gray bonding product is never a bad idea when it comes to saying, “we’re buds.” A couple rolls for your hunting pal placed strategically around the blind or boat (and maybe even bedazzled in his or her favorite camouflage pattern) will show you really care. Or that you’re highly aware of his worn down and dilapidated hunting equipment. Hey, it’s the thought that counts.
Dragging decoys. Hauling gear a half mile through thigh-deep swamp muck. Pulling the cord on an outboard 55 times before you realize the fuel line is closed. Even just shivering for hours on end. Duck hunting is tough, and it burns a lot of calories.
Keeping a stomach full is directly related to a day’s success. Your hunting buddies need to be in tip-top shape to keep everyone happy, even if that shape is on the round side.
A hip-wader stuffed with all manner of gastronomical deliciousness is sure to bring a tear to the eye and drool to the lips. Be sure to stay away from things with “organic” or “all-natural” on the label. They likely are only a couple ingredients away from fortified cardboard, anyway. Go with goodies like cupcakes, donuts or anything cream-filled. If it’s wrapped in cellophane with a cardboard backer, better yet.
Don’t fret if hunting season is on the downward slide by the time your bro gets his foodstuff. Chances are, the Twinkies will be plenty fresh by next hunting season.
It Beats Pinecones
Ever sucked down a thermos of coffee, only to realize the high intake of caffeine combined with last-night’s five-alarm duck chili just created the chemical equivalent of napalm in your GI tract? Seeing a grown human frantically wriggle out of waders as if they were filled with fire ants is not pretty.
Answering nature’s call in a marsh is tough enough, let alone finding out the last roll of toilet paper was used to plug the hole in Bubba’s 12-foot flat-bottom. Don’t be relegated to cattail reeds. Make sure your buddy’s boat, blind or bag is fully stocked with enough TP to last a season.
It’s also a multipurpose product that is great for everything from blowing noses to cleaning oil off of a dipstick. And combined with duct tape, it can even help slow the results of a true gusher of a duck cleaning incident — at least long enough to get the victim to the local emergency room. After all, what are friends for?
Note that paper towels are an appropriate substitution, however, they’re not nearly as portable and they chafe a bit. Still beats leaves, though.