Welcome to the Outdoors Toy Store, a place where even big boys and girls can find toys to fit their next fishing, hunting or camping trips.
In keeping with tradition, we are focusing on products made by companies in Missouri and Kansas.
Even you can pitch this tent
C’mon, admit it. You can remember times when family camping trips went bad when everyone struggled to figure out how to pitch the tent.
Well, the Coleman Co., based in Wichita, is out to ease some of that family tension with its series of Instant Tents.
With poles preassembled, this tent can be up in one minute, Coleman advertises. It has Instant Tents in a series of sizes, but we recommend the 6-person Cabin model. It fits two queen-sized air beds, and features pockets for storage of necessities, and an integrated rain fly. It even has reflective guy lines so that you won’t be tripping on them in the dark. Retails for $219.99.
Instant trail camera images
Welcome to the high-tech age of deer hunting.
Trail cameras are nothing new. You attach the unit to a tree and deer that pass in front of the camera trips the trigger, giving hunters an idea of the deer roaming their property.
But the Bushnell Co., based in Overland Park, has come out with an intriguing new feature. The Trophy Cam HD Wireless (advertised with connectivity out of the box) sends images immediately to your phone, tablet or computer. It sells for about $500.
Smile, you’re on camera
The YOLOtek Aqua Power Pro allows fishermen and boaters to video their adventures through a unique type of selfie stick.
You attach your Go Pro, Garmin VIRB or other video camera to the holder, then put the Power Stick into the boat’s navigation light port. Turn on the camera, start fishing or waterskiing and you can capture footage of someone catching the bass of a lifetime or jumping the wake.
Made by a company in Johnson County — YOLO stands for You Only Live Once — the Aqua Stick products already are making waves. One model won Best of Show recognition in its category in the 2015 ICAST show, which features the best new products on the market. The Power Pro was named one of the top 13 products in the 2015 Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo. For price of different models and ordering, go to the company’s website, yolotek.com.
Fishing with a legend
There are plenty of opportunities to hire good fishing guides at lakes throughout Missouri and Kansas.
But one stands out. Guido Hibdon, who is a legend in the pro bass-fishing game, is guiding again at Lake of the Ozarks after a long career on the BASS and FLW tours.
Here’s a chance to share the boat with a guy who has fished the giant Missouri reservoir for most of his life. He charges $400 for up to two people. Call 573-230-3065 to arrange the trip.
The gift of shooting straight
For the hunter on your list who comes home constantly complaining about his or her shooting problems, here’s a good one.
Buy him or her private shooting instruction by John Francis, a well-known instructor at Powder Creek Shooting Park in Lenexa.
In one-on-one sessions, he gives lessons in wingshooting, trap or skeet or sporting clays. He is running a holiday special, offering 1 1/2 hours of instruction at Powder Creek for $100. All clay targets and ammunition are included in that price, and loaner guns are available. Contact Francis by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 816-590-0285.
A light baitcaster
The Johnny Morris Carbonlite Reel is a baitcaster that is a lightweight — and we mean that in a good way — in the reel market.
Made by Bass Pro Shops, the company that Morris founded, the reel weighs only 5.8 ounces, yet it is powerful and durable. It can handle line from 12- to 20-pound test. It sells for $129.99 at Bass Pro Shops.
Who you gonna call? Goosebusters
This would be a Christmas present that could be put to immediate use. The geese are streaming into Missouri and Kansas, and the Goosebusters Layout Blind made by Rogers Sporting Goods of Liberty could be a great gift for the hunter on your list.
This deluxe blind, designed by avid waterfowl hunters, features Max 5 camouflage. It includes a waterproof floor and side, a comfortable headrest, plenty of room and shotgun-shell pockets. It sells for $184.99 is available at the Rogers store at 1760 N. Church Rd., Liberty, or through the website, rogerssportinggoods.com.
For the book shelf
For the waterfowl hunter on your list, the book “A Return to Hunting North American Waterfowl” would be a good choice.
Author Kenneth L. Kieser, an award-winning freelance writer from the Kansas City area, chronicles waterfowl hunts he has experienced across the nation.
He writes about everything from duck hunting near Squaw Creek to following in the footsteps of legendary writer Nash Buckingham in Mississippi to hunting tundra swans in North Carolina. He profiles intriguing hunters he has met along the way and provides some “how-to” information as well. Sells for $25. To order, send cash or money orders to Kenneth L. Kieser, P.O. Box 29126, Kansas City, Mo. 64152.
Reflecting on a life in the outdoors
The book “An Outdoor Sporting Life” will hit home for many hunters and fishermen.
Scott Irwin, a columnist for the Emporia Gazette and a former professor at Emporia State University, chronicles his life growing up in the Flint Hills and enjoying the region’s rich hunting and fishing opportunities.
He writes about an era when bobwhite quail were abundant, special bird dogs, a beatup, old truck he became attached to and the excitement of catching bass from remote farm ponds. One chapter featured a poignant moment when a trip outdoors brought back memories of his late son, who was killed in a car accident.
A fun read as he displays his passion for the Kansas outdoors. Sells for $15.95. Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and iUniverse.