Made in the USA? How about made in the Heartland?
There are dozens of companies in Missouri and Kansas, from the mom and pop operations to the major corporations, that make items that would be ideal Christmas gifts for the outdoorsman (or woman) on your list.
Here are a few suggestions.
THE GARMIN VIRB
Want to capture the highlights of your fishing or hunting trip, hike or high-speed run down the ski slopes? The Garmin VIRB Elite might be what you’re looking for.
Made by the Garmin Co. of Olathe, this lightweight minivideo recorder can be strapped to a boat, a hat, or even a gun to capture in-the-moment videos. It runs on a rechargeable lithium battery that will record up to three hours of action. The screen is always on, but it uses minimal power.
It retails for $270. Go to garmin.com for more information or to order.
C-Z UPLAND ULTRALIGHT SHOTGUN
For the pheasant or quail hunter on your list, this shotgun would look great with a bow on it.
Made by C-Z USA, based in Kansas City, Kan., this over-and-under 12-gauge shotgun weights about 6 pounds. That’s light, ideal for hunters making long walks through fields in search of upland game birds.
It combines an aluminum receiver and some unique features to keep its weight down. But despite its light weight, it is known for its reliability and consistency.
It retails for $762. Go to the website CZ-USA.com for more information about purchasing.
BUSHNELL NATUREVIEW CAM HD
Bushnell, a company based in Overland Park, has come out with a trail cam that caters to nature lovers.
The NatureView Cam HD can be mounted on a tree and it will provide both still photos and videos to monitor wildlife activity around the clock. The camera is triggered by motion and heat sensors.
It provides color photos and video during the day, black and white at night. It retails for about $200. Go to the website bushnell.com to purchase.
JOHNNY MORRIS CARBONLITE BAITCASTING REEL
The CarbonLite reel, named after Bass Pro founder Johnny Morris, is the latest in a move toward providing lightweight yet durable baitcasting reels.
Made by Bass Pro Shops, which is based in Springfield, it weighs only 5.8 ounces, but it’s known for its smooth casting system, retrieve speeds, strong drag and rugged features designed to battle the big ones.
It retails for about $130 and is available at Bass Pro Shops or by going to the website www.basspro.com.
MICHAEL PEARCE’S TASTE OF KANSAS OUTDOORS
For those of you with lots of game in your freezer, this would be an ideal gift this Christmas.
Michael Pearce, the outdoors writer for the Wichita Eagle, shares some of his favorite recipes for everything from upland game to fish.
He includes 50 of his once-guarded recipes. But that’s not the only taste of Kansas he provides.
The book also is filled with Pearce’s excellent photography and essays on some of his favorite hunting and fishing trips.
It retails for $19.95 and can be purchased by going to the website customercare.kansas.com/books.
To reach outdoors editor Brent Frazee, call 816-234-4319 or send email to email@example.com.
BLACK MARKET BALSA CRANKBAITS
For the bass fisherman on your list who supposedly has everything, these unique lures might make the perfect gift.
David Ryan of Levasy, Mo., has been custom-painting lures for himself and other tournament fishermen for 15 years. Now he is selling his unique hand-crafted lures to the public through his Dave’s Custom Baits business.
With the Balsa Black Market baits, he starts by carving a lure out of balsa wood, then custom paints and even hand-tunes each bait. He has used some of his own baits to win major bass tournaments, and others also have found success with the eye-catching lures.
The Balsa Black Market lures come in four sizes and sell for $50 apiece. Go to davescustombaits.com to order a gift certificate.
RICK HAHNE DUCK CALLS
Rick Hahne of Buckner, Mo., handcrafts his own custom duck calls.
An avid duck hunter and tournament caller, he was in search for the perfect pitch from a duck call but couldn’t find what he was looking for on the market. So he set out to produce his own.
A tool maker and machinist by trade, Hahne went to work on a lathe in his garage and stayed at it until he came up with a call that he was satisfied with. Today, he sells that brand of call, offering both wooden and acrylic models.
The duck calls sell for $75 for the wooden models or $115 for the acrylic versions. Acrylic goose calls sell for $115. Go to rickhahnecalls.com to order.
WATERFOWL HUNTING AND WETLAND
CONSERVATION IN MISSOURI
This 481-page book is a fascinating look at the history of Missouri’s legendary waterfowl hunting.
It traces historic duck clubs still in operation, colorful characters, legendary retrievers and some of the Department of Conservation waterfowl biologists who laid the groundwork for what we have today. Written by former waterfowl biologists and wetlands managers, it gives readers a sense of what the past was like and how much work had to be done to develop the public hunting areas many currently enjoy.
The book retails for $40 and can be purchased through the Nature Shop on the website mdc.mo.gov.
DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION NATURE CALENDAR
Buying the annual calendar put out by the Department of Conservation is a tradition for many Missourians.
Filled with beautiful photos taken by staff photographers, it also includes entries on different dates, telling the approximate timing of changes in nature (the budding of redbud trees, for example).
The calendar sells for $7 and can be ordered through the Nature Shop on the website mdc.mo.gov.
TIGHTLINES UV TACKLE’S WHISKERS BAITS
A lure company in Maryville, Mo., and a school teacher in Oklahoma have teamed to produce one of the hottest bass baits of 2014.
The Whiskers line of plastic baits have strands of the wispy material seen on spinnerbaits or bass jigs extending from them, giving them extra action when they settle to the bottom. They also have UV Tackle’s ingredients that make them stand out underwater.
That has proved to be a winning combination. The baits have been featured in several national bass-fishing magazines. They retail for $5.99 and are available at retail outlets or online at the website uv-tackle.com.