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What I want for Christmas.

It is time to start thinking about Christmas lists. In fact, it is inevitable. My two children have honed theirs for a month and if you went into Target and started to push everything into a cart, you would approach my wife's expectations. Everyone has a list. I thought it would be kind of fun if I had one too. I would like to see any one of these 10 items under the tree come Christmas morning.

Deer Aging Tool: ((866) OLD-DEER; This is one of the neatest products on the market. The Deer Aging Tool is actually a set of eight plastic imitation deer jawbones complete with teeth and tooth wear profiles. Each year, the teeth of a deer wear a predictable amount. These plastic jawbones closely imitate that wear pattern to help you age your deer right A after you shoot them. The eight jawbones are for deer aged 1.5 through 8.5 years. I asked three biologists about the tool at 2005's Archery Trade Show and all of them said the wear patterns on the mock jawbones were very accurate. The set costs $30 straight from the manufacturer.

Block Range Target: ((800) 282-4868; A big target is definitely an advantage if you are going to do a lot of shooting at all distances. The Block Range target is constructed of layered foam and is big (48 x 28 x 18 inches) and durable. This target may last 15 years if it is well taken care of. However, if you are going to shoot broadheads, I would recommend a broadhead target such as the Block 4 x 4 instead. Range targets sell for around $300 to $325 most places.

Scott Archery Deluxe Little Bitty Goose: ((606) 663-2734; I've written many times about the importance of shooting a release in a way that takes you by surprise. The next item on my wish fist is a hunting release that has an optional spring trigger that makes it the ideal off-season training aid. The spring trigger makes it easy to produce a good surprise release. You simply replace the standard peg trigger with the included spring, which flexes as you squeeze it until all of a sudden the shot fires. The Deluxe Little Bitty Goose sells for about $70.

TRU Ball Short-N-Sweet: ((434) 929-2800; If you shoot a string nocking loop, you will benefit from one of the new breed of release aids designed to help you maintain your maximum draw length. They do this because the distance between the trigger and the open hook jaw is very short. The TRU Ball Short-N-Sweet is an example of this new category. It has a fight trigger for accuracy and an open jaw to snag the loop easily when loading the release on the string. Short-N-Sweet releases sell for around $55.

Weather radio: ((816) 241-8500; When I'm hunting, I want to know the wind and temperature forecast all the time. It helps me plan every step of my hunts more effectively. I have access to the Internet at home so I can keep an eye on the weather conditions easily, but when I am not home I am lost. That is why a weather radio would be such a great gift. I have not tested these units, but Midland has always been a trusted name in the radio/CB market. Their portable 74-250C looks ideal. It is small enough to carry in a fanny pack, and with optional earphones, you could literally listen to the forecast while on stand. The unit sells for $50 straight from Midland's website or from resellers across the country.

Custom bowstring: ((541) 575-0818; I haven't tried the strings from the other custom string makers, but I have had plenty of experience with those made by Winner's Choice. They have always held up very well. In fact, my most recent string is celebrating its third hunting season this year. It hasn't stretched despite the fact that I have been shooting over 80 pounds. Also, the peep rotation has been consistent throughout. Both of these qualities are important to me, as they should be to you. A good custom string and harness system will cost you about $75 to $95 depending on your specifications and color choices.

Books: Books are simple Christmas presents. The two best books I've read recently are Mapping Trophy Bucks by Brad Herndon (Krause Publications, (800) 258-0929; and Hunting the Whitetail Rut by Gary Clancy (Stoeger Publishing, (301) 283-6300; Both Brad and Gary are experts in the field and their writing styles are both enjoyable and educational. Both books cost about $25.

Hunting videos: You can't go wrong buying me a couple of good hunting videos. One of which is the Best of Realtree Road Trips Season Two. I don't get the chance to watch Michael Waddell's show on TV too often so the video would be nice, plus, no commercials. When friends come over, they all love to watch hunting videos and Waddell is always a crowd pleaser. You can get this video at Eders, ((877) 656-0808; I also like the videos put out by Mark and Terry Drury, so their Dream Season 8 and Whitetail Madness 8 have to be on the list. Contact: ((800) 990-9351;

Aerial photo: ((877) 587-9004; A nice, big laminated aerial photo of my hunting area would be a great Christmas gift. The best source I have found for make-your-own aerial photos is MyTopo. You can flame up the photo (or topographical map) of your hunting area just the way you want it right on their website and then order the map directly from MyTopo with a few clicks of your mouse. These high quality maps and photos cost from $15 to $21.

ATV: (; (866) 678-6701). Now I don't own an ATV, but I'd sure like to have a Bad Boy Buggy in my garage someday. These are four-wheel-drive all-electric utility vehicles that have knobby tires and tons of power. Top speed is 15.5 mph and the buggy will seat four comfortably. Being electric, the Bad Boy Buggy doesn't make any game spooking noise as you zip to and from your hunting area. They aren't cheap, (roughly $8,000 well decked) but since I am wishing, I will wish big.

I'm sure I can forget about the Bad Boy Buggy again this year, but hopefully I can at least pick up some plastic jawbones or a fist-sized weather radio. I better hurry up and drop this list off on the kitchen counter before I end up with another pair of socks and a new tie.
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Title Annotation:Center Shots
Author:Winke, Bill
Date:Dec 1, 2005
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