One of the best benefits of living in Lewis County is the easy access to the outdoors and all that it offers. This guide is to help find the perfect gift for hunters, fishermen, campers or anyone who spends time out in the woods.
Hunting season is ramping back up right now after most general seasons have come to a close.
Late general season black-tailed deer and buck opened Nov. 19-22. Late archery deer and buck open on various dates in November and December, depending on the game management unit (GMU). Late muzzleloader deer opens on Nov. 20 or 25, depending on the GMU. Late archery elk opens Nov. 25 to Dec. 15 in Western Washington, and late muzzleloader elk also opens Nov. 25.
As for firearms, state and federal laws make gifting guns of any type difficult. Washington state requires you to transfer a firearm through a local firearms retailer, so an instant background check is required to make sure the recipient is not legally prohibited from owning the gun.
Joe Rosbach, owner of Joe’s Outdoors Sports Shop at the Lewis County Mall in Chehalis, recommends instead purchasing a gift certificate if you want to buy a firearm as a gift.
It’s also a good idea as firearms, ammo and scopes are all on limited supply now in gun stores across the state, he said. Rosbach’s shop is pretty low on just about every item. The rifle and shotgun rack at his store is about half full, while the ammo cupboards are really wiped out.
The pandemic, coupled with a bunch of other factors, has created a shortage for a lot of outdoor items. He doesn’t know when he’s getting any stock until a freight truck shows up and drops off a box. Even then, the boxes have been pretty bare.
So purchasing a gift card for Joe’s Outdoor Sports Shop ensures that whoever you’re buying for will have the chance to find what they want out of a limited stock.
Plus, there are plenty of other items available at Joe’s other than firearms and ammo, such as holsters for pistols and handguns, blackpowder rifle accessories, cleaning equipment and targets, including exploding targets, which Rosbach said are always fun to shoot at.
“Everybody likes shooting exploding targets,” Rosbach said.
Bob Sansousci at the Sunbirds sporting goods desk said scopes, namely Vortex hunting rifle scopes are popular gift items leading up to Christmas. Sunbirds also sells quite a few Red Ryder BB guns, along with firearm accessories, such as ammo boxes and gun vises. Nikon and Vortex binoculars are also highly sought after by hunters.
Coho salmon fishing is open on many river systems in Lewis County, south Thurston County and north Cowlitz County, including the Skookumchuck River and Newaukum River. Steelhead should be arriving soon on the Skookumchuck, typically from December to March.
If your loved one or friend is a fisherman, stock for specific items may be somewhat limited at a number of places in the county. Items like weights have been a little hard to find recently, and some lures and hooks are usually bought quickly after they are in-stock.
Popular methods of hooking coho include jigs, bobber and eggs and an assortment of lures. Jigs, lures and bobbers can all be bought at Sunbirds. Various colors of Blue Fox Vibrax spinners can be purchased at Sunbirds. Sizes 4 or 5 work best for salmon and steelhead. The traditional blue bell color with a silver blade is a longtime favorite. Other popular colors are purple, green and gold.
If the person you’re buying for likes to fish eggs for salmon or steelhead, the black, yellow and orange Beau Mac and Raven brand floats/bobbers work well. Jigs and rotators, such as BuzzBombs, are also a favorite of salmon fishermen.
These items are universal for anyone who enjoys spending time outdoors in any capacity.
Waterproof coats and/or pants are a must in the wintertime, especially while tromping through thick brush and foliage. Sunbirds offers a large variety of rain gear and waterproof clothing, such as Grundens and Helly Hansen, many of which come in camo.
One of Sunbirds most popular gift items are folding knives. Gerber and Kershaw are top-quality pocket knives and can be found at affordable prices. Old Timer is a traditional favorite. Sunbirds also has the Outdoor Edge RazorLite and Razor Pro knife that comes with a sheath and six replaceable blades.
“That’s very popular,” Sanscouci said. “We sell quite a few of those at Christmas.