Writings by Gary Oberg

14 Great Christmas Gifts for Hunters & Anglers

Bestselling Minnesota Author Suggests Rods, Reels, Hunting Vests, Flashlights, Knives & More

by Gary Oberg @copyright 2019

A NOTE TO EDITORS:  You may reprint this article written by Minnesotan Gary Oberg in its entirety, or heavily excerpt, or quote excerpts if you credit him as the author and include a reference to his book using both the title and subtitle and reference his website at

Minnesota ranks at or near the top of all states in per capita fishing, hunting, and boat licensing. 

So, you would think that a Minnesota outdoors person should be an easy target to buy for, right? 

The problem is there is a plethora of products on the market that are junk or not useful, and that’s where it is helpful to seek advice from sportsmen and women who have had a lot of experience. 

Personally, I have been an avid sportsperson my entire life, starting in my childhood growing up on a farm in Minnesota. My now 60+ years of outdoor activities have given me a lot of insight into what is useful. Forget the lump of coal, here is a list of things that I think are of a quality worthy of that special guy or gal.


For Anglers

  • Abu Garcia Ambassador 5000 Series –about $100…for bass and pike
  • TWS Anti-Backlash–about $200…. for bass and pike
  • St, Croix Bait-Casting Rod–about $200…. for bass, pike, muskies
  • Berkeley Lightning Rod Series–under $100…for walleye, bass, crappies. Good value. Less expensive alternate
  • Shimano® Stradic c14+-Spinning Reel–about $180…for walleye. If your guy or gal fishes a couple times a year forget this category of rods and reels.

Rods and reels can always be useful. But first of all, be sure that you know what kind of fish someone is going after. Shop for these at your local stores, or at Cabela’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, or online.


For Hunters

  • Gerber and Buck Knives–about $30-$70…(Walmart,
  • Halo Rangefinder–about $90 …(Walmart,
  • Cabelas Hunting Vest–about $80…(Cabela’s)

I wouldn’t buy a gun. It’s too subjective to personal preferences. If you do, have it registered in the gifted person’s name. There are numerous other options for those who hunt moose, elk, deer and and other big game. I like knives, especially the great selection of Gerber and Buck knives. 

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Future of Play

©Gary Oberg 2019


The future of playing, as we know it is in real danger of becoming obsolete.

 Typical millennials of today will ensure a playless future.

 They are the age of “participation trophies”. In their youth, they got so many trophies and became so disillusioned by them that they don’t feel like participating in anything, even procreation. Their birth rates are going down.

 The exception of this is my focus family: Milly, Len, and Al. They live in Southern Arizona.

 One day in 2050 Milly, Len, and Al go to the local McDonalds. The McPlay area is greatly diminished in size to include playthings that are no higher than a footstool.  This is to avoid the possibility of injury and potential lawsuits.

 When they arrive at the order kiosk, to play, Al is required to first breathe on the kiosk screen.  Oops! The kiosk says, “AL your microbe level is too high and that present level of germs in the play area all will interact with your asthma and cause irreparable harm.” “You must not play,” barks the kiosk.

 Al is devastated.

 Milly then takes charge of the situation and orders everyone a McTofu at room temp to avoid high carbon footprints. The beef cattle have all been killed off and since been banned because they release too much flatulence in the methane form. (That has got me really thinking!)

After a quick lunch, the family walks home. Al is content to play with his non- allergenic robot that is programmed to say only kind words and encouraging phrases. 

The local playgrounds are gone. The plastic equipment that replaced the wood ones are now declared to be releasing too many harmful monomers to be safe for the children and had to be dismantled. There are older technologies available such as concrete, but President A.O.C has spent all of the government funds on her “green new deal.” There are no longer any service clubs like Rotary, Kiwanis, and the Lions to build playgrounds. They have disappeared since the millennials are not joiners.

 Milly goes to the mail box and finds a letter from Len’s employer, government contractor number 105625. 

 “Dear Len: We regret to inform you that you must now work in Phoenix.”

 Len hysterically states, “That is 104 miles away and we have used up all our carbon credits. We will not be able to commute or move our family to Phoenix.”

Milly gets a great idea.  “Let’s move to Lake Wobegon in Minnesota where climate change has had such an impact that there is now permafrost. Farming is over, houses are cheap, and this will help an Al with his asthma.”

 Len says, ”That’s a great idea, but we have no carbon credits to get there either.”

 Milly, the consummate feminist and leader of the family says, ”Not a problem, we will bicycle to Kansas City, trade our bikes for snowshoes and cross-country skis.”

 Three months later they arrived at Lake Wobegon on a snowy day in August. Al enrolled in “Our Lady of Perpetual Snow,” a pre K-25, post Catholic school.

 The sisters had long ago done away with corporal punishment and had come up with an ingenious way of discipline. They had the kids build snow forts and have snowball fights to punish themselves. Al took to this like a duck to water. Len found happiness in ice fishing year around. Milly still does not play.

 Thanks Garrison, for saving play, where the women are strong, the men are good looking, and the children are way above average.


© Garg Oberg 2020 – ROSE CITY PRESS – - website by Joan Holman Productions: