Just when you thought it was safe to enter the toy section, it’s time once again for another installment of… TALES FROM THE TOY AISLE!

This time we head to an entirely new type of toy aisle. The toy section at Gander Mountain! I bet you didn’t know there was a toy section at Gander Mountain, did you? Honestly, neither did I. For the uninitiated, Gander Mountain is an “outdoorsman” store, not unlike the kind of place Tim Allen’s “Last Man Standing” would work at.

For the most part they sell guns, hunting gear, more guns and fishing supplies. Speaking of which, the entire store reeked of rubber fishing tackle. Literally every section smelled like some little rubber lure. Aside from the stench, what sort of toys do they have?

As you might expect, they have a lot of toy guns. And I do mean a LOT! They even have pink ones for girls.

Sometime last year I lamented that more stores didn’t sell toy guns, but at this store they take it to another level. Gander Mountain not only has a crap load of real guns, but also toy versions to get “junior” into shooting things as well. It’s kind of scary how many varieties of toy guns they had.

The best stuff is the “exclusives” like the Bone Collector here. Wait, the BONE COLLECTOR?! Gander Mountain is starting to turn into less of a sporting goods store and more into a primer for young serial killers. Who the heck comes up with this stuff? Why is this guy the Bone Collector?!

And look, it’s our old friend Hunter Dan! We reviewed his Beast ATV way back in 2009! Dan still looks like he’s spent one too many nights fishing in his own gene pool, but his accessories are cool. They were also on clearance, an area that Dan knows all too well.

This next guy doesn’t have a name, but I like to pretend he’s the 3 3/4 version of Hunter Dan… He has less articulation than the real thing, so I’ll call it Hunter Dan: Retaliation for now.

And of course if your kid is into smashing squirrels in the head with a hammer, the Bone Collector has a “Rescue Heroes” style figure to add into the mix as well. The only thing that needs rescuing is the poor kids who’ll end up with this toy. I love that the skull and antlers of the deer head on the front of this package also shape a human skull… Foreshadowing of what kind of “bone collectors” kids who play with this toy will grow up to be?!

It’s not all murder and mayhem, though. Here’s a nice set of toy animals and a young explorer who’s only accessory is a pair of binoculars, so he can watch these majestic creatures of nature from afar.

At least until 3 3/4 dad shows up with his rifle. “We’re eating black bear tonight son!” The black bear may not be on the endangered species list yet, but you can help set him on that path with this playset!

Hey look, MORE GUNS!

Don’t forget to get one for little sis! She can be the Texas Rose! I wonder what kind of awkward conversations are had at Gander Mountain when a little boy brings this gun up to his dad and says he wants to buy it?!

The Wild Hunter set comes with an RV and a good ol’ American pickup truck. Also a hunter in various hunting poses and some hapless animal kingdom victims.

An assortment of bows and various inflatable 3-D targets for you to shoot.

Even the crossbow gets some plastic toy version love.

Finally we end on some camoflauge trucks along with an ATV and a rider. It’s one of the only sets that don’t involve guns or animal murdering. I’m almost surprised this set doesn’t come with some roadkill or something!

Would anyone like to see me review some of these crappy toys? I’m considering picking a few up, just for the fun of it.

As Nietzsche once said, when you gander into the mountain, the mountain ganders into you. Until next time, be on the lookout for more TALES FROM THE TOY AISLE!

4 Responses to Tales From The Toy Aisle: A Mountain of Gander

  • I for one, would love to see a review of the clearanced Hunter Dan.

  • Heh, he's the one I'd most likely review. There are a few versions.

  • Summer says:

    None of these toys seem out of the ordinary to me. Is it unnatural for a boy to have interest in hunting? Role playing as a child is a healthy type of play that supports imagination instead of slothery. If a boy grows up on paved roads, in a concrete jungle, the sight of any undomesticated animal would include something along the lines of a sewer rat or pigeon. That right there is far more disturbing to me than a boy replaying the annual hunting trip he and his father take every year. A trip where they have a job to do, their family depends on it. The trip is an annual bonding session for the family and the fact that their intention is to kill an animal is not the “fun” part of their trip. The actual harvesting of the meat that will feed them through the winter months isn’t enjoyable. Leading up to that point there is a nervousness and adreniline that is unexplainable. The feeling of accomplishment and ability to provide this all natural and local source of nutrition to your family is an important part of a mans value to his family in my American culture.

    Next thing you know, I’m going to run across some opinionated page bashing the monster truck toys and drivers. Talking about how when they grow up their neighborhoods will have holes in the ozone layer above them because of the fuel their trucks burn. How their use of crude oil has caused the bottle nosed dolphin to hit the endangered species list or some idiotic concept like that.

    Meanwhile, their children are sitting in their 3rd story apartment that they call home, have never felt the regal presence of a bull elk in the wild or the sight of standing at the top of a waterfall while the salmon are running. But they know all about the newest video games, are connected hands free to unseen people all over the world, banding together to pretend play as if they were fighting a war, shooting eachother, or at least, pretending to shoot a person on the screen that not only makes a noise, but has a voice. And… they are pretend playing to kill eachother out of hate and war, not family and nutrition or need.

    I live in Central Oregon. We hunt here, our kids hunt with us. I bought my son a real, full size shotgun for his 11th birthday, today he is 15 and an incredible duck hunter who trained his own bird dog. Last month, he traded a go cart he built for a .22 caliber rifle. He has completed his hunter safety course and gets deer and elk tags every year. His father bow hunts and was fortunate enough to fill his early season buck tag for the first time in many years. Gun safety isnt an issue, it is a way of life, same with hunting. It isn’t cruel or wrong to hunt and I am sorry you dont understand a culture different than your own, but I am an American just like you are, I was just raised in a more natural, family oriented setting. You should have some respect for the man that provides for and supports his family the old fashioned way. Old fashioned manners, respect, pride, ethics, values, work, construction… Why not hang onto it for as long as we can?

    You werent worth this amount of my time this evening. But I feel goodabout standing up for my lifestyle and culture, because I am proud of it. I am proud of who I am and wouldnt change it for anything. How about you?

    • Newton says:

      Wow, that is a long, particularly odd response to a post about the bizarre toys found at a hunting/sporting goods store. But since you took the time to respond, I’ll give you a response.

      I’m with you on roleplaying being “healthy” for children as opposed to staying cooped up in the house. So at least there’s one point we agree on.

      As for the rest, I highly doubt you or anyone outside a very select few mountain men, depend on the meat they hunt to “survive” through the winter months. If that were the case, you’d be hunting a lot more than annually. That hyperbole aside, I never once criticized hunting in this post. Yes, I mocked some of these toys, because they’re laughably bad, poorly focused within the hunting genre and generally ill conceived to the mass interest of most children. This site specifically focuses on toys and that culture, so I think I’m a halfway decent voice for that.

      As for the rest of that, I’ve been hunting, I’ve been fishing, I’ve harvested on a farm. I was raised by a family of outdoorsman, and routinely went on hunting trips from a young age on. I understand and respect gun safety and awareness of the wilderness. So your accusations, couldn’t be further off base. However, that doesn’t change the reality that calling a toy the “Bone Collector” isn’t probably the best endorsement of the genre, even if said hunter is famous under that moniker. As kids toys, these are worthy of a good mocking and some are downright cringe worthy.

      That said, I’m not sure any of this had to do with the reality of this article and was just a forum for you to have a diatribe defending your “culture” even when it wasn’t under attack, whilst the entire time attacking another culture that clearly, you don’t understand. That’s a two way street.

      Perhaps you should have some respect for things you don’t understand and not assume anything other than your way of life, isn’t full of values, respect, pride or hard work. Or perhaps, you shouldn’t take some entertainment on a website about toys so closely to heart. After all, for as much as you go on about how your old fashioned culture depends on your going out and hunting to survive for your family, you still have time apparently to complain on the internet about a nerd culture website. Perhaps it’s not quite as dire as you make it out to be.

      As for me, well, I’m the real article. What you see is what you get. I am damn proud of who I am and what I stand for.

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