— Unfortunately, for most of the men out there, Christmas is nearly upon us. I’m sure there are a few who haven’t even thought about shopping yet — after all, we still have one week, right? For the ladies who read this column, there is no doubt you are already done.
Just in case you are having problems finding the right gift for that special outdoor-oriented friend or family member, here are a few suggestions for those last-minute shopping woes that won’t break your billfold or purse, whatever the case may be.
I have a close relative (my brother Jim) who I promised not to mention. Every Christmas his gifts include passing out cards. Neatly tucked inside are pieces of green paper with pictures of past presidents.
“Isn’t that kind of cheap?” I asked several years back when he began his annual tradition.
“Not at all,” he said flatly. “I don’t have to fight the crowds and it’s a gift that fits everyone and never needs returned. Tell me one person who won’t use it?”
Although I certainly have nothing against greenbacks, my inner child in me still gets a kick out of opening presents.
However, when it comes to giving paper, consider the kind with words and pictures. Books and subscriptions to magazines of interest make great gift items and continue to give throughout the year. They help us enjoy the outdoor spirit even when winter weather may confine us indoors.
Monthly magazines delivered right to your mailbox every month provide us with cast and blast stories for everyone, making Christmas last year round. For a duel gift, throw in a good book. There are literally hundreds to choose from and if we can’t be in the woods or on the water, the next best thing is reading about it.
Another type of paper product that lasts the entire year is an annual hunting and fishing license. Young or old, a license makes a great present and with the new year right around the corner, now is the time to renew.
Digital cameras make another gift that will keep on giving. The best camera is one that will be carried. Forget the big models with large telephoto lenses. Keep them small and compact where they can be easily tucked into a hunting jacket or fishing vest. Outdoor photos of family and friends will become priceless as time goes on.
Spend any amount of time outdoors and it doesn’t take long to realize a little comfort can go a long way. Throughout any given year I seem to do a lot of sitting on cold, hard or wet ground — sometimes all three at the same time! Planting my backside on sopping wet ground during spring turkey season, cold tree stand in the fall and on a bucket during winter’s ice fishing season are just a few of my uncomfortable positions.
This has now become a thing of the past. Several years back I received an insulated seat cushion which makes those extended stays in the outdoors much more tolerable. There are dozens to choose from and they are readily available. The best kinds are made of dual density foam. Shy away from the less expensive types filled with Styrofoam pellets, as they become too noisy for most hunting applications.
Knives are one of the most important outdoor tools that make another great gift idea. When properly taken care of, they can last several lifetimes.
When it comes to stocking stuffers, there is not an angler around who couldn’t use a spool of new line or various types of artificial lures. For the hunter in your family, how about a box of shotgun shells or a new pair of wool socks?
Like kids, outdoorsmen always need packages of spare batteries for their electronic gadgets such as flashlights, headlamps, rangefinders and GPS units.
Rest assured, even the outdoors person who seems to have everything under the sun will eventually lose, wear out and break or loan gear that will need to be replaced. For other ideas, just listen close when they talk to friends or wander around the house mumbling to themselves.
When all else fails … you can always give cash!
With this year’s deer hunting season now in the final stage many hunters are still taking to the woodlots in pursuit of our state’s most prominent big game animal. Here is this week’s list of hunters who have encountered success. This information, which includes field-dressed weights, was provided by Bryant’s Outdoor Store and U.S 31 Bait and Tackle.
Amy Bunch — 165-pound, nine-point buck; Ron Mickelson — 130-pound doe; Darrell Cockrell — 120-pound doe; Herschel Conyers — 105-pound doe; Dan Seagrave — 92-pound doe; Joshua Keyes — 152-pound, six-point buck; Bart Alexander — 140-pound doe; Robert Smith — 110-pound doe; Walter Dowden — 140-pound doe; Jeff Mulkey — 115-pound doe; Harley Engle — 90-pound doe; Richard Ponder — 140-pound doe; Glenn Gamblin — 120-pound doe; Billy Bryant — 160-pound, eight-point buck; Josh Trine — 70-pound button buck; Jarrett Carden — 90-pound doe; Tim Harden — 80-pound button buck; Bill Green Jr. — 120-pound doe; Steve Watson — 110-pound doe; Mike Bunch — 90-pound doe; Caleb Abbott — 125-pound doe; Max Elmore — 100-pound doe; Joe Bradburn — 145-pound six-point buck; Richard Ferren — 80-pound button buck; Kevin Werdel — 80-pound doe; Richard Ponder — 80-pound doe; Gary Mock — 130-pound doe; Aaron Shane — 175-pound, eight-point buck; Aaron Shane — 70-pound button buck.
• John Martino is the Tribune’s outdoors columnist. He may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.