Most of the sportsmen and women I have known over the years have had an affinity for tools of the trade, gizmos and gadgets that have a practical application in their outdoor pursuits. And if they want something, and can afford it, they just go out and buy it.
Oh, there are exceptions in the outdoor community. There are a small percentage of stubborn minimalists who are content with tattered old hunting shirts, noisy old two-stroke outboards that simply refuse to start on some days, or vintage waders that have been patched and repatched. Easy shopping for these pillars of privation.
In most cases though, the bottom line at Christmastime is this: sportsmen and women can be tough to shop for because if they needed it, they more than likely already went out and bought it.
So, you need to get creative, to think outside the box.
For starters, stocking stuffers make useful and welcome gifts: hand-warmers, gift cards from sporting outlets, a box of ammo, a can of WD-40, a silicone gun cloth, wool-blend socks, a combination Maine hunting/fishing license or a gift subscription to the Northwoods Sporting Journal. (The Journal can be ordered online at www.sportingjournal.com or call for a subscription at 732-4880.)
Big-ticket items for the sportsman or woman in your family may require some careful thought and inquiry. A hunting or fishing buddy may be able to help you in this area. My son surprised me with a new hunting blind to replace the old one that had become leaky and difficult to erect. Many pleasant hours were spent in the blind in the deer woods this fall. The gift filled the bill and left me appreciative every day I zippered myself in for the morning deer vigil.
A new trail camera makes a great gift for any outdoors person, hunter or not. Like so many other “technical” gadgets, the technology of trail cams has improved markedly and rapidly, making the old ones almost obsolete.
Last but not least, there are always outdoor books that make wonderful gifts for the sportsman who has everything. My top picks are “Behind the Cast” by Dale Wheaton, “The Great Maine Moose Hunt” by Roger Lambert, “Trolling Flies for Trout and Salmon” by Bob Leeman and, of course, three of my books, “Maine Angler’s Logbook,” “Backtrack” and my best seller, “Maine Deer Hunter’s Logbook.”
All of these outdoor books, and many others, can be reviewed for content and ordered by accessing the Northwoods Sporting Journal website, www.sportingjournal.com, and clicking on “Outdoor Books.”
A very recent book, “Written on Water” by Downeast guide Randy Spencer, is newly listed on the Outdoor Books section of the Northwoods Sporting Journal website. It is not Spencer’s first book, but, in my opinion, it is his best. Spencer’s profiles of quirky characters he has known at Grand Lake Stream are skillfully crafted with uncommon sensitivity, humanity and razor-keen insights into the journey we call life.
The author is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. His email address is [email protected].