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As I’ve said all through the deer season, there’s plenty of time to worry about Christmas. In fact, we still have three more days! What highly energized Maine sportsman can’t knock off a shopping list in three whole days? One quick run down Main Street should do it. After all, chocolate, socks and flannel nightgowns should more than satisfy everyone on the list, just like they did last year, right?
If you’re shopping for a hunter or fisherman, none of the above will work. What they really want (and need) is a new hunting or fishing license, readily available online at https://www5.informe.org/cgi-bin/online/moses2/index.pl. All you have to do is log on, fill in the appropriate information and print out your chosen license and tags. Nothing to it! I guarantee you that not one of your hunting or fishing friends is going to complain when they receive a nice card with next year’s sporting license inside. It’s one of the few gifts that are good 365 days a year. You won’t find a better stocking stuffer anywhere.
The same goes for magazine subscriptions. Log on, fill out the required fields and the job is done. Most sportsmen subscribe to several state, regional and national outdoor magazines, and all of them have Web sites where you can order subscriptions and other stuff (hats, T-shirts, mugs and all that). You may well be able to do all your sportsman’s shopping on one site in less time than it takes to drive to the mall. And, you can do it in your pajamas with a cup of coffee in your hand!
Many hunters have specific items in mind that they wish they could have for Christmas, and here again the Internet is the key. All of the major sporting goods retailers (Cabela’s, Gander Mountain, L.L. Bean, Orvis, Bass Pro Shops, etc.) have Web sites where you can buy products you know your sportsman is craving, or you can simply purchase a gift certificate (which you may print out and present to him on Christmas Day) so he can log on later and pick out his own items.
Once again, no hunter or fisherman is going to gripe if you hand him the key buying his own gear. He may be saving up for a new rifle, a new sleeping bag, maybe some new clothes, archery gear or fishing equipment. The list is endless, but when he wakes up Christmas morning and finds a gift certificate to his favorite store, you may notice that he’s already on the computer before the last pair of socks is unwrapped!
Perhaps the one thing most sportsmen spend the most money on is travel. Just the gas used to get to prime hunting and fishing areas costs a fortune, so why not log on and order your sport a gasoline gift card? Every major oil company offers these cards, or you can get a universal (and refillable!) VISA card that is good for anything and everything up to the limit you set.
So far this season I have driven an astounding 5,000 miles hunting deer here, there and everywhere. That’s a lot of gas, and there are still some six to eight weeks of deer season open somewhere – Ohio’s deer season ends in February!
Most sportsmen will have turned their attention to winter fishing opportunities, but getting there takes gas along with other expenses. Once again, no avid sportsman is going to turn down a gift gas card or VISA. And, you can order these from home (or just pick one up the next time you have to buy gas).
Lately I’ve been hearing lots of hunters express the wish for “The Outdoor Channel,” which apparently is an add-on expense to basic cable or satellite hookups. If you can swing it, this will keep your sportsman occupied year-round, especially on rainy days, Sundays and other times when he’s stuck inside with nothing to do. I have a friend who keeps one TV in the house tuned into The Outdoor Channel 24 hours a day. Any time he has a minute he just goes in there and gawks at the big bucks, trout, salmon and bass the various show hosts are after.
If none of this appeals to you, why not offer your sportsman a free trip to anywhere he wants to go? There isn’t a hunter on earth who doesn’t dream about faraway places. His “dream” trophy may be a moose, bear, elk, goat or sheep, or perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Saskatchewan to hunt trophy whitetails. Fishermen have trout, salmon, bass and muskies in mind, or maybe a trip that involves saltwater species such as stripers, bluefish, tarpon, tuna, marlin, cobia or even sharks. All of these may be found online by simply Googling your favorite species and “guides.” You can spend a few hundred dollars on a local trip or many thousands on a faraway getaway, but don’t let the price bother you. After all, it is Christmas, isn’t it?
If your budget is tight, why not log onto the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s Web “store” at http://www10.informe.org/webshop_ifw/?storeID=2, where you can order everything from a hat to a season pass to a Maine park as well as clothing, art prints, guide merchandise, wildlife posters, stickers and other items, including books, T-shirts and belt buckles.
If you want to go really cheap, you can get a copy of “You Alone In The Maine Woods,” 18 pages of helpful hints on how to keep from getting lost and what to do if you do get of the track. All that, and it’s free!
Well, there! Now you can stop worrying about what to get your Maine sportsman for Christmas. Head for the computer, log on and start shopping. It couldn’t be any easier – and then you’ll have two whole days left to do something else!
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