Last-minute Christmas gifts for the outdoorsman

By Roger Wolfe - Guest Columnist

Ok, it is officially crunch time. Christmas will be in just a few short days and if you haven’t finished your shopping you have my sympathy.

If you think the great outdoors is the scene for wildlife, just visit your local mall — or worse yet, Wal-Mart.

A word of caution: If you are going shopping this time of year, be sure to take some survival gear. It is downright dangerous out there. It is definitely not an adventure for the faint of heart.

For those of you that just aren’t feeling up to the challenge of tackling the masses, I might have a few last-minute gift ideas to help you get the perfect gift for the outdoor-minded recipient. Best of all, in most cases, you won’t even have to fight the long checkout lines or ferocious crowds to get them.

In my opinion, hunters are quite possibly the easiest folks to shop for. Granted, my wife might not share that same opinion, but whether they need it or not the outdoorsman can always use more stuff.

Each year there are dozens of gadgets and tools that come out for the hunter or fisherman that makes us an even better predator. Well, at least that’s what the advertisements say.

The truth is, there are a few things us sportsmen can always use. A new gun, new fishing rod, even a new bass boat are always excellent choices. If it has been a rough year for Santa, a new tree stand, hunting blind or trail camera works, too.

There are several other ideas that come to mind, as well. A paid membership to their favorite hunting or fishing organization like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) or the Bass Anglers Sportsman Association (BASS), to name just a few, are good choices. Even a membership to local organizations such as the West Virginia Bowhunters Association or the local gun or hunting club are great gifts.

These organizations welcome the support and are often the first to join the fight and protect our rights as sportsmen or to pitch in to help make the habitat better. Not only are their memberships great gifts, they are also a good investment in the outdoors.

If your sports-minded elf has all the memberships and magazines they could ever need, you can still grab the latest and greatest gadget and not feel like you are entering the ring with a caged beast. A trip to the local sporting good shop won’t be nearly as hectic as those other big name stores.

The smaller local shops may not have the acres of merchandise to look through, but they will most always have sales staff that not only know the products, but often use many of them and are more than willing to take the time to point you in the direction of a great gift.

Plus, shopping local is always an added pleasure.

If you have used up all of your other options, looked over all the sales ads, and still can’t find that perfect gift, there is always the old standby … gift cards. Yes, they may be seen by some as a bit impersonal, or as a cop-out gift, but I am willing to bet that the recipient of the gift card isn’t going to be disappointed to see that big name mail order store name on that shiny piece of plastic gold. Most likely, they will already be seeing that new reel or waders they have been wanting or perhaps even a new hunting coat.

For those last-minute shoppers that hate the crowds like the plague, there might even still be time to find the perfect gift online. There are a few sites out there that will still be able to get that special gift here before the bell tolls on Christmas Eve. It really helps to have a Cabela’s and Amazon distribution center here in the state.

So don’t give up hope. There is still time. Don’t even worry if that new bass boat won’t fit under the tree, just tuck it away in the back yard, take a nice picture of it, wrap it in a tiny box under the tree for your favorite fisherman to unwrap Christmas morning. They won’t be disappointed.

So from my family to yours, here is wishing each of you a very Merry Christmas!

By Roger Wolfe

Guest Columnist

Roger Wolfe writes about the outdoors for Civitas Media’s West Virginia newspapers.

Roger Wolfe writes about the outdoors for Civitas Media’s West Virginia newspapers.