Hunters, shooters and outdoor enthusiasts can be hard to buy for during the holidays. Not only are we picky about what we want, but we often purchase items as we find them at the price we want to spend. This can leave our loved ones in a quandary as to what to get us. On the other hand, you may have a hunter on your shopping list who you still have no gift ideas for that will nurture his or her love of the outdoors and wildlife. Whether you’re buying for someone or compiling your own list for Santa, you would be amazed at some of the high-quality items being offered by state wildlife agencies across the country. Here is just a sampling.
Georgia The Peach State suggests buying a hunting or fishing license online for your loved one and then opting to print the hard copy for something to present on Christmas morning. What could be more practical? Not only are you supporting the vital work of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, but you could offer a newcomer a youth license or buy a seasoned hunter a lifetime license.
Maine Maine offers T-shirts and sweatshirts, of course, but they also have a nice line of fleece clothing, backpacks and hats—all adorned with the crest of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW). Hydrate with a Camelbak water bottle or enjoy your coffee via a camp cup, ceramic or travel mug, all with the distinctive MDIFW logo. Best of all is a wild game cookbook called “The Maine Way,” offered for a reasonable $10 plus shipping.
Ohio One of the gift ideas from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is the chance to directly impact the management of the state’s native wildlife by purchasing a $15 Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp. You’ll receive the collectible stamp, a window cling and commemorative card. If you present your stamp at any of eight state park lodges, you can earn a 25 percent discount on weekday stays. Best of all, the proceeds go to the Endangered Species and Wildlife Diversity Fund, which supports habitat restoration, land purchases and conservation easements, endangered and threatened species native to the Buckeye State, educational projects for wildlife enthusiasts and wildlife and habitat research.
Vermont The Green Mountain State offers a few select items that are perfect the discriminating outdoor enthusiast. The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department Calendar 2020 is an easy $15, or you can opt for limited-edition prints of the artwork used on the Vermont Conservation License Plates for $75 each. In between are two must-have books for Vermont outdoorsmen: “Guide to the Wildlife Management Areas of Vermont” for $16.27 and the second edition of “Wetland, Woodland, Wildland: A Guide to the Natural Communities of Vermont” available online or through local bookstores.
Check out your state’s wildlife or fish and game agency to find out what’s available where you live. The hunters on your list will be happy, or you will be when you find a gift to give yourself. Either way, you, your state’s wildlife biologists and managers and the wildlife itself all win.
About the Author: Erin C. Healy is the associate editor of the NRA Hunters' Leadership Forum. She edited a lifestyle magazine on Cape Cod for 14 years and provided marketing services for her local guntry club prior to working for BLADE magazine and a regional recreational fishing magazine. She served in the U.S. Army, is an NRA Life Member, a National Wild Turkey Federation member and sends her Jack Russell Terriers to ground as often as possible. Follow NRA Hunters' Leadership Forum on Twitter @HuntersLead.