The new Alternative Methods Portion of the deer season started last Saturday and continues through Christmas; and the Late Youth Portion will run the weekend of Dec. 29-30.
Waterfowl seasons are going strong; and quail, rabbit and squirrel seasons are in full swing. Fishing is holding up, too; so it's easy to see why many outdoorsmen haven't given Christmas shopping a second thought. But it's not too late!
Christmas has a way of sneaking up on many outdoorsmen, who are busy doing their thing in early December. Gifts for the outdoorsman aren't usually in the minds of many shoppers who have hunters or anglers on their Christmas list, but now is the time to pick up that gift for your hunter, angler, camper, boater, hiker or wildlife photographer.
A tip for those shopping for an outdoorsman is, don't splurge on a rod and reel or hunting gear unless you know absolutely what he or she wants. There are many choices of gear, so don't get a crappie fisherman a muskie outfit or a duck hunter a box of lead shotgun shells. It's better to buy a gift certificate from a sporting goods store and let the recipient choose what he or she really craves.
Top hunting, fishing and camping gear is specialized equipment so you don't want to pick out a paddle for a seasoned canoeist because he fits a paddle to his skill and challenges. The same thing applies to electronic fishing gear.
Today's shopper has a wider selection of outdoor gifts than ever before, because the area has many stores that cater to the outdoorsman from campers to boaters and anglers to hunters. It's a win-win situation.
There are things that transpire specially, too. A Natural Events Calendar from the Missouri Department of Conservation would make a good gift for any outdoorsman, as well as for non-hunters and fishermen. Jim Low, of the MDC, said the MDC has lots of holiday gift ideas, including field guides for everything from wildflowers to trees,to butterflies to crayfish, as well as a host of educational DVDs. MDC's online Nature Shop. at mdcnatureshop.com, even has a gift registry where you can leave hints about what you would like to find under the tree on Dec. 25. Gift hunters also visit one of MDC's nature centers or regional offices or call (877) 521-8632.
Annual hunting and fishing permits purchased now are valid through February 2014 which means that there would be 15 months of outdoor enjoyment for the price of 12 months.
Hunters can always use another duck, goose, crow or other type of call and anglers never have enough lures. There are new hunting and fishing games and outdoor books available on various outdoor subjects to fill a library as well as plenty of "toys" to keep an outdoorsman happy this winter. Christmas shopping for an outdoor minded person has never been easier.
Its not too early to go Christmas shopping, but with all the good hunting and fishing going on, don't wait too long. One outdoor person we know, Harry Findley, Springfield, told me recently that he nearly got himself in trouble last year by not thinking about shopping until the last minute and had to settle for things he really didn't like; so this year he had all his Christmas shopping done before deer season opened.
Jim Smith, Nixa, has four sons and two daughters who love the outdoors so he finds gifts that fit each one.
"There are so many things to pick from today," he said. " I don't have a problem finding things. The problem now is which one of the many new gadgets do I buy? I was in a sporting goods store recently and saw all the new gear available plus all the electronic items. I'm glad I started early this year."
"Above all else, may Santa fill your stockings with appreciation of nature and enjoyment of our natural resources."