Holiday shopping for the sportsman

As December settles in, preparations are in full swing for the holiday season. It’s hard to believe how quickly the month is going already – and many of us haven’t yet finished making up our gift lists, much less completing our holiday shopping. For those who are shopping for gift ideas for friends and loved ones who enjoy spending time in the great outdoors, here are a few suggestions on what that special gal or guy might appreciate.

For starters, take a trip to your local sporting goods store – we are fortunate in Catskill Mountain News country to have a number of local shops where parking is easy and friendly proprietors will do their best to assist you in finding just the right gift.

From Tom at Pepacton Bait & Tackle along Route 28, Arkville; to Dave at Del-Sports, Inc., Margaretville; to Candy at Tremperskill Country Store, County Highway 1, Andes; to Al at Al’s Sports Store, River Road, Downsville – all will be happy to assist you and answer any questions you might have. They might even know your special sports person (if they’ve frequented their shop) and can provide gift suggestions tailored to their past purchases.

Hunting gifts
As we are still in the midst of the hunting season, there are a number of ideas for the hunter on your list. In addition to the big ticket items, like a new gun (rifle, shotgun or black powder) or bow and arrows, necessities like warm outer clothing are appreciated - hats, gloves, scarves, boots, jackets - and don’t forget the little things – like insulated under-layers and wool socks, and even hand- and foot-warmers that can be stowed in your gloves and socks. Perhaps a new hot seat or cushion is needed, or a folding camp stool or small folding stow-away chair that can easily be packed into a blind.

One Christmas I was gifted with a nice new backpack with an outer pocket for my water bottle and lots of zippered compartments for your license, a pen, and even your cell phone. There are lots of neat new gadgets, from very bright LED flashlights to pocket knives with different blades that make good stocking stuffers, as well as small binoculars, slimline thermoses, game calls and scents.
For those who love to fish, there are lots of suggestions, whether for ice fishers, boat fishers, or fly fishers. Ice fishers might appreciate a new augur, or necessary equipment such as tip ups, jigging poles, ice skimmers and even portable ice shanties. Those folding/packable camp chairs and hot seats are also helpful to ice fishers, as is a sled for ferrying equipment across the ice.

Boat fisher gifts
The boat fisher might appreciate some new gear – beginning with the oars, cushions, life vests and rod holders. A seat with a back that attaches to a swivel is a nice gift that will enable your favorite boat fisher to spend more time comfortably on the water. Reservoir anglers will appreciate a recording thermometer for determining water temperature at different depths, or perhaps a fish finder. In addition, there are lots of new lures, spoons and lead core trolling outfits available, as well as a new tackle box to keep them in.
Fly fishers will always need new tippets, lines and flies – and don’t forget the polarized sunglasses. Perhaps a new fishing vest or hat, or waders and raingear might be a welcome gift.

And other outdoor lovers might like a set of snowshoes or cross-county skis, as well as and hiking or trail maps of the area that are available – such as maps of the Catskill Park with streams, lakes and ponds denoted, as well as NYS and Watershed lands open to the public.

As the year comes to an end, let’s remember to appreciate and be thankful for all the opportunities we have to enjoy the great outdoors here in our beautiful Catskill Mountains!