Sportsmen love their toys. Of course, they prefer to consider these toys as indispensable tools for the outdoors. Sometimes the best gift one can give an outdoorsman is a tool or device that he might not either think to buy for himself or feel comfortable buying. For example, my mother-in-law always had an uncanny knack for finding useful and unusual tool-like gifts. One Christmas long ago, she gave me a camping knife set. A nifty deal, this is a set of different blades that attach to a common handle. It all wraps up into a compact package and in it are a bread knife, a filleting knife, a carving knife and so forth. To this day, I treasure it, and whenever it’s used while camping, I can’t help but be reminded of her thoughtfulness and flair for creative gift giving.

For that favorite sportsman or sportswoman on your Christmas list, here are some gift ideas that may come in handy as the clock ticks down to Dec. 25.

Lifetime hunting/fishing license

A lifetime license to hunt and fish is a gift that lasts forever, even if you move. A lifetime license is more expensive than a regular license, but the return on that investment is much greater.

The Maine Fish and Wildlife Department now offers a lifetime hunting, fishing or combination license to residents under the age of fifteen or residents 65 and older. The fees for this license are as follows: Under 6: hunting, $150; fishing, $150; combination hunting and fishing, $250. For ages 6-15 hunting, $300; fishing, $300; combination hunting and fishing, $500.

For those 65: hunting, $50; fishing, $50; combination hunting and fishing, $80; for those 66: hunting, $40; fishing, $40; combination hunting and fishing, $64; for those 67: hunting, $30; fishing, $30; combination hunting and fishing, $48; for those 68: hunting, $20; fishing, $20; combination hunting and fishing, $32; for those 69: hunting, $10; fishing, $10; combination hunting and fishing, $16.

One-year combination hunting/fishing license.

These are available Online ( at all town offices, Rite Aid stores and most outdoor shops. If you are purchasing a combination or hunting license for someone, make sure you bring that person’s old license or proof of completion of a hunter safety course to where you purchase your license. License agents need that documentation to issue a new license.

Quality boot grease

Quality outdoor thermos (Available in camo)

Hudson Bay axe (Look for the Snow & Neally label)

Hunting Hot Seat (Fabric type best – no plastic)

Quality Long Underwear (Old ones lose their insulating value with use)

Good rainsuit

Box of trout flies (Top six are Adams, Hornberg, Blue Dunn, Elk Hair Caddis, Grasshopper, Royal Coachman)

DeLorme’s New Book of Maine Fishing Depth Maps ($19.95)

If you’re really feeling flush, here are some big-ticket items:

Black powder rifle (muzzleloader)

Power Ice Auger (Can’t go wrong with a Jiffy)


Portable Ice Shack

Hunter’s Popup Tent Blind

Finally, some stocking stuffers: super-compact Tony’s Knife Sharpener (available in Maine from Maine Outdoor Publications for $14.95, telephone 862-2160) gift certificates, handwarmers, fishing lures, tippet material, fly dope, ammunition, WD-40, Leatherman, compass, a year’s subscription to the Northwoods Sporting Journal (732-4880 or, duct tape, wool socks, or foot warmers. If you’re gift buying for a trapper or an ice fisherman, drop a can or two of Dick Pinney’s Hard Core Hand Care. This stuff works miracles with dry and chapped hands and skin. More information is available by e-mailing Dick himself at: [email protected] I think he gets about $6 a can, or three-pack for $16.

Happy Holidays, and may all your outdoor dreams come true.

The author is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. He is also a Maine Guide, co-host of a weekly radio program “Maine Outdoors” heard Sundays at 7 p.m. on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network (WVOM-FM 103.9, WCME-FM 96.7) and former information officer for the Maine Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. His e-mail address is [email protected]

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