Sportsmen and sportswomen love their toys.

Of course, they prefer to consider these toys as indispensable tools for the outdoors.

Sometimes the best gift one can give to an outdoorsman is a tool or device that he might not either think to buy for himself or feel comfortable buying.

For example, my late 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 is 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.



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.


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. License agents need that documentation to issue a new license.


For a comprehensive list of Maine outdoor books that are reasonably priced, check out the website Any of them make a great Christmas gift. Tops on my list are “Maine Deer Hunter’s Logbook,” “Backtrack,” and “Trolling Flies for Trout and Salmon.”



  • Quality boot grease.
  • Quality outdoor thermos (available in camo).
  • Hudson Bay axe.
  • 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).


  • Black powder rifle (muzzleloader).
  • Power Ice Auger.
  • GPS.
  • Game camera.
  • Portable Ice Shack.
  • Hunter’s Popup Tent Blind.

Finally, some stocking stuffers: Bags of beef jerky, 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

Merry Christmas and may all of your outdoor dreams come true.

The author is editor of the “Northwoods Sporting Journal.” He is also a Maine guide and host of a weekly radio program — “Maine Outdoors” — heard Sundays at 7 p.m. on “The Voice of Maine News – Talk Network.” He has authored three books; online purchase information is available at

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: