Along The Trail 12-15-16

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Editor’s Note: ‘Along the Trail’ is a weekly column written by David Hewitt of Switzerland County; and covers all things dealing with the outdoors, from hunting and fishing to woodsmanship.

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It’s not quite the last minute, but it’s getting close for the procrastinators out there who wait until the end to shop for that favorite hunter, fisherman or outdoor enthusiast on their Christmas list.

My fiancée happens to be one of those people and just the other day she asked me what I’d like to see under the tree. I gave her a couple of ideas and thought I’d share a few again this year for the folks out there Along the Trail that might be struggling to come up with a gift for a special someone on their list.

Every outdoorsman or woman could use an extra flashlight and these days, good ones can be had for under $20. I know that every time I reach for my flashlight during hunting season, it seems to go missing. They’re handy to throw in the glove box or to keep a spare in my backpack. You can be sure that whomever receives one will use it.

The same can be said of a knife. I, like most hunters have my “go to” blade, but knives have a way of getting misplaced or forgotten at home and there’s nothing worse than field dressing a deer in the dark using a broadhead from your arrow! A decent knife can be had for under $25 and I might add that you can buy one locally, same goes for the flashlight idea.

An old standby, good warm socks – now here’s where you don’t want to skimp. A pair of comfortable, warm, moisture wicking socks will cost a few bucks, but they can make all the difference in the world when it comes to keeping your feet snuggly and dry in a tree stand or ice fishing or hiking.

Every outdoorsman appreciates a good fitting hat of some sort. Since most of my outdoor pursuits are in cooler temps, I tend to favor something warm. Here again, like with good socks, you get what you pay for, but I can guarantee that the person receiving the gift will thank you for it.

Something that a lot of shoppers overlook for that woodsy person on their list is artwork. Most people that spend a lot of time outdoors have an eye for nature and good artwork that reflects the outdoors will be much appreciated. It doesn’t matter the medium: wood working pieces, sculpture, paintings, all of it would look good in a man cave, den or rustic family room. Again, it’s a way to shop local and many original pieces of outdoor themed artwork can be had reasonably priced.

One of my favorites is a subscription to an outdoor/hunting magazine. Even in today’s world of digital everything and instant access, there is still something fun about getting a magazine in the mail. I can’t tell you how many winter’s nights I’ve dozed off under a blanket on the couch reading stories from a hunting magazine. There’s just something about reading print that you can’t get from a computer screen or on your smart phone.

And, lastly, how about a membership to our state parks? For the hiker or camper on your list, there would be nothing greater than having a membership paid for. The receiver would love it and the membership monies go to help support the parks. They can be had through the DNR’s website for a modest cost.

I hope for the last second shoppers out there that these few ideas help relieve some of your stress in the hustle and bustle of the season, but it’s my main hope that we’ll all remember the true gift that was given to us and the reason we celebrate the Christmas holiday and the birth of our savior. An early Merry Christmas to all and hope to see you Along the Trail.

– David Hewitt