Gift suggestions for outdoors enthusiasts

By Al Smith - Guest Columnist

With a little more than a week left before Christmas, there is still plenty of time to get some gifts for the outdoors lover on your list.

Stocking stuffers come to mind first. And stockings or socks are a gift almost anyone who loves the outdoors can use. It may be a simple gift, but for those who are in the field or on the water (especially frozen water), socks are a welcome gift.

If those on your list are out during cooler fall and spring weather along with winter’s frigid months, hand and foot warmers might be well appreciated. I was fortunate one year when my wife found a box of hand warmers at a great price. They saved my hands that year because even the most expensive gloves don’t always keep your hands warm. If you are taking the gloves off at times, these small packets are a blessing to quickly warm your hands again.

Those two items are among the easiest gifts to purchase. I hesitate in telling people to buy certain line, lures, rods, reels, ammunition, etc. unless the people on your list have specified exactly what they want.

A check or gift certificate allows the person on your list to choose what they might like. A gift certificate to a local bait and tackle store is well appreciated. I’ve purchased, rods, reels, line etc. with those. A gift card to outdoor outlets also is a good choice.

You can make suggestions if you present someone with a check. You may tell them they might like to put it toward their annual membership in a local or national conservation club or group. I prefer local since these organizations offer a variety of activities with many geared toward youth.

You may ask them if they subscribe to various outdoor periodicals. You could give them a check to renew those subscriptions. I like this aspect since I travel to other states and enjoy Outdoor Indiana, a bimonthly periodical on state parks, reservoirs, etc in Indiana. I also like the Michigan United Conservation Clubs and its magazine. In Ohio, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources offers Wild Ohio Magazine. Ohio’s wildlife and conservation activities are featured in this bimonthly periodical, which costs only $5 per year for individuals who purchase it at a license vendor or online through Ohio’s Wildlife licensing system or $10 with a mail-in form.

Gift certificates can be purchased through the licensing system. This can be found at They only can only be purchased and redeemed online and are valid one year from the date of purchase. Licenses, permits, Wild Ohio Magazine and wetland and legacy stamps are among items that may be purchased with gift certificates.

In addition to an annual fishing and hunting licenses, the ODNR offers multiyear and lifetime licenses. They may be purchased from local license agents or by going online and checking out the licensing system.

The state park system also offers gift cards and gift certificates.

They may be used for overnight stays at state parks plus may be redeemed for camping, getaway rentals and cabin rentals. In addition, the gift cards or gift certificates may be used for boat rentals at many state park marinas. They also may be used for golfing at six public courses in the state park system.

These cards and certificates have no expiration date and may be purchased at any state park office, calling 866-644-6727 or going online at

If you visit neighboring states often, various departments of natural resources offer a variety of gift options, too.

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Kevin Haver, director of Johnny Appleseed Metro Parks, will be the featured speaker at the Allen County Sportsmen and Farmers Association’s Dec. 27 meeting. He will discuss the new archery complex located at Kendrick’s Woods.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. and will be held at the club’s 1001 South Kemp Road location. For further details contact Bill Stratton at 419-236-9082.

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If you don’t hunt or fish, you can enjoy being outside during the colder months trying to spot bald eagles.

They are much easier to spot during late fall, winter and early spring because trees are barren.

Look for open water in the winter as these raptors follow open water for food. If one of their favorite feeding spots freezes over, they search for other open water. Eagles often are found near dams, lakes, or reservoirs that are free of ice.

Toward the latter part of winter, eagles can be seen as they begin nesting activity. They can begin to lay eggs as early as late January.

A trip to Lake Erie in the Port Clinton area is a great spot to see eagles. If you spend time at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area or Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and other areas driving along the lake, you could see numerous eagles.

By Al Smith

Guest Columnist

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

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