By LARRY WHITELEY
Here are some other ideas for you, to go along with the Christmas gifts you buy online or at your local outdoor store this year.
Bird houses made from scrap wood make great Christmas gifts. So does a hand-crafted hiking stick.
If you’re a grandparent, Christmas is a great time to pass down your dad’s or grandpa’s old shotgun, pocket knife or fishing equipment to your kids or grandkids.
How about a special camping trip with family time around the campfire, along with a Christmas tree decorated with items from the nature that surrounds you?
A Christmas float trip down a river or a canoe adventure on a quiet lake is a priceless gift. Time alone with your wife on a hiking trip is a gift she will never forget. A Christmas fishing or hunting trip with a child or grandchild is a gift that will last them a lifetime.
Other Christmas gift ideas are limited only by your imagination. Get away from the hustle and bustle. Enjoy Christmas in our great outdoors.
“Finding the real joy of Christmas comes not in the hurrying and the scurrying to get more done, nor is it found in the purchasing of gifts. We find real joy when we make the Savior the focus of the season.” – Thomas S. Monson
THAT’S AMAZING, OR MAYBE NOT
Congratulations to our U.S. Senate! They finally got together and, with bipartisan support, designated June 2017 as “Great Outdoors Month.”
The only problem is they didn’t vote on it until Aug. 9, 2017.
THIS IS ALSO AMAZING
The eyes of the woodcock are set so far back in its head that it has a 360-degree field of vision, enabling it to see all around and even over the top of its head.
TREE THAT HELPED BUILD AMERICA
The hickory tree played an important part in building our nation.
In most cases, hickory wood was the first choice of frontiersmen, mountain men, railroad men and settlers. They used hickory to make handles for rifles, pistols, knives, axes, hammers and picks. Hickory offered them strength, flexibility, shock absorbency, workability, durability and stability.
Hickory trees were also a favorite place to nest and gather nuts for one of early Americans’ favorite foods that they really depended on to survive – the bushy tailed squirrel.
It is only fitting that the tree that helped build America grows in abundance nowhere else in the world but America.
SQUIRREL HUNTING WITH AN AIR RIFLE
When I was a kid growing up on the farm, we hunted squirrels for food. A dinner of fried squirrels and biscuits and gravy, or squirrel and dumplings, was a welcome treat back then.
I live in the suburbs now and hadn’t hunted squirrels for quite a few years. Last year, we started having an abundance of squirrels in our neighborhood and they began chewing on our house, and one even got into our attic and started chewing on wires. Others started chewing on my bird feeders, eating the bird feed and scaring the birds away. It was time to hunt squirrels again.
I bought a Stoeger X10 .177 caliber air rifle, and the squirrels never had a chance. After sighting in with the included scope, it didn’t take long before the squirrel population at my house was decimated. They still taste good, too.
I sometimes see squirrels around other houses, but I am convinced that squirrels carry around tiny smartphones and text other squirrels telling them to stay away from the Whiteley house because that guy is deadly with his air rifle.
CONTINUING THE TRADITION
Where will the next generation of sportsmen and women come from who will support our firearms, hunting and shooting freedoms? They will be those you introduce to these sports.
So what are you waiting for? Invite someone to go shooting or hunting with you today.
A NEW YEAR
I hope for each of you, 2018 is a New Year for you!
I hope it’s a year when politicians come to their senses and realize they work for us the taxpayers, not for their own gain.
I hope 2018 is the year you realize that kids spell love “T-I-M-E.”
I hope it’s a year you take your spouse’s hand and go walking on a moonlit night.
I hope it’s a year that finds you spending less time at the office and more time with your family.
I hope this is the year you discover that sunrises and sunsets, the sounds of crickets and the smell of campfire smoke are better than any TV show.
I hope it’s a year you learn to tie a fly, paddle a canoe, pitch a tent, skip a rock, shoot a bow and catch a fish.
From me to all of you, have a happy 2018.
“The best thing about hunting and fishing is that you don’t have to actually do it to enjoy it. You can go to bed every night thinking about how much fun you had 20 years ago, and it all comes back clear as moonlight.”
–John Madson in “The Old Man’s Boy Grows Older,” 1957