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The Roving Sportsman… Great Stocking Stuffers!

With only a few more shopping days before Christ.mas morning arrives, hopefully, you have taken care of all of the major items on your gift list and can now turn your attention to the last minute items and the ever-popular “stocking stuffers.” I reflect back, fondly, to the early days when the three stockings, hand-knit by my aunt Tutty, were hung on the fireplace mantle, and as my sister, brother and I went off to bed on Christmas Eve, we each wondered what treasures would we find in them the next morning.

The contents of my Christmas stocking were always special. A box or two of Nibs licorice bits, a few Slim Jims, Mary Janes and some candy canes. If I was lucky, there might be a box of .22 ammunition for target practice, some flies or lures for fishing and perhaps a subscription to Field & Stream or Outdoor Life. It was always a treasure trove of goodies!

Today, the Christmas stocking is still the last place to concentrate some interesting things that will help make the spirit of giving even more fun. Being more aware of healthy eating habits, these days it is more likely to find homemade fruit roll-ups, venison snack sticks and an apple in one’s stocking. Since I have had the good fortune of traveling a good deal and have seen and used some great gadgets and gear, allow me to make a few suggestions for your Christmas stockings.

One of the greatest “gadgets” that I discovered a number of years ago and have been thrilled with its results is the ThermaCell insect repellent device. It is extremely effective in repelling mosquitoes, gnats, black flies and other buzzing and annoying flying insects. I have been on spring gobbler hunts where I may well have abandoned the hunt, had it not been for my ThermaCell unit to rid the area of these unwanted pests. Gift-wrap one of the units and place it under the Christmas tree with the other gifts, then place several small boxes of the butane and/or scent pad replacement containers in a stocking.

Case, a knife maker, based here in our home state of Pennsylvania, makes a large variety of knives for sportsmen. They produce quality knives of all shapes and sizes, many of which have special features for use by hunters, fishermen, campers or anyone who enjoys quality time in the outdoors. I don’t believe any outdoor enthusiast can ever have “too many” knives, and I don’t know any who wouldn’t be happy to find a new boxed Case knife in their Christmas stocking!

Stocking-stuffers do not have to be expensive items. A small spray container of a shooter’s favorite gun oil, a clear plastic box with an assortment of trout flies or a new lure for bass fishing will add nicely to the stocking. A combination unit that has a compass, a whistle and a water-proof compartment for waterproof and windproof matches make a great gift for any sportsman who just may find themselves caught out overnight unexpectedly (It happens, and being prepared with such a simple device might just be a life-saver!).

Putting together a stocking full of things and hanging it from the fireplace mantle is a fun thing to do, and is always something that adds to the joy of Christmas morning. Use your imagination and come up with some interesting small items, based on the interests of the person you are trying to make smile as they dig into the stocking to see what else might be there.

One last thing – don’t forget the “always-thoughtful and always-appreciated” gift certificate or gift card from the recipient’s favorite outdoor store. It is an easy item to include and something that can be used to purchase an item you may not have thought of.

Finally, here’s wishing each and every one of you “The Merriest Christmas Ever, and a Happy and Healthy New Year!”

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