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It’s a Wrap: Last-minute Gifts for the Sportsmen on Your Lists

December 21, 2018

Each year sportsmen are out there in the malls, driving to stores, or just driving in circles looking for that special gift for that special someone in their lives.

Each year for the past 10 years or so I get a few letters here asking me if I am going to publish my list of ideas of what might be of value to that special someone. So come opening morning, in this case when Santa arrives on December 25, he will have in his bag the gift to bring a big smile to that sportsman’s face.

So you better not pout and you better not cry because here is my list and I’m telling you why Santa has worked very hard this year!

To start with everyone needs a license. If it is a hunting license you can buy this and if you don’t know what little add-on they want don’t worry, a doe permit, bear tag, duck permit, etc. can be added later. If it is a fishing license then buy it and if a saltwater fisherman is in the family buy the saltwater tag as well. That is a short money tag worth every cent that is good for a year.

We used to worry about getting lost in the woods but now you can buy two things to make sure you are safe. A handheld GPS that can be programmed to your area, made for example by Garmin. There are others that will attach right to the bumper of your car. The other item is a gel-filled compass that never freezes and if you can follow the points on a compass you will get home.

Here are some other quick things on my check list: A bucket to put things in while hunting or fishing but also to sit on, ice-fishing tip-ups, pliers, hook removers with a long point, Stick Baits. If you dare, buy waders, but you must know their size and go one bigger. Ice creepers are also good for the slippery rocks at the canal and Salmon River.

Also a headlamp to get down a path or for night fishing or fly tying. They take a simple set of batteries and last for years. A hunter should always carry a whistle and it’s not bad for all people to have one at their back door. Bears hate the sound and will run when they hear the sound.

Of late a black bear has been seen in Burlington and I think the same bear in Medford, but it is a big boy of nearly 300 pounds that will do damage to your property and, yes, to you. A good knife for skinning is a must.

So that is my sportsmen’s Christmas list for this year. I hope this gives you a few ideas what Santa might need to stuff into that bag.

Outdoor news & notes

Dan Byrd, on vacation in North Carolina, went fishing with friends of my daughter Lori and was able to catch a huge 41.5-pound blue catfish, which he careful released.

Retired Billerica police Sgt. Keith Weston nailed a 140-pound, 6-point buck and his son, a Belmont police officer, also got a 6-pointer dressed at 170 pounds. Ken Brown of Ashby got a 185-pound 6-pointer. All deer were taken while hunting the north country in more than two feet of snow.

The Mystic River Watershed has been told they may well get $1.3 million to restore more of the entire watershed. This money is from Exxon/Mobil, which was fined $4.5 million several years ago for spilling oil into the Mystic River.

This 1.3 million is all that is left with the other money having been spent everywhere except in the Mystic River, where the spill took place. Let’s hope the feds come to their right minds and allow that money to be spent locally in this great watershed that extends all the way from Boston to Woburn.

Massachusetts had a very good year with the eagles nesting. Like New Hampshire we had 76 pairs, but we also had 68 chicks. A very good year.

The primitive firearms season is the only one left now here in the Bay State. No other northern New England state has any deer hunting. This deer season will run from now until Dec. 31.

Ice conditions are at best in question. Some places are great while others are thin or have no ice at all. I was at Whalom Pond the other day and at the boat ramp there were three guys out on the ice who said it was five inches thick. But on the far side of this 90-acre pond was open water.

You must creep and pick at the ice as you walk. I hope you are with a friend and if possible use a rope and walk tied off to each other but spaced well apart, single file. Don’t tread unless you are positive you have at least three inches of black ice everywhere, not just where you stand. I hate losing readers.

Bill Biswanger’s email is bboutdoor1@aol.com

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