Some people have way too many hobbies, that aside, here is a short list of gift ideas for the sportsman. Most sports today have backpacks dedicated to each sport. Backpacks aplenty are out there from the simplest day pack to the big Kahuna packs for multi-day back-country camping trips. For some sports a simple waistline pack, often called fanny packs, can be used in conjunction with say a hunter backpack. There are now backpacks for fishing with slide-out compartments, water bottle holders and a flexible cooler. Packs for children are so common they are hardly noticed. Another galaxy of gifts are the things to put in the packs. Most are subject to personal preference such as fishing lures, drop by Outdoor Pro, make a right turn as soon as you go through the door and you are in a small sea of hooks, lures and bobbers, plastic worms, rubber eels, spinners, fake baby fish and more ways to hook, weight and line your reel. It all becomes too much, the plethora of tackle boxes is staggering. If you are buying for a fisher person, consider buying a tackle box you like and keep the receipt.
For the hunter in your family go to the foremost gun and hunting store in the north bay, Sportsmen’s Warehouse on Redwood Drive next door to In and Out Burger. It is difficult to buy a gun in advance of the holiday and still keep it a surprise, all gun owners must register every gun and every gun owner must first clear a background check this is a minimum two-week process. Talk with the specialists at the gun counter, they will give you advice on how to make a gun gift for your hunter. They will help you put something in a package and start the qualifying paperwork later.
For the mushroom hunting wannabe, consider the first book for anyone new to fungi, All That The Rain Promises by David Aurora, inexpensive ($20) and easy to read. This field book is the child of his book of fungi in our part of the world, Mushrooms Demystified by David Aurora ($50) This book will become your lifelong guide to understanding the fungal world. Backpacks, walking staff, water bottle, baskets and hats are all good gifts for the forager.
For the aspiring rockhound your first step would be to join the local gem and mineral society (Santa Rosa Gem and Mineral Society) or buy a great book beginning with the Falcon guides to rockhounding, they are specific to each state and will guide you to some popular spots. Another great book series is the collection of Roadside Geology, specific to each state, these will provide hours of interesting reading on your trips. For the actual field trip, you will need, wait for it, a backpack, a walking stick to scratch the ground, an old weeding hoe works well. Later on, a rock pick, shovels, carts and other essentials will become important as the addiction deepens.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.