The best gift you can give your kids or grandkids this year for Christmas is not smart phones, video games, expensive clothes or toys. Those things break, go out of style or they outgrow them.


The best gift is taking them fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, canoeing, wildlife viewing, outdoor photography, bird watching…should I go on? These things never wear out and will stay with them the rest of their lives and hopefully, they pass them on to their kids and grandkids, and your gift just keeps on giving.


These activities forge bonds with kids and loosen the hold inactivity and the likes of TV, video games, computers and smart phones have on their time. Kids take clues about what is good, right and desirable from mentors and family members. They need strong family ties in this messed-up old world of today. The outdoors offers that.





“The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C., this year. This wasn’t for any religious reasons. They couldn’t find three wise men.” – Jay Leno






If you’re still out there hunting deer, there are one of three reasons why. You are still after that special trophy buck, you haven’t filled your tag yet and you want venison for the freezer, or you’re just crazy!


As the clock ticks on during these final days, the key is training your mind to see positives where others would see doom and gloom and give up. Forget about all the deer you know have already been harvested. Forget about those pictures of your buddies’ bucks.


As it gets colder, deer feed more and your competition is home, so dress warm and get out there. Be positive! You’re one step closer to getting your deer.





If you had a good deer season and have ground venison in the freezer, why not make a batch of venison jerky? I use Hi Mountain jerky kits and jerky gun to make mine. They have a variety of seasonings that are simple to mix up using directions on the package. It’s a tasty and healthy snack you can enjoy yourself or surprise somebody with venison jerky as a Christmas gift.




                                 ENJOYING NATURE FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE


It may be cold outside, but you can still enjoy nature right outside your window.

It is extremely important to feed birds during winter because many of their natural food sources have been eaten by now or have dried up. Migrations of bird species can vary, so the more months you feed and the more variety of seeds you feed, the more bird species you will attract and the more you can enjoy nature from inside your house.






During this Christmas season, take time from the hustle and bustle of the season to give a simple thank you to our military men and women who are away from home serving their country so you can gather around the Christmas tree with your family.


Take time to say thank you to the veterans who served in World War II, Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq and other places around the world. I am personally very thankful our Viet Nam veterans are finally getting the thanks and respect they should have had a long time ago.


Those of us who love the great outdoors might not be able to enjoy the hunting, fishing, boating, camping, hiking and other outdoor things we love to do if it were not for the sacrifices of all the men and women who served and are serving. It was their gift to us.


Let’s also not forget our law enforcement, firemen and emergency medical teams for what they do for us each day. A simple hand shake, a thank you and a smile can mean the world to them anytime but especially during the Christmas season.


A Christmas thank you cost you nothing but time. The value to those who receive your thank you is priceless.






It was the day before Christmas as I snuck through my house

grabbing my fishing stuff as quiet as a mouse.


My fishing buddy was waiting as I closed the door with care,

we were excited about the good time we would share.


My wife was nestled all snug in her bed

while a vision of a lunker danced in my head.


We got to the lake as the sun started to rise,

unloaded the boat and stared at the sky.


What a great day to catch a big mess of fish.

The good Lord had granted me my Christmas wish.


Away from the dock we flew like a flash,

we were both in a hurry to catch a big bass.


We tied to a tree and started to rig,

trying to decide on spinners or jig and pig.


When what to our eyes should appear

but a bass boat pulled by eight reindeer.


The driver, dressed in red, was lively and quick;

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.


As we set there staring he made a great cast,

then let his bait settle and reeled it back fast.


When out of the deep the monster did come,

it swallowed the hook and started to run.


But, the jolly old man had done this before

and he fought the fish until it couldn’t run anymore.


He won the battle and let out a big ho, ho, ho,

then released the fish and told it to go.


He then turned to us and said, “Times a wastin’,

I would like to stay but I really must hasten.”


I heard him exclaim as he left on his mission,

“Merry Christmas to all and good luck fishin’!”


– Larry Whiteley