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Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Holiday shopping suggestions for outdoor enthusiasts from KDFWR

By Ciara Knisely
Kentucky Afield

No matter what your age or circumstance, no one can deny that receiving a thoughtful gift from a friend or loved one leaves us with a warm feeling. If you’re stumped about what to give the outdoors enthusiast in your life for Christmas, however, here are some gift suggestions to consider.

For starters, a Kentucky Fish and Wildlife online gift certificate covers a long list of outdoors needs and is valid for up to five years from the date of purchase. Certificates can be used for a variety of items offered by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, including hunting and fishing licenses and permits, passes to Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area, Kentucky Afield magazine subscriptions and Kentucky Wild memberships.

A certificate can also be used to pay for a week at one of Kentucky Fish and Wildlife’s summer conservation camps, where kids learn skills such as fishing, boating, archery, swimming and firearms safety.

Secret Santas can also help families who can’t afford to send their kids to camp by making a designated donation to the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Letters from children about why they want to go to camp (kids are not identified) are posted on the foundation’s website at kentuckywildlife.com. Donations to help send a kid to camp can be made in any amount.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife offers a variety of gifts for the outdoors enthusiast on your list, including the 2024 Kentucky Afield Outdoor Calendar. (Image from KDFWR)

You can also purchase a hunting or fishing license or permit, or even an elk hunting application, directly for another person at a license vendor or through the department’s online Licensing and Permit portal. It’s important to note that if you’re buying a license for someone else, you will need their birth date and social security number.

Be aware that one of the license options is for the current license year, 2023-24. This license expires at the end of February. Since most hunting seasons are already out by January and February, you should instead select the 2024-25 year. The 2024-25 licenses, which go on sale Dec. 1, are good from March 1, 2024 until Feb. 28, 2025.

Applications for the popular elk hunts are $10 per hunt. Applications for the 2024 elk hunts are now available.

For the outdoors enthusiast who does it all, consider the Sportsman’s license. This inclusive license is available for adults who live in Kentucky. The cost is $95, and includes the Kentucky hunting and fishing licenses, deer permits, spring and fall turkey permits, Kentucky migratory bird/waterfowl permits and trout permits. It represents a $55 savings over these licenses and permits if bought individually.

The Kentucky Afield outdoor calendar is another popular gift suitable for all ages. The calendar is handy reference for hunting and fishing season dates, fish stocking schedules, outdoor tips and nature notes. The calendar’s beautiful photos of native wildlife adorning each page are the cherries on top. But hurry – calendars must be ordered online by Dec. 13 for delivery by to receive them by Christmas.

Looking for a gift the whole family can enjoy? Consider an annual membership to the Salato Wildlife Education Center in Frankfort. Here visitors can see native wildlife species such as owls, bobwhite quail, black bear, bald eagle, bobcats, elk, deer, bison, snakes, frogs, turtles and fish. Salato offers several indoor and outdoor displays, educational programs and hiking trails.

While Salato closes in winter, it is open for visitation from spring through fall. Annual memberships range from $50 for groups and extended families, and $20 for individuals.

The Kentucky Afield store offers official merchandise for fans of the popular television show and magazine, featuring hats in a variety of colors with the Kentucky Afield logo. Past episodes of the television show may also be purchased through the online store.

Beyond these ideas, try matching the favorite activities of your outdoor enthusiast with items they need to enjoy their activities. Archery enthusiasts, for example, could always use arm guards, practice arrows or practice targets. For those who enjoy shooting, quality ear and eye protection are practical options. Ear protection can include earmuffs, foam plugs or electronic earmuffs that allow normal hearing but blank out the roar of a gunshot. Shell belts or vests are great accessories for shotgun practice.

It’s hard to go wrong with basic gear such as headlamps, multi-tools, binoculars, dry bags, compasses or portable charging devices. Insulated kitchenware comes in handy as well as water-purifying devices. Subscriptions to smartphone mapping apps can be helpful in the field for noting local geography or figuring out property lines.

Hopefully, this list has helped you narrow down your gifts to tell the outdoors enthusiast in your life how much you support them. Odds are, they’ll think of you every time they use your gift.

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