If Black Friday shopping and Cyber Monday found you hibernating, you still can find dozens of “wild” holiday gifts for that hunter, trapper or wildlife fan on your list at “The Outdoor Shop” on the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us ).
All revenues generated from these items support the Game Commission’s wildlife management programs. Created in 1895 to restore Pennsylvania’s wildlife, the Game Commission is responsible for managing all wild birds and mammals, as well as the 1.4 million acres of State Game Lands it has purchased over the years with hunting and furtaking license dollars to safeguard wildlife habitat. The Game Commission does not receive any general state tax dollars.
One gift that’s always in demand is the agency’s full-color calendar, which sells for $8.95. The 2013 calendar features a year’s worth of dramatic wildlife photos taken by current and retired agency employees, including: Hal Korber, photographer in the Harrisburg headquarters; Jacob Dingel, radio dispatcher in the Northwest Region Office; Timothy C. Flanigan, retired Bedford County Wildlife Conservation Officer; Coy D. Hill, retired Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officer from Fulton County; andWillard C. Hill, a retired Game Lands Maintenance Supervisor from the Southcentral Region.
Each month features a full-color photo of a different wildlife species. This calendar’s subjects are: screech owl; muskrat; Carolina wren; male turkey; Eastern bluebird; black bear; a pair of bald eagles; trio of white-tailed deer; bull elk; drake wood duck; ruffed grouse; and a buck.
The 2013 calendar includes tentative hunting and trapping seasons, a reminder about National Hunting and Fishing Day in September and many other interesting bits of information about wildlife and the outdoors. Each month also provides photo inserts of Game Commission employees conducting many wildlife management tasks. As in past years, there is plenty of room for writing in appointments and other personal important dates and scheduling information.
The calendar also provides a brief overview of the Game Commission and a list of contact information for the agency’s Harrisburg headquarters and six region offices.
The Game Commission also is offering a display case that holds all five turkey calls and a frame that holds five patches that were offered from 2007 until 2011. Both the display case and patch frame were designed by Top Calls, of Renovo, and are handcrafted from Pennsylvania cherry wood.
The turkey call display case, which sells for $65 (plus tax and shipping), has “Wild Turkey Heritage Collection” engraved on it along with the Game Commission logo. Customers also may request that the engraving be personalized. The display case dimensions are 17 inches high, by 10.5 inches wide by 2.75 inches deep.
The patch frame sells for $35.85 (plus tax and shipping), and is engraved with the Game Commission logo and the words “Pennsylvania Game Commission.” Customers also may have it personalized. The frame’s dimensions are 25 inches wide, by six inches high by one inch deep.
Orders for the display case and frames may be placed by calling the Game Commission’s Paid Publications Division at 1-888-888-3459 (toll-free). (Photos of both items are posted on the agency’s website – www.pgc.state.pa.us – in the “News Releases” section under News Release #145-12.)
A limited supply of the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 Upland Game Bird Knives and Turkey Calls are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Prints are available from 2007 through 2011.
Other patches include the 2012 “Working Together for Wildlife,” which features cedar waxwings. Also, the “We Need Wildlife” series, which currently features one patch with a male cardinal and another with a female cardinal, is scheduled to change to a pileated woodpecker in the near future, so this may be your last chance to purchase the cardinal series. Patches to commemorate the state’s annual elk hunt are available, from 2001 through 2012, except for the 2004 elk hunt patch, which sold out, and there are a limited number of 2005 elk hunt patches.
A new six-inch Bald Eagle Restoration Patch commemorating Pennsylvania’s 200th bald eagle nest is available for $18.87. Visit the Outdoors Shop or nearest Game Commission office to obtain one. Pennsylvanians must pay sales tax, and mail and internet orders will be charged a shipping and handling fee.
Lastly, the annual patch to highlight “Field Notes,” the popular submissions that appear in the agency’s monthly magazine, PA Game News, are available from 2004 through 2012. All of these patches sell for$5.66, plus shipping and handling and sales tax.
To assist first-time birders, as well as seasoned bird watchers, the Game Commission is selling a book titled, “The Birds of Pennsylvania” written by Franklin Haas and Roger Burrows. The cost is $17.92, plus state sales tax and shipping and handling. This book is a complete guide to identifying Pennsylvania wild birds, and features 295 of the bird species most likely to be found in the Commonwealth. Each species’ account includes at least one detailed color illustration and covers natural history, the species range here, nesting details, preferred habitat, songs, best sites for viewing, similar species and much more. It has a color-coded tab index that makes it easy to thumb directly to any desired section. To order, visit “The Outdoor Shop” on the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) and click on “Books,” or call the agency at 1-888-888-3459 (toll-free).
To assist hunters in getting the most of their wild game harvests, the Game Commission offers a two-disk series, produced by Jerry Chiappetta and featuring Certified Master Chef Milos Cihelka. These DVDs – “Wild Game Field Care and Cooking” and “Upland Game Birds, Small Game & Waterfowl” – show step-by-step the best care for game animals from the field to the table. The videos are available from the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us). Put your cursor over “General Store,” then click on “Visit the Outdoor Shop,” choose “Pennsylvania Game Commission Outdoor Shop” in the lower left-hand corner, select “Merchandise,” then choose “Videos” and then scroll down to the DVD video you are interested in and complete the order form. Both DVDs sells for $18.87 (plus shipping and handling and sales tax).
If you are looking to learn more about identifying wildlife sign, the Game Commission is offering “Tracking & the Art of Seeing,” by Paul Rezendes, for $23.59 plus shipping and handling and sales tax.
Other gift ideas range from as little as $5.50 for a “Waterfowl Stamp,” which can be used as stocking stuffers, to the “Working Together for Wildlife” or “Waterfowl Stamp” fine-art prints, which cost up to$135. Revenues generated from the sale of waterfowl stamps and fine-art prints are used by the Game Commission to acquire and improve State Game Lands and preserve critical habitats, such as wetlands; and for other wildlife research and management programs.
Another popular holiday gift is a subscription to Pennsylvania Game News, the Game Commission’s official monthly magazine. Anyone who enjoys the outdoors and wildlife will appreciate 12 months of reading pleasure for just $18. It will be as close as their mailbox. For a subscription, call 1-888-888-1019; or write: Pennsylvania Game News, 2001 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797. VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Discover are accepted.
Still haven’t found the right gift? Choose from an assortment of wildlife books; bird and mammal charts by the late, famed Ned Smith; Smith’s popular field journal, Gone for the Day; fluorescent orange hats; Game Commission logo hats; badge holder; and waterfowl stamps.
The agency also offers a stuffed, 15-inch bear for the plush toy collector, which sells for $29.95.
Also, for those interested in making a last minute, tax-deductible contribution, “The Outdoor Shop” on Game Commission’s website ( www.pgc.state.pa.us ) offers that opportunity.
In addition to being available on the agency’s website, all items are available by contacting the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Department MS, 2001 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797; or by calling toll free 1-888-888-3459. Many of the items are available for sale over-the-counter at theHarrisburg office and six region offices. State sales tax is applied to many of the items.
Image courtesy Pennsylvania Game Commission