If the angler in your life likes to fly fish, consider an assortment of dry and wet flies for the coming season. Any of the local fly-fishing stores can help with the selection. Don’t get carried away though. After about ten flies you’ll find yourself in the $35-40 range. Trout landing nets get caught in brush and dinged so a new net may be in order. A new fly line might be needed but again be careful to check the line weight on the rod and see what color the line is. Anglers are always running out of leaders and tippet material. Maybe some dry fly dubbing or strike indicators for those nymphs as stocking stuffers. It never hurts to have a spare set of forceps for removing flies or a set of nail clippers for cutting line. There’s no telling how many of those are sitting on creek banks or at the bottom of streams.
For the hunter you have to think about what they like to hunt. Another word of warning: I’d stay away from camouflage clothing. It is no longer a simple matter to buy camo. There are specific patterns for seasons (winter and spring) and the type of vegetation they will be hunting in. Throw in the different brands and it is likely to be returned (a lesson I learned with the first dress I bought as a present for my wife).
For the deer hunter, you might consider a box of cartridges or shells. Most hunters will go through a couple of boxes of cartridges during off-season target practice. Go through their gear to see what caliber the rifle is and the bullet weight (usually expressed in grams). Don’t go into sticker shock when you see the price of one box of centerfire rifle cartridges. A case of target loads for the shotgun shooter isn’t that cheap either. How about some paper targets to practice on or a gun rest for the target range? If they shoot a lot electronic ear muffs that allow normal conversation while reducing the decibel level of gunfire is a great idea. Well-made wool or polypropylene socks are also a nice gift item. Stay away from cotton. It doesn’t wick moisture away from the feet. If they shoot at the range, for the sporting clays shooter a vest or shell bag may be appropriate. If they are a target shooter the aforementioned earmuffs or a range bag might be just what they need.
For the outdoors person in your life who has everything, how about a membership in Trout Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, Ruffed Grouse Society, or another conservation organization that supports their chosen pursuit? It’s one of the best bargains out there with a magazine and work going toward habitat improvement. There is one last recommendation: If you have a youth who is showing interest in the outdoors, consider a NC Sportsman Youth License. It will provide a lifetime of enjoyment in the great outdoors. And it insures the future of the sport.
Let’s update on what is in season right now. You’ve got about 1 week remaining in gun deer season in the mountains which ends December 13th. All small game seasons are open (rabbit, squirrel, grouse, quail, etc.). Last segment of dove season opened November 27th and goes through January 15th. And the last segment of waterfowl season runs December 13 to January 24th with Canada goose until February 7th. Woodcock season opens Dec. 18 – Jan. 31 and the bag limit is three. So there are plenty of hunting opportunities out there right now!