Christmas is one of the most important times of the year for many of us. To me as a practicing Christian, I see it far differently than the commercialism that goes with it.
It really doesn’t matter what religious freedoms you practice, all of us are affected by Christmas, be it the traffic jams, overcrowded shopping malls, or a slow Internet connection. Although my beliefs are strong, I do yield to the fact that presents are now a big part of our lives, and the stress of the “Holiday Season” is something that is real.
So I offer a few ideas for this Christmas, although late in my offering. A belated gift, perhaps with a card stating it has been ordered, but Santa’s on a delay, will suffice.
Michael Huff has put together a book titled “Understanding Coyotes.” The 111-page paperback is filled with facts concerning coyotes, and is devoted not only to Pennsylvania, but practically every place a coyote is found.
The comprehensive guide is aimed toward hunters, photographers and wildlife observers. When asked how long it took to compose his book, Huff answered, “Three years or so for the research study, evaluation and synthesis, and if my personal experiences are included, about a decade.”
Michael Huff guides hunters when he’s not writing about coyotes, and began scratching out a book on how to harvest the animals.
“I got about halfway done and the realization hit me that I was putting the cart before the horse. It is much more important to understand the information in this current book to successfully take coyotes. People naturally want to jump right to the ‘how to kill’ part, but those who understand this very complex creature will be more effective hunters, or observers by using this book as a solid foundation.”
Huff points out within the pages that coyotes do prey on deer, especially fawns, and feels it is one factor in why it will take longer to rebuild our sagging deer herd. He also reviews findings from research that give reasons as to why the coyotes here are larger in size than those found in many other states.
I could give you my indications on why, but I think it is more important to read the book. Within the pages you will find out more about coyotes than in any other book, or article I’ve ever read.
Huff went on to note, “I’m concerned for the future of the red fox population in PA a decade from now, due to the coyote.” The author wants more studies on the red fox, a species that may be declining because of the bulging coyote population.
“I will most likely publish a second book on how to harvest coyotes, in 2017, if this book is received well and deemed a success. It is half-done already, and is very simple to write compared to what went into this book, which was a huge commitment to get everything right factually,” Huff stated.
It is one of those Christmas presents most outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy.
Signed copies will be shipped for $25 simply by emailing Huff with the request: email@example.com or sending payment to: 5401 Yale Place, Macungie, PA 18062. Huff will be speaking at the Garden State Outdoor Show (NJ), Jan. 7-10. Other venues are in the works at the present time, and will be posted to his website in the future: www.masterpredatorhunting.com
The Pennsylvania Game Commission is also a source for those last-minute, or belated gifts. Some of the many items they offer include: calendars, wildlife art, pins, books and patches. They may all be found online by visiting the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s website at www.pgc.state.pa.us. Another online shopping place is the Sportsmen’s Table, offering free shipping on their wide variety of Beef Jerky. But they go far beyond that, check out their products by calling 610-838-1133, 24/7 for personal customer service.
For more gift ideas shop online at www.SportsmansTable.com.
Few men I know like to shop, so consider a gift card from Cabela’s, Bass Pro or Gander Mountain, and you will be sure to put a smile on their face. These are outdoor stores where men actually enjoy perusing the aisles, because they offer almost anything and everything their heart could desire.
I certainly would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Ned Smith Nature Center. They offer prints from premier Pennsylvania wildlife artists, highlighting Ned’s lifetime of devotion capturing the essence of our natural world. Gerald Putt’s works are now being displayed, and most would be thrilled to own a piece of his art work.
There are two must-have books offered by the center, and those are Ned Smith’s “Gone for a Day” and his most recent, “Gone for Another Day.” These are books that belong on every nature lover’s bookshelf, and there are even patches to accompany them.
For someone who enjoys learning a new craft, you could register them for carver Jack Miller’s three-day workshop. This experience will entail carving a blank piece of wood into a “smoothie” bird carving, then painting details of a western sandpiper. Both carving and painting techniques will be taught, and wood blocks will be provided. Participants may bring their own carving tools and painting supplies, or they may be purchased for an additional fee. The workshops will be held, Friday, Feb. 26: 6 p.m.-9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 27 and 28: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
There is so much out there for the outdoor enthusiast that it is impossible to mention them all, therefore I have mentioned just a few of my favorites.
I find my God in a small country church, neatly tucked into the countryside near our home. Like many others I also find him in the woods and fields, or along the streams that lace their way throughout the state, even in those fish I might catch. All one needs to do is be still, and observe the wide variety of song birds, wildflowers, trees, and of course those magnificent deer, elk and wild turkey.
A fox crosses the road, a raccoon climbs a tree, and if you watch and listen, in time you will hear the sleigh bells of Christmas, knowing that someone created this wonderful world that we call home. Karen and I wish you peace and goodwill that will follow you throughout the holiday season, and throughout the coming year.