Books, calendars, DVDs, even trees make great gifts

JEFFERSON CITY – Out of ideas for the hunter or angler on your gift list? Wondering what to buy for the nature enthusiast who has everything? The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has solutions for these and other holiday shopping quandaries.

MDC gift possibilities fall into three categories: permits, nursery plants or Nature Shop offerings.

PERMITS

If buying hunting, fishing or trapping permits seems a bit ordinary, consider the fact that buying a Resident Small-Game Hunting and Fishing Permit ($19) for a student frees up scarce cash to buy things like hooks, hats and ammunition. Giving a Nonresident Small-Game Hunting Permit ($80) or a Nonresident Fishing Permit ($42) might encourage out-of-state family members to come home more often. Giving a loved one a Nonresident Firearms Any-Deer Permit ($225 adult, $8.50 age 6-15) can make it possible to maintain family hunting traditions during holiday visits.

The Apprentice Hunter Authorization ($10) is an affordable gift that can last a lifetime. This item is not a permit, but rather an authorization to buy hunting permits without first completing hunter education. This is made to order if you have a friend or relative who is intrigued by the idea of hunting but doesn’t want to invest time in hunter education to satisfy his or her curiosity. Not only will they get to experience your favorite outdoor pastime, you will share the experience. Hunters using the authorization must hunt with you or another hunter education-certified mentor.

The ultimate hunting/fishing gift is a Resident Lifetime Conservation Partner Permit. This entitles the holder to the privileges associated with a Resident Hunting and Fishing Permit, a Trout Permit, a Migratory Bird Hunting Permit and a Conservation Order Permit for life. The price varies from $70 to $800, according to the recipient’s age. Resident Lifetime Fishing Permits also are available.

Regular permits are available from vendors statewide or online at www.mdc.mo.gov/node/9258. Lifetime permits are available at www.mdc.mo.gov/8849, or by calling 573-522-4115, ext. 3574.

NURSERY STOCK

Outdoors people eventually reach the stage where they own everything they need to hunt, fish, photograph or otherwise enjoy nature. For many, the next stage is taking an active hand in managing habitat to enhance deer, turkey, quail, rabbit or other wildlife populations. This necessarily involves planting wildlife-friendly trees and shrubs. Helping Missourians with this important work is MDC’s George O. White State Forest Nursery’s main mission.

The nursery has more than 70 species of trees and shrubs. In honor of MDC’s 75th anniversary, the nursery is offering a special bundle of trees that are great choices for the next 75 years. It consists of two seedlings of 10 species, including flowering dogwood, bald cypress, black walnut, white fringetree, northern red oak, white oak, green hawthorn, buttonbush, black gum and shortleaf pine.

Another special deal this year is the extra-large nut-tree bundle with 30 pecan, walnut and butternut trees more than 30 inches tall. Other bundles are designed for particular wildlife-management applications.

For prices and ordering information, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/3328, or call 573-674-3229. The nursery accepts orders through April. However, many bundles and individual tree and shrub species will sell out before then. Orders are shipped starting in February.

THE NATURE SHOP

The No. 1 gift item from MDC’s Nature Shop is the 2012 Natural Events Calendar ($7). As always, this year’s calendar has dozens of jaw-dropping nature photographs and daily insights into the lives of Missouri plants and animals. Special this year are sections about Missouri’s 75-year conservation history. Supplies are limited, so buy early.

MDC’s newest book, Cooking Wild in Missouri (sale-priced at $12 this month if you buy at MDC nature centers or regional offices), is sure to be a hit with “foodies,” “locavores” or anyone who enjoys turning nature’s bounty into first-rate table fare.

Field guides for everything from wildflowers to trees and butterflies to crayfishes are made to order for practical-minded outdoors people. There are coffee-table books, children’s picture-storybooks and a guide to hiking trails on conservation areas. The Nature Shop even has nature-themed notecards and blank nature journals for recording personal outdoor experiences.

Check out a selection of musical, historical and educational DVDs ranging from children’s music and waterfowl identification, plus a few, like “Just Kiddin’ Around,” purely for fun.

MDC’s online Nature Shop (mdcnatureshop.com) even has a gift registry where you can leave hints about what you would like to find under the tree on Dec. 25. If you prefer not to buy online, you can visit one of MDC’s nature centers or regional offices, or call 877-521-8632. Conservation Heritage Card holders get a 15-percent discount. Mail, phone and online orders are subject to sales tax and shipping and handling fees.

-Jim Low-