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Examiner
  • Guide to more of ‘The Stuff’

  • Look, given the resources to shower layers of camo and racks of rods and reels down on my family and friends this Christmas, I’d probably do it in a Bass Pro minute.

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  • Look, given the resources to shower layers of camo and racks of rods and reels down on my family and friends this Christmas, I’d probably do it in a Bass Pro minute.
    But I’m Grandpa Fox, not Daddy Warbucks! Either way, I’m not about to crack open Annie’s, or anybody’s, piggybank in today’s threadbare, scary economy.
    That does not mean, however, there are not lots of great Christmas gifts available for my rugged, outdoor loved ones – or fireside wannabes. Besides, if your loved one (or wannabe) is really into this hunting and fishing game, then chances are he’s already bought all the stuff and then some. But, yeah, I admit it we always want more of THE STUFF.
    But, like I said, there is plenty of stuffing for all the outdoor Christmas stockings out there. By category, here are just a few of what I’m recommending this Christmas. All items are less than $50, most less than $20 and some below $10. Joy to the Outdoor World!
    DVDs-MUSIC:
    • Fiddles and Forests* (2-CD Set, $8). Believe me you won’t find this on iTunes. A good buddy, Mike Frazer, put this out and I never tire of hearing the Scottish/Irish music. It so reminds me of float trips and the Ozarks.
    • Echoes of Outdoor Missouri* (CD, $8). Bring the sounds of outdoor Missouri into your home, car or office. Featuring a river bluff trek, a close encounter with the prairie chicken’s haunting mating ritual, a day at Cupola Pond and a starlight serenade. Looking for a de-stress with?
    • The Way Out West (CD/iTunes, $9.99). Michael Tomlinson is a little known Seattle musician, but with a big and beautiful sound. Although not exclusively, his theme is generally of the natural world. One of my very favorite voices for the outdoors. As far as I’m concerned he is the soundtrack for Mother Nature’s Greatest Hits.
    • Exploring Outdoor Missouri* (DVD, $10). Explore Missouri’s scenic lands where a variety of recreational opportunities await. See great places to fish, hunt, hike, observe nature and more, plus learn what to bring for an outstanding outdoor adventure. Bonus features include Natural Adventures Close to Home series which highlights conservation areas and outdoor opportunities near these Missouri cities: St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield.
    • Critter Rock* (DVD, $10). Man, do the kids love this! Tap your toes and sing along to this swingin’ Critter Rock Music Video with six of your favorite Critter Rock songs. Move to groovin’ greats like Reptile Rap, Hairy not Scary and No Trashpassing. Closed-caption. An added bonus is Keeping the Balance, which offers kids a fun and entertaining look at why we manage our fish, forest and wildlife resources in the state of Missouri.
    Page 2 of 2 - • A River Runs Through It (DVD, $10). Yeah, I know you’ve seen it. But have any of us seen it enough? In my mind, the most touching and pertinent outdoor movie ever made. And isn’t it cool that it is a Missouri guy who is the star? Brad Pitt, of course.
    BOOKS/CALENDARS/CARDS:
    • Fox in the Forest* (Book, $6.50). Well, yeah, I like the title – but this is a must if you have small kids, especially grandkids. This is a winner because I’ve field-tested it many times. It’s the story of a gray fox kit that sets out one spring morning and meets all sorts of flying, crawling and running creatures, including a luna moth, tiger salamander, box turtle, white-tailed deer and more. Children 2-6. And yes, I am also gray.
    • KC Wildlands* (Book, $7.50). I know firsthand that the author, Larry Rizzo, is as dedicated conservationist as there is. That means this tome was done as an act of passion and that’s the very best kind of book. A guide to 12 sites on public lands in the Kansas City metro area that contain some of the best examples of the area’s original natural communities. Great color photos.
    • The Big Burn (Book, $20). Tim Egan’s bestseller about the Great Dust Bowl (“The Worst Hard Time”) was a must read for anyone interested in conservation and the outdoors. “The Big Burn” is his latest and just as remarkable I believe. It details the early conservation movement, especially the U.S. Forest Service. Absolutely compelling.
    • Bluebirds* (Note Cards, $8). Come on, this is an easy one. What better way to thank Aunt Genie in Cincinnati for those Christmas goodies than sending a beautiful card of our state bird?
    • Natural Events/Heritage Calendars* ($7). OK, this is the holiday’s best bargain! Always a bestseller, the news is even better this year. You can score both for $10 – that’s a remarkable 5-bucks apiece.
    Unfortunately, I’ve only scratched the surface on the gift-giving bargains – but sports editor Karl Zinke will leave me with a lump of coal in my Christmas stocking if I don’t quit while I’m ahead.
    But, perhaps, you saw the proverbial asterisk (*) next to some of these items. That’s another bit of good news. Those items are available at any Missouri Department of Conservation gift shop (Burr Oak Woods, Discovery Center, etc.) OR online at www.mdcnatureshop.com.
    OK, until next year – God bless you all!

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