- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 8, 2005

The editors of Field & Stream provide an annual list of gift suggestions for Father’s Day. Oddly, I can’t recall having seen the same for Mother’s Day. Maybe Field & Stream believes moms don’t go outdoors.

Anyway, here’s its list of gift items, and here’s a warning to my brood: do not buy any of this stuff for your crotchety, curmudgeonly old dad.

It begins with an $80 Slumberjack sleeping bag, which I’m sure is a fine bag, but if you want dad to be sleeping comfortably next time he’s out of town, book him a room in the nearest hotel, make sure it has a mini-bar and a huge bed and be sure to pay for it. That would be nice.

Next comes a North Face tent that costs $173.

Hey, gang, should I get caught in the boonies, away from clean hotel rooms, I’ll sleep on the front bench seat of my pickup truck. It’s reasonably comfy, and the truck’s roof is 100 percent waterproof. The tent might not be.

Field & Stream also recommends a “Cabella’s” (actually Cabela’s) Internal Frame Pack at $150. Don’t purchase that for me. Instead, refer back to the top of the story and the hotel suggestion or my truck’s front seat. There will be no backpacking this year or next.

Ideal for a backpacker but not me would be the Browning Travel Safari fishing rod that also is suggested. I belong to the clan of one-piece fishing rod fanatics, not rods that pull apart into four pieces. No, that’s not for me.

Also not needed is a pocket-size GPS (Global Position System), which is terrific but a little steep at $359. Luckily, I already own one, but I still haven’t learned how to read it properly or make it function.

Ignore the idea that you ought to buy your grumpy old dad a water purifier at $130. The U.S. Army or Marine Corps taught us how to purify water for a whole lot less than that.

As far as getting me the magazine’s suggested survival kit at $70, don’t do it. Somewhere in my hunting pack and also in my truck’s glove compartment, your dad keeps matches in a waterproof case, some paper wrapped in paraffin wax that lights like a Roman candle, a bar of chocolate and a few packs of 50 cent Army surplus waste purifying tablets. With all that, I’ll stay warm (I know how to get tinder-dry wood even in a rainstorm) and out of harm’s way should the occasion arise.

Want to get dad a gift that he can really use? Buy a 3/4-ton F-250 pickup truck or a bushel of steamed, jumbo crabs. The price is probably pretty close for either one.

Michigan hot on trail of poachers — To raise awareness of wild turkey poaching, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently launched a publicity campaign to coincide with this year’s spring gobbler season.

Michigan’s “Poachers Beware! Hunters are Watching” campaign became possible through partnerships among the state’s DNR, the Michigan chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Michigan United Conservation Clubs and the Wild Turkey Hunters Association.

Promoting the campaign, signs were posted at all game license dealers and a variety of stores that hunters often frequent reminding them to keep watch for turkey hunting violations and to report them to Michigan’s toll-free poaching hotline.

Chief Alan Marble of the Michigan DNR’s Law Enforcement Division believes hunters can make a huge impact to stop poaching. “The best people to report turkey hunting violators are turkey hunters who are out there witnessing violations,” he said. “If hunters report illegal activity when they see it, more poachers will be caught and prosecuted.”

What I don’t understand is why Michigan and other states don’t run such widely circulated campaigns to include all game species, not just turkeys. Hunters always should be at the front of the line when it comes to policing their own ranks.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected]

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