PA Game Commission Offers ‘Wild’ Gift Giving Ideas

PA Game Commission Offers ‘Wild' Gift Giving Ideas

Pennsylvania Game Commission
Pennsylvania Game Commission

HARRISBURG – -(OutdoorWire.com)- Does the thought of Black Friday shopping crowds make you want to go into hibernation? Do the traffic jams near the malls get unbearable? Dozens of “wild” holiday gifts for that hunter, trapper or wildlife fan on your list are just a click away at “The Outdoor Shop” on the Pennsylvania Game Commission's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us).

“All revenues generated from these items support the Game Commission's wildlife management programs. Created in 1895 to restore Pennsylvania's wildlife, the Game Commission is responsible for managing all wild birds and mammals, as well as the 1.4 million acres of State Game Lands it has purchased over the years with hunting and furtaking license dollars to safeguard wildlife habitat. The Game Commission does not receive any general state tax dollars.

One gift that's always in demand is the agency's full-color calendar, which sells for $8.95. The 2009 calendar provides a listing of approved season dates from Jan. 1-June 30, and tentative season dates for July1-Dec. 31, as well as a reminder about National Hunting & Fishing Day in September.

The 2009 calendar features a year's worth of dramatic wildlife photos taken by current and retired agency employees, including: Jacob Dingel, radio dispatcher in the Northwest Region Office; Timothy C. Flanigan, retired Bedford County Wildlife Conservation Officer; Coy D. Hill, retired Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officer from Fulton County; Willard C. Hill, retired Game Lands Management Supervisor in the Southcentral Region; and Joe Kosack, Wildlife Conservation Education Specialist in Harrisburg.

Each month features a full-color photo of a different wildlife species. This year's subjects are: female Northern cardinal; snow goose flight from Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area; an American wigeon drake; tree swallows; raccoon; a group of red foxes; an American kestrel; mourning dove; elk; gray squirrel; wild turkey; and white-tailed deer.

New this year are insert photos of Game Commission employees conducting various wildlife management tasks. The calendar also provides a brief overview of the Game Commission and a list of contact information for the agency's Harrisburg headquarters and six region offices.

The second year of the Game Commission's two collectible series – the Wild Turkey Heritage Series and the Upland Game Bird Series – remain available for ordering. Orders can be placed by mail or by calling 1-888-888-3459 (toll-free). A downloadable application is available on the agency's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) by clicking on “Limited Collector's Series” icon in the right-hand column of the homepage. Delivery can be expected by Dec. 31.

The two series, which were launched last year and will run for a total of five years, incorporate products grown and made in Pennsylvania, as well as the designs of an award-winning Pennsylvania wildlife artist.

The new collectible, numbered wild turkey calls and knives are handsome additions to these continuing series. Also, both series offer corresponding fine-art prints and patches.

The “Wild Turkey Heritage Series” features five collectible box-style turkey calls, made in Pennsylvania by Top Calls in Renovo, Clinton County, and will sell for $49.95 (plus tax and shipping). Each year, the call will be made from a different Pennsylvania-grown wood. This year, the call will be made of Pennsylvania walnut. The first of this series was cedar, and subsequent years will be cherry, sassafras and, for the final year, a combination of walnut, maple and sycamore. Each call will be individually numbered, come in a green velvet bag and feature a different wild turkey scene.

The “Upland Game Bird Series” features five collectible mini-trapper knives made by W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Co., of Bradford, McKean County, and will sell for $74.95 (plus tax and shipping). The year, the series showcases the American woodcock. The first year featured the ruffed grouse, and subsequent years will focus on the ring-necked pheasant, bobwhite quail and mourning dove. Each knife will be made with a different bone handle – bone stag, chestnut bone, old red bone, amber bone and antique bone – and comes in an attractive tin featuring the artwork of that year's upland game bird. Like the turkey calls, each knife will be individually numbered.

Complementing the turkey calls and knives will be a special fine-art print and collector's patch designed by Gerald W. Putt, of Boiling Springs, Cumberland County. Each art print -available either framed or unframed – and patch will represent the original wildlife artwork used for each product line.

The patches, for both series, will sell for $5.66 ($6 with tax). Also, both framed prints, which are 13×18 inches, will sell for $179.95, and unframed prints are available for $79.95.

A new call and knife, and accompanying prints and patches, will be introduced for the next three years in January, and the prices will not increase.

Other patches include the 2008 “Working Together for Wildlife,” which features a mourning dove this year, and the “We Need Wildlife” series, which currently features one patch with a male cardinal and another with a female cardinal. The “We Need Wildlife” series is scheduled to change to a pileated woodpecker in the near future, so this may be your last chance to purchase the cardinal series. Patches to commemorate the state's 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 elk hunts are available. Patches for the 2005 elk hunt are limited and may sell out by the end of this year. All of these patches sell for $5.66 ($6 with tax).

To assist first-time birders, as well as seasoned bird watchers, the Game Commission is selling a book titled, “The Birds of Pennsylvania” written by Franklin Haas and Roger Burrows. The cost is $17.92, plus state sales tax and shipping and handling. This book is a complete guide to identifying Pennsylvania wild birds, and features 295 of the bird species most likely to be found in the Commonwealth. Each species' account includes at least one detailed color illustration and covers natural history, the species range here, nesting details, preferred habitat, songs, best sites for viewing, similar species and much more. It has a color-coded tab index that makes it easy to thumb directly to any desired section. To order, visit “The Outdoor Shop” on the Game Commission's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) and click on “Books,” or call the agency at 1-888-888-3459 (toll-free).

Know someone who wants to see and learn more about Pennsylvania's white-tailed deer, black bear and elk? For the price of $5 – which includes tax – you can receive any one of the agency's three award-winning videos: On the Trail of Pennsylvania's Black Bears; Pennsylvania Whitetails, Living with Change; and Pennsylvania Elk: Reclaiming the Alleghenies.

Other gift ideas range from as little as $5.50 for a “Waterfowl Stamp,” which can be used as stocking stuffers, to the “Working Together for Wildlife” or “Waterfowl Stamp” fine-art prints, which cost up to $135. Revenues generated from the sale of waterfowl stamps and fine-art prints are used by the Game Commission to acquire and improve State Game Lands and preserve critical habitats, such as wetlands; and for other wildlife research and management programs.

Another popular holiday gift is a subscription to Pennsylvania Game News, the Game Commission's official monthly magazine. Anyone who enjoys the outdoors and wildlife will appreciate 12 months of reading pleasure for just $18. It will be as close as their mailbox. For a subscription, call 1-888-888-1019; or write: Pennsylvania Game News, 2001 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797. VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Discover are accepted.

Still haven't found the right gift? Choose from an assortment of wildlife books; bird and mammal charts by the late, famed Ned Smith; Smith's popular field journal, Gone for the Day; fluorescent orange SPORT hats; cookbooks; waterfowl stamps; and a wildlife viewing guide.

The agency also offers a pair of stuffed bears for the plush toy collector. The 15-inch bear sells for $29.95, and the eight-inch bear sells for $12.95. A combo package – which includes the two bears and the Game Commission's award-winning video, On the Trail of Pennsylvania's Black Bears, sells for $47.62. The combo package also includes a “thank you” note from the Pennsylvania Game Commission for your support of wildlife, a “Bird & Mammal Guide” booklet and a black bear wildlife note and brochure.

Also, for those interested in making a last minute tax-deductible contribution, “The Outdoor Shop” on Game Commission's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) offers that opportunity.

In addition to being available on the agency's website, all items are available by contacting the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Department MS, 2001 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg, PA 17110-9797; or by calling toll free 1-888-888-3459. Many of the items are available for sale over-the-counter at the Harrisburg office and six region offices. State sales tax is applied to many of the items.

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