Here are some ideas to fill outdoor enthusiasts’ stockings

Here are some ideas to fill outdoor enthusiasts' stockings

Photo by Dean Humphrey—Mark Sutton of Cabela’s admires a Cabela’s truck which he would have loved to get when he was a boy at Cabela’s.—- Sent as Cabelas xmas outd 122110

Photo by Dean Humphrey—Hot seller in the store—- Sentas Cabelas xmas detail 122110

Fly-tying and flyfishing will be among the many programs and seminars presented during the International Sportsmen’s Expo set for Jan. 6-9 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

Last-minute shopping for the hunter, angler or general outdoor enthusiast on your list doesn’t have to be grab and bag.

A little enthusiasm and curiosity goes a long way in filling that camouflage stocking or putting that extra-special gift under the tree.

And speaking of that camouflage stocking, forget the RealTree-design boxer shorts, the mounted (fake) bass that sings a beer song or the “Old Hunter X-ing” sign if you want to make this a Christmas to remember.

For starters, stick into that stocking a pair of tickets to the International Sportsmen’s Expo set for Jan. 6–9 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

This is the grand-daddy of the several sportsmen’s expos making the rounds and it’s still the best of the hunting and fishing lot.

This year’s show features just about every outdoor option you can imagine, from hunting and fishing seminars (including panels on hunting mule deer, wild turkey and pronghorn on public land) to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s newest Great Elk Tour.

Along with the ungulates, you’ll find the DockDogs contest as man’s best friend gets big air, the popular aquarium demo tank and fishing seminars and theater and the ISE fly-casting contest.

This year, parking is free at Coors Field with free shuttles running to the convention center.

Tickets are $15 for adults. Active military and kids 15 and younger get in free.

Information and tickets are available at http://www.sportsexpos. com.

Closer to home, the Grand Mesa Visitor Center this winter is being operated by Andy and Gloria Brito, professionally known as the A-n-G Flyfishing Guide Service.

In addition to selling Christmas trees and area maps, the Britos are offering snowmobile tours and icefishing tours, or both at once if you prefer.

Also available are snowmobile and ice fishing equipment rentals along with the all-important hot coffee and hot chocolate.

A snowmobile won’t fit in the stocking, but a day seeing Grand Mesa in its winter glory would make a great gift.

Contact A-n-G at 970-856-4497.

You have to take the long route now that the top of Rim Rock Drive is closed for the winter, but the drive to the Saddlehorn Visitor Center at Colorado National Monument is worth the few extra miles.

Pick up a 2011 national parks pass, the $20 Colorado National Monument annual pass or a book on the history of the monument from the Colorado National Monument Association bookstore.

The bookstore also sells maps, calendars, Colorado National Monument T-shirts and other gift ideas.

The website has information on the fireworks show planned for New Year’s Eve in celebration of the monument’s 100th anniversary.

Contact the bookstore at 858-3617, ext. 360.

Inexpensive but memorable gifts include a membership in the Grand Mesa Nordic Council.

Give the flat-tracker on your list (or yourself) another reason to smile while negotiating the 54 kilometers (32.4 miles) of groomed trails at the Skyway, County Line and Ward Lake parking areas.

Memberships start at $25 and as the group’s website says, “spontaneous, kind-hearted gifts” are always accepted.

Get information and the latest weather and trails report at

And if you can’t possibly think of anything to buy, there are 50,000 square feet of ideas in the new Cabela’s store at Mesa Mall.

“It’s been pretty busy out here this week,” said Mark Sutton, events coordinator for the Grand Junction store. “Hunting and fishing gear never goes out of style.”

Sutton said some of the popular items include guns, knives, optics (binoculars and spotting scopes), GPS units and some of Cabela’s-branded fleece outerwear.

“I might be the only person I know who still uses a compass,” Sutton mused. “I like my GPS unit, but I hate to rely on batteries. It’s nice to know I still can get home if my GPS goes out.”

And to show you that age makes little difference when it comes to outdoor giving, Sutton admits one of his favorite items in the store is the camouflage-detailed toy Ford F-150 pickup under the giant Cabela’s Christmas tree.

“You know, I would have loved to have this thing when I was a kid,” Sutton said. “In fact, I wouldn’t mind having it now.”


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