Jeremy Alford

Still hunting (and fishing) for last-minute gifts?

by Jeremy Alford

While the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ headquarters might be better known as a place to buy a license or, if you’ve been naughty, pay a fine, it also plays host to a unique gift shop that offers stocking stuffers for outdoors enthusiasts of every stripe.

There’s now a larger buck knife in stock with the department’s new streamlined logo on the blade for $18; a popular science-based and user-friendly book called The Angler’s Guide to the Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico for about $35; and a variety of illustrated amphibian, insect and waterfowl posters that are worthy of framing.

Of course, it’s not always economical to drive more than 60 miles for a Christmas gift — that’s probably why the department took note of online retail trends. If you’re not in the mood to make the Red Stick journey to 200 Quail Drive, you can purchase the same items on LDWF’s Web site, or just call (225) 765-2918.

Thomas Gresham, assistant director of the department’s public information office, said the library, the most commonly used name for the on-site gift shop, has evolved over the years from a sort of morgue that held detailed hunting and fishing maps to what it is today: a must-see stop for those visiting the Baton Rouge headquarters, especially at Christmas time.

“Finding the perfect gift for your favorite angler or hunter was never any easier,” Gresham said.  “We’ve assembled an assortment of books, maps and gifts to suit any outdoors enthusiast.”

As for a selection from the library that keeps giving year round, there’s the recently redesigned Louisiana Conservationist magazine, the state’s oldest outdoor publication that’s produced in-house. The quarterly publication contains 36 full-color pages for an annual subscription price of $12 or two years for $20.

There are also a variety of books, including those that not only advise on bagging game, but cooking it, too. Gulf Coast Favorites, a cookbook by Holly Clegg, retails for about $25, but a portion of the proceeds go to the America’s Wetland Foundation — two gifts in one.

Some of the publications are uniquely specific, such as books on building and maintaining deer habitats like Checklist of Woody & Herbaceous Deer Food Plants of Louisiana, which is the second volume penned by former wildlife administrator Dave Moreland. It’s available for $20.

Then there are the department’s illustrated posters, a hugely popular item that can be seen hanging in offices all around Louisiana. There are posters that feature waterfowl; freshwater, saltwater and offshore fish; snakes; amphibians; and turtles.

The posters are 17 inches by 22 inches and are $4 each if purchased in one or two increments. However, purchasing three to six posters cuts the cost to $3.50 each. Seven or more posters brings the cost down further to $3 each.

If you want the identification posters to be used in the field, the department also has the entire set of seven sold in miniature form at 5 inches by 7 inches on waterproof paper, which makes them perfect for tackle and glove boxes. They’re $7 per set.

Want something more exotic, or maybe creepy to some folks? The department now has a poster identifying the bats of the eastern United States for only $2.50. It just might be the perfect addition to a coal-filled stocking.