HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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 2012 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; and Willard C. Hill, a retired Game Lands Maintenance Supervisor from the Southcentral Region.
Each month features a full-color photo of a different wildlife species. This calendar's subjects are: a short-eared owl; a sunrise scene at the Game Commission's Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lebanon/Lancaster counties, with flocks of snow geese silhouetted against the morning sky; a hooded merganser; a wild turkey; a group of wood duck chicks; a red fox pup; a Henslow's sparrow; a muskrat; a bull elk silhouetted against a red sky; a flushing male ring-necked pheasant; a white-tailed buck; and a ruffed grouse.
The 2012 calendar includes tentative hunting and trapping seasons, a reminder about National Hunting and Fishing Day in September and many other interesting bits of information about wildlife and the outdoors. Each month also provides photo inserts of Game Commission employees conducting many wildlife management tasks. As in past years, there is plenty of room for writing in appointments and other personal important dates and scheduling information.
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 fifth and final year of the Pennsylvania Game Commission's two time-limited collectible series – the Wild Turkey Heritage Series and the Upland Game Bird Series – now are available for ordering. Limited to the first 1,000 orders, which will be delivered between October and December, those interested should place orders through the agency's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), or by calling 1-888-888-3459 (toll-free).
In addition to ordering online, a downloadable application is available on the agency's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) by clicking on "General Store" in the menu bar under the banner, then click on "Collectible Series and Items." The mailing address is listed on the application.
The two, five-year series, which were launched in 2007, incorporate products grown and made in Pennsylvania, as well as the designs of an award-winning Pennsylvania wildlife artist.
"The individually numbered wild turkey calls and knives are handsome additions to any collection," said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. "Both series, which also offer corresponding fine-art prints and patches, feature products made in Pennsylvania by Pennsylvanians.
"It's also important to remember that all purchases from these collectible lines will support wildlife conservation in Pennsylvania and help preserve our hunting heritage."
The "Wild Turkey Heritage Series" featured five collectible box-style turkey calls, made in Pennsylvania by Top Calls in Renovo, Clinton County, and are priced at $49.95 (plus tax and shipping). Each year, the calls have been made from a different Pennsylvania-grown wood. The final year will feature a combination of walnut, maple and sycamore. The first four calls of this series were cedar, walnut, cherry and sassafras. Each call comes in a green velvet bag and features a different wild turkey scene.
The "Upland Game Bird Series" featured five collectible mini-trapper knives made by W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Co., of Bradford, McKean County, and are priced at $74.95 (plus tax and shipping). For the final year, the knife will feature a mourning dove, and will have a dark red bone handle. The first four years featured the ruffed grouse with an amber bone handle; American woodcock with a chestnut bone handle; ring-necked pheasant with an old red bone handle; and bobwhite quail with an antique bone handle. All knives come in an attractive tin featuring the artwork of that year's upland game bird.
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, sell for $5.66. Also, both framed prints, which are 13x18 inches, sell for $179.95, and unframed prints are available for $79.95. All products are subject to state sales tax and shipping and handling charges.
To wrap up this five-year series, the Game Commission also is offering a display case that holds all five turkey calls and a frame that holds five patches. Both the display case and patch frame were designed by Top Calls, of Renovo, and are handcrafted from Pennsylvania cherry wood.
The turkey call display case, which sells for $65 (plus tax and shipping), has "Wild Turkey Heritage Collection" engraved on it along with the Game Commission logo. Customers also may request that the engraving be personalized. The display case dimensions are 17 inches high, by 10.5 inches wide by 2.75 inches deep.
The patch frame sells for $35.85 (plus tax and shipping), and is engraved with the Game Commission logo and the words "Pennsylvania Game Commission." Customers also may have it personalized. The frame's dimensions are 25 inches wide, by six inches high by one inch deep.
Orders for the display case and frames may be placed by calling the Game Commission's Paid Publications Division at 1-888-888-3459 (toll-free). Photos of both items are posted on the Outdoor Shop for review only.
A limited supply of the 2008, 2009 and 2010 Upland Game Bird Knives and Turkey Calls are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Other patches include the 2011 "Working Together for Wildlife," which features a black bear. Also, the "We Need Wildlife" series, which currently features one patch with a male cardinal and another with a female cardinal, 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 annual elk hunt are available, from 2001 through 2011, except for the 2004 elk hunt patch, which sold out, and there are a limited number of 2005 elk hunt patches. Lastly, the annual patch to highlight "Field Notes," the popular submissions that appear in the agency's monthly magazine, PA Game News, are available from 2004 through 2011. All of these patches sell for $6, plus shipping and handling.
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).
To assist hunters in getting the most of their wild game harvests, the Game Commission offers a two-disk series, produced by Jerry Chiappetta and featuring Certified Master Chef Milos Cihelka. These DVDs - "Wild Game Field Care and Cooking" and "Upland Game Birds, Small Game & Waterfowl" - show step-by-step the best care for game animals from the field to the table. The videos are available from the Game Commission's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us). Put your cursor over "General Store," then click on "Visit the Outdoor Shop," choose "Pennsylvania Game Commission Outdoor Shop" in the lower left-hand corner, select "Merchandise," then choose "Videos" and then scroll down to the DVD video you are interested in and complete the order form. Both DVDs sells for $18.87 (plus tax and shipping and handling).
For recipes that will make venison and other wild game meals tastier, consider buying the Game Commission's "Pennsylvania Game Cookbook" for $4.72 plus tax and $1.25 for shipping and handling.
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 hats; Game Commission logo hats; badge holder; and waterfowl stamps.
The agency also offers a stuffed, 15-inch bear for the plush toy collector, which sells for $29.95.
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.
Note to Editors: If you would like to receive Game Commission news releases via e-mail, please send a note with your name, address, telephone number and the name of the organization you represent to: PGCNews@pa.gov
SOURCE Pennsylvania Game Commission