s is addressed to three types of people: Category I - those who have not yet heard that Christmas is coming, Category II - those who never get around to shopping until the last minute, and Category III - those who need ideas for stocking stuffers.
   To wake up those in Category I - Christmas is this coming Saturday.
   For those in Category II - you still have a couple of days before you need to worry about it.
   For Category III, stocking stuffers - consider something that has been our family tradition for decades - licenses for the entire family, for the upcoming new year.
   In years past I bought combination hunting/fishing licenses for the entire family, including myself, and put them in appropriately-labeled envelopes under the tree. But the laws changed and now each individual must go into a license agent and buy the licenses.
   Crook County has three license agents, all in Prineville - Bi-Mart, Reels & Creels/Oregon Stationary and Rite-Aid - and naturally each store suggests a gift certificate to buy licenses at their store. On Christmas eve (for category II shoppers), Reels & Creels will be open until 5:30, while Bi-Mart and Rite-Aid will be open until 6:00. None is open Christmas Day.
   I personally just simplify things by merely giving a promissory note, that I'll take the person to a store before the end of this year. Or I just put cash in an envelope.
   But why get licenses now? You don't plan to go fishing until spring, and you won't hunt until the first seasons open next summer.
   I slipped up many years ago, and didn't get my own Christmas licenses. Naturally a good friend called New Year's Eve, to wish me happy holidays, but also to invite me fishing the next day. Believe me, you cannot buy a fishing license on New Year's Eve.
   Another year I did it right, so was ready when another friend suggest we go call coyotes in early January.
   I'd personally also recommend you get that just-in-case cougar tag. The odds are highly against your even seeing a cougar when you're out and about, but it'd sure be a shame to have the chance to shoot such a rare trophy - then remember you don't have a tag. A 2005 cougar tag is good every day of the year except the two months of June and July.
   Many sportsmen buy a Sports Pac License, which - for $130 - licenses you to hunt and fish, and includes a black bear tag, a cougar tag, one deer and one elk tag (general seasons of if you draw), upland game bird validation, Oregon waterfowl validation, one spring turkey tag, and a combined angling harvest tag.
   To decide whether or not this Sports Pac is a good deal for you, add up the total of the licenses and tags you'd otherwise buy separately. If you do everything, that Sports Pac is a bargain. If all you do is fish our local waters, it's less expensive to buy just your fishing license.
   Along with licenses for each family member, give each their own copies of the 2005 hunting and fishing regulations, which are available at those same three license agents.
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