The dawning of any single day in the outdoors is a gift. And that’s only the beginning. Imagine saying "thank you" enough times to adequately appreciate the breadth and variety of the places we take in as though they were given to each of us, personally—the lands we hunt and the waters with fish—all gifts of nature, teaming with more gifts.

If you spend a lifetime, or even half a lifetime, in the outdoors, you’ll receive a treasure trove of tools and totems and mementos. Stuff, in a word. But stuff imbued with meaning by the giver, like a grandfather’s shotgun handed down to seal a bond. Or stuff that we discover ourselves in or pour our passion into, like a first fishing rod or recurve bow. Some gifts aren’t given in any formal sense, but are received just the same: lessons, examples, and time shared by mentors and friends and sometimes even strangers. As outdoorsmen and -women, we are rich, for sure.

And that's what this collection of great stories is all about. When we reached out to our best writers for ideas, there was a bit of a problem, though. A good problem: too many gifts, and the struggle of deciding which ones to appreciate on these pages. Here is what we chose, 21 stories in all. A gift, you might say, from Field & Stream to you. We hope you like it.

solitary bull caribou
Loner: A solitary bull caribou moves through the tundra.Donald M. Jones

A collection of celebrated writers share their best tales of beloved hunting buddies, mentors, camps, and cherished gear. The authors of these stories take readers' imaginations to an Alaskan caribou camp, Montana's antelope plains, horseback hunts, and a frozen Midwest deer forest. More Great Hunting Stories »

Wyoming's Gros Ventre river
Gold Strike: Fishing at sunset on Wyoming’s Gros Ventre River.Brian Grossenbacher

Anglers are always looking for ways to express their passion for water and to catch the fish that swim in it. Whether you prefer saltwater or fresh, casting plugs or flies, or simply enjoy the taste of a riverside beer, these stories from Joe Cermele, Bill Heavey, Colin Kearns, and renown author Thomas McIntyre will make you think back to days on the water with good friends, screaming drags, and jumping fish. More Great Fishing Stories »