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Freebies

Some of the best things in life are free, but real freebies are harder and harder to find these days. That doesn't mean they don't exist, however. In fact, if you're planning to travel this summer, you might want to check out some of the unique attractions described below that you can visit for nothing but the time it takes to get there.

National Firearms Museum
Part of the National Rifle Association Headquarters in Fairfax, Va., the National Firearms Museum showcases more than 2,000 firearms sure to be of interest to hunters, competitive shooters, gun collectors and historians. (703-267-1600; www.nationalfirearmsmuseum.org)

Norfork National Fish Hatchery
Located just east of Mountain Home, Ark, the Norfork National Fish Hatchery offers tours of facilities that produce millions of trout for Ozark streams. Children can try their luck at landing trophy trout from the waters of adjacent Dry Run Creek. (870-499-5255; www.fws.gov/norfork)

The Game Farm
The Game Farm near Frankfort, Ky., is headquarters for the Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources and home of the Salato Wildlife Education Center where visitors can see indoor wildlife displays and live animals such as bison, elk, deer, bears, bobcats, eagles and wild turkeys. (800-858-1549, www.kdfwr.state.ky.us)

Core Sound Waterfowl Museum
This facility at Harker's Island, N.C., preserves the history of the hunters, fishermen, boat builders and decoy carvers of the Outer Banks area. Decoy collections and waterfowl art are among the exhibits. (252-728-1500; www.coresound.com)

Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard
When his favorite coon dog, Troop, died in 1937, Alabama coon hunter Key Underwood of Tuscumbia made him a headstone and buried him in the Freedom Hills. Before long, Underwood's friends wanted to bury their coonhounds beside Troop. Underwood's only stipulation was that they be respected coonhounds and properly interred. Today, more than 185 coonhounds are buried in the hallowed ground of Key Underwood's Coon Dog Memorial Park, 7 miles west of Tuscumbia, Ala. (800-344-0783, www.coondogcemetery.com).

National Sporting Library
Bibliophiles and researchers may want to visit this state-of-the-art research facility dedicated to the world of horse sports, shooting and fishing. The Library and its collection of rare books, journals and manuscripts is open to the public in Middleburg, Va., but appointments are encouraged. (540-687-6542, www.nsl.org)

J.M. Davis Arms & Historical Museum
The 40,000 square foot J.M. Davis Arms & Historical Museum in Claremore, Okla., houses more than 30,000 collectible firearms, the world's largest private collection, plus hundreds of knives and swords as well. A must-see attraction for anyone interested in gun history. (918-341-5707, www.thegunmuseum.com)

Luhr Jenson & Sons Factory
Located in Hood River, Ore., Luhr Jensen & Sons is one of the biggest fishing lure manufacturing companies in the world. Free factory tours are offered so visitors can see how lures such as the Bass Oreno and Kwikfish are made and shipped throughout the world. (800-535-1711, www.luhrjensen.com)

Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie
Located in Stuttgart, Ark., "The Rice and Duck Capital of the World," the Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie has an indoor diorama where visitors enjoy lights and sounds of an "Early Morning Duck Hunt on the Grand Prairie." Artifacts include a one-of-a-kind "Coat of Many Feathers," 500 duck calls, an antique decoy collection, historical photographs and more. (870-673-7001, www.stuttgartarkansas.org/museum)

World's Largest Fly Fishing Rod & Reel
This oddity can be seen at the end of Maxan St. in Port Isabel, Texas. Recognized as a Guinness World's Record, the rod is 71 feet, 4.5 inches tall with a reel 4 feet in diameter. (800-527-6102, www.portisabel-texas.com)

World's Biggest Tiger Muskie
To see the world's biggest tiger muskie, you'll have to travel to the town of Nevis, Minn. The colossal fish, 30.5 feet long, can be seen on the east end of beautiful Lake Belle Taine. Other giant roadside fish you can see in the Land of Lakes include a huge bluegill in Orr, a codfish in Madison, giant pike in Deer River and Erskine, and enormous walleyes in Garrison, Baudette, Rush City, Isle and Lake Kabetogama.

Buck Knives Factory
Buck Knives is the #1 recognized brand in sports cutlery, with over 100 years experience making knives. At the company factory in Post Falls, Idaho, visitors can receive a free tour to see first-hand how these world-renowned blades are made. (800-326-2825 x 270, www.buckknives.com)

National Bird Dog Museum
The National Bird Dog Museum in Grand Junction, Tenn., is a repository of information, art, photography and memorabilia reflecting a variety of pointing dog and retriever breeds, hunting, field trial activities and shooting sports. Among portraits and exhibits contained in the museum, you will find history's most famous bird dogs represented. Many works of notable sporting dog artists and sculptors are displayed. (731-764-2058, www.birddogfoundation.com)

Winchester Wild Turkey Museum
The world's only museum dedicated to the wild turkey, the Winchester is part of the National Wildlife Turkey Federation's Wild Turkey Center in Edgefield, S.C. Visitors can step inside the world's largest box call and learn how to operate several types of wild turkey calls; listen to an animated old-timer tell stories about turkey hunting and conservation; or hear an animated Cherokee Indian share legends about the wild turkey. Other displays include a retired Forest Service helicopter and a wildlife oddities display. (803-637-3106, www.nwtf.org)

Cabela's Mule Deer Country Museum
Cabela's retail store in Kansas City, Kan., encompasses an extraordinary 11,500-square-foot museum displaying over 80 world's-record mule deer. The collection includes 11 of the 19 mule deer with Boone & Crockett final scores of at least 300 points. Doug Burris Jr.'s world's-record typical (226-4/8 B&C) is part of the collection, which also includes the top typical archery trophy, number-one in the world non-typical taken by a woman, number-two in the world non-typical archery and state-record mule deer from Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and South Dakota, and province records from Saskatchewan and British Columbia. (913-328-0322, www.cabelas.com)

National Knife Museum
Opened in 2006, the National Knife Museum in Sevierville, Tenn., part of Smoky Mountain Knifeworks, features an unparalleled collection of more than 12,000 knives on public display, including pocket knives, hunting knives, Bowie knives and more. (865-453-5871, www.seviervillechamber.org)

To contact Keith "Catfish" Sutton, email him at catfishdude@sbcglobal.net or visit his Web site, www.catfishsutton.com.