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The Roving Sportsman… Off and Running!

With January past its midpoint and Old Man Winter tightening his grip as best he can, one begins to wonder just what to do to pass the time. Well, the clock is running, and there really isn’t anything you can do about the weather except wait it out in hopes that spring just might come early this year. One way to make better use of our time is to gather up information and begin the planning process for the upcoming seasons we hope to participate in.

From now through the end of February is the season for Conventions and Shows throughout the country, where manufacturers, outfitters, retailers, and suppliers gather to show off their wares. New products will be introduced — from archery equipment to new firearms, ammunition and every imaginable new gadget and type of gear that, hopefully, will catch the eye of hunters, shooters, fishermen and sportsmen of all interests.

The Archery Trade Association just ended its annual show on Saturday, January 12 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky with a record number of vendors and attendees. The Safari Club also completed its 47th annual convention, held in Reno, Nevada, declaring it “a rousing success!” More than 15,000 hunters from around the world, along with over 1,000 vendors with various goods and services prompted the SCI President, Paul Babaz, to declare, “the enthusiasm of members and exhibitors was incredible — the best I’ve ever seen.”

The annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) will run from January 22 to 25 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This mega-gathering of manufacturers, retailers, media members, and outdoor representatives will take over the Sands Hotel and Convention Center, with aisles and aisles of vendors that will take up miles of aisle ways and truly take days to cover. This is where most manufacturers will introduce all of their new lines for the year and retailers from all over the globe will come to place their annual orders. For weeks to come, news releases, test and evaluation articles and videos covering these new products will be released for public consumption.

But what about those of us who are snowbound here in Pennsylvania and can’t get to all of these far-away destinations? Well, there is good news.

The Great American Outdoor Show, held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg will be running from February 2-10 this year. Many of these new products will be on display, giving everyone a chance to handle the equipment and ask questions of the manufacturer’s representatives. There will be nine halls full of guns and accessories, archery equipment, outfitters and boat captains, RVs and boats — virtually everything imaginable for the sportsman. Celebrity appearances, seminars, and hands-on activities will occur every day, along with auctions, raffles and the opportunity to obtain autographs from and photos with some of your favorite outdoor characters. For more information, call 1-800-672-4868, or check the web at

Weather permitting; you might also consider gathering several of your turkey hunting buddies and head to Nashville, Tennessee for the 43rd annual National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Convention and Sports Show. It will be held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort from February 13-17 and is the premier destination for anyone who really enjoys turkey hunting. There will be calling contests, call making contests, auctions, raffles, hundreds of vendors with all of the turkey hunting gear imaginable and seminars and demonstrations throughout the convention. To help plan your trip, contact the NWTF at 1-800-843-6983, or gather information at their website,

Whether you drive down to Harrisburg to the Great American Outdoor Show or travel on down to the NWTF Convention and Sports Show, make sure to plan enough time to take in everything. Either event will take hours, and preferably days to really see everything that is offered. Afterward, you can sit back in your easy chair by the fireplace as snow gently falls outside your window and daydream about the new gun, bow or hunting trip that is in your future!

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