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Sportsman shows can help cure cabin fever

Thursday, January 2, 2014
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Shortly after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, there are a number of us outdoorsmen and women who have a tendency to become couch potatoes, sitting around watching outdoor fishing/hunting celebrities enjoying sports they would like to be doing.

Small-game hunting or ice fishing might get you through the long, cold winter, but there’s a good chance we’ll all catch the dreaded Northeastern Cabin Fever.

Unfortunately, there’s no real cure, other than heading south for warmer weather. I’m fortunate to be a part-time Florida Snow Bird, and I know that in late January when I’m headed south, it’s not until somewhere around Georgia, when I see a short-sleeved angler in his boat, that the fever breaks.

But prior to retirement and these annual trips, I, too suffered, and the only remedy I found was attending sportsman shows. Shows offer an opportunity to see what’s new in hunting and fishing, visit with other outdoorsmen, attend seminars and even book hunts and fishing charters. And this year’s lineup looks to be outstanding.

It begins with two shows back-to-back in Syracuse.

The first is the New York Sportman Show (www.newyorksportsmanshow.com) at the Oncenter from Jan. 17-19. Show times are Friday, noon-8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults; children under 12 are free.

I think the highlight of the show is going to be two wolves that will demonstrate their natural wolf behavior that will tell you a lot about wildlife and environmental conservation. You’ll be able to see them up close and learn the do’s and don’ts of human interaction with wild animals.

My friend and fellow outdoor writer Spider Rybaak, who has authored “Fishing Eastern and Western” books, will hold several seminars on Lake Ontario tributaries and how to fish them successfully. Hunters who have a deer rack to score can bring it to the New York State Big Buck Club to be measured.

Don’t forget the kids, because they have a Bass Pro Shops Kids Casting Contest, a Big Trout Pond and there are giveaways that include a fishing trip to Canada with Musky Joe Tours. What’s new in hunting, fishing and boating will all be there for hands-on review. Holding a new rod and reel will definitely lower the fever.

The following week, Jan. 24-26, the New York Sportsman Expo (newyorksportsmansexpo.com) will be held at the State Fairgrounds. Show times are Friday noon-8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is adults (13-64), $10; young adults (6-12), $5; children (5 and under), free; seniors (65 and up), police, firefighters and military, $7.

The show will again highlight various TV hunting and fishing celebrities who will give daily seminars full of technique, tactics and equipment information to help get big fish and/or big bucks. The show also will exhibit the latest outdoor products and will have a fully stocked trout pond.

There will be a Trophy Shoot for all classes of archers (hunters and target). Entry fees are $20 and $30, with a guaranteed purse of $1,000 plus 30 percent of the entry fees. This is a 30 target shoot with max­imum yardage of 45. Kids under 12 shoot free.

The New York State 4-H Shooting Sports will host its 27th annual Sportsman Educators Workshop at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Education Center of Sar­atoga County on Saturday, Jan. 25. Located at 50 West High St., Ballston Spa, the event is open to the public. Registration is from

8-9 a.m. The program runs through 4 p.m. Admission for Department of Environmental Conservation instructors is $15; for all others, $25. Admission includes coffee and pastry during registration and a lunch.

The agenda includes youth updates with stories from young hunters, DEC question-and-answer period, DEC sportsman education program staff presentations, 2014 changes and legislative positions from elected officials. After lunch, there will be a series of classes on teaching firearms use and safety, etc., and a number of other classes dealing with hunter education. I’ve attended this workshop since 1997, and found it to be informative and enjoyable. For further details, call 885-8995.

The Harrisburg, Pa., outdoor show is back! Last year, when show promoters Reed Exhibitions banned the sale or display of assault rifles at the show, many of the vendors backed out.

This year, the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center has selected the National Rifle Assoc­iation to continue the 65-year show tradition. The new name is the Great American Outdoor Show (www.-greatamericanoutdoorshow.org).

The show will run Feb. 1-9. Show hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is adults (13-64), $12; seniors (65 and older), $10; and children (6-12), $6. Two-day adult tickets are $20. If you join the NRA, you’ll receive a free, one-day ticket.

The show covers over 650,000 square feet, and will have almost 1,000 exhibitors ranging from shooting manufacturers and outfitters to fishing boats and RVs. There will be numerous TV outdoors celebrities on hand giving helpful seminars. Country music fans can enjoy Trace Adkins who will perform Saturday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 for floor seats and $30 for stadium seats.

The Springfield Sportsmen’s Show (www.osegsportsmens.com) will celebrate its 30th year with a four-day show Feb. 20-23 at the Eastern States Exposition (Big E) in West Springfield, Mass. Show times are: Thursday, 3 p.m.-9 p.m.; Friday, noon-8 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is: adults, $12; kids (6-12), $5; under 6, free.

I know this show will have plenty of experts in fishing (www.sportshows.com) and hunting, and all of them are willing to share their secrets with their audiences.

These include a fellow bass angling friend of mine from Mas­sachusetts, Bill Decoteau, who hosts “The Bass Bureau, Where the Road meets the Water” TV show. He

can help put more bass in your boat.

Deer hunting pro Dick Scorz­afava is a local hunter who has put quite a few local big bucks on his den wall, and his seminars are

always educational.

There will also be a number of fresh- and saltwater fishing charter captains and big-game hunting outfitters offering early reservation discounts. If you’re looking for something new in just about any outdoor hunting/fishing equipment, you’ll find it at this show.

Another popular show is the World Fishing & Outdoor Expos­ition at the SUNY-Rockland County Community College Fieldhouse in Suffern. The dates are: Feb. 27-March 2. Show hours are Thursday, 2 p.m.-8 p.m.; Friday, 1 p.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m-7 p.m.; and Sunday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is: adults, $13; children under 12, $3; under 5, free.

Their 37th year will again offer the latest in outdoor fishing products. There also will be a huge display of fishing boats of all kinds. There will plenty of new “toys” for hunters, gun and/or bow, on display, as well.

There also will be chartered fishing guides and a number of hunting outfitters in business at the show.

One of the biggest attractions is the celebrity lineup of fishermen and hunters. Returning to Suffern will be Bassmaster Classic and Bass Angler of the Year winner Mike “Ike” Iaconelli, whose presentation is both entertaining and educ­ational. In addition, Bassmaster pro Shaw Grigsby will teach new bass fishing tricks.

Deer hunters will also be able learn the whitetail hunting tactics and techniques of Pat and Tony Salerno, known for their big-buck harvests annually in the Adirondack deer woods.

The whole family will enjoy the wild animal program presented by Two by Two Zoo. It includes a petting zoo and educational presentation that includes an important conservation message. The animals include coatimundis, kangaroos, giant rabbits and a tortoise.

Enjoy the shows.

 
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