by Steve Sorensen
(Originally published in the Warren Times Observer, January 19, 2013.)
spring gobbler season is more than three months away, and gobblers are huddled
up for the winter. I can’t read their little minds, though many times I’ve
tried, but I’m guessing they’re just as anxious as we are for the spring thaw. Why
wouldn’t they be? They’re trying to stay warm and find enough to eat, and they
don’t even have television to pass the time.
What to do while we wait? It’s the show season. The just-completed
Warren Sport Show at the Warren Mall was a good warm-up. Next comes the giant
Eastern Sport and Outdoor Show in Harrisburg (February 2-10). If you’ve never
been there, spend a day or two – you have nine whole days to see what it’s all
about. It’s not just a show; it’s an adventure.
Don't hunker down like a gobbler
in the dead of winter – get going!
on Harrisburg’s heels is the Allegheny Sport and Outdoor Show near Pittsburgh
at the Monroeville Convention Center (February 13-17). Then, the closest is the
Erie Sport and Travel Expo at Erie’s Bayfront Convention Center (March 1-3).
does a person do at a sport show? There is no denying that one reason they
exist is to get you to spend your money. If you don’t want to spend money, then
don’t take much. Other benefits are enough to make it worthwhile. Here are five
things to do:
(1.) Cure cabin fever – If it’s too early
for yard work, too muddy or snowy to get out into the woods, and too cold for you
to enjoy the outdoors, you still need to get out and move around. Do it at a
sport show. Gawk at some monster whitetail mounts and other trophies, and put
them into your dreams for next season.
(2.) Attend seminars – Sport shows
always hold seminars presented by some of the most successful hunters and
fishermen in the nation. If you find yourself in a rut, there’s no better place
to get exposed to new techniques and learn something you can use.
(3.) Talk to experts – A few “celebrity
experts” always roam the shows, but many of the vendor booths are staffed by hunters
and fishermen who know just as much, or more. I’ve been on both sides of the
booth, and I can tell you the people in the booths will welcome a conversation
(4.) See new products – Sport shows
often give a first look at the latest products for outdoorsmen. Yes, many of
them are gimmicks. True, you don’t really need most of them. But I’ve
discovered a few things at sport shows that I’m glad I have. And if you are
planning a big purchase, a sport show might be the best place to handle
products and make comparisons. Treestands, binoculars, game calls, knives, turkey
vests… it’s an “Alice’s Restaurant” of sporting goods – you can get anything
(5.) Dream – You might not be planning a
hunting or fishing trip in the near future, but it never hurts to talk to the
people who provide them. A sport show is the place to scope out the guides, grab
some of their literature, and start thinking about where and when. I remember one old-timer telling me about his
hunting adventures in Canada, and he asked me if I’d ever been out of state to
hunt. At the time I hadn’t. He said, “Well, get going!”
going – that’s my advice to you. Don’t hunker down like a gobbler in the dead
of winter. While you’re waiting for spring, grab a buddy or two, and have a
good time cruising the aisles at a sport show.