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Chris French
Mike Roberts

Outdoor shows bridge the wintry divide

There is something magical about these outdoor shows that pop up in the month of February and I look forward to attending as many of them as I can. I just can’t seem to get enough of them because I guess they help to get me through to the beginning of spring and, hopefully, our ice will be out for some open-water fishing.

Coming up next week is the granddaddy of the outdoor shows in our area, the Springfield Sportsmen’s Show at the “Big E” in West Springfield, Massachusetts. The Springfield Sportsmen’s Show has been around for a number of years now and features a couple of buildings simply chock full of all kinds of outdoor goodies.

This mega-sporting event takes place this coming week, Feb. 20-23, and includes the best of hunting, fishing, boating and adventure recreation that our great outdoors has to offer.

Make no mistake about it. This show is so huge you can spend an entire day there and not get to see everything they have to offer. In my many trips there I have come away with a couple of exciting trips both hunting and fishing that helped make my outdoor world complete.

The Springfield Sportsmen’s Show has gathered the top vendors of hunting and fishing equipment along with guides, outfitters and charter captains. You will have the best selections and some really good deals at the one convenient location. Even if you do not want to book an adventure, it is worth the trip just to walk the aisles looking for something that might interest you. Me, I have yet to come away from the show without buying something even if it is a turkey call.

You have to forgive me if I sound a tad biased when I talk about the Springfield Sportsmen’s Show, but the Sousa family that owns it have been friends of mine since I began my outdoor writing career. The Sousas pride themselves on their innovation in giving the public what they want. They were the first outdoor show to put out a full-sized water dog retrieving pool in a show. They also helped the Northeast Big Buck Club launch their highly successful antler measuring organization.

They were also the first backers of an outdoor writing buddy of mine, Dick Scorzafava, a now world-famous whitetail expert. A Massachusetts native, Scorzafava holds a number of Pope & Young records for archery-taken deer. It is a fact that Sousa family’s enthusiasm for innovation is one of the things that make the Springfield Sportsmen’s Show so popular.

Each and every year that I go to the Springfield Sportsmen’s Show I never get tired of walking the many aisles in search of something new for my outdoor collection. Sometime its an outdoor gadget of some kind or maybe something new for use in my game-cooking endeavors. When you are at the Springfield show, if you look hard enough you are almost sure to find it.

Hunting and fishing seminars rank high on the list of why many folks come to the show and, whenever possible, I try to get to one of Dick Scorzafava’s hunting seminars. Now a renowned TV hunting star, Scorzafava will present his well-known Radical Hunting Success Seminar, sign books and, as always, give away thousands of dollars worth of hunting gear. Dick has authored three books: Radical Bowhunter, Radical Bear Hunter and Spies in the Deer Woods.

If you are into saltwater fishing, then you might want to catch a seminar by Captain Bill Brown, a Connecticut native whose clients presently hold six game fish records, including the 506-pound thresher shark that won the 2003 Oak Bluffs (MV) Monster Shark Tournament and set a new Massachusetts state record for that species.

Brown will be sharing his expertise in two special seminars. The first is “Rigging Right” tackle tips for inshore and offshore success and his second presentation will be “Block Island Bonanza, Targeting Trophy Sharks.” Captain Bill Brown’s seminars are always interesting and educational.

Are you ready for your trip into the outdoors? This is a question many folks ask themselves every time they venture into the outdoors, says professional outdoor adventure educator and backcountry wilderness guide Tim Vogel. Vogel is the owner of Tekon Mountain Outdoors and has over 25 years experience in the field of adventure recreation.

In addition to teaching individuals about the outdoors, Vogel also leads a professional certification program for the outdoor professionals called the Wilderness Outdoor Leadership Fundamentals program (WOLF).

The show gives you a good chance to learn from a world traveler who has led international mountaineering trips and paddling expeditions into the Andes and headwaters of the Amazon in Ecuador. Vogel will talk on the 10 essentials for survival in New England in all four seasons, wilderness first aid and the seven principles of Leave No Trace (LNT).

Knight Rifle pro staffer Den Vanier of North Woods Common Scents will be giving a special seminar to show you how to beat the whitetail’s superior defense mechanics. By doing so, you will increase your odds of success in the deer woods. Vanier’s 35-plus years of hunting ensures an interesting seminar for whitetail hunters.

BOWHUNTER TIP

If you go to the Springfield show, look for Connecticut Archery at the PSE Booth. This is a Wallingford archery shop and I will be doing a column on it April 1st.

Any way you look at it, the 2014 Springfield Sportsmen’s Show has something for just about everyone in the outdoors. The show hours are Thursday 3-9 p.m., Friday noon to 8 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission is $13 adults and $5 for kids ages 6-12. Kids under 6 get in for free.

NH MOOSE HUNT LOTTERY

One of these days I hope to be one of the lucky ones picked for a moose lottery in our three northern New England states, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. I enter all three every year but, alas, Lady Luck seems to pass me by.

I just entered the NH Moose Lottery again and can only wait and see when the names are pulled. The NH Moose Lottery is now open. To enter, nonresidents pay $25 and, according to the officials, the odds of my getting picked are about 1 in 121 (I must be 122).

On the other hand, my “kid” brother Paul, who resides in Vermont with his lovely wife Pat, has had phenomenal luck in the moose hunt drawings including Maine.

Be that as it may, to apply for the NH Moose Hunt Lottery, go to huntnh.com. This will take you into the Moose Hunt Lottery where you can enter online or print out a mail-in application. Moose hunt lottery applications must be postmarked or submitted online by midnight Eastern Time on May 30.

Each applicant can enter the moose lottery once a year. A bonus-point system improves the chances of unsuccessful applicants (like yours truly) who apply each consecutive year. Last year, more than 13,000 people entered the moose hunt lottery for the chance to win one of 275 permits. Hunters from 15 difference states won permits.

While people travel from all over the country to take part in the New Hampshire moose hunt, the majority of permits (about 85 percent) go to New Hampshire residents. The number of permits available to nonresidents is capped, based on the prior year’s sales of nonresident hunting licenses.

New Hampshire has had an annual moose hunt since 1988, when 75 permits were issued for a three-day hunt in the North Country. The state’s current moose population is estimated at about 4,000.

The availability of moose hunting permits, with some issued for every area of the state, is made possible by careful management of moose populations. The resulting annual harvest of moose helps to regulate moose numbers, provides valuable information on the physical condition of the moose and provides a unique recreational opportunity.

PATTACONK GAME DINNER

The Pattacomk Fish & Game Club will host its annual game dinner on Saturday, March 1 at St. Joseph’s Parish Center on Middlesex Avenue in Chester. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Appetizers are at 7 p.m., dinner at 7:30 p.m. BYOB (beer or wine only). Tickets are $30 per person. Contact Robert Tessitore at (203) 294-0131 for more info or tickets.

That’s it for now gang. See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops wherever they may be serving to protect us.



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