For avid saltwater anglers who are anxious to hit the surf and waves for really big fish, the annual mid-Atlantic saltwater fishing show returns to New Jersey, albeit at a different location.
The Saltwater Fishing Expo, now in its 12th year, is moving to a brand-new location, delivering an even bigger and better event for consumers, said Tod Alberto, show director.
The Progressive® Insurance Saltwater Fishing Expo® , as it’s now called, will be held at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison, New Jersey. This allows the show to be 50 percent larger than at the previous location at the Garden State Exhibition Center in Edison, NJ., according to Alberto.
Running March 16-18, the three-day show is the kickoff to the saltwater fishing season, offering saltwater anglers the latest in outdoor travel, tackle, gear and fishing boats, plus an array of seminars and demonstrations by top anglers.
“The Saltwater Fishing Expo is a hub for the region’s avid saltwater anglers craving information and the latest gear for offshore, inshore, surf, and kayak fishing,” opines Alberto. “With the move to the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison, we’ve been able to expand the show dramatically, offering our exhibitors more space, and our attendees even more to explore with expanded boating and kayak areas, a 50’ casting pond, a new Fishing 101 area, and a New Vendor marketplace.”
The Saltwater Fishing Expo is known for giving attendees the opportunity to see the latest gear and equipment from the best tackle manufacturers in the country, as well as the local saltwater retail specialists, where attendees can buy the gear and accessories that work best for mid-Atlantic saltwater fishing.
New this year is “Fishing 101,” area that offers three stations staffed with different experts every hour who will provide instruction on how to fish, reel maintenance and rod repair, how to build jigs, advice on various baits for local sportfish, and much more. Also new to the show is a “New Vendor” marketplace, featuring eight companies that have never exhibited at the show, providing attendees more product variety to shop and compare.
“Our new Fishing 101 area is intended to support new or seasoned anglers with the knowledge to get started in angling and keep them fishing for a lifetime,” Alberto explained. “The stations provide one-on-one teaching situations with chances to ask any question you have about fish or fishing. In addition, the New Vendor marketplace allows a few up-and-coming companies to show off and sell their innovative products.”
With the expanded boating and kayaking area, show-goers can see the latest fishing boats available on the market. Other show highlights include Fred’s Shed Interactive Learning Center, offering seminars for do-it-yourself boat maintenance, and an appearance by Captain Frank Crescitelli of The Fin Chasers TV, who is doing cast net demonstrations throughout the weekend.
Sunday, March 18 is Family Day with a scavenger hunt for the kids, and the first 100 children (11 and under) to the show will receive a free Plano tackle box. Tickets are $12.00 for adults and $3.00 for children ages 5 to 11. Children under age 5 are admitted free with a paying adult. Tickets may also be purchased online at http://www.sportshows.com/saltwater.
12pm-8pm Friday, March 16
10am-6pm Saturday, March 17
10am-5pm Sunday, March 18
A portion of the shows’ proceeds is dedicated to the Keep America Fishing Foundation. For more information, visit http://www.sportshows.com/saltwater.
By now you’ve probably heard or read (as posted in this column) that Bass Pro Shops purchased Cabela’s for $4 billion. As in most of these buy-out situations, a number of employees customarily lose their jobs. And that’s what’s happening at Cabela’s headquarters in Sidney, Nebraska. As such, remaining employees at Cabela’s former headquarters will have until March 1 to accept their severance packages, which were offered in a letter to employees last week.
As reported by Omaha World-Herald and the Outdoor Hub, Bass Pro Shops has begun the clearing out process at Cabela’s home office, and the surrounding area of Nebraska is already feeling the repercussions. “This will be a mass exodus in Sidney,” one headquarters employee was reported saying.
According to the article, about 800 employees working at the Sidney location who are over 50 years old, with a minimum of 10 years working with the company, would get 2 weeks of severance pay for each year of service, plus a $40,000 bonus, should they accept the offer. They also get a lifetime discount card to Bass Pro and Cabela’s stores.
Any employee who is under 50 years of age or fewer than 10 years with the company received a severance offer and a $20,000 bonus, plus discounts for the next 10 years.
“These voluntary programs, which will expire March 1, 2018, are above and beyond what Outfitters will receive in future severance programs,” the letter stated, referring to Cabela’s employees.
A source told us that at least one (and possibly more) managerial employee at the Cabela’s Hamburg store was let go.
This is a sad situation that will hurt the Sidney community as well. According to my fellow outdoor scribe Jim Shepard, who reported in his The Outdoor Wire news website, the homes in Sidney, which was essentially a mill town before Dick Cabela started the company, are losing their value at a rapid pace. And he goes on to explain that Dick Cabela, initially began selling imported fishing flies after a $45 investment. After that, he grew the company that at last count employed 2,000 employees in Sidney.
Shepard added that this buyout was for the Sidney location and that no word was given on Cabela’s other offices in Kearny, Lincoln and Denver.
Bass Pro Shops Owner Johnny Morris appears to be doing everything he can to provide departing workers substantial severance packages, and has reportedly established a $20 million fund to “enhance normal severance benefits,” Shepard wrote.
PA LEGISLATORS PROPOSE HUNTING CHANGES
As reported in The Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs to its members, the following hunting law proposals were filed:
SCO1247 By Brewster. Allows for limited Sunday hunting on PA State Game Lands.
* February 5, 2018 03:31 PM *
Sen. James R. Brewster *
Limited Sunday Hunting on State Game Lands
* * * In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to allow for limited Sunday hunting on PA State Game Lands. Two Sundays during the combined antler and antlerless deer seasons for hunting white-tailed deer on State Game Lands and one Sunday during the statewide black bear season for hunting black bear on State Game Lands.
* * * * The State game lands were purchased with proceeds from hunting licenses, federal tax on guns and ammunition, not with state tax money.
* * * * A 2010 PA Legislative Budget and Finance Committee report stated allowing Sunday hunting even on just two Sundays of the general deer season would have a positive economic impact and keep Pennsylvania hunters in the state for a full weekend of hunting as well as attract out-of-state hunters to our Commonwealth.
SCO1251 By Corman. Allows the use of electronic deer calls.
* February 9, 2018 03:16 PM
* Sen. Jake Corman
* Electronic Game Calls for Deer
* In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to allow for the use of electronic deer calls in the Commonwealth. In today's world where the use of advanced technology is commonplace, now is the time to provide our sportsmen and women with the opportunity to use electronic deer calls to enhance their outdoor experience.
* Electronic deer calls do not substantially alter the already common practice of attracting deer through calls, but rather add to the sport by assisting with recruitment and retention of our younger generation of hunters. Pennsylvania currently allows electronic calls for predator hunting, and last fall the Game Commission approved the use of electronic decoys for waterfowl, as well as ozone machines to help with the elimination of scent.
* Currently, almost fifty percent of the states allow for the use of electronic deer calls, including Ohio, New York and Delaware.
* I believe that electronic deer calls will present an opportunity to get more people out into the field to experience hunting first hand and possibly gain a lifelong interest.
As always, we’ll keep you posted if these proposals get approval.
If you’re an avid turkey hunter, then you owe it to the gobblers to attend the Jerry Zimmerman Memorial Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s 20th Annual Hunting Heritage Superfund Membership Banquet.
The banquet will be held Friday, March 9, 2018 at the Econo Lodge Conference Center, Allentown. (Routes 22 & 309 North) This is the federation’s 20th Year Anniversary. All attendees will receive a free gift in honor of this achievement.
Preview of raffle and auction items along with a social hour that begins at 5:00 pm and will feature drafts and soft drinks that will be provided at no extra charge. All-you-can-eat buffet dinner along with many of Econo Lodge’s delicious side dishes will begin at 7:00pm.
A live auction filled with spectacular wildlife prints, sculptures, home furnishings, jewelry and collectibles will follow at 8:00pm. Highlighting the banquet for is a print by the nationally known local artist, Dan Christ who has donated his works over the past 16 years. Also, for the 15th consecutive year, Bob Danenhower of Bob’s Wildlife Taxidermy will donate a custom made wingbone call, a one-of-a-kind collectors item.
Single tickets are $55; $110 for a couple; $20 for Jakes (17 and under). Sponsor Memberships range from $300-$500, each with a host of free gifts and of course membership.
Attendance and support of the auctions and raffles enables the organization to do valuable habitat work in the state, contribute to land acquisitions, give disabled hunters an opportunity to be afield through the “Wheelin’ Sportsman” program; sponsorship of “JAKES Youth Field Days,” and sponsorship of the Women in the Outdoors events in Pennsylvania.
Raffle items this year are as follows:
1st Prize: Kimber 1911 .45 Auto, or, Ruger AR-15/5.56mm, or, $500 cash.
2nd Prize: Ruger American Predator 22.250, or, $300 cash
3rd Prize: Remington 870E, 12 gauge, or, $200 cash
4th Prize: Leupold 3x9 rifle scope, or, $125 cash
5th Prize: $100 Cabela’s Gift Card
Tickets are $5 per ticket; three for $10; and seven for $20.
For more information, contact Bruce Dietrich, Banquet Chairman (610-298-2424) or Scott Richards (610-393-9761). You may register online by going to: www.nwtf.org/events.
JERRY ZIMMERMAN CHAPTER RECEIVES AWARD
During NWTF’s 42nd annual convention and sports show in Nashville, The Jerry Zimmerman Chapter was one of four chapters recognized for their outstanding achievements in the recruitment, retention and reactivation of hunters.
The NWTF gives R3 awards to chapters whose hunting heritage events focus on recruitment, retention and reactivation of hunters. Hunter numbers across the U.S. have been in an alarming decline for the past 30 years, a trend that could jeopardize the conservation of our natural resources, since hunters foot the bill for the majority of conservation efforts in North America.
The NWTF determined this year's award winners based on how their work strengthens the organization's Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative.
Jerry Zimmerman Memorial Pennsylvania chapter received the award in recognition of their event, that partnered with Camp Compass Academy to host a JAKES pheasant hunt. This was a unified effort to introduce urban, middle and high school students to various outdoor pursuits. The recruited hunters have since participated in additional hunts and are now licensed hunters.
If you’re a snow goose hunter, or just a wildlife photographer, you both can shoot thousands of snow geese by trekking on down to upper Berks County.
There’s a large field behind Sittler’s Golf Center and Haldeman Ford on Route 222 outside Kutztown and on Kutztown Road. As I drove past there at 12:20 p.m. last week, the field behind these two businesses was a sea of white, that on first view took on the appearance of snow. But instead, was a few thousand snow geese feeding there with smaller flocks continuing to come in from the East to join them.
But before hunting there, waterfowlers should find out who owns the land and get permission to hunt. These geese all appear to be beyond the legal 100-yard distance of buildings and structures to hunt them. And a benefit is that there is a wide patch of three-foot high weeds adjacent to the field that would make a good place to serve as a blind.
I spoke to an employee of Sittler’s in the centers’ parking lot and he told me the geese are common, daily visitors there. When asked if he hunts them, seeing he wore a Mossy Oak camo jacket, he said no he only hunts deer.
While Canada geese make tasty table fare, the opinion on snows aren’t as good. A few goose hunters I interviewed say the snows’ meat has a tundra grass taste. Some say they cut the breasts into strips and smoke it. Others say they crock pot them, make stews or gumbo from their meat.
With so many seasonal geese, U.S. Fish & Wildlife officials say snows need culling because they’re eating themselves out of house and home on their breeding grounds. That, plus local farmers often have their winter wheat fields eaten bare to the ground. So taking a few home for dinner can be a treat.
Cabela’s offers these tips on preparing snow geese that will make them delightful table fare.
First off, it’s strongly advised to skin your snows as soon as possible as the off-putting flavor resides in the skin. That, and keep them as cool as possible if the weather is not freezing. After that, their flavor is fully dependent on how you prepare them, so here are three suggestions:
Either fresh, cured or smoked, sausage is an excellent way to prepare challenging game meat, including snow geese. You can work up your own recipe, or adapt a recipe from some of the great sausage cookbooks, including Charcuterie by Ruhlman and Polcyn or Great Sausage and Meat Smoking Recipes by Rytek Kutas. There are also a lot of great pre-made sausage kits that take any guesswork out of making your own snow goose sausage. One favorite is the Beer Salami Kit in Cabela's Smokehouse line.
When dealing with a lot of meat, It’s hard to beat jerky, whether of the whole muscle variety or ground and shot through a Jerky Blaster. Cabela’s says you may want to use their High Mountain Seasoning Jerky Board and Knife to power through a lot of goose breasts in short order. A crank or grinder-mounted jerky slicer would also make quick work of a bunch of geese.
Once tasted, a smoked goose breast rarely sticks around long. A sweet, fruity wood smoke enhances the light salty-sweet flavor created by the proper brine. Start with a simple mix of 1 cup kosher salt and 1 cup brown sugar per gallon of water and let the goose breasts soak in this, refrigerated, for 24 hours. Then remove from the brine, pat off excess moisture with paper towels and let the breasts sit on a wire rack on the counter for bit until they are completely dry. Then smoke them in a 200-degree smoker for 2 to 6 hours, or until the internal temperature reads 150 degrees.
Sounds delicious. Now all you have to do is harvest a few of these wary waterfowl since they won’t be sticking around much longer.
Biathlon athletes are proficient in both cross-country skiing, and sharp shooting under pressure and will show their skills at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
A biathlon race consists of athletes racing around a closed course with a rifle strapped to their back, and they periodically stop at designated stations to shoot a series of targets.
Each competitor is equipped with a small-bore .22 caliber rifle. Shooters are penalized for each shot missed, where, depending on the race format, the penalty can either be an additional lap around a 150m track, or a 1-minute penalty added to their final time – the penalty track is separate from the race track.
According to USA Today, there will be a total of 11 biathlon events featured in the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics, and these are the five formats you can expect to see when they begin this weekend:
* Individual (men’s 20 km, women’s 15 km) – Competitors start in intervals, and go through four shooting segments, with five targets each. Missed targets result in a one-minute penalty.
* Sprint (men’s 12.5 km, women’s 7.5 km) – The same format as individual, but half the length and with only two shooting segments. Missed targets result in a 150m penalty loop.
* Pursuit (men’s 12.5 km, women’s 10 km) – The top finishers from the sprint race start in front, and the competitors have to “pursue” the leaders. The goal is to be the first to cross the finish line. There are four shooting segments with five targets each, and missed targets result in a 150m penalty loop.
* Mass start (men’s 15km, women’s 12.5 km) – Competitors start simultaneously, and the first to cross the finish line wins. There are four shooting segments and each missed shot results in a 150m penalty loop.
* Relay (men’s 4?7.5 km, women’s 4x6km) – The first member of each relay team begins simultaneously. Each competitor has two shooting segments, and they get three additional rounds – manually loaded – if they miss a target. If they still have misses, they must do the 150m penalty loop for each missed target.
* Mixed relay (2.6km women + 2?7.5 men) – The women run the first first two legs of the relay, going 6km each, while the men run 7.5km. Each athlete has two shooting portions, and get three additional rounds.
REMINGTON OUTDOORS (FIREARMS) CONSIDERING BANKRUPTCY
The Outdoor Hub reports that Remington Outdoor Company Inc., has reportedly reached out to a number of banks and credit investment funds looking for help on the financing front that will ultimately allow them to file for bankruptcy.
According to Reuters, Remington – one of the outdoor industry’s largest U.S. firearms maker – has been working with investment firm Lazard Ltd (LAZ.N) to think up with a strategy for restructuring its $950 million debt.
Like most in the gun industry, Remington’s sales have dipped because there is no longer fear that guns will become more heavily regulated by U.S. government. President Trump has made it abundantly clear that he never plans on impeding “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”
This is shocking and disappointing to this outdoor writer as all my long guns are Remington, the most and affordable popular hunting rifles and shotguns for many years. This may explain why Remington had a much smaller booth at the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg. At last years show the exhibit booth was huge and impressive.
From the Birding Wire comes the announcement of the 21st Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) that will take place February 16 to 19—in backyards, parks, nature centers, on hiking trails, school grounds, balconies, and beaches. This global event provides an opportunity for bird enthusiasts to contribute important bird population data that help scientists see changes over the past 21 years. To participate, bird watchers count the birds they see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, then enter their checklists at birdcount.org.
"The 2018 GBBC again promises to provide an important snapshot of bird occurrence in February," says the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Marshall Iliff, a leader of the eBird program. "Some stories to watch in North America are mountain birds moving into lowland valleys and east to the Great Plains, crossbills on the move across much of the continent, and many eastern birds responding to extremes as the winter temperatures have oscillated between unseasonably warm and exceptionally cold."
eBird collects bird observations globally every day of the year and is the online platform used by the GBBC.
"The Great Backyard Bird Count is a great way to introduce people to participation in community science," says Dr. Gary Langham (@GaryLangham), vice president and chief scientist for the National Audubon Society. "No other program allows volunteers to take an instantaneous snapshot of global bird populations that can contribute to our understanding of how a changing climate is affecting birds."
In 1998, during the first GBBC, bird watchers submitted about 13,500 checklists from the United States and Canada. Fast-forward to the most recent event in 2017. Over the four days of the count, an estimated 240,418 bird watchers from more than 100 countries submitted 181,606 bird checklists reporting 6,259 species–more than half the known bird species in the world.
"Will we break last year's record number of Canadian participants?" asks Jon McCracken, Bird Studies Canada's National Program Director. "A lot depends on the weather, but a little snow and cold shouldn’t get in your way. Remember that you don't have to venture far afield at all. You truly can count birds right in your own backyard or, better yet, take a pleasant winter stroll around your neighborhood."
To learn more about what scientists discovered the past 21 years and how to take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, visit birdcount.org. The Great Backyard Bird Count is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partner Bird Studies Canada and is made possible in part by founding sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.
The 21st GBBC is additionally notable because it is the February call-to-action for the Year of the Bird, a 12-month celebration of birds to raise awareness of how people can help birds by taking simple actions each month. The Year of the Bird is led by National Geographic, the National Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, BirdLife International, and more than 100 participating organizations. Learn more about Year of the Bird at www.birdyourworld.org.
If you hold a Cabela’s CLUB credit card, you’ll be receiving a new one with the MasterCard logo.
The two recently-merged outdoor retailers, Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops, will don the MasterCard logo by the end of the year, as reported by the Outdoor Hub and the credit cards website.
MasterCard, a long time partner with Bass Pro Shops, announced the news last week that they plan to convert Cabela’s CLUB credit card business in order to “unify” North America’s premier outdoor and conservation company’s portfolios under a single network with opportunities to make conservation an important component of the CLUB’s mission going forward.”
The MasterCard press release is as follows:
“MasterCard announced today that Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s has chosen the company to be the network for the outdoor retailer’s combined consumer credit co-brand portfolio. MasterCard has long been the network on the Bass Pro Shops co-brand program. Under this new partnership, the Cabela’s CLUB credit card business will convert to MasterCard, unifying North America’s premier outdoor and conservation company’s portfolios under a single network with opportunities to make conservation an important component of the CLUB’s mission going forward.
“Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s customers are strong supporters of the outdoors and conservation. We are excited to partner with a company like MasterCard that shares in these passions,” said Johnny Morris, Bass Pro founder and CEO. “Our partnership with MasterCard will allow us to bring Priceless experiences to our loyal customers and unite sportsmen and women together to collectively advance conservation.”
In addition to the rich rewards already provided by both Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, this program will be enhanced by MasterCard’s benefits and experiences, allowing loyal cardholders to enjoy even more opportunities to demonstrate their passion for the outdoors. Together, the companies will develop programs to engage cardholders in conservation efforts, including supporting conservation education efforts at Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium. Located next to Bass Pro Shops National Headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, the not-for-profit conservation attraction is the largest and most immersive of its kind in the world.
“We are thrilled to welcome this premiere portfolio to the MasterCard family,” said Craig Boksburg, president, North America, MasterCard. “Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s are two iconic brands that have created a best-in-class experience for consumers with their superior products, dynamic locations, unique experiences and outstanding customer service. We look forward to partnering with them to build a program focused on loyalty and outstanding customer service, as well as working to meaningfully advance conservation efforts and introduce families to the outdoors.”
The transition is expected to take place before the end of the year with more details to be shared in the coming months. Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s CLUB cardholders can continue using their cards and earning reward points as usual.
Pennsylvania anglers will have a new way to buy fishing licenses next year.
The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission signed a new licensing services contract that will deliver a benefit long sought by the agency – the ability for anglers to easily purchase fishing licenses from their smartphones and retain the license images on their devices to use as a proof of purchase.
PFBC Executive Director John Arway has been seeking a more modern, mobile friendly customer sales platform for years, and one that would also help bolster sales by enabling marketing staff to segment customer data and develop targeted messages to specific groups.
“We collect a lot of customer data that we’d love to use in our marketing efforts, but haven’t had the capabilities until now,” Arway said. “The new licensing service will provide a host of visual analytical tools, allowing us to see in real time key metrics like buying patterns or sales by age group and gender. We can then use the information to tailor specific messages to these customer groups and improve our sales.”
“For example, say that metrics show that most women purchase their licenses over weekends. Marketing emails and social media posts could be scheduled during that time only, likely increasing sales opportunities.”
Nashville-based Sovereign Sportsman Solutions (S3) was awarded the 10-year contract and provided a demonstration of the system to the board of Fish and Boat commissioners during their quarterly business meeting. The transition to the new system is expected to take about a year to implement according to the agency.
The PFBC also announced at its quarterly business meeting that it has scheduled a series of Sportsmen’s Forums across the state to solicit opinions from anglers and boaters on how the agency can best conserve aquatic resources while creating more opportunities for fishing and boating recreation.
The forums will feature an overview of the agency’s existing programs and a discussion of its current financial state of affairs. A question and answer period will follow:
“Declining fishing license sales and boat registration fees coupled with increasing costs make it necessary to take a fresh look at redesigning the agency’s strategic plan,” said Executive Director John Arway. “The information learned will be used to help form a new agency strategic plan to meet the expectations of anglers and boaters.”
The forums are titled “A Sportsmen’s Forum – How Resource First and Anglers and Boaters Can Help Shape the Future of Fishing and Boating in Pennsylvania” and will be held at the following locations.
·Feb. 3 (10 a.m.) - Great American Outdoor Show, Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg (Seminar Room 1)
·Feb. 17 (10 a.m.) - Allegheny Outdoor, Sport & Travel Show, Monroeville Convention Center, Monroeville (Stage 2)
·Feb. 24 (4 p.m.) - Fly-Fishing & Wing Shooting Expo, Split Rock Resort, Lake Harmony (Striped Bass Room)
·March 3 (10 a.m.) - Erie Sport & Travel Expo, Bayfront Convention Center, Erie (Room 140 ABC)
·March 10 (10 a.m.) - Greater Philadelphia Boat Show, Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, Oaks
·March 17 (10 a.m.) - Lycoming College, Williamsport (Heim Building, Room G-11)
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has also announced that they partnered with “The Rest of PA,” a consortia of local tourism entities, and with Bass Pro Shops in Harrisburg to sponsor a unique giveaway during the winter months when many anglers are either getting ready for the upcoming fishing seasons or visiting sports and outdoors shows and making plans to get out and enjoy the outdoors more in the New Year.
The grand prize in this giveaway is a two-day getaway package at a venue in the winner’s choice of locations. Four tourism entities in the heart of Pennsylvania are sponsoring the grand prize - Visit Potter-Tioga; Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau; Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau; and the Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau.
The getaway package includes accommodations for up to four people including lodging, meals and exposure to local fishing. The winner can enjoy the trip at any time June 1, 2018, thru October 31, 2018.
A second winner will receive the first prize, an Ascend FS10 Sit-in Fishing kayak donated by Bass Pro Shops. This sit-in model is ideal to target a variety of species on Commonwealth waters.
The public can enter this giveaway by visiting www.GoneFishingPA.com through March 12, or by entering in person at the PFBC booth/table at one of the 14 following events:
* Jan. 6-13 - Pennsylvania Farm Show, Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg
* Jan. 12-14 and Jan. 19-21 - Pittsburgh Boat Show, Monroeville Convention Center, Monroeville
* Jan. 25-28 - Early Bird Sportsman Expo, Bloomsburg Fair Grounds, Bloomsburg
* Jan. 26-28 - Pittsburgh Outdoor Expo, David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh
* Jan. 26-28 - Fly Fishing Show, New Jersey Convention & Expo Center, Edison, N.J.
* Feb. 2-4 - Washington County Sport Show, Washington Crown Center, Washington, Pa.
* Feb. 3-11 - Great American Outdoor Show, Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg
* Feb. 16-18 - Allegheny Sport, Travel and Outdoor Show, Monroeville Convention Center, Monroeville
* Feb. 17-18 - Valley Outdoors Cabin Fever Expo, Mifflinburg Intermediate School, Mifflinburg
* Feb. 24-25 - Fly Fishing & Wing Shooting Expo, Split Rock Resort, Lake Harmony
* March 2-4 - Erie Sport and Travel Expo, Bayfront Convention Center, Erie
* March 3-4 - Fly Fishing Show, Lancaster County Convention Center, Lancaster
* March 9-11 - Greater Philadelphia Boat Show, Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, Oaks
* March 10-11 - Western PA Muskie Max Plus, Embassy Suites by Pittsburgh International Airport, Coraopolis
“This is an opportunity for us to invite people to come and visit us at sports and outdoor shows this winter,” said Steve Kralik, PFBC Director of Outreach, Education and Marketing. “It also gives us a chance to speak with people and promote the good fishing and boating opportunities available here in the Commonwealth.”
“We particularly want to thank the sponsors for donating the prizes,” he added. “Several lucky winners are going to be exposed to some of the best fishing and accommodations to be shared with family and friends that the Commonwealth has to offer.”
The winners will be notified after April 10. A date, time and location for the winner to pick up the kayak will be determined in the weeks after the winner is notified. No purchase is required and only one entry per qualifying adult will be accepted.
2016 BOATING ACCIDENTS REPORT
The PFBC recently issued on their Boating Accident Analysis & Fatality Summary. It is as follows:
From January 1 to December 31, 2016 there were 70 reportable boating accidents resulting in 42 injuries requiring medical treatment. The most common type of accident was Collision with fixed object (12) followed closely by Skier mishap (9) and Falls overboard (9). Property damage amounted to $202,006 which was $110,513 more than the amount reported in 2015.
One accident comprised $40,000 or 20% of that total. There were 11 recreational boating fatalities in the calendar year 2016. Three of the victims were wearing a life jacket at the time of the mishap that resulted in death. Seven of the 11 victims (64%) were not wearing a life jacket but did have them onboard the boat.
A host of celebrities are scheduled during the Great American Outdoor Show kicking off Saturday, Feb. 3 in Harrisburg
If you’re planning on attending this years Great American Outdoor show in Harrisburg, you may want to schedule your visit to take in some of the all-star entertainment the NRA has set up during the nine-day show.
Continuing the tradition of uniting the outdoors’ brightest personalities at the world’s largest consumer sports and outdoor show, this year’s show will feature appearances and autograph signings by former NFL star Brett Keisel, hunting power couple Lee and Tiffany Lakosky, the unmistakable Brian “Pigman” Quaca, brothers Chris and Casey Keefer, and Olympic-level shooter and master hunter Gregg Ritz. Detailed information on appearances, including dates, times and locations, will be available on the show’s celebrity appearances website.
Former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end and two-time Super Bowl Champion Brett Keisel will host autograph sessions Feb. 9 from 2 to 4 p.m., and Feb. 10 from 11 a.m to 1 p.m. in the Shooting Sports Hall, presented by NRA and Field & Stream.
Lee and Tiffany Lakosky, hosts of Outdoor Channel’s top-rated, award-winning The Crush with Lee & Tiffany, return to the show in 2018, appearing Feb. 7 at 1:30 and 5 p.m., Feb. 8 at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., and Feb. 9 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., at the Outdoor Sportsman Group Network Booth, Small Arena, NRA Booth and the 2nd Floor Rotunda.
The star of The Sportsman Channel’s Pigman, Brian “Pigman” Quaca will appear at the show Feb. 4 at 2 p.m., Feb 5 at noon and 4 p.m., and Feb. 6 at 11 a.m. Gregg Ritz, host of Hunt Masters on Outdoor Channel, will appear at the show Feb. 7-9. Chris and Casey Keefer, stars of The Sportsman Channel’s Rival Wild TV, will appear at the show Feb. 9 at 4 p.m., Feb. 10 at noon and 4 p.m., and Feb. 11 at 1:30 p.m.
The nine-day Great American Outdoor Show returns to the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg Feb. 3-11, 2018, featuring 650,000 sq. ft. of the best the outdoors has to offer. To purchase tickets to the show or browse the exciting list of events, seminars, exhibitors and more, visit the official website at www.greatamericanoutdoorshow.orgor follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GreatAmericanOutdoorShow.
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave preliminary approval to hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits for the 2018-19 license year.
Modifications proposed for the 2018-19 seasons include: eliminating the hen pheasant restriction in WMUs 2A, 2C, 4C, and 5B; implementing a new four-day extended black bear firearms season in WMUs 4A and 5A; increasing from four days to six days the length of the extended black bear firearms season in WMU 3A; extending hunting hours for mourning doves from one-half hour before sunrise until sunset in all season segments; and opening WMUs 4B and 4C to fisher trapping.
The public may offer comments on all proposed 2018-19 seasons and bag limits, as well as other board actions, between now and the board’s next quarterly meeting, when 2018-19 seasons and bag limits will be finalized, and antlerless license allocations will be determined.
The date for the next quarterly meeting has not yet been finalized.
Following are several articles on meeting highlights.
SPLIT FIREARMS DEER SEASONS UP FOR APPROVAL
The Board of Game Commissioners adopted a slate of deer seasons for 2018-19, proposing a split, five-day antlered deer season (Nov. 26-Nov. 30) and seven-day concurrent season (Dec. 1-8) in 20 Wildlife Management Units. The list includes WMUs 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E, 5A and 5B. The package also retains the two-week (Nov. 26-Dec. 8) concurrent, antlered and antlerless deer season in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D.
Hunters with Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) antlerless deer permits may use the permits on the lands for which they were issued during any established deer season, and will continue to be permitted to harvest antlerless deer from Nov. 26-Dec. 8 in 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E, 5A and 5B. Fees for DMAP permits are $10.90 for residents and $35.90 for nonresidents.
DMAP permits also may be transferred to Mentored Hunting Program participants.
The board retained antler restrictions in place for adult and senior license holders since the 2011-12 seasons. It remains the “three-up” on one side, not counting a brow tine, provision for the western Wildlife Management Units of 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B and 2D, and the three points on one side in all other WMUs. Those exempt from these antler restrictions are mentored youth hunters, junior license holders, disabled hunters with a permit to use a vehicle as a blind and resident active-duty military on leave.
Once again this year, the commissioners gave tentative approval to concurrent hunting of antlered and antlerless deer in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D during most seasons, with the first segment of the archery season to run from Sept. 15 to Nov. 24 in those WMUs.
FALL TURKEY SEASON CHANGES MOVE FORWARD
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave preliminary approval to fall turkey seasons for 2018 and spring gobbler dates for 2019.
The board for the second consecutive year preliminarily approved a conservative, midweek fall turkey season in Wildlife Management Unit 5B.
All recommendations on fall turkey season length are made in accordance with guidelines in the Game Commission’s Wild Turkey Management Plan.
With final approval at the board’s next quarterly meeting, the fall season in WMUs 1A, 2A, 4A and 4B would be one week (Oct. 27-Nov. 3), plus a three-day Thanksgiving season (Nov. 22-24).
In WMU 1B, the season would remain one week (Oct. 27-Nov. 3), with no Thanksgiving season.
In WMU 2B (shotgun and bow only), the season would run from Oct. 27-Nov. 16 and Nov. 22-24.
In WMU 2C, the season would be Oct. 27-Nov. 16 and Nov. 22-24.
In WMUs 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4C, 4D and 4E, the season would be Oct. 27-Nov. 10 and Nov. 22-24.
In WMU 5A, the season would be from Nov. 1-3.
In WMU 5B, the season would be from Oct. 30-Nov. 1.
And in WMUs 5C and 5D, the season would remain closed for the fall seasons.
For the 2019 spring gobbler season, which is proposed to run from April 27-May 31, the board continued with legal hunting hours to reflect the following: from April 27-May 11, legal shooting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise until noon; and from May 13-31, hunters may hunt all day, from one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset.
The board proposed holding the one-day Spring Gobbler Youth Hunt on April 20, 2019, which will run from one-half hour before sunrise until noon. All junior license holders and Mentored Youth Hunting Program permit holders can participate in this special half-day hunt, as well as the other spring season dates.
PROPOSED 2018-19 HUNTING SEASONS AND BAG LIMITS
SQUIRRELS, Red, Gray, Black and Fox (Combined): Special season for eligible junior hunters, with or without required license, and mentored youth – Sept. 29-Oct. 13 (6 daily, 18 in possession limit after first day).
SQUIRRELS, Red, Gray, Black and Fox (Combined): Oct. 13-Nov. 24; Dec. 10-24 and Dec. 26-Feb. 28 (6 daily, 18 possession).
RUFFED GROUSE: Oct. 13–Nov. 24 and Dec. 10-24 (2 daily, 6 possession).
RABBIT (Cottontail) Special season for eligible junior hunters, with or without required license: Sept. 29-Oct. 13 (4 daily, 12 possession).
RABBIT (Cottontail): Oct. 13-Nov. 24, Dec. 10-24 and Dec. 26-Feb. 28 (4 daily, 12 possession).
PHEASANT: Special season for eligible junior hunters, with or without required license – Oct. 6-13 (2 daily, 6 in possession). Male pheasants only in WMUs 4E and 5A. Male and female pheasants may be taken in all other WMUs. There is no open season for taking pheasants in Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas, except within the Central Susquehanna Wild Pheasant Recovery Area, as authorized by executive order.
PHEASANT: Oct. 20-Nov. 24, Dec. 10-24 and Dec. 26-Feb. 28 (2 daily, 6 in possession). Male pheasants only in WMUs 4E and 5A. Male and female pheasants may be taken in all other WMUs There is no open season for taking pheasants in Wild Pheasant Recovery Areas, except within the Central Susquehanna Wild Pheasant Recovery Area, as authorized by executive order.
BOBWHITE QUAIL: Oct. 13-Nov. 24, Dec. 10-24 and Dec. 26-Feb. 28 (8 daily, 24 possession).
HARES (SNOWSHOE RABBITS) OR VARYING HARES: Dec. 26–Jan. 1, in all WMUs (1 daily, 3 possession).
WOODCHUCKS (GROUNDHOGS): No closed season, except on Sundays and during the regular firearms deer seasons. No limit.
CROWS: July 1-April 14, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday only. No limit.
STARLINGS AND ENGLISH SPARROWS: No closed season, except during the antlered and antlerless deer season. No limit.
WILD TURKEY (Male or Female): WMU 1B – Oct. 27-Nov. 3; WMU 2B (Shotgun and bow and arrow) – Oct. 27-Nov. 16 and Nov. 22-24; WMUs 1A, 2A, 4A and 4B, – Oct. 27-Nov. 3and Nov. 22-24; WMUs 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4C, 4D and 4E– Oct. 27-Nov. 10 and Nov. 22-24; WMU 2C – Oct. 27-Nov. 16 and Nov. 22-24; WMU 5A – Nov. 1-3;WMU 5B – Oct. 30-Nov. 1; WMUs 5C and 5D – CLOSED TO FALL TURKEY HUNTING.
SPRING GOBBLER (Bearded bird only): Special season for eligible junior hunters, with required license, and mentored youth – April 20, 2019. Only 1 spring gobbler may be taken during this hunt.
SPRING GOBBLER (Bearded bird only): April 27-May 31, 2019. Daily limit 1, season limit 2. (Second spring gobbler may be only taken by persons who possess a valid special wild turkey license.) From April 27-May 11, legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon; from May 13-31, legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset.
BLACK BEAR (Statewide) Archery: Oct. 29-Nov. 3. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.
BLACK BEAR (Statewide): Nov. 17-21. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.
BLACK BEAR (WMUs 3A, 3B, 3C and 3D): Nov. 26-Dec. 1. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.
BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D): Nov. 26-Dec. 8. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.
BLACK BEAR (WMUs 1B, 2C, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 5A): Nov. 28-Dec. 1. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.
BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D) archery: Sept. 15-Nov. 24. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.
BLACK BEAR (WMU 5B) archery: Sept. 29-Nov. 10. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.
BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D) muzzleloader: Oct. 13-20. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.
BLACK BEAR (WMUs 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D) special firearms: Oct. 18-20, for junior and senior license holders, disabled hunters with a permit to use a vehicle as a blind and resident active duty military.
ELK (Antlered or Antlerless): Nov. 5-10. Only one elk may be taken during the license year.
ELK, EXTENDED (Antlered and Antlerless): Nov. 12-17. Only one elk may be taken during the license year. Eligible elk license recipients who haven’t harvested an elk by Nov. 10, in designated areas.
DEER, ARCHERY (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D: Sept. 15- Nov. 24 and Dec. 26-Jan. 26, 2018. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license. One antlered deer per hunting license year.
DEER, ARCHERY (Antlered and Antlerless) Statewide: Sept. 29-Nov. 10 and Dec. 26-Jan. 12. One antlered deer per hunting license year. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
DEER (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D: Nov. 26-Dec. 8. One antlered deer per hunting license year. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
DEER (Antlered Only) WMUs 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E, 5A and 5B: Nov. 26-30. One antlered deer per hunting license year. (Holders of valid DMAP antlerless deer permits may harvest antlerless deer on DMAP properties during this period.)
DEER (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E, 5A and 5B: Dec. 1-8. One antlered deer per hunting license year. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
DEER, ANTLERLESS SPECIAL FIREARMS (Statewide): Oct. 18-20. Junior and Senior License Holders, Mentored Youth Permit Holders, Disabled Person Permit (to use a vehicle) Holders, and Pennsylvania residents serving on active duty in U.S. Armed Services or in the U.S. Coast Guard only, with required antlerless license. Also included are persons who have reached or will reach their 65th birthday in the year of the application for a license and hold a valid adult license, or qualify for license and fee exemptions under section 2706. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
DEER, ANTLERLESS MUZZLELOADER (Statewide): Oct. 13-20. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
DEER, ANTLERED OR ANTLERLESS FLINTLOCK (Statewide): Dec. 26-Jan. 12. One antlered deer per hunting license year, or one antlerless deer and an additional antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
DEER, ANTLERED OR ANTLERLESS FLINTLOCK (WMUs 2B, 5C, 5D): Dec. 26-Jan. 26. One antlered deer per hunting license year, or one antlerless deer and an additional antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
DEER, ANTLERLESS EXTENDED REGULAR FIREARMS: (Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties): Dec. 26-Jan. 26. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
DEER, ANTLERLESS (Military Bases): Hunting permitted on days established by the U.S. Department of the Army at Letterkenny Army Depot, Franklin County; New Cumberland Army Depot, York County; and Fort Detrick, Raven Rock Site, Adams County. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.
PROPOSED 2018-19 FURBEARER HUNTING SEASONS
COYOTES: No closed season. Unlimited. Outside of any big game season (deer, bear, elk and turkey), coyotes may be taken with a hunting license or a furtaker license, and without wearing orange. During any big game season, coyotes may be taken while lawfully hunting big game or with a furtaker license.
RACCOONS and FOXES: Oct. 20-Feb. 16, unlimited.
OPOSSUM, STRIPED SKUNKS and WEASELS: No closed season, except Sundays. No limits.
BOBCAT (WMUs 2A, 2C, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4C, 4D and 4E): Jan. 12-Feb. 6. One bobcat per license year. Licensed furtakers may obtain one permit each.
PORCUPINES: Sept. 1-March 30, 2019. (3 daily, season limit of 10).
PROPOSED 2018-19 TRAPPING SEASONS
MINKS and MUSKRATS: Nov. 17-Jan. 6. Unlimited.
COYOTES, FOXES, OPOSSUMS, RACCOONS, STRIPED SKUNKS and WEASELS: Oct. 21–Feb. 17. No limit.
COYOTES and FOXES (Statewide) Cable Restraints: Dec. 26-Feb. 17. No limit. Participants must pass cable restraint certification course.
BEAVERS (Statewide): Dec. 26-March 31 (Limits vary depending on WMU).
BOBCATS (WMUs 2A, 2C, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4C, 4D and 4E): Dec. 15-Jan. 6.
One bobcat per license year. Licensed furtakers may obtain one permit each.
FISHERS (WMUs 1B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E): Dec. 15-26. One fisher per license year. Licensed furtakers may obtain one permit each.
RIVER OTTERS (WMUs 3C and 3D): Feb. 16-23, 2019. One river otter per license year. Licensed furtakers may obtain one permit each.
PROPOSED 2018-19 FALCONRY SEASONS
SQUIRRELS (combined) Sept. 1-March 30, 2019 (6 daily, 18 possession)
BOBWHITE QUAIL Sept. 1-March 30, 2019 (8 daily, 24 possession)
RUFFED GROUSE Sept. 1-March 30, 2019 (2 daily, 6 possession)
COTTONTAIL RABBITS Sept. 1-March 30, 2019 (4 daily, 12 possession)
SNOWSHOE OR VARYING HARES Sept. 1-March 30, 2019 (1 daily, 3 possession)
RINGNECK PHEASANTS (Male or Female combined): Sept. 1-March 30, 2019 (6 daily, 18 possession)
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.