It’s that time of year again when the largest outdoor show in America returns to the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg.
The Great American Outdoor Show kicks off Feb. 3-11 in Harrisburg and because of the location, was always referred to by local sportsmen as “The Harrisburg Show.”
This nine-day extravaganza celebrates hunting, fishing and outdoor traditions. The show will feature over 1,000 exhibitors ranging from firearms manufacturers to outfitters, fishing boats, RVs, trucks, archery and outdoor art in the massive Farm Show Complex.
Among the stage shows and competition, and new this year, is the Pennsylvania Lumberjack Competition. This is in addition to Dock Dogs Competition, the 3D Bowhunter Challenge. Kids Casting contest and loads more.
On tap as well is the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Sportsman’s Auction, NRA’s Country Concert featuring country singer Warren Zeiders, and the very popular NRA Foundation’s Wall of Guns where showgoers can purchase a $10 ticket to win one of 40 firearms ranging from rifles, shotguns and handguns.
For the kids, there’s the Eddie Eagle Kids Zone that will entertain them with wildlife identification, face painting, arts and crafts and more. Also for the kids will be the Airsoft Shooting Experience and the famous trout pond where the kids are almost guaranteed to catch a trout.
The show will have 200 seminars hosted by an array of outdoor personalities such as Klint Molio on firearms, Jim Collins on predator hunting, Jeremy Critchfield showing culinary cooking, Eddie Salter veteran turkey hunting expert, the famed Barry Wensel on deer hunting, Chris Stefano on saltwater fishing and 33 other outdoor specialists.
To avoid standing in long ticket lines, the show recommends purchasing admission tickets online before the show. Ticket prices are Adults, $15; 2-Day tickets, $26; Seniors 65 and over, $13; children 6-12, $9; Group of 10 or more, $13.
Admission is free with the purchase of an NRA membership.
Show hours are as follows: Feb 3 and 10, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Feb. 4 and 11, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Feb. 5- 9, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
For information on seminars, competitions, stage shows and purchasing tickets, check GAOS@nrahq.org or call 800-672-4868. The complex is located at 2300 N Cameron Street, Harrisburg, 17110.
As we draw closer to show time, we’ll add any new additions in a future column.
AVIAN FLU HITS MARTZ’S HUNTING PRESERVE
In a previous column we detailed how the Pennsylvania Game Commission cut back stocking of pheasants because of an avian flu outbreak at some PGC rearing pens. Well, right before Christmas, Martz’s Game Farm in Dalmatia, Pa, had to destroy 100,000 farm-raised gamebirds that included 85,000 pheasants plus chukars, Hungarian and French red-legged partridges.
Martz is a popular and the largest game farm in the Mid-Atlantic. They raise and sell gamebirds to sportsmen’s clubs, shooting preserves and sportsmen take their hunting dogs there to train them to flush and point stocked pheasants on Martz’s property.
Said Mike Martz, owner/manager of the preserve, “We don’t know how we got the flu as we follow strict bio-security procedures. We even disinfect tires and employees wear booties while in the pens. But you can’t control fly overs and we’ve had a lot of geese fly over and raptors visiting the pens for a meal.”
Martz when on to say that their birds appeared healthy and the disease was confined to a single pen. But protocols dictate that the entire facility must be depopulated.
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.