Hunting hunting season begins February 4th in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania at the NRA Great American Outdoor Show. It’s the largest outdoor show in the USA and the information within its walls can be life-changing. You will find information about hunting and fishing trips from around the country and world as well as the gear you need to succeed.
Learn from the Experts
Mark Kayser helped me land a bison hunt in South Dakota 20 years ago while working for South Dakota Tourism. He’s a native of the West and his knowledge of hunting on public land is unmatched. Mark will give seminars February 4-6 and you will get accurate, easy-to-use information on a host of hunting opportunities from coyotes to deer, to elk.
The Big Picture
With hunting prices rising with inflation, more and more hunters look to public land and DYI hunts. Bagging a bull elk on public land is a tremendous achievement, but then what? Kayser knows the ins and outs of Western hunting including tips and shortcuts to getting your game out in top shape. By hearing his seminars you’ll learn shortcuts and be able to ask questions.
Next Up- Turkey Season
Want to bag a turkey with your bow this spring? No one knows turkeys like Eddie Salter and he will not only sell you the exact call you need but demonstrate and autograph it. I’ve been trying to use a standard box to make gobble sounds for decades. Salter showed me how to do it in two minutes. Whether you want to call coyotes, ducks, geese, turkeys, deer, or elk, the GAOS has a call for you.
Eastern Elk- Where, When, and How?
Noted hunter Jim Shockey had to visit Maryland in successive years to score on the elusive Sika. Actually an Asian elk, these creatures live in dense swamps, are very nocturnal, and very difficult to harvest. If you are up to this challenge, GAOS has numerous outfitters that can guide you or assist in ways to help you hunt, including DNR personnel who know sika habitat inside and out.
How to Draw Western Big Game Licenses
The best way to cut the cost of a Western big game hunt is to draw a public land license. Unlike the Eastern US, Western states manage hunting pressure by limiting animal permits. There are millions of acres of public land, yet without a “tag” you can’t hunt there. Businesses like United States Outfitters and Cabelas offer special services that will apply you to the most likely hunting areas in multiple states, greatly increasing your odds for success.
Meet the Outfitter in Person
Booking a big game hunt is a business deal and like all transactions, the more you know about the person you are doing business with the more confident you can feel about success. The GAOS will enable you to speak directly to an outfitter, ask him or her questions, ask for references, and take the time to make an informed decision. Go home, talk to your friends and return another day with your checkbook.
Consider an African Safari
By far, the best value in big game hunting is an African safari with a bow or rifle and the GAOS has 25 African outfitters on site. I met Ed Rymut of EAI Outdoors in 2019 and he offered a family safari for one price. I’ve attended shows for decades and never received such a deal. We leave this spring and I’m really excited. Each vendor at the show has something special and this encounter resulted in a trip of a lifetime.
The GAOS had an entire hall dedicated to archers. You’ll find the latest bows and crossbows in an arena that allows you to actually shoot various bows. You’ll find other gear like these Mavin binoculars that can be personalized to your taste and make a gift that will become a family heirloom. Many vendors have “show specials” that allow you to take the product home at a special price. Spend a day at the GAOS and all the frustrations of last year’s season will vanish as you set your sights on 2023. For complete information about the show, visit www.GreatAmericanOutdoorShow.org