In about a month the Jaffa Outdoor Show will be in full swing in the area.
It will be a balm for our almost-out-of-control cabin fever and preparation for the upcoming spring gobbler and trout seasons just around the corner.
We are all chafing over the postponement of the Harrisburg show. A ton of outdoorsmen and women from this area always traveled to that show.
I am very sympathetic to the boycott and protest against the promoters of the Harrisburg show that is underway right now. Hunters who traveled to that show always were motivated by the lure of looking at, pricing and often purchasing the latest in firearms and ammunition.
Even those who have booths that are not concentrating specifically on the manufacture of guns offer advice to shoppers as to the best calibers and shells for their particular pursuit.
Turkey hunters, for instance, always want to know the latest shotguns and shells being offered to best bring down a big gobbler. The guy promoting goose calls at his booth had better know the preferred calibers and shells for bringing down geese and ducks. And the discussions about deer rifles and bullets are never-ending and everyone wants to look and see what is new.
So I say how dumb can you be to think you could have an outdoor show and not feature the newest in firearms, shells and other gear that hunters specifically use and want to see?
To see this kind of caving-in process take place because some politicians see gun control as a politically positive process put on the pressure is mind boggling.
The cancellations of this show will impact Pennsylvania hunters, especially, and the protest is the most visible way to bring to the attention that hunters are paying attention to the gun control controversy. Because while the constitution does not give people a right to hunt, the secondary knowledge is that without guns and proper ammunition, there will be few opportunities to hunt.
If ammunition becomes restricted or so regulated you have to go through a lot of red tape to get any - which hunters and shooters see as a very real possibility in the near future and so are buying up as much as they can afford right now - how much target shooting will there be?
A very small notice of the results of a couple area high school rifle teams were included in the Mirror's coverage last week. This interest and hobby will become extinct if all these proposed restrictions become reality.
Harrisburg is going to experience a huge financial hit from the cancellation of the show. Hotels and motels, restaurants, gas stations, fast food and convenience stores and other local merchants will suffer loss. Those hired to work during that week temporarily will not be needed now.
Not to mention the many - and they number in the hundreds - vendors who made a huge part of their income by sales of their products at the show. Further, these vendors almost all had new products to promote and a show with attendance of many thousands was the way to do just that. Outfitters from all over the United States, Canada and Alaska, who booked many hunts and fishing trips at the show, will now be financially damaged.
For me, like most others, I enjoyed looking for all the new gear and calls and camouflage patterns for turkey hunting. I wanted to see the newest in deer scents, cover scent products, even the latest in long underwear, boots and socks.
I mentioned a week or so ago that a strategy now in place is to launch a campaign to make hunters and gun owners appear to be backwoods hicks, swizzling moonshine and picking our teeth with a milkweed stem.
One way to do that of course is to publicize to the nth degree every violent incident perpetrated anywhere with the use of a gun and to not report - as seems to already be the case - any time someone legitimately defends themselves or family with a gun.
It has been compared to the way cigarette smoking and smokers have been demonized over the years until now a smoker has to sneak around and freeze outside somewhere to smoke a cigarette.
It's often a real shock to folks, when they first learn that I was once the victim of a shooting during a hunting accident and was seriously hurt, to learn that I am not a proponent of gun control. The National Wild Turkey Federation, with all its state and local chapters, and the Game Commission have done a terrific job of public education in gun handling safety measures.
The NRA was one of the first organizations to teach and promote gun safety and training programs for people to learn how to handle guns safely. If you really look at hunting accidents statistics you will see how accidents have declined over the years, thanks mainly to the courses by the Game Commission required before a new hunter can even obtain a hunting license.
I have personally defended myself several times in my life with my firearm. I've been in some real danger and thank God I knew how to handle my firearm. No, I've never shot anyone but I am totally committed to the realization that if I must, I will!
Something to do today
What something to do today? I got one for you.
Remember that today is the Alan Keagy Memorial Turkey Calling Contest, which is being held at the Claysburg-Kimmel High School auditorium.
The doors open at 8 a.m. with the contest starting at 10 a.m. Contests in a variety of categories will be running all day. There are Owl Hooting, Friction, and Gobbling contests in the afternoon. It is outdoor entertainment at its best and an opportunity to listen and absorb the proper rhythms and tones for all types of turkey calls.