February offers host of activities

If you are one of those hunters or anglers who thought February was going to give you a chance to catch up on rest before spring fishing, you might want to double check the outdoor calendar.

While the largest and likely most fun event is not open to the public, plenty of outdoor-related activities are available to keep us busy. It starts with the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show and Conference (SHOT Show) in Las Vegas and ends with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s annual Elk Camp in Reno.

After taking its wares to Orlando, Fla., in 2007, the SHOT Show has come back here and begins Saturday at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This show is the shooting and hunting industry’s largest trade show and is not open to the public.

This year marks the show’s 30th anniversary, and it’s expected to be the largest show to date, with more than 715,000 square feet of exhibit space where buyers from 50 states and 75 countries will be looking for products to put on their shelves or in the pages of their catalogs. In future columns, I’ll give you a rundown of the show and let you know if I find anything new and innovative.

While the SHOT Show would be more exciting, you probably should plan to attend the Clark County Advisory Board to Manage Wildlife meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Clark County Government Center, 500 Grand Central Parkway. The agenda includes an item that proposes changes to the waiting periods for big-game tag applications, as recommended by the Tag Allocation and Application Hunt Committee. Another action item has to do with a successful tag recipient’s options for returning a big-game tag.

The advisory board will pass its recommendations on to the State Board of Wildlife Commissioners, which will consider those and other items at its meeting Feb. 8 and 9, also at the Government Center. Informational items on that agenda include the White Pine County Elk Management Plan, wild land black bear population assessment and the Nevada Department of Wildlife trout production program.

The advisory board and wildlife commission meetings include a public comment period in which members of the public can speak for up to three minutes regarding items not on the agenda. If you have suggestions or concerns about hunting, fishing or other aspects of wildlife management, this is the place to start.

Meanwhile, from Feb. 7 to 10, the Grand Slam Club/Ovis will host its fourth annual Hunter and Outfitter Convention at the Riviera. Cost for this event ranges from $50 for a day pass to $395 for full registration. The convention will include seminars, auctions and raffles. Auction items include firearms, gear and hunts in locations around the world. All you need is money. More information is available at www.wildsheep.org.

If you are thinking about buying a new boat or recreational vehicle, you’ll want to drop by the Las Vegas Sportsmen’s Boat, RV and Travel Show from Feb. 21 to 24 at the Cashman Field Center. Many local vendors participate in this show, so you can do comparison shopping in one place and save time and gas money. The Bass Pro Shop also is hosting a boat show during the same week.

If you want an excuse for a weekend getaway, you might consider attending the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s annual Elk Camp and Hunting, Fishing and Outdoor Expo in Reno. It’s scheduled for Feb. 21 to 24 at the Reno/Sparks Convention Center. The agenda includes the National Elk Calling Championship, hunting seminars, exhibits and auctions. For registration and camp information, check the RMEF’s Web site at www.rmef.org.

Doug Nielsen is an award-winning freelance writer and a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His column is published Thursday. He can be reached at doug@takinitoutside.com.

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