George Block

Column George Block

George Block is a sports columnist who loves the outdoors.

Sports shows will help heat up the winter

Sports shows will help heat up this winter

January 18, 2014

I don’t like to fish or shoot at paper when the temperature drops below 45 degrees, and there is little reason to reload ammunition that I won’t be able to test for a while. I have visited Johnson’s, A.R.H., Reeves and Ace sporting goods stores so many times they think I am part of the decor.

All of my friends are tired of seeing me.

I guess that’s just the way it is in January.

It doesn’t take long for cabin fever to set in.

With that in mind, there are a few things hunters and target shooters can do to pass the time.

Did you clean your rifle after deer season?

And by cleaning, I mean a good one, inside and out.

I have seen the result of a rifle that was put away wet. It was rust, from one end to the other.

If you clean the rifle, be sure it is not stored in a damp case. Also be mindful of wet slings. Once the rifle is put away, it likely won’t be seen again for nearly a year.

Of course, you can’t spend the whole month cleaning a rifle or visiting gun shops. That’s where sports shows enter the picture.

This year’s show at Washington Crown Center, which is sponsored by the Washington County Sportsmen’s and Conservation League, will be held Feb. 6 through 9. I, along with my helpers, will measure deer antlers Feb. 8 and 9 beginning at 1 p.m.

I’ll also be roaming the mall and spending time with Scott Gates of S&S Sporting Goods in Chalk Hill.

He usually has something interesting for sale at his booth.

There are two other shows that can be visited in early February.

The Allegheny County sports show will be Feb. 12 through 16 at the Monroeville Convention Center. Of special interest will be three former Pirates players, Bob Walk, Sid Bream and Dick Groat, and the Pirate Parrot will be at the event on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Walk will be available from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, with Bream also there from 2 p.m. on that day.

The parrot will be there from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, while Groat will be at the event from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday.

When I hear Bream’s name, I can still picture his slide across home plate against the Pirates while playing for the Braves. That play sent the Pirates into a long decline.

If you go to the Monroeville show, make sure to stop by and visit my friend Dennis Razza at his booth.

He is an excellent taxidermist whose shop is in New Derry.

I wonder what happened to old Derry?

The third show of interest is the big one.

Last year, many of the vendors walked out of the Harrisburg show in protest of the event organizer’s decision to no longer allow semi-automatic weapons to be displayed.

The future of this show, which is the largest on the East Coast, was in doubt until the National Rifle Association took control. The show this year will run from Feb. 1 through 9 at the Farm Show building.

Take note of one thing.

Did you notice all of the shows take place in early February?

What are we to do for the rest of the cold season?

Ice fishing is not my game, but there are places where it can be done.

Since I don’t like sitting on a frozen lake staring at a hole and hoping to catch a bluegill – or better yet, a mermaid – I will be sitting outside in cammo clothing making noises like a frightened rabbit.

Just maybe I’ll fool a young coyote.

The state is discussing putting a bounty on coyotes, and I thought we got away from that archaic idea a long time ago. All bounties do is cause motorists to stop along roads and pick up dead coyotes.

A bounty will accomplish nothing except waste money that could be used for a better purpose.

George H. Block writes a Sunday Outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.



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