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Hunting conventions brought out industry legends

This past month has been one of banquets and conventions. The Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade show (SHOT), Ovis sheep hunters show and the Safari Club International conventions have just concluded in Las Vegas. They have afforded us an opportunity to visit with sportsmen from around the world and visit with several of its legendary pioneers. We were able to discuss new equipment, trends, government policies and the changing state, national and international regulations.

I began the SHOT show feeling sorry for myself due to the week-long spell of clouds and rain we in Southern Nevada endured. Then I met folks from New York and other eastern cities who were experiencing record snowfall and low temperatures. On the final days of the show the sun came back, temperatures were in the ’60s and many of our out-of-town guests were dreading going home and thinking of relocating. I guess that is what’s driving our population boom, not to mention a thriving economy and one of the best-kept secrets, Nevada’s big game hunting opportunities.

Of course there’s lots of new “stuff” you “need”, but there are also things you need but didn’t even know existed.

While at the SCI convention and banquet I was able, once again, to visit with legendary hunting conservationists Chris and Bert Klineburger, both pioneer conservationists who through their explorations, helped open the world to modern sports hunting while educating leaders on all the major continents of the value in saving natural habitats and big game species. I have no doubt that without them and their compatriots we would not have the abundance of animals we enjoy today. I’m also convinced we would be missing some of the larger and more easily poached animals. They are our friends and fellow sportsmen.

Another legend of hunting and conservation is Jim Corbett (1875-1955), who in the late 1800s and early 1900s pioneered the efforts to protect the tigers of India. He began, with government support, protecting rural villages from man-eating tigers, some of which killed and devoured over a hundred peasant individuals. He was also responsible for developing national refuges to protect the tiger population, the largest of which is named in his honor, the Jim Corbett National Tiger Refuge.

His original 1907 .275 Rigby rifle was on display at the SCI and like Davy Crockett’s “Ol’ Betsy”, is also legendary. I consider it an honor to have been able to shoulder this historic rifle. An exact replica was made by Rigby for auction at this event and sold for $250,000, a tribute to Jim Corbett and the Corbett National Tiger Refuge.

The art world has its legends too. John Seerey-Lester, one of my favorite wildlife artists, is able to paint realistic works. I have several of his paintings and they give you the feeling that you are, or have been, there. He is now doing a project depicting events from another legend’s life, Theodore Roosevelt’s adventures in Africa along with historical text in a new book, “The Legendary Hunts of Theodore Roosevelt.” It is the third in a series and belongs on every conservationist’s or Roosevelt fan’s bookshelf.

Vehicles can also be legends, like the Jeep and the Hummer. The Rokon is an all-wheel-drive motorcycle that goes anywhere a horse can go and can even pull sleds or plows. It has been used on explorations and adventures for decades. I saw my first one as a youth looking through a National Geographic Magazine and used one on a sheep hunting trip a few years ago.

While with my hunting pals Marine Corps Three-Star Gen. “Buck” Bedard and Ron Cross (who swam with piranhas and slayed wild boars with a knife), we met Tom Blais (owner of Rokon) who told us of its history and many expeditions (fodder for a future story). Gen. Bedard even recalled their use in Desert Storm and other conflicts.

These legends are certainly some of my conservation heroes and conventions allow us to cross paths once again.

The convention tradition continued, with a full day on the convention floor followed by sitting around a hotel room, or meeting at a local bar with friends as we’ve done for many years, discussing the current state of wildlife and the future of sport hunting.

This is also a time to remember a few old friends who couldn’t make it to the annual event, or were on that “Last Great Safari.” Nothing has changed, except less smoke, fewer drinks and earlier to bed. I guess that comes with wisdom. Or is it age? Have we also noticed the hills seem to have gotten higher and steeper? Nah – I’m sticking with the wisdom story.

And now it’s the quiet season to plan those trips, and yes, dream of near and far-off places; read some of those outdoor magazines that have been piling up on the coffee table or in the book basket; clean gear, organize, and put “stuff” away. I’ll do better this year. It’s time to visit friends and talk of the coming year; take a look at those “air miles,” the budget and discuss logistics. Perhaps this is the year for that “big trip.” “I’d better do it while I still can” – this is the season of dreams.

Who knows? Maybe dreams can come true, if we give them a little help. This is the year to give a little more time to the family. Plan an outdoor adventure, take that hunter safety class or introduce a friend, young or old, to hunting or fishing. This could be a very good year.

More on these heroes and products can be found online. Search Chris Klineburger; Bert Klineburger; Jim Corbett, Seerey Lester and Rokon.

If you have an adventure, a story or a comment give me a call (775) 727-9777 or e-mail me at dansimmons@usa.net

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Recipe from “Sportsman’s Quest Cookbook”

Roast African Sand Grouse

Our grouse, quail and chukar offer an excellent substitute.

Pre-treat wild birds as follows: sprinkle birds inside and out with one teaspoon each of ginger and lemon juice. For birds over three pounds in weight use 1-1/2 teaspoon each of ginger and lemon juice.

Place in plastic bag and refrigerate overnight. Rinse thoroughly in cold water, drain and dry.

Ingredients:

Two plump African Sand Grouse

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup onion

1 cup apple

1 cup dried apricots

3 cups soft bread cubes

salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp. bacon fat

1/2 cut dried bread crumbs

1 cup water

Directions: Melt fat, cook onions until tender, add apple, apricots, bread cubes, salt and pepper. Spoon lightly into the cavity of pre-treated bird, close the opening with string or skewer, rub outside of bird with bacon fat, roll in bread crumbs, place in roaster, add water, cover and cook at 350 degrees for 2-1/2 hours.

 

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