As the 2016-2017 waterfowl seasons come to a close, an entirely different season is getting ramped up – trade show season. It actually starts in mid-January with the SHOT Show in Las Vegas so we’re forced to take a break from duck hunting for a few days during the prime part of the season. This always stings a little bit, especially when our buddies back home text us photos of limits every day. Even so, the SHOT Show is where we launch our new 2017 products.
It also gives us an opportunity to visit with our retailers, catch up with friends throughout the hunting industry, and see all the other new gear for the year. SHOT is an acronym for “Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade”. The SHOT Show is open only to hunting and outdoor manufacturers, retail buyers, and advertising/media professionals. It is held at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas and covers two sprawling floors of the convention center. Exhibits range from small companies with 10’ x 10’ booths using just a table and a banner, to large firearm companies with huge two-story booths featuring elaborate product demonstration areas. The purpose of the show is for companies like us to present products to retailers so they can decide what will be in their stores next fall.
After SHOT Show, it’s back home to Memphis to catch the last 10 days of duck season in Arkansas, west Tennessee, and the Mississippi Delta. This part of the season usually gives us a few great days followed by several days of frustrating call-shy, paired-up ducks. But we cherish them anyway as it marks the end of another waterfowl season.
February may be the shortest month of the year, but it never feels like it. There are trade shows every week: the NBS Show in Fort Worth, the Sports Inc. Show in Phoenix, the NWTF Convention in Nashville, and a couple of regional distributor shows. It’s a grueling schedule, but it’s also a lot of fun because we know the end result – quality Buck Gardner Calls in the hands of successful hunters across the country.