Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fred Hall Hunting and Fishing Show
Yesterday I was able to get get out to the Fred Hall show in Long Beach. If you are a big time fisherman then this is the show for you. I know that they have been growing the hunting side of the show for a few years, but it's still got a long way to go.

I go to the show for the hunting gear and the seminars. I am not a big fisherman. I fly fish and love it. Never been deep sea fishing and will definitely try it, but I LOVE hunting.  My goal this year was to attend the 'Getting the most from your GPS' seminar with Chuck Folker and the DIY Elk Hunting seminar put on by Jim Rizzo. I always hope to meet a few ranch owners or hunters and that I did. Be sure to read about them after my next thought.

First off, I have to say that I am rather disappointed in the Fred Hall organizers. I specifically made it a point to come to the Chuck Folker 'GPS' seminar. He was scheduled each day for a one hour seminar. He was scheduled twice on Saturday, the day I was there. I sat there watching the seconds turn into minutes after 5pm, which was his scheduled start time. After 5 minutes turned to 10, a gentleman behind me tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I was waiting for the GPS seminar. I answered affirmatively and he explained that Chuck hadn't been there all week and he hadn't shown up that morning either. Here is what it looked like at 5:15pm when everyone up and left.

This gentleman waited ALL DAY for this guy. The thing that really upsets me about the Fred Hall guys is they NEVER updated the schedule! The fine print says schedule subject to change. That is understood, but you can at least cross out the guys seminar on the big 4' x 2' schedule in front of the seminar area. I am very disappointed that they want to grow the hunting area of the show, but fail to realize that by leaving us behind in this way they are going to lose us. I sure hope they realize the mistake that was made here. $10 for parking, $15 to get in and many of the guys I talked to came here for THIS seminar. I sure hope they were able to attend another seminar or get a great deal on some merchandise.

Now, before I get to the other seminar I attended, I was also told that the GARMIN guys had a booth and I could stop down there and ask any questions I had. I did have a few questions, so I walked down to the other end of the Long Beach Convention Center. The gentleman that helped me was not only super polite, but extremely helpful AND he never once made me feel like an idiot. I have dealt with some people in the past who have treated me horribly in regards to GPS questions. This guy was fantastic. I had my GARMIN etrex legend HCx with me and asked the questions on my mind. He took a look at it, explained what I was doing wrong, what I could do to fix it and did it with respect. GARMIN, you have a great staff, keep it up. He also answered my questions about other GPS units and I was only in the booth for 5 minutes. I feel much better about using my GPS now. Thank you, GARMIN guy!

I also made my way around to meet with a few ranch owners. I only stop at the ones I am truly interested in talking to. The biggest sell for me is the guy who ISN'T trying to pitch something or sell me on his one-of-a-kind price. This brings me to Ron and Sandy Adams of 7R Guest Ranch. I first met Ron by just asking him about his land. Ron spoke in a very quiet tone and you could tell this guy loves what he does. He talked to me like a good friend. Listened to what I had to say and ask and then he responded with much thought behind his words. His wife Sandy then showed up at the booth. She and I hit it off talking about the animals, the fact that I am a passionate archer and family man. I asked her what my wife could do if we came up together as she is not a hunter. I was so happy to hear her talk about the entertainment, the lodging and the fact that the meals are prepared and that my wife could relax while she was there. Most of you guys know that one of my personal hunting morals is that I will never hunt a high-fenced ranch. Just a personal thing everyone. Ron and Sandy both explained they have no high fences and that they hunt many ranches. I asked her about bring a DIY team and she seemed thrilled at the thought of it. Heck, I was thrilled just talking about it. The hunts she described were great and the one thing she focused on was not big deer or trophy elk. She talked about youth hunting and how a few of their young hunters had taken elk and deer on their property. That made me want to talk to them even more! I think we all need to get a youngster out there hunting with us at one point or another. We need to keep our heritage alive. I know a few of the DIY guys do it. I have yet to bring out someone younger than me. I have brought out guys who are new to the sport or older, but I look forward to getting a young hunter in the field. The other reason I loved talking to these two is that they never once talked price, nor did they try to get me to buy anything. Period. I hope a group of us gets the chance to hunt with these folks sometime soon. Thank you Ron and Sandy for some wonderful conversation and being one of the reason my trip to the show was worth while. If anyone is interested in talking to the ranch you can find the info at

By far, the best part of the show was the elk calling seminar put on by Jim Rizzo of Bugling Bull Game Calls. Jim gave a great seminar on how and when you should call elk and what calls to use. I knew he was passionate about it. I could see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice. You really knew it when you saw his hands shake when he gave a mew on the call. Like all of us he didn't want to mess us. He had us all hooked on every word. Jim went on to talk about the fact that he is a DIY hunter (bonus) and how he hunts. His presentation covered calf calls, cow chirps and mews, and bull bugles and growls. This guy knows his stuff! He talked about scent elimination, how he hunts and answered every question we threw at him. He helped me a great deal. I shared with him that I hope to get the chance to go elk hunting in the near future (with my friend Jeff from DIY and with my brother). He was super cool and if I am ever to buy a call from a guy, it'd be him. Jim, thanks for being so open and helpful to everyone in your seminar. Who knows, maybe I'll be fortunate enough to hunt with you someday. I'll keep my fingers crossed. If you have any questions on calls you should stop over at the Bugling Bull website. I may have to get practicing soon on my calling! Here's a shot of me with Jim at his booth.

I'll definitely be back to the Fred Hall show next year, but I sure hope they take the time to update the schedules so the people that pay to go to these events will get their monies worth.

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