Outdoor Opportunities By COL(Ret.) Grey D. Berrier II
I don’t know about you, but I don’t put much credence in that weather prognosticating rodent, Punxsutawney Phil. Regardless of whether he sees his shadow or not, whenever I look at the calendar and count the days, it’s always 6½ more weeks of Winter until the first day of Spring arrives on March 20. If the truth be told, this is traditionally one of the roughest stretches of the year for many folks, because days seem to drag by with few opportunities to head outdoors. If you’re starting to feel that general malaise known as “cabin fever”, there is a cure, courtesy of the hard-working students of the Laurel Conservation Club at Laurel Middle-High School.
That’s right, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, will be the 34th annual rendition of Sportsman’s Night Out (SNO) and you are cordially invited! The largest student-run outdoor expo in Pennsylvania, Sportsman’s Night Out is a time to bring yourself, your family, and friends out to join hundreds of other outdoor-minded individuals for an evening of fun & camaraderie, while having the opportunity to learn new things, in addition to there being pretty good odds you might win either a very nice door prize or an awesome raffle package. Doors open at 5:30 PM at Laurel High School, which is located on PA Route 108, across from the Lawrence County Fairgrounds. There is a modest $ 3.00 admission, while senior citizens and children under 7 are admitted free. You’ll find there is something for everyone, including abundant kids’ games in the gym, such as the cork gun range, skee-ball, putt-putt golf, and the new “Sinkin’ Sasquatch” dunk tank (where participants will shoot balls attached to arrows); along with abundant food concessions (come hungry) and dozens of vendors displaying a myriad of outdoor-related products. There will also be the perennial favorite “Whitetail Wall”, so attendees are encouraged to bring their favorite traditional taxidermy mount or European mount to display in order to receive free admission.
In my humble opinion, the highlights of Sportsman’s Night Out are the informative seminars on a wide variety of subjects. (There’s something for everyone and the challenge is always deciding which ones to attend in the limited amount of time.) This year’s featured speakers in the main auditorium will be Lance Valentine from Lance Valentine Sportfishing, who will be presenting: Understanding modern sonar (6-6:45 PM) and Using modern electronics to catch more fish (7-7:45 PM); followed by local professional trapper Wes Osborne (8-9 PM) who will introduce his patented bear foot cable restraint and his proposed first-ever PA bear trapping season. Concurrently throughout the school, there will be a myriad of seminars offered in the classrooms. The following five seminars will be ongoing the entire evening: Room 117 – Turtle soup with Wayne “Bigfoot” Anderson; Room 118 – Live trout/gamebirds & Pics from the past by the Laurel Conservation Club; Room 124 – A little predator & turkey hunting by Brenden Ryhal from Heirs to the Outdoors; Room 127 – wood duck boxes & bird nest displays with Russ Cawthorne of Specialty Outdoors; and (5) Room 127 – Birdwatching: ways to attract & observe in your backyard by Dave & Lori Kwasnick from the Birdwatchers Store. Several seminars will only be held once from 6-6:45 PM, those include: Room 120 – Fish & Boat Commission updates with WCO Tim Haas; Room 122 – Muskies 101: Complete guide to getting started with Brian Clark from Captain Chaos Musky Guide Service; Room 126 – Introduction to muzzleloading with Justin Burk; and Room 333 – DIY Whitetail deer processing by Jason Levish. The second session of seminars from 7-7:45 PM includes: Room 120 – PA Game Commission Updates with Region 1 Commissioner James R. Daley; Room 122 – Musky lure selection: when, where, & why with Brian Clark; and Room 126 – Advanced muzzleloader accuracy by Justin Burk.
Faculty Advisor Mr. Ryan Shevitz, Student President Tucker Shevitz, and the entire Laurel Conservation Club welcome you to SNO on Feb. 22! God Bless, Be Safe, and Great Outdoors! ©WBB 2019