- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Most people who will visit the Nation’s Outdoor Sportsmen’s Show on Friday through Sunday at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly expect to see the latest deer stands, hunting supplies, fishing gear, etc., and they will get it.

But hunters concerned about the steady onslaught on their sport by animal rights groups and sometimes poorly informed judges and public officials should stop by the National Rifle Association booth, where NRA staff will talk about their efforts to preserve our right to hunt.

The NRA is among only a few national organizations that actively work to safeguard an activity frequently tied up by red tape in various state legislatures, not to mention unfounded lawsuits and judicial opinions that do nothing to protect public hunting lands and/or provide needed ranges to practice safe shooting.

“Hunting is under attack in ways it has never been attacked before,” said Kayne Robinson, the executive director of NRA General Operations. “Stifling regulations are overly complex and too often have nothing to do with game management. Anti-hunting groups with well-financed coffers and celebrity spokespersons grab every headline they can get. Nit-picking laws that turn inadvertent mistakes into criminal offenses are becoming common horror stories. Shrinking lands, dwindling numbers of hunters and other factors are combining to threaten hunting more and more.”

Through intensive lobbying, the NRA says it will work with legislators to stop anti-hunting measures. It will continue to recruit new hunters and provide instruction programs, as well as underwrite conservation and range improvement projects.

By the way, at the show the NRA also will have a display of world-record whitetailed deer mounts from the Great American Hunters Tour.

For women who hunt — Besides protecting Americans’ right to hunt, the NRA’s Women On Target program provides hunting adventures designed for ladies.

In 2008, there will be an archery hunt for whitetail deer and turkey in Missouri and a gamebird/fly-fishing combination deal in Maine. There also will be a Sportsmen All-weather, All-terrain Marksmanship (SAAM) training held in conjunction with a wild boar and bobcat hunt in Texas. Then there is pheasant and chukar partridge shooting in the Midwest, elk hunting in the Rocky Mountains and outsmarting wild turkeys in Kansas.

The Women On Target program promises safe, stress-free hunting for novice and experienced hunters. Pre-registration is required. For a brochure, call 800/861-1166 or e-mailwomenontarget@nrahq.org.

Don’t forget bass & boat show — The annual Fishing Expo & Boat Show at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium runs Jan. 10 through Jan. 13. Everything from freshwater to saltwater tackle, boats and electronics will be on display or for sale. Fishing experts provide constant seminars. Go to www.fishingexpo.com for detailed information.

Changes in firearms industry — The Outdoor Wire’s Jim Shepherd reports that Remington Arms of Madison, N.C., has acquired one of America’s longest-operating firearms companies, Marlin Firearms of North Haven, Conn. With the acquisition, Remington now owns the parent company of two of the longest-manufactured firearms in the world. Marlin first produced its models 1891 and 1893 in those years, and they were quality firearms for the period.

“They had no reason to imagine they would become the oldest shoulder arm designs in the world,” Shepherd said.

The purchase also adds H&R; 1871 Inc., the Massachusetts-based manufacturer of single-shot arms and L.C. Smith shotguns, to the Remington line. H&R; 1871 was acquired by Marlin eight years ago.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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