Hard to believe it’s been a week since my last blog, but here we are. Even more unbelievable is the fact that we’re now more than half-way through the month of January 2019. Due to an almost complete absence of a snow cover in the part of the Wisconsin where we live, it’s hard to digest that we’re actually well into the winter season. While some parts of the country west and south of us have been getting pounded by snow storms, we have yet to witness a significant snowfall in our area.
This isn’t to say, however, that I believe we’re going to skate through the winter without seeing some major winter storm action. If my many years of living in Wisconsin have taught me one thing, it’s that we almost always get our five months of winter here. Which means there’s a chance our winter season could extend into the month of May. That’s right, I said the month of May…and I speak from experience here. Sure hope I’m wrong!
As for local ice fishing action; throughout the first couple weeks of January I was getting consistent reports of good catches of panfish and walleyes. But from what I understand that action apparently has slowed down in recent days. In fact, I actually ventured to a local lake this morning to check things out. Not long ago I talked with some fishermen who were catching their daily limits of panfish pretty much every time they fished there. The lake also happens to be a favorite destination for fishermen from a rather large surrounding area. So imagine my surprise when I rolled up to the drive-on ramp and saw just one person fishing on the entire lake! In my neck of the woods that’s absolute proof-positive the bite has either slowed down dramatically or ceased altogether.
On another matter, the 2019 Archery Trade Show is now history. This year’s show, which was held in Louisville, Kentucky, appeared to be fairly well attended. While Jake and I walked the show from one end to the other (numerous times), we really didn’t see anything new and revolutionary in regards to archery related products. However, our main purpose at the ATA Show is first and foremost to touch base with our sponsors.
While the majority of our discussions with sponsors went very well, it became very evident to us from the overall tone of the show that manufacturers are a bit nervous and unsettled. It’s a fact that archery related sales are not what they were just a few years ago. It’s also a fact that the interest in crossbows and crossbow related equipment has gained a lot of momentum.
But what we feel as had the most profound effect on the industry is a trend that developed a few years ago. This trend sees large conglomerates buying up smaller companies from the archery industry. One of these conglomerates now actually owns 18 different archery product brands, which includes broadheads, arrows, targets, bow sights, lighted nocks and releases, to name a few.
As you might imagine, the personal connection we once had with all our sponsors is fast disappearing. In the “old days” archery companies were owned and operated by people who actually bowhunted. And we had great relationships with a lot of them. Unfortunately, those days are rapidly disappearing as more and more companies are being snatched up by the conglomerates. I doubt many of the corporate people within these conglomerates are bowhunters.
But one thing about the ATA Show that hasn’t changed is that it’s still THE place to network with many of our peers from the outdoor tv industry. Even more importantly, walking the aisles at the show gives us the unique opportunity to talk with fellow bowhunters from all over the country. And some of these bowhunters have led very interesting lives; like being a professional basketball player, a UFC champion fighter, a country music singer, etc. What an awesome thing that bowhunting is what brings us all together!
And finally, Jake and I are just a couple days away from jumping on a plane and heading to Laredo, Texas for a bowhunt. Of course, whitetails are at the top of “to do” list. But we’re hoping to also get the chance to launch some broadhead-tipped projectiles at hogs and javelinas. FYI: We can’t thank our good friends at Big Tine, and more specifically Joe Umphries, for helping to put this adventure together.
Though we’re limited to having to shoot management bucks on our Texas hunt, I’d like point out that the term “management buck” comes with special meaning on the ranch we’ll be hunting. Generally speaking, if it’s a mature buck (5 1/2 years of age or older) and he doesn’t sport at least a 10-point basic main frame set of antlers, then it’s most likely going to be consider a management buck. We can definitely live with that!