I suspect that many of you grew up as I did, with a well-worn, dogeared stack of favorite outdoor magazines somewhere in your home. One of may favorites was always Field & Stream. The writing was superb, the photography was breathtaking, and the outdoor tips essential to a boy intent on turning into a young outdoorsman.
It’s because of my long love for the publication that I was saddened to read David E. Petzal going “full retard” in a rant about what he didn’t like about SHOT Show 2016.
Range Day is the Monday prior to the Show’s opening when manufacturers demonstrate their wares. People like me are bussed out to handle the goodies. This year, Range Day sounded like the Battle of Dak To, or perhaps Fallujah, with the distinctive pop-pop-pop of full-auto fire, which was extremely popular amongst all the SEAL wannabes. Indeed, this was symbolic of the whole show, which has now become so heavily militarized that you have to look fairly hard for something designed to kill animals instead of people.
…Another trend was noticeable. The posters, displays, and photos for anything relating to big-game hunting showed people whose expressions looked like they were getting a prostate exam from the former Secretary of State. Everyone was getting rained or snowed on, wallowing in mud, crawling over boulders, and generally looking like Hugh Glass after the grizzly got through with him. I have no idea what this is supposed to convey. Maybe that hunting is the way to redemption through suffering? If so, allow me to plagiarize mildly from the Army with my own motto:
“Hunt big game. Embrace the Suck.”
I saw no booth babes. Doug Painter, who used to be president of NSSF and knows whereof he speaks, assured me there that were booth babes and that they were of very high quality, but I didn’t see any…
Perhaps Mr. Petzal was only interested in bolt-guns, fake smiles, and faker boobs, but the majority of the 65,000 or so people who attended SHOT Show 2016 had a far more diverse range of interests.
Yes, a handful of stations in a firing line featuring roughly 140 vendors had full-auto firearms. I believe that those firearms represented less than 3-percent of the total number of firearms on display. Sadly, that was apparently enough to ruin Mr. Petzal’s entire day. That’s a darn shame, as there were wonderful semi-automatic, bolt-action, lever-action, and single-shot rifles galore; over/under, side-by-side, pump-action, and semi-automatic shotguns; single-action and double-action revolvers (arguably the most talked about gun of Industry Day was Kimber’s K6s revolver), and any number of semi-automatic pistols designed for everything, from one of a half-dozen shooting sports, to hunting, to personal defense, to just good old-fashioned plinking.
Industry at the Range offered something for everyone… which was apparently too much for Mr. Petzal.
Once Industry Day was over, however, Mr. Petzal had four more days to kill, and hadto find something else to glower over.
From dogs (there were all sorts of working dogs and service dogs at the show), to more realistic advertising presentations of hunters in the field, to a perceived lack of barely dressed young models holding firearms they clearly don’t understand, Petzal found something to gripe about.
Mr. Petzal, it may come as a shock to you, but this is 2016.
Many of the women in booths at SHOT Show this year are as knowledgeable about their products as their male counterparts, and many are far better shots than you or I will ever be. Many of the female vendors and buyers in attendance want products gears for them, and don’t want to be viewed as products themselves.
The modern hunter is as likely to own an AR-15 as they are a bolt-gun, Mr. Petzal, and an ever-increasing number of them are women who demand, and deserve, to be treated as fellow sportsmen, hunters, and educators.
If you can’t get your mind around those facts, maybe it’s time to consider a sabbatical to work on your memoirs.
Somehow, I think SHOT Show 2017 will survive without your guidance.