The 2013 edition of the Hunting, Fishing and Camping show at Place Bonaventure was a jam-packed hit that featured the latest in firearms, knives, fishing technology and outdoor gear.
This year’s highlight was the booth hosted by Magnan Taverne, where many patrons enjoyed a cold one while filling up on a tasty menu of meat samples.
Juicy treats to devour at the beginning of the show changed the whole dynamic by ensuring that the enthusiastic carnivores in attendance were focused on the ultimate goal of their outdoor lifestyle. The free-flowing brews, meanwhile, encouraged a heightened sense of conviviality as patrons sipped, shopped, shared and listened with delight.
The first thing to catch the eye of my companion for this adventure, Nation Editor Will Nicholls, was a skinning knife manufactured by Browning.
What really piqued his interest about this particular folding knife was how handy, sleek and lightweight it was while also being, in his words, “really cool.” According to the booth host, Andre Guenette, these knives are very good sellers both for their appearance and their high quality and are available at Le Barron or online.
“Everyone wants one of these,” said Guenette.
As for rifles, Guenette was showcasing Winchesters and Browning models. While Winchester didn’t have anything new out on the market for 2013, he said, Browning is offering the Citori 725 Sporting, touted as the best shotgun ever built.
“It is much better balanced and it points very well and they have a really good trigger, that too has been improved,” said Guenette.
Heading over to Le Barron’s hunting gear displays, (they have several for different types of gear) Nicholls was automatically drawn to the winter white camouflage gilly. With its carefully tattered shreds, this high-quality garment is perfect to blend your cold-weather bush gear into the winter landscape.
Once again Le Barron and all of the other clothing retailers were flogging ladies’ gear, essentially smaller versions of the jackets they sell for men but with pink zippers.
Another fun product we discovered was the 3D Prairie Dog Self-Healing Target, perfect for live-action target practice. Ideal for all firearms, it reseals itself after a bullet passes through it. Retails for $88.94 at Le Barron.
J.P. Tremblay from Graywood Sporting Group was on hand to promote Under Armour’s cutting-edge long underwear.
“I am having a wonderful experience here today; there is a lot of traffic and ton of people inquiring about our Under Armour gear,” Tremblay said.
Under Armour isn’t only used by football and hockey players, it is also perfect for hunting and fishing because of its technology for compression and scent control. It seals you in but at the same time lets your body breathe so you still feel warm and dry.
The infrared cold gear also gives a hunter a stealth advantage, he noted. “This garment has a ceramic coating that reflects the heat back to your body,” said Tremblay.
Next, we encountered Gilles Stubbins from Nikon Canada, who was vaunting his cameras and scopes. “We have this brand new line, the PNM Series which is made specifically for the AR Guns,” said Stubbins.
He highly recommended the PM-223 Precision AR Optic scope as the best of Nikon’s new technology. There are now also apps that are available to help you adjust your telescope from 0-100 yards. This scope started at $219.
Jacques de Serre of Agence de Sport Tri-OMF was showcasing a series of muzzleloaders.
“If you are looking at mid-range and haut de gamme muzzleloaders you are going to come across Bergara barrels and those are custom made. They are really high-quality barrels, a much higher grade of quality than you would find on a regular muzzleloader. You can unscrew this barrel with your fingers after shooting also, because there is a patented system here and it doesn’t get dirty. The rim acts like a seal and so it prevents the burn powder from getting into the breach plug.”
He went on to say that while muzzleloaders are often considered luxury products, these ones are more affordable, retailing from $250 to $700.
One of the cooler items we came across was a duck decoy with mechanized flapping wings, a development that might comfort hunters who feel that live versions are getting wiser that feel those ducks are getting smarter.
Retailing for around $200-$250, this Edge by Expedite product is a great leap forward in duck decoy technology and is guaranteed to spark envy among your duck-hunting friends and family.
Also in the frivolous and fun category was Jim Shockey’s Signature Product Heater Body Suit, perfect for colder days in the Eeyou Istchee bush. Like a camo sleeping bag with legs, it could make sitting for hours in a blind during cold weather a lot more comfortable. Find one at www.heaterbodysuit.com
Among our favourite finds were the armoire gun racks that turn your firearm storage in an attractive but secure furniture showpiece. The craftsmen from Les Meubles de Chasse St-Omer were on hand to showcase the hand-made product. One of them, Matt Leblanc, said they are custom made on order in the Gaspe region. They can cost anywhere from $800 to several thousand and, according to Leblanc, are as secure as any other gun case on the market. For more info call 418-392-1958 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rheal Charlebois was again on hand with his incredible hand-crafted hunting calls and the crowd around his booth testified to the enthusiasm his products. Folks appeared to be buying up everything they could get their hands on. New this year was a series of turkey calls and new acrylic calls. To find out more go to: recalldesigns.com.
Jocelyn Guertin of Loyall Foods, a producer of pet nutrition, was highlighting her company’s products specifically developed for hunting dogs. We couldn’t personally attest to the quality of the dog food, but we can certify that her dogs maxed out on the cuteness meter.
All sorts of fishing goodies were available throughout the show. We were particularly impressed by the cool-looking Etic lures and products, especially the spoons embossed with fish photos.
“These products are great because we have been in business for 30 years as a local Quebec company. Price wise we are also very aggressive on the market, with lures starting at $2.99 and going up to $6.99,” said Eric Belanger, Etic’s lure and concept designer.
A number of American state agencies were promoting their region’s hunting trips and we were pleasantly surprised to see Mackie from Cape May, New Jersey. He was on hand to promote tourism in his neighbourhood to offset the industry’s downturn in the devastating wake of Hurricane Sandy last fall. The Nation met Mackie last year at this show and we were happy to once again see his high-wattage smile that was amplified by a glitter costume and the two-foot stilts he used to tower above his competitors.
“We are actually doing very, very well,” Mackie said of the Cape May region. “Hurricane Sandy was not as bad for us as the media has been making it out. It passed right over our area and spared us.
“We are really, really resilient and the state is working now to repair the boardwalks that were damaged but things are going very, very well. We will all be open again for business before Memorial Day in May,” he promised.
According to Mackie, Cape May County is an ideal tourist spot for people who want something to do round the clock and for those who need deep relaxation. With world-class casinos in nearby Atlantic City contrasting with the raw beauty of endless stretches of sandy beaches, it is the perfect place to fish (think deep sea tuna), surf, swim, eat, play, dance and dream. For more information: www.thejerseycape.com/
If trips to the Jersey shore, an armoury of weapons and an outdoor nut’s gear fantasyland wasn’t enough, the show also featured a number of vehicle displays, tall and small, including trucks, boats, ATVs, RVs and various types of multi-purpose tractors.
Nicholls was particularly interested in Crestliner’s all-camouflage 1860 Retriever SC offered for $16,599 from Gabouray Marine in Sorel-Tracy. It is a well-crafted aluminum boat that could comfortably seat a large Cree family on hunting or fishing outings. See it at: www.crestliner.com
As we headed out of the show, we stopped by one more kiosk that featured a unique survival product, a fire starter called Instaflam.
According to Derek Trott, this is an all-natural product is that is ideal for anywhere you would need to start a fire, be it a home fireplace, a campfire or a survival fire. Available at hardware stores like Canadian Tire, what was particularly interesting about this product was that it could get wet and still start a fire.
Find out more at: www.instaflam.com
This year’s event had a lot to offer visitors. For those interested in heading to next year’s event, go to: www.salonexpertchassemontreal.ca