There is a great difference between getting back to nature and then getting back to nature in style or at least so it may seem when you go to great big hunting, fishing and camping expositions in the great big city.

From camouflage gear for every single part of your body to pretty, prissy pink fire arms for the lady of the house to fishing tackle more bedecked than a circus clown on LSD, Montreal’s Hunting, Fishing and Camping Show had all of these wares and more on display for all outdoorsmen and women to see… and buy.

Running from February 23-26 at Place Bonaventure, the annual event once again brought out over 250 exhibitors to show off the latest in outdoor gear and the best of previous years.

Just like the last few years, the entrance to the event was a flurry of Browning camo gear and rifles, framed by a large-scale display of exotic taxidermy birds.

Upon further inspection, the Browning camo gear collection on display was all from the “Dirty Bird” line – that alone brought on an ironic chuckle.

Heading over to get a glimpse of the racks of Browning rifles, the representative on hand said they had two new 12-gauge shotguns this year that they were showcasing: the A5 “Come Hell or High Water” semi auto and the new Citori 725.

According to the Browning rep, the A5 is built to be the most-reliable, fastest-cycling, best-performing and softest-shooting recoil-operated autoloader available and is ideal for the bush. He recommended the Citori 725 for sport shooting and said that it had an excellent performance for that whole “one-with-the-gun” experience.

Next, over at the Le Baron camo gear display, the first thing again to catch my eye was a Mossy Oak jacket with a hot pink zipper for the gal who wants to hit the bush.

Once again it was obvious that the show – much like the hunting, fishing and camping industries – is working hard to sell to their newest demographic: women.

The Remington rep concurred while he showed me the two guns that the company is marketing towards women.

“Yes, that is a pink gun. It is a marketing issue; we have this shotgun in both pink and white. It’s basically the same 870 model with a pink stock and store,” he explained.

For those who are interested in a less gender-specific new Remington, the rep recommended the new Versa Max. He described it as having a brand-new design for the gas port.

“It’s in the chamber instead of the barrel and that’s the big difference. There’s also a big difference at the rear, there is a length of “poolkit” that comes with it and you can also adjust the cast on it. The mechanism on this gun is also revolutionary as it is basically flawless.”

Over at the Savage Arms table, Mike Sarris (who the Nation has interviewed in previous years) was once again on hand to show off the company’s new wares. Pointing to three different products, he showcased what were Savage Arms’ best picks for the year.

“We have three big sellers this year. First, there’s the Long-range Rifle, this is a long-range 26-inch barrel that has a McMillan stock. It’s also accu-trigger and accu-stock. It is a bit heavier, but if you really want to go out and touch one, this is the one that you want.

“A well-rounded gun that I would recommend to the avid hunter whose budget is in the mid-range is the weather warrior. It has a stainless steel 22-24-inch barrel and features an accu-stock accu-trigger. Its technology has been proven over and over again.

“Our third gun is a ‘value gun’ for the hunter who is just starting out in the game and is uncertain if this is for him. This weapon is ideal for both the bush and the range. They are the last two here, they come with the scope and are ready to go!” said Sarris.

Of course, if you really want to go for accuracy, you could go for the monstrous sniper rifle that Tikka of Finland had on display. The TRG 22, calibre 28 that Jacques from Tikka had on his display counter was described as perfect for anyone looking to spend five times the normal price to annihilate their prey. This weapon is mainly used by tactical police or army. The precision was the advantage; you have to go very soft on the recoil.

It’s much heavier than your average hunting rifle and everything is adjustable on it. Jacques said people do use them for hunting, but you are more likely to actually see it at a shooting range.

A few tables down, another Nation favourite, Rhéal Charlebois, the owner, designer and creator of Recall Designs game calls had his wares on display.

Charlebois had some new calls to show off. While the quality and sound of his incredible handmade fowl and game calls have not changed, he has a whole new line of flashier looking calls made from acrylic.

“The finish on these is new; it is glassy and polished, instead of frosted,” said Charlebois.

Looking at them laid out on the table in about every shade of the rainbow, it was like looking at candy. They will be much harder to lose in the bush! They also can handle the change from warm to cold without sounding different.

For those who want to go old school, Charlebois still makes many of them out of wood and there are also acrylic ones in camouflage if you want to remain incognito.

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While you can easily expect to see lots of camouflage gear for all sorts of weather at these kinds of shows, you seldom expect to see a special variety of camo for indoors… or more specifically the bedroom. But, that’s exactly what was being displayed by Wilderness Dreams.

Featuring bras, panties, teddy sets and bikinis, Wilderness Dreams had just about everything a hunter could want to make even his wet dreams come true at home with the missus.

“This line of camo lingerie is becoming very popular as it is being sold in more and more locations. It’s mainly being sold at hunting/fishing stores as opposed to lingerie stores. The reaction it gets is quite incredible. People will be walking by and they stop to check this out,” explained the Wilderness Dreams rep.

And, the line was pretty inexpensive for lingerie considering the fact that the panties go for about $9.95 and then the products go up to about $19.95 and you have lingerie as well as bathing suits. There’s Mossy Oak, Naked North White Snow and Naked North Pink.

Available online (in regular and plus sizes) at and also at B.C. Sports in Amos.

Hitting the main showroom, as per usual there were a phenomenal number of boats, recreational vehicles, trucks and a garden variety of ATVs on display.

Besides the vehicles, the year’s show had a lot to offer when it came to where to go for your outdoor hunting, fishing or camping adventure. There were even a few groups up from the States, including a man dressed as a 10-foot-tall fisher/clown named Mackie to promote New Jersey, in particular the spectacularly stunning Cape May region.

“Why Jersey?” he asked. “Why not Jersey? Cape May is a wonderful, fabulous place; there’s Cape May, Wildwood, Ocean City and Atlantic City, the entire area is just the place to come and visit.”

The Jersey crew was in to promote their fishing and camping adventures available in the Jersey Cape region as well as many other fantastic tourist attractions.

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Also on hand at the show was a group representing Maine and its tourism department.

While Maine is known for lobster and ocean fishing, unless you visit the state you don’t realize that the hunters there are about as serious as those in Quebec’s north and there are other tourism industries as well.

“We are showcasing the five different regions of Maine that we have highlighted in our booklets and we also have specific things within those regions that we’re highlighting. For example, we have the Western Mountains of Maine or Aroostook County and then we have information on camping in Maine, both private and state campgrounds. There is also bicycling, hunting, fishing and our fishing regulations,” explained Elaine Holcomb from Maine Tourism.

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Not only were the American groups a surprise, but as a sign of the times, there were numerous alternative-energy source retailers selling a wide variety of solar panels and related equipment.

“Goal Zero and it is the best selling line of portable solar products in the world. The company was started in Utah and has humanitarian roots because we started filling in for disaster reliefs in the Congo and Japan to give people energy everywhere,” said Raisa Stevens, a Goal Zero rep from Toronto.

On display were several solar-chargeable batteries as well as a series of accessories, such as flashlights, speakers and other smaller devices.

“We have everything from a 7-watt solar panel, which will charge a phone, an iPod or a GPS in about an hour, all the way up to larger batteries of 50w and 150w. We even have a 1250-watt solar generator,” said Stevens.

But, what particularly caught my interest was the incredibly portable and durable 7-watt solar-panel charger that retailed for about $115, taxes included. The device was capable of charging cell phones, iPods and other small, portable devices in under two hours.

“What we say about our stuff is that it is extremely durable. You can give it a good punch or a kick or throw it around and it is not going to break. We stand by the true meaning of portability which is all about taking it out into the wilderness to use it,” said Stevens.

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And, like every other year, there were a wide variety of outfitters on hand to sell hunting and fishing excursions at their camps.

Among them were four smiley Crees who were all too happy to educate the public of what Awashish Outdoor Adventures and the Cree Nation of Mistissini have to offer in terms of outdoor adventures and accommodations in the Cree nation.

At the Awashish booth, George Awashish was sitting with Ginette Coonishish who said that the show was going very well because it had been so busy.

When we spoke to Awashish, he broke out in a sweat with excitement as he explained that he had just made a big sale.

“We are running quite a busy place, now that we have a year-round operation. We offer snowmobiling and cultural adventures in the winter where clients get to live with us and get to experience whatever kinds of activities that nature has to offer.

“What we have been doing is showing what our ancestors have taught us, such as trapping. Our clients aren’t allowed to trap or hunt but they can accompany us and can experience this with us. A Cree can hunt and trap with us though,” said Awashish.

Awashish said that some of the Cree entities have started hosting meetings at his outfitting camp and that he was hoping to see more of this in the future.

Over at the Mistissini table, Kevin Neeposh said the event was going really well and that they too were quite busy.

“There are a lot of people here. At the same time, people already know who we are because of all of the publicity that we have done,” said Neposh.

Neeposh said Mistissini has been mentioned on various fishing programs on RDS and ESPN as they have invited some big names in fishing to visit the lodge and so the community’s profile has been raised.

“It is off to a good start. Thursday used to be a slow day but this year it is pretty good,” said Travis Shecapio.

And, if the show remained half as busy as it was during the first few hours on Thursday afternoon, it was most probably another stellar year for the Crees.

Expect to see more satisfied customers in the Cree nation during the summer of 2012.