The Sacramento International Sportsmen’s Exposition (ISE) is California’s largest annual gathering for anglers, hunters, boaters, off-roaders and others seeking outdoor adventures, nearby or truly around the world. More than 630 exhibiting companies spotlight gear, destinations and services. Five buildings and acres of outside space also feature nearly a dozen theaters and demo areas—all free for the show-goer (an entry fee is required), who can try products, learn from local and regional experts and even take a test drive. Plus, there’s a giant, free Youth Fair on the weekend at Cal Expo’s Center.
New and returning this year; one of the most loved exhibits is the Dock dogs. Watch pooches dive off the dock into a pond (plastic pool), stretching out to catch a rubber thing thrown by the dog’s master. The splash is measured from the dock to the paw entry. The dogs love doing it, kids big and small find this enchanting, assuming you like dogs in the first place. At the dog center you can watch working dogs do what they love and meet owners and breeders. Who knows your next four-legged family member may be waiting in Sacramento? The Youth Fair Expo has age appropriate activities to introduce your young one to the joys of outdoor life.
There are many returning favorites, lectures on many forms of fishing and hunting, including fishing experts who will share exacting details on how to rig and where to go and when is the best time to angle our home waters. In the main hall the many specialized outfitters, guides and pay-to-play resorts have booths and detailed information for you. You can book that trip to hunt caribou in Alaska, fish for alligators in the murky waters of Africa or hire a guided pig hunt right here in the Redwood Empire. Go to the ISE web site for details on admission, parking and directions: www.sportsexpos.com/
The fungal report is good to great depending on where you go. If you don’t yet have a property to foray for mushrooms, consider the three local parks; Salt Point, Point Reyes (federal) and Jackson Forest near Fort Bragg. They tend to emerge from north to south, Jackson state park is in full swing right now.
For rockhounds the annual Quartzite Pow Wow in Arizona opens Jan. 15 through the 19 and runs concurrent with the rock, gem and mineral exhibits and shows. This is a ‘Mecca’ for the rock hound, the Pow Wow hosted by the local rock club, Road Runners (like the desert bird) includes two field trips each day for the dirt divers: http://www.qiaarizona.org/PowWow.html For details. One thing, if you go the last minute you will need to camp in the dirt, RV mostly in the dirt or get a room in nearby Blyth, back in California, tiny Quartzite has little to offer in terms of lodging.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.