SHOT Show – Day 2

Thank goodness my husband set his alarm, because I sure forgot. Hubby works in the hunting industry too, so we get to be roomies. Good thing, ‘cause that’s about the only time I see him at this show.

He was out the door when I was still putting on eyeliner while simultaneously checking my e-mail. Risky business…

7:00 a.m. — Got word from back at NWTF headquarters that the spring hunting forecast was ready for me to edit, so I packed up my stuff and headed to the show floor to read.

8:00 a.m. — Like I said yesterday, if you stay in one place long enough, folks will find you. This morning, between edits and pausing to chat with people dropping by the booth, I had a wonderful visit with former NWTF national board members Gene Goodwin and Tom Behrens. We reminisced about past co-workers, and I gleaned a lot of insight about where the NWTF is heading from these Golden Spurs who’ve stuck around to help keep us on track. (Look at me! I just made a turkey pun!)

Then Turkey Country’s Shooting Savvy columnist J. Wayne Fears dropped in to make sure his content was still on target. (Pun!) I just love that guy. I know he’s a gun guru, but I think of him more like an industry uncle. He’s one of my mentors.

11:00 a.m. — Awesome surprise! Brenda Potterfield of MidwayUSA stopped by the booth to say hi. Have to say I was quite honored. We’re Facebook friends, and I think she might read my blog from time to time. She’s so nice (and Mr. Larry seems the same way). And you know they have more than a generous bone. Heck, I think their entire skeletal system is built from generosity. Prime example: JAKES Take Aim. Not possible without them. (Learn more about it at So when you see them at the NWTF National Convention in a couple weeks, tell them thanks for helping secure the future of our hunting heritage.

11:30 a.m. — Pirated WiFi from the media room again and saw “my other daddy” (pronounced dead-ee), outdoor freelance writer John Phillips. I started in the hunting industry as his intern more than 12 years ago. He brought me to my first SHOT Show way back when and told me to wear high heels. I’ll never forgive him for that little nugget of wisdom. But I’ll also never forget all he taught me.

Noon — Had the best pizza at the Hunter’s Specialties new product luncheon. Enjoyed finally meeting Outdoor Life Editor Andrew McKean in person and just hoped his mad magazine skills would hop over on me. Nice guy. But I was there to see what’s new in the H.S. Strut line-up. Grand National champion caller and H.S. pro-staffer Matt Morrett ran through a few of their new get-that-gobbler-to-your-gun calls.

I’m the kind of gal who likes small, cute things — purses, kittens, turkey calls. Hunter’s Specialties is introducing a slew of “small but deadly” calls this year. Go to and look for the Derringer Slate and Derringer Glass friction calls and the Li’l Strut box call.

They say you should change your shoes at least once during the day to keep your feet from aching. I slid my tootsies in a pair of cushy Muck Boots. Better yet, why not cruise around the SHOT Show on a Yamaha ATV?

3:30 p.m. — Got the low-down on Muck Boots. Of course, I’d heard of the brand but never owned a pair. Learned about the women’s waterfowl boot (brown, waterproof, cozy) and the new ATV riding boot. It’s the first rubber-neoprene boot for gettin’ your mud on a 4×4. Go ahead and Google it. An outdoors enthusiast can never have too many boots.

5:30 p.m. — End of show. On my way to meet with Sky Horse Publishing about the cookbook I’ve mentioned a time or two. Seems like it’s gonna happen, people, so get your wild game recipes to me ASAP.

Vegas love to you all. I’m signing out.

SHOT Show – Day 1

Ready. Aim. SHOT Show has started. Like a bullet out of a barrel, you can’t take it back. I’m in it to win it, folks.

Arrived in Vegas late yesterday afternoon, got settled, finished some office work, then headed off to the Hard Rock to have sushi with the marketing team from Yamaha. Those guys are a ton of fun, and I met other media folks and caught up with a few I haven’t seen in a while. People who do magazines, web content and video for organizations like Ducks Unlimited and the NRA. It’s always good to commiserate with your counterpart.

Then I called it an evening to catch a few Zs and fool my body into being A-OK with the Pacific Time Zone. It wasn’t buying what I was selling.

So my 6:45 a.m. alarm came a bit too early. Did my thang to get ready. SHOT Show 2012 … meet Karen.

8:00 a.m. — Arrived at the NWTF booth a half hour before the show started, just to get my bearings. The booth looks great — like if a log cabin and billboard fell in love. It captures the NWTF hometown vibe but sells what we’re cooking, like advertising and licensing opportunities, ways for companies to get involved with the greatest group of conservation volunteers EVER!

The NWTF banner hangs high on the SHOT Show floor. Good thing, since it's like a beacon for this lost chick.

Awesome location, too. Smack between a concession stand and bathroom (good for traffic, good for Karen). Other neighbors include Mossy Oak, Ameristep and Under Armour.

9:00 a.m. — If you sit still long enough, people start finding you, which can be good or bad. This morning, it was great. Got to visit with gobbler-man Preston Pittman, as well as Brian Lovett, the editor of Turkey & Turkey Hunting (and we didn’t get into a West Side story-like knife fight).

10:00 a.m. — Short and sweet product run-down with Tom Cox of Motorola. He showed me the updates on the MS350R/MS355R two-way radios. It has the stuff a hunter needs in the field — 35-mile range, a VibraCall feature that won’t spook game, a built-in flashlight, NOAA weather alerts. But the new, cool feature is that this waterproof radio floats. A radio doesn’t do you a bit of good if it’s on the bottom of a river, even if it’s waterproof. (Cause this girl ain’t goin’ in after it. Eeek!) But this dude bobs right to the top, face side up, ready to fish out with the toe of your boot. It’s available in camo or school bus yellow. Go for the yellow if you have a habit of dropping stuff in water.

11:00 a.m. — Stopped by the pressroom to leech off the free WiFi and peruse the sea of familiar faces, folks like Turkey Country contributor Steve Felgenhauer.

Noon — Lunch in the Sportsman’s Lounge. Listened to the 2012 digital line-up plans for Outdoor Life and Field & Stream. A little espionage goes great with soup and salad. But it’s not really spying if you were invited, right? Learned that more than 85 percent of hunters and shooters get their sporting info from magazines. And about 25 percent dig into blogs and social media. Yeah for job security!

3:00 p.m. — Found out that Jana Waller is just as awesome as I thought. Watched clips from her show, “Skull Bound,” and am convinced she’s the real deal. I can relate to a gal who will get dirty and try something at least once. She’s full of life and creativity. Have plans for featuring her in the magazine. She’s Turkey Country bound! Hop on over to my Facebook page and see the beaded skulls she donated to the NWTF. They’ll be auctioned at our national convention in a couple weeks. Thanks, Jana!

4:00 — Went to a reception at the Benelli/Franchi booth. Didn’t win the drawing for a shotgun. (Boo.) But saw some of the peeps I hunted with last spring on the “Benelli On Assignment” hunt in Texas. (I wrote about it in the January-February issue. I’m sure you remember…)

5:00 p.m. — Met up with a few of the girls I went to Africa with this fall. A brief time to catch up and grab a few laughs.

All right, I’m off the clock. Well, not really, but let’s just catch back up tomorrow…

Night night.

Jump on the train or watch the train wreck…you’re invited

Sorry I didn’t post last week. Did ya miss me?

Time just got away from me. It seems as if all the parts of my job right now keep stacking up on this imaginary shelf above my head, and it all came crashing down on me at the first of the year — the March-April edition of Turkey Country (the biggest issue of the year), filling my dance card for SHOT Show (the biggest industry trade show of the year) and preparing for the NWTF National Convention (our biggest event of the year).

None of it’s a surprise. Each one happens annually. Just the immediacy of it all at the turn of a new year seems to catch me off guard every time.

As I sit at my desk, staring at various piles of paper, listening to my inbox ding with new items for my multiple to-do lists, I console myself that it will all be over with before I know it. Then I freak out again, because, well, that means it will all be over with before I know it. I just hope I’ll be ready.

It’s that same feeling you get at the beginning of a school year when a teacher hands you a syllabus. You read the long, detailed list in front of you and wonder how you’ll ever get all of it done (and still, like, have time for a life). But the reality is you will, taking it one task, one day at a time.

The next few weeks are gonna be crazy, but I promise not to forget you. I hope you won’t forget to keep up with me, because it’s going to be action packed, including trips to Las Vegas for SHOT, Nashville for NWTF Convention, new outdoor product reveals, giveaways, a possible meltdown by me. You don’t want to miss it.

Get the full experience by following me on Twitter (@Karen_Lee_NWTF) or friending me on Facebook. Search for Karen Lee and look for the same picture that’s smiling at you at the top of this page.

You can even ask the Internet spirits to magically let you know I’ve made a post by subscribing to this blog. It’s super easy. Just move your head a quarter-inch to the right. OK, now up a smidge. Type your email address into the little box and hit the subscribe button. You’ll get a message in you inbox to verify you want to take this earth-shattering step, but you’ll just coolly say, “It’s OK. I’m ready.”

And if you’re a real rock star, you’ll do all three.

Alright, people, we’re in this together. Buckle your chinstraps. ‘Cause here we go!