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7 Outdoor Conferences to Attend in 2016

Facebook/Great American Outdoor Show

Looking to have a more action-packed year? Here are seven outdoor conferences to attend in 2016.

If you’re eager to get more involved in the shooting sports, fishing, or hunting industries, attending a conference can inspire one to pick up a new hobby, learn new skills, and enjoy nature.

With the 2016 Archery Trade Association (ATA) Trade Show done and gone, here are seven more conferences to attend this year:

1. East Coast Commercial Fisherman and Aquaculture Trade Show – Ocean City, MD

If you live in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, the East Coast Commercial Fisherman and Aquaculture Trade Show in Ocean City, Maryland, is a must-attend event. It’s in its 42nd year of operation and is hosted by the Maryland Waterman’s Association.

From January 15-17, 2016, anglers can check out new sport fishing equipment, boats, participate in tutorials, and network with other anglers. The featured celebrity guest is Captain Dave Marciano of the popular National Geographic show “Wicked Tuna.”

The cost to attend for a day is $15.

dave marciano
Facebook/MD Waterman’s Association

2. SHOT Show – Las Vegas, NV

Although not open to the public, SHOT Show will be the hottest trade show to be at this year. New gun models, countless outdoor celebrities, awesome gear–what’s not to love? This year’s SHOT Show conference will again take place in Las Vegas, Nevada.

To learn more about the trade show, check out National Shooting Sports Foundation. Here is the 2016 promotional video:


3. Safari Club International Convention – Las Vegas, NV

Safari Club International’s (SCI) annual convention will be taking place in Las Vegas from February 3-6, 2016. The organization bills itself as “a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the freedom to hunt and to promote conservation and wildlife management worldwide.”

They boast over 50,000 members and 200 chapters across the country. Their foundation also provides education programs for schools while working with international conservation and humanitarian organizations “to ensure responsible stewardship of the wild.”

Information on convention tickets can be found here.

4. Great American Outdoors Show — Harrisburg, PA

A trade show that bills itself as the “World’s Largest Outdoor Show,” the National Rifle Association’s Great American Outdoors Show will be taking place in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania from February 6-14, 2016. This nine-day long event celebrates hunting, fishing, and outdoor traditions.

According to the website, the show will feature “over 1,100 exhibitors ranging from shooting manufacturers to outfitters to fishing boats and RVs, and archery to art covering 650,000 square feet of exhibit hall space.” The schedule also includes, “country concerts, fundraising dinners, speaking events, archery competitions, celebrity appearances, seminars, demonstrations and much more!”

Admission tickets range from $6-$22. (If you purchase an NRA membership, the cost of attendance is free.)

5. NRA Annual Meetings – Louisville, KY

The National Rifle Association’s also puts on one of the largest conferences each year with their Annual Meetings. This year, it’ll be held in Louisville, KY from May 20-22, 2016. Over 70,000 people are expected to be in attendance at this family-friendly event.

Unlike SHOT Show and other conferences, this is free for NRA members to attend. What’s unique about NRAAM? There are over 650 exhibitors covering over 475,000 square feet at this year’s site, the Kentucky Exposition Center.

Conference goers can participate educational seminars, meet celebrities, and attend unique special events. Additionally, conference attendees can enjoy some music from big country music artists at the NRA Country Jam.

6. ICAST – Orlando, FL

The annual International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) trade show is the world’s largest sportfishing event of its kind. It’s held annually in Orlando, Florida, and will be taking place from July 12-15, 2016. ICAST is put on by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA).

Why should anglers attend ICAST this year? Trade show attendees can participate in a fishing tournament, a golf classic, attend seminars, hear from experts, and interact with professionals. Registration for the trade show opens in February.

7. Ducks Unlimited National Conference – Anchorage, AK

Ducks Unlimited (DU) will be putting on its 79th annual convention in Anchorage, Alaska, this year from June 1-5, 2016. This is a great event for duck hunters and enthusiasts. Why? It’s the leading organization promoting habitat conservation.

The conference was started in 1937 during the Dust Bowl, which diminished waterfowl populations as a result of the drought. Today, Ducks Unlimited continues to lead in wetlands and waterfowl conservation. In order to attend, one must be a DU member to register.

If you weren’t attending any conferences this year, I hope this list inspired you to register for one.

Happy fishing and hunting!

NEXT: 10 Reasons Why SHOT Show is the Best Trade Show in the Country

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7 Outdoor Conferences to Attend in 2016