MONDAY, MARCH 23, 2020

The 2020 Ducks Unlimited Expo (DUX) has been rescheduled for Spring 2021 at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Texas Team Trail (TXTT) presented by Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s has cancelled the Toledo Bend event due to concerns about the Coronavirus and rescheduled the second regular-season event to be hosted on Sam Rayburn on Friday June 5, the day before the TXTT Championship event, June 6-7.
The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP®) has announced the cancellation of the 2020 Western National Tournament in Sandy, Utah - April 24-25, 2020 and the Eastern National Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky – May 7-9, 2020.

In light of U.S. and global health authority guidelines regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus), the 2020 IHEA-USA Conference set to take place in West Palm Beach, Florida May 18-21, has been canceled.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District is announcing campground reservation cancellations in Arkansas and Southern Missouri in response to the Coronavirus. The cancellations will not affect those campers already at the campgrounds.
The Honored American Veterans Afield (HAVA) Academy Family Day scheduled for June in Moyock, North Carolina, has been postponed due to the unsettled nature of the COVID-19 virus.
The Nebraska Big Game Society Dinner and Auction, where a bull elk tag and a multispecies combination permit will be auctioned off, has been rescheduled for June 4.

Collegiate SASP teams converged on the CMP Marksmanship Park in Talladega, Alabama in a race to see which team would come out on top in a number of Action Shooting disciplines.
Two Washington City men have been charged in connection with illegally relocating live fish and attempting to cheat in a fishing tournament.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission has closed all rifle, pistol, shotgun and archery ranges on state game lands,  until further notice.
Through April 30, Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has suspended the requirement that anglers need a recreational fishing license to fish the state’s inland waters. The opening of the inland waters was ordered by Governor Janet Mills to “encourage Maine people to enjoy the outdoors as we confront the challenges associated with COVID-19."

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWFoffsite link) and NOAA’s Marine Debris Program today announced $8.2 million in six new grants for the assessment, removal and proper disposal of marine debris that was caused by hurricanes Michael and Florence in Florida and North Carolina, and Typhoon Yutu in the Northern Mariana Islands.
Public access opportunities for hunting and fishing on private lands will be expanded thanks to a grant awarded to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
In response to COVID-19, West Marine has updated its policies and enacted new measures to ensure the safety and health of its customers and associates. 
The NSSF has notified SHOT 2021 exhibitors that their second show payment, due April 3, has been delayed to June 5. Space selection/booth change deadlines have also been delayed to the second and third weeks in June.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation  and its partners urge gun owners to keep firearm safety a top priority and are making safety resources widely available as gun and ammunition sales increase, especially among first-time firearm purchasers.
Dometic Marine's other facilities will remain open to meet the needs of the boating industry during the emergency.
For the last several weeks, NMMA has been in constant communication with policymakers on the federal and state levels to stay up to date on the latest legislative actions surrounding COVID-19 and ensure the boating industry is represented.
Due to delays and cancellations related to COVID-19, the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation (SSSF) is extending the grace period between the time of online course completion and range day attendance. Those completing the online portion of the SSSF Basic Shotgun Coach or SSSF Basic Action Shooting Coach course will now have 12 months to attend the required in-person range day component.

Ducks Unlimited has released Red Dogs,  the latest film in its online series featuring  DU Magazine contributing photographer Mark Atwater and his golden retrievers.
The Second Amendment Foundation applauded Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker for including firearm and ammunition suppliers on the list of “essential businesses and operations” that will remain open during the Prairie State’s “Shelter-In-Place” emergency due to the ongoing COVID-19 Coronavirus emergency.
Specifically built for lefty’s, the new RRA pistol features a 10.5-inch, left-hand twist barrel, left sided ejection port, left-handed charging handle and more.
For the first time ever, Kalashnikov USA is offering sales direct to the public of the Special Edition Russian Tiger Komrad 12 shotgun. The 12 gauge, semi-automatic, short-barreled firearm is based on the Russian Saiga series and manufactured here in the United States.

SAR USA by Sarsilmaz, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of firearms, announces new B6C compact pistol frame colors: Flat Dark Earth and OD Green. 
Catch a new episode of Texas Team Trail’s opening of the 2020 tournament season on Outdoor Action TV
Calling all longbeards, get in the blind for this MyOutdoorTVwatchlist, Floppin’ Gobblers, with six episodes of explosive thunder chicken action. 
Bear Archery has announced the launch of its all-new website. Customers now have the opportunity to view and research products and also easily locate a Bear Archery dealer in their area through an updated online experience. 
With more Americans embracing their right to self-defense, USCCA President Tim Schmidt is reminding all gun owners that training and responsible gun ownership is now more important than ever.
The Civilian Marksmanship Program is shutting down all facilities and activities for the next two weeks, beginning today (Monday, March 23). Plans are to return Monday, April 6, although the CMP will monitor conditions and report changes to the plan as required.
Whitetails Unlimited President Jeff Schinkten announces Hunter Safety System’s  continued national sponsorship of WTU. 
"Our world is facing many unforeseen challenges associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic. Understanding the risks and taking appropriate precautions is the first and wisest form of defense."
Stephanie Spika Hickey has joined the North American Gamebird Association, the game bird industry’s trade association, as its Director of Communications.
With continued growth of the Scholastic Action Shooting Program (SASP), Hunters HD Gold has moved up to the Gold Sponsorship level.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will open approximately 900 miles of Hatchery Supported Trout Waters at 7 a.m. on April 4. The season will run through Feb. 28, 2021.
Arizona State Parks and Trails will be closing all historic parks and gift shops in response to updated guidelines from the Arizona Department of Health Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) has developed a plan to keep Kansas’ 28 state parks, 63 state fishing lakes, and more than 100 wildlife areas open to the public during the COVID-19 crisis.
A 25-year-old Mapleton, Maine, man is dead after crashing his sled Saturday night on a trail in Mapleton.
In a proactive effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and ensure the health of its customers and staff, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is closing the public  viewing blinds at various locations throughout the state.
To protect the public and staff from the spread of COVID-19, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has closed its offices around the state to the public. The closures will remain in effect for the foreseeable future.
This covers hundreds of tour operators, surf and SUP schools, sight-seeing, whale-watching and dinner cruises and any commercial operation operating in state ocean waters.
Public lands remain open but DNR has closed some buildings and canceled or postponed many public events and meetings.
Staff at those offices will continue to work during normal business hours. Updated information for each respective property, including the office phone number, will be posted at each public entrance.
To ensure the safety of guests and employees during the COVID-19 public health emergency, Arkansas DPHT is closing the lodges at four of its state parks, effective at 8 a.m. today (Monday, March 23), through Friday, April 17, 2020.
Up to $10,000 is being offered by various groups for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the illegal shooting of a whooping crane in Jefferson Davis Parish in mid-November.
The sight-in range at Killdeer Wildlife Management Area in Lancaster County and the prairie chicken viewing blinds at Burchard Lake WMA in Pawnee County have been closed temporarily.
This week, Keith is back at Legends Ranch hunting trophy whitetail and he is bringing two very special things in his life, his son Kolton and a .50 BMG.

Attending the Bassmaster Classic, I had no idea that I was attending what appears to be the only major sporting event of the spring.

When I went to Birmingham, there was a long list of sporting events on the calendar.

Now, we’re more concerned with bread than circuses.

With the COVID-19 pandemic progressively closing down everything but non-essential services (except the battle to place blame on someone) we’re more closely aligned to our grandparents core values.

They were far more concerned with keeping their families safe than worrying about sports.

Yesterday, Nashville’s mayor issued a third emergency order, closing down all non-essential businesses. Not long afterwards, the governor issued similar statewide guidance.

Fortunately, some of the preparations (above) like this drive-in location hasn’t yet been called into service. This sign at the headquarters of Stones River National Battlefield (below) brings home the reality that the government isn’t taking Coronavirus lightly.

The volunteer state, it seems, doesn’t voluntarily follow anyone’s orders.

I’ve never been (nor wanted to be) a medical reporter. Once, I thought I wanted to be a doctor. Even went so far as to get started studying medicine. That’s when I discovered that I didn’t want to be immersed in an endless loop of malady.

Despite what anyone might think about doctors, there’s a special quality to people who are willing to deal in the process of healing. They willingly deal in human suffering on a daily basis.

That having been said, I’m a skeptic by nature -and training. I don’t accept anything I’m told about Coronavirus as inarguable fact. Instead, I do what reporters, lawyers and policemen do: read the faces and expressions of the people who are giving the briefings.

At this point, I’m convinced they’re taking this very seriously. Consequently, I’m treating it with more seriousness. My wife and I are working from home, ordering home delivery of groceries, and limiting our contact with others.

For me, working from home is nothing new. Adjusting to another worker in my office, is a different story.

When I’m working in the field, I can tune out everyone and everything around me. I focus on what I’m doing. That doesn’t work so well if your office cohabitant is your wife and she’s asking a household question.

So we’re adapting by setting aside segments of time when we’re taking breaks. Taking walks, going outside, taking time off the computer, telephone and disconnecting from the bombardment of information that causes some people to dismiss the whole thing as “just more media hype.”

For some people, it doesn’t matter whether it’s hype or not. The threat to their lives is real. If you’re reading this, you know someone whose livelihood is on the line.

Tomorrow, we’ll have a feature telling how fishing guides are suffering because people are canceling trips. The trickle-down from those cancellations impact everything from gas stations to bait shops, restaurants and hotels.

One of my friends in Oklahoma summed it up pretty succinctly: “Gas is $1.40/gallon. And there’s no place to go.”

There are also some of those encouraging signs that despite the division in our country, there are still people who want to help.

Yesterday, a message from Harbor Freight owner/founder Eric Smidt informed customers that the company was donating their entire supply of N95 masks, face shields and 5 and 7 mil nitrile gloves to hospitals with 24 hour emergency rooms.

While some stores are taking advantage of the opportunity to increase prices, others are letting their customers know they’re more important than profits.

If you know a business that’s hiked up prices, I hope you’ll tell all your friends. Then encourage them to tell all their friends. Avoid those businesses like the plague they are. Maybe then they’ll lower their prices - for their going-out-of-business sales.

Tough times are when we see who’s really worthy of our support.

We’ll keep you posted.

—Jim Shepherd

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