By Michael Deming

As I sit down to write this column,  the Archery Trade Association just wrapped up in Nashville and the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor, Trade (SHOT) show is next week in Las Vegas. These are two of the largest outdoor industry shows in the United States. They are closed to the public, but as an insider, we get the ability to put our grubby little mitts on all the new gear hitting the shelves in 2014. Based on my visit to the archery show, it looks like there are going to be a few must-have items for the upcoming hunting season. We’re not going to let the cat out of the bag at this time on all those products, but the March issue will have pages loaded with items that piqued our attention, so,make sure you pick up the next issue. If you would simply like to see it delivered to your “INBOX” at your email address, please sign up for the digital subscription on our website. The sign up is on the right side of the home page and is free to all. It even has special sections, which will only be available to the digital subscribers.

We will have some major announcements about the digital edition in our March issue as well. We have worked out a program with several big supporters who will be providing us some products to give away on a weekly basis. At this point in time, I know we will be giving away some Outdoor Edge knives, Double Tap Ammunition, and some other great products each and every week of the year. We will finalize our major gun sponsor for the year at next week’s show and we will dedicate several top quality rifles to be given away throughout the year for those of you who subscribe.

This issue starts our newest story contest. One thing that will make all of those who submit articles very happy is that we will now start to publish at least two separate submissions each and every month. This will allow more of your stories to get a chance of being published and a better chance of getting a shot at the grand prize. This current contest is a great fishing trip with one of our Platinum Approved Outfitters Dierick’s Tsiu River Lodge. We reserved one of the very best weeks in the middle of September, which will be prime time for the Coho salmon run. These late run fish are extremely large and have lots of fight. Kent Danjanovich, who is our Senior Editor and Chief Financial Officer, did the original endorsement visit with this outfitter and he hasn’t stopped talking about them since. One lucky winner will join Kent and our crew for a fishing trip of a lifetime, later this year. So, if you’re interested in being part of this trip, keep the stories coming. Details on how to enter are on page 4 of this issue.

We have also drawn the winner of the 10th annual story contest and it is posted on our website, so make sure you visit us and see if you were the lucky winner.

Since this is the time of year when most of you start looking at booking trips for 2014, I want to remind all of you about our Platinum Approved Outfitters and what that means for you. Over the past 10 years, the team at Sportsman’s News has visited over 250 different operations and we only endorse about 20-25 percent of them. Even if we had unlimited time and money, we still wouldn’t book with 75 percent of those we evaluate. Only the very best receive the Platinum Approved Outfitter endorsement from Sportsman’s News. There are many more bad outfitters out there than good ones and there is no reason for you to spend hard dollars weeding through all the bad. We have a full list of all of our endorsed outfitters on our website and several who have ads in this issue of Sportsman’s News. If you are shopping for a specific hunt or fishing trip, let us know and we will be happy to share our information with you. This information is free to you for picking up Sportsman’s News. Send me an email personally at mdeming@sportsmansnews.com and I will get it to the person to best answer your questions.