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Turns out the new Rosemont offering is show enough

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Updated: March 1, 2012 8:19AM

Ernie Marvin ticked off the hides at his Two Bears Trading Company: bear, wolverine, musk ox, buffalo (starting at $850), elk, fisher, marten (‘‘Most people don’t even know what they are’’) and the usual mink, muskrat and ermine.

Then he launched into a tale of the white garments the Queen wears: ‘‘Ermine coats start at $35,000. The fur of royalty is a freaking weasel.’’

‘‘Ermine’’ is fancy for ‘‘weasel.’’

Maybe it was the buzz of opening day — there was a surprising buzz Thursday when the Chicago Outdoor Sportsmen Show debuted at Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. The show runs through today.

Given the new owners only had two months to pull it together, the show is better than I expected. And the layout is more conducive to walking the entire show and savoring it.

But the show is smaller than the old days, and there is only limited fishing-store presence, and virtually none by fishing manufacturers. But I found plenty to do for three hours, and that was without hitting any seminars.

Closest to breaking news was the release of the revamped and modernized Fishing Guide by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. By modernized, I mean the days of the little blue book we knew so well are history, replaced by a glossy color magazine with modern mapping techniques. Every lake where fishing is allowed in the FPDCC is in the book.

‘‘I hope the public appreciates this,’’ said FPDCC fisheries chief Steve N, who said they only got the books from the printers Wednesday. ‘‘They are long overdue. I think they will be pleased. A lot of hard work went into this.’’

Cook County Board president Toni Preckwinkle was scheduled to be there Saturday for the official unveiling of the Fishing Guide. I think that would be a first or a least a rarity beyond my memory in the more than three decades of the various ‘‘Rosemont Shows’’ or ‘‘O’Hara Shows.’’

Speaking of decades past: Dick Buchholz joined the Chicago Herpetological Society in 1967. He was managing the stick full of snakes at Chauncey Niziol’s spread of family attractions. The stick allows the snakes to curl and rest during public display. And Buchholz had finally found the right stick.

‘‘I was looking for it for years,’’ he said. ‘‘And I just found it last fall five miles northeast of Thebes [in southern Illinois near the Mississippi River].’’

As to the type of wood, he said, ‘‘River stick.’’ The stick is held root side up, so the snakes may curl there. On Thursday, he had rat and king snakes.

Nearby, Robert Bavirsha lugged around a 60-pound alligator snapping turtle. He also had snapping turtles, box turtles and tortoises.

The most striking display was at All-American Taxidermy. A lioness with a warthog in its mouth was set on walnut furniture. It was priced to go at $15,000. If it’s gone, somebody bought it.

At his Historical Fishing Display, Dan Basore was excited by his latest find: a boxed lure from The Spitter Bass Getter, made in the early 1900s in Des Plaines. It was a fishing company he didn’t know, one reason I savor Basore’s display every time. It changes, new out of the old.

Similar to this show: fitting the new within the memories of the old.

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