- Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 08:40
- Published on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 08:40
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Last weekend marked the 30th Annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show. I am a relative newcomer to the show having only attended off and on for roughly half that time, yet I have seen major changes over the years.
The past few years have alone been markedly different. The workers behind the scenes have worked very hard to keep raising the bar, and it shows. The move in the past few years to the Richmond Raceway Complex was smart in my opinion. The amount of space, better air conditioning, and better parking is a welcome change.
The mainstay to the show is the Virginia Deer Classic. Hunters bring their mounted deer heads to have them scored. The largest and most interesting bucks are seen on display here. Five antler classes are available and judges award ribbons and trophies on Sunday each year. Antlers are scored under the Boone and Crockett system.
The Virginia Open Calling Contest is also a draw to the show as turkey hunters in four divisions compete to see who has the most realistic calling sequence.
Winners go to the Grand National Calling Contest. Other guests and speakers included Dave Poteat and Tim Anello, Pat and Nicole Reeve and Ron and Amy Shirley of Lizard Lick Towing and Recovery.
My buddy and I slipped into the deer hunting seminar hosted by Pat and Nicole Reeve. This model looking couple is the latest of couples to take to outdoor television, the show circuit and DVD. Obviously the good looks of the two gets attention from viewers. However, these two did have a simple but effective strategy to share with attendees about being a successful deer hunter. They took questions from the audience and were not bashful about sharing their experiences, both good and bad, in the woods with those asking questions. www.spinjag.com
Attending the show is one sure way to get your mind turning toward the fall and hunting season. The high pitched calling of someone blowing a duck call greeted my ears as we entered the building and reminded me to get my duck blind license prior to August 15. Vendors such as call makers and sellers hawked their wares aggressively. Outdoorsmen could find a wide variety of products to use this fall. Treestands, game plot equipment, clothing, firearm accessories, muzzleloader accessories, and more were on display. One particular item that I found to be well worth spending money is the SpinJag. This is the jag that goes on your muzzleloader ramrod. The difference is that it fits much tighter to your barrel AND it spins as you push it down the barrel to follow the rifling versus skipping the grooves.
I am betting this accessory tool will do a much better job cleaning the rifling in my barrel. I wish the company would make a similar tool for rifles and slug barrels. www.spinjag.com
Another of my favorite vendors was Kenny’s Spices (www.kennysspices.com). Missy and I found his booth last year and sampled some of his spices on chicken and in a soup he made. Then we went home and used some of the four spices we purchased with great results. I could smell his food cooking this year and immediately went over to restock our pantry and try a few different spices. The great thing about these spices is that there are no allergens that affect my household and no MSG in them.
If outdoor artwork is your interest there are always several booths filled with extraordinary examples of sketches, paintings, and metal work. Generally the show is held on the first or second full weekend of August. Keep those weekends open for next year. I think families will find something for every member to enjoy at the show.
Anecdotal sightings of deer show that the herd is making a comeback. Some twin fawns have been seen indicating healthy enough does last fall. One of the members of the small group that I hunt with has already seen some nice bucks on a property he hunts.
As expected, some areas are going to take a few years to build numbers back to where they were prior to the HD outbreak last summer. So far this summer in our area, there have not been any notable observations of HD. This is not surprising as the disease generally occurs on a four year cycle, which interestingly, is just a year or so longer than the average deer lifespan. It would be wise to get game cameras out and begin scouting or taking “inventory” now to see what is on your hunting land.
Ticks are everywhere this year. Perhaps the moist year we have experienced is helping them along. The tiny ticks are the worst it seems. With several news stories about new tick diseases being discovered, this is not good a good thing. Take the appropriate measures when outdoors. Light colored clothing, some sort of insect repellent and a thorough check of your body and clothing before entering the house is wise. I also recommend checking your pets, particularly if they come indoors.
Lastly, don’t forget to get your waterfowl blinds in order. Deadlines for licensing them is now upon us.