Deer and Turkey Classic a regular stop for Minnesota DNR COs

From Jon Paurus’ perspective, it’s part of a grand slam of sport shows in Minnesota.

The annual Outdoor News Deer & Turkey Classic returns March 9-11 to Warner Coliseum at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul. So, too, will the DNR’s Enforcement Division, which sees the Classic and shows like it as important tools for the agency on a number of fronts.

“It’s a great opportunity for the public to interact with the COs and vice versa,” said Paurus, the Enforcement Division’s education programs coordinator. “They (the public) ask questions and it maybe gives us an opportunity to potentially recruit COs and people to our safety classes.

“Statewide, the COs are very involved with the different events like this in their stations. At these bigger shows, we try to get COs to be at the Outdoor News show, the Northwest Sportshow, Game Fair, and the State Fair. Those are the big four. And also at the boat show as well as a handful of other ones that are a little smaller.”

According to Paurus, like last year, a CO will be on hand each of the three days of the Classic (Friday-Sunday, March 9-11; show hours are 1-9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday).

“It’s been a tradition to have officers there. And the public likes having face-to-face conversations with the COs,” Paurus said. “It gives the public a little more relaxed of an atmosphere to discuss what they have concerns about. We like to be involved with these events and communicate with the public in a little different setting than they usually have.

“It depends on the show, but we typically try to get one to two COs for each day of the show. For the Outdoor News show we might split between two COs and also have some overlap.”

Fishing for Life will oversee a youth firearms safety class during the Classic – it was filled almost immediately, a reflection of the popularity of these classes – and again this year, the Classic will include a laser-shooting attraction for youth shooters, staffed by volunteer instructors.

For more on the Classic, including a list of seminars, attractions, and for ticket information, go to www.mndeerclassic.com

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