Schumacher buck highlights the Deer and Turkey Expo

Madison – More than 23,500 sportsmen and women attended the 2010
Wisconsin Deer and Turkey Expo held at the Alliant Energy Center in
Madison in mid-April. Now in its 26th year, the event was a great
success, according to organizer Glenn Helgeland, of Target
Communications.

“One of the largest crowds we’ve had,” he said. “Considering the
great weather, lateness of the event, and the state of the economy
– very satisfied.”

As in the past, the deer and bear trophy contest formed one of
the core features of the event. In hushed reverence to the mighty
whitetail, a long line of visitors viewed the magnificent display
of antlers in the competition.

Probably the most notable among the 250 entries in the contest
was the now-famous Schumacher buck that was shot last year in Fond
du Lac County. The 29-point whitetail took Best of Show in the
nontypical archery competition with a score of 2436/8 Pope and
Young points.

Wayne Schumacher described the moment of truth. “I first saw him
at 10 yards, but I couldn’t get a shot,” he said. “All I saw at
first was this much of his rack (using his fingers to measure a
segment of one side).

“I finally got a shot; it was angling away at 18 yards,” he
said, recalling the event. “The arrow entered behind his rib cage.
He went about 70 yards, wobbled a little, and fell over.”

Other winners in the Best of Show included the buck shot by
Elmer Gotz (now deceased), of Fountain City in Buffalo County in
1972. The exhibitor of the state record animal (firearm) was Curt
Rotering, of Waumandee.

In the typical archery category, Tony Kapral, of Oshkosh, took
Best of Show with his buck shot in Winnebago County in 2009. The
buck scored 1713/8 points.

Terry Pichler, of Rio, won in the typical firearm category with
his buck from Columbia County last fall. The buck scored 185 Boone
and Crockett points.

Winner in the black bear (firearm) contest was Timothy Lord, of
Lodi, who shot his trophy in Washburn County in 2009. The skull
measured 199/16 inches. In the archery category, Gary Pavloski, of
Sussex, won with his entry that scored 1811/16 points. He shot the
bear in Ashland County in 2009.

Traffic was heavy throughout the expo’s maze of outfitters and
product reps – just fewer than 600 booths, plus 373 exhibiting
companies, Helgeland said. In addition, 68 seminars offering 15
speakers whetted the appetites of sportsmen and women who, in many
cases, left standing-room-only space available.

The number of entries in the deer and bear contests was down,
however, according to Wisconsin Buck and Bear Club member Marlin
Laidlaw, of Marshfield, who traveled to Madison to assist with the
scoring.

“Last year we had around 200 entries come in on Friday night, he
said. “This year it was about half that many.” The final tally of
entries was 249.

The head-scratching among interested observers led to several
possible explanations for the decline. Some reasoned the economy
might have had something to do with it.

“A lot of people can’t afford to spend $300 to $400 to have a
shoulder mount done these days,” surmised Rob Bohman, a Buffalo
County landowner and vice chairman of the Wisconsin Conservation
Congress.

The Conservation Congress Wall of Fame exhibit enjoyed brisk
traffic as folks sought out information on the spring hearings to
be held the following evening.

New features at the event included a Tech Info Center, Helgeland
said. The center is composed of mini-seminars conducted by experts
in firearms, archery, blackpowder, optics, turkey decoys, clothing,
food plots and game processing, and cooking.

“The Tech Info Center has been a huge success at all four expos
(in other states) this year, and we plan to make it even better
next year,” Helgeland said.

While entries in the buck and bear competition were the result
of success by mostly older hunters, future contest entrants might
include younger hunters, including 15-year-old Kayla Harmeyer, of
East Troy. She won the 2009 World Championship Archery Competition
in Ogden, Utah, in the women’s compound cadet division.

After winning the competition, Harmeyer attended the Expo as a
tech rep for Bow Tech in partnership with Buck Rub Outfitters, of
Waukesha.

About her success, she said, “It was everything I worked for; it
finally paid off.”

“She’s pretty knowledgeable about everything when it comes to
archery,” said her proud dad, Steve Harmeyer.

The pair deer hunt together, but Kayla did not shoot a buck in
2009, passing up several opportunities.

“She needs a better guide,” quipped the elder Harmeyer.

The 2011 Deer & Turkey Expo is scheduled for Apr. 1-3, also
at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

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