Minnesota official measurers say show will be biggest event of the year
Falcon Heights, Minn. – Antlers are one of the main attractions for the Outdoor News Minnesota Deer & Turkey Show at the State Fairgrounds' Warner Coliseum on Feb. 26-28.
It should be the largest state display of antlers at a sports show, as hunters from all over bring antlers for scoring by the Minnesota Official Measurers, who are certified to score antlers for Pope & Young and Boone & Crockett, among other scoring systems.
"This is going to be our big show of the year," said the group's president Shawn Grabow, noting the nonprofit group's presence scoring antlers at several sport shows around the state. "This is our Super Bowl."
There are about 30 different categories, ranging from deer and moose sheds to bear kills.
"We are there to tell the truth about your trophy," Grabow said. "These animals are out in the elements, living five, six, seven, eight years with the predators. They have gotten smart. They know how to survive. To outwit that animal is a tremendous feat. We want to give the animal its due respect."
The process for dropping off antlers to be scored and then picking them up has been streamlined over the years, though depending on the number of people waiting, it can take up to 90 minutes. For this reason, the scoring starts an hour before the main expo begins each day.
Those bringing trophies for scoring should enter the coliseum from the northwest side.
"We don't want them getting beat up and dropped," Grabow said of the reasoning for the separate entrance.
Attendees can bring trophies in for scoring all three days of the event. The first thing hunters will do is fill out paperwork (three copies of the paperwork will be produced), at which point they will wait their turn to have their antlers scored.
"They will be measuring as fast as can be," Grabow said, noting extreme care will be taken. If there is a question about how something is scored, several scorers will collectively make the judgment call.
After each trophy is scored, they'll pencil in a score on the back of the trophy mount, and then the scoresheet is entered into a database. The trophy then goes to the floor of the show, where it is displayed.
Those who leave their antlers for the duration of the show – MOM encourages all to do so – receive a wristband, which will allow them to return to the show on another day without being charged admission again.
"People come to these shows to see big deer," Grabow said. "If we can get people to leave them here until Sunday, the more deer, the merrier."
Participants will need their original sign-in paperwork to retrieve their antlers. That's a security measure to ensure the right folks receive their antlers.
"The only way the hunter gets those antlers back is if he has the original," Grabow said.
There will be a designated trophy pickup spot, and once antlers have been returned, they must leave the show.
"With the crowd of people, somebody could get hurt or the chances of a trophy being dropped and broken increase," Grabow said.
The scorers, many of whom drive many miles in their day-to-day lives for the chance to score a trophy, don't charge hunters for scoring antlers.
But Grabow and MOM ask that if a trophy qualifies to be published in the organization's records book, "Big Game Records of Minnesota," the hunter follows through, which costs $20 (to enter a shed, it's $8 or $15 for a matching set). The hunter receives a ribbon and a certificate, and most scorers are happy to provide a copy of the original score sheet.
"We encourage them to put it into the book to honor the trophy and themselves," said Doug Ohman, a scorer and secretary of MOM.
For typical scores, the minimum threshold is 125 for an archery kill, 135 for a muzzleloader kill, and 140 for a gun kill. For nontypicals, the minimum requirements are 155 for archery, 160 for muzzleloader entries, and 165 for gun kills.
MOM recently took over the task of keeping records, which had been published by the Minnesota Deer Classic founder Hugh Price via the "Minnesota Record Book." The most recent edition of that book appeared in 2010, and MOM pored through every record in the book, updating as necessary.
"We are committed to the most accurate information," Grabow said, noting the new book would be published every four years, as Price had done.
In all of the years since MOM began scoring antlers at sports shows, no set of antlers has ever gone missing, Grabow said.
The venue will be tended to 24 hours a day during the Outdoor News Minnesota Deer & Turkey Show.
On Sunday, Feb. 28 from 3 to 5 p.m., Outdoor News will award 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbons in every category, plus a $50 Cabela's gift card to 1st place. The awards ceremony will be on Seminar Stage B, with company President Rob Drieslein hosting. Final results will appear in Outdoor News.
Certified scorers from the Minnesota Official Measurers will offer free scoring of whitetail antlers and other big game all three days of the Outdoor News Deer and Turkey Show Feb. 26-28.
For $20, attendees at the show can have their trophy officially entered in the "Big Game Records of Minnesota" recordbook and receive an entry ribbon.