Whitetails and gobblers and more, or my
ST. PAUL — Several Twitter polls conducted by Outdoor News last week leading up to the 2017 Outdoor News Deer and Turkey Classic indicated that deer indeed were expected to be the main draw at this year’s Classic.
But those polls indicated that interest on the turkey side, too, would be significant.
Still, we may want to broaden those poll questions next year. As expected, deer and then gobblers were the biggest draws of the show. But the Classic proved that it is that — whitetails and wild turkeys — and much more.
Antler scoring drew plenty of attention Friday through Sunday at the Classic. But on one Outdoor News Facebook post on antler scoring, one follower wondered if bear skulls could be scored at the show, too. And while most of the seminars related to deer and turkeys, presenter Bernie Barringer was there to spread the word on “How to Bait Big Bears,” drawing nice crowds at his seminars.
A highlight of the opening day of the show Friday was the presentation of the Outdoor News Man of the Year Award. This year’s winner was Ray Gildow. He’s known for his volunteer and conservation efforts, but mostly, he’s a world-class fishing guide — he’s a member of the Nisswa Guides League and even wrote a book about the elite guide group.
And the fishing factor was on display throughout Warner Coliseum at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, again the site of this year’s Classic, from the bustling kids’ trout pond to a host of vendors promoting fishing destinations.
Mounts and replicas were everywhere, but a pair of real-life wolves also drew crowds, as did Art Barbarians, which featured all-things-wildlife art by the famed Hautman brothers. There were even fat-tire bikes. Because they go places mountain bikes can’t necessarily go, such as to that backcountry deer stand, and travel stealthily, with gear easily in tow, the popular bikes have major hunting and fishing applications, and were a good fit here.
So while this is the Deer and Turkey Classic, all of the vendors and featured types were right at home here. The huge crowds were probably here to see all things whitetails and turkeys. But that they were treated to that and so much more made for a memorable atmosphere and weekend.
And we’ll see you next year at the Outdoor News Deer and Turkey — and more — Classic.