Gerald Almy: Outdoor sportsman show coming in August

Gerald Almy

If you’re starting to get excited about the coming hunting seasons you’ll want to mark your calendars for this year’s Outdoor Sportsman Show, set for Aug. 11-13 in Richmond. This year is the 34th time the summer outdoor show will be held.

The event will take place at the Richmond Raceway Complex at 600 E. Laburnum Ave., near Richmond. It is being sponsored by Green Top Hunting & Fishing, the Virginia Deer Hunter’s Association, and Keystone Tractor Works. Hours are 4 – 9 p.m. Aug. 11, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 12 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 13.

Lots of live events, seminars and displays attract sportsmen and women to this show, but one of the highlights is the Virginia Deer Classic, a contest that compares the biggest bucks tagged in the state last year in different categories. Contestants who enter mounted deer heads or antlers will have their bucks scored using the official Boone & Crockett method, the most widely respected measuring system.

A panel of certified judges will measure the racks to the nearest 1/8-inch and award ribbons and trophies in five antler classes including typical and non-typical and various point levels from six pointers on up. Bucks are judged according to the type of hunting gear used, with categories including regular bows, crossbows, muzzleloaders, and modern firearms. There will also be separate categories for youth and women. Awards will be presented to winners at 5 p.m. Aug. 13.

Hunters must have in their possession a certified Virginia game check card or their confirmation number from the Game Department’s telephone check system in order to enter a deer in the contest. For more details, call Denny Quaiff at 804-840-2564, or check out the website virginiadeerhunters.org. Quaiff is the editor of the Virginia Deer Hunters’ excellent publication, Whitetail Times.

The Virginia State Turkey Calling Contest will be held Saturday, August 12. Another contest to be held at the show is the 3-D Archery Shoot, sponsored by the Virginia Archery Coalition.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will have personnel on hand and several booths at the show. Conservation police officers will be there, as well as wildlife biologists to visit with show attendees about fishing and hunting opportunities and regulations in Virginia. You can also buy hunting and fishing licenses at the show or register a boat. For a special experience, the department’s K-9 team of Labrador retrievers will be on hand  demonstrations will be given throughout the show.

The National Rifle Association’s Great American Whitetail Collection is always a popular display at the Outdoor Sportsman Show. Included in the NRA display is the famous Hole-in-the-Horn buck, with a non-typical rack score of 328 2/8 inches. This awesome set of antlers weighs 11 ½ pounds and is one of the largest free-range bucks ever bagged.

A number of celebrity guest speakers will be at the event. Steve Lewis, of Buck Obsession, aired on the Pursuit Channel, will talk about how to outsmart older aged bucks. Kip Campbell, of Red Arrow, on the Outdoor Channel, will discuss tactics for taking whitetails with archery gear. Rounding out the panel of whitetail experts giving seminars is Carson Koury, from Pursuit Channel’s Final Draw. Koury hails from North Carolina and outfits hunts there besides doing his TV show.

Chef Albert Wutsch, author of “The Art of Cooking Venison,” will demonstrate how to make fine culinary fare out of wild game. Joel Porter, a professional retriever trainer, will give tips on how to make your dog an expert partner in the duck or goose hunting blind. Travis Stauch will then tell you how to call in those birds. He has won the Virginia State Duck Calling Championship the last two years in a row. He hunts mostly on the Potomac River.

In all, there will be over 300 booths at the show featuring hunting supplies, bows, tree stands, muzzleloaders, turkey, deer, and duck calls, waterfowl blinds, fishing equipment, camouflage clothing, and wildlife art. RVs and fishing gear will also be on display.

On Aug. 12-13, admission is $10 daily, or $15 for a three-day pass. On Aug. 11, admission is $5. Children 15 and under are admitted free if accompanied by an adult. For more details, call 804-748-7529 or visit the show website sportsmanshow.com.

Award-winning outdoors writer Gerald Almy is a Maurertown resident.