It’s that time of year again. Even though the days are sweltering and fishing is going strong, it’s time to shift gears occasionally and focus on the upcoming hunting seasons. A good way to do that is to mark your calendar for Aug. 9-11 and plan on attending the annual Outdoor Sportsman Show on those dates. This is the 36th anniversary for the show, held each summer near Richmond, just north of the state capital off I-95.
The event will take place at the Richmond Raceway Complex at 600 E. Laburnum Ave., and is sponsored by Green Top Hunting & Fishing, the Virginia Deer Hunter’s Association, and Keystone Tractor Works. Hours are 1–8 p.m. Aug. 9, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 10, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 11.
A tremendous variety of live events, seminars and displays attract sportsmen, women, and children to this show, but one of the highlights is the Virginia Deer Classic. That contest judges and 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.
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 6-pointers on up. Bucks are judged according to the type of hunting weapon used, with categories including regular bows, crossbows, muzzleloaders, and modern firearms.
There will also be separate categories for youth and women, plus a Historical Division for any deer taken from previous seasons in Virginia. Awards will be presented to winners on the afternoon of Aug. 11. Deadline for entry in the contest is 5 p.m. Aug. 10.
Participants 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’ Association’s fantastic publication, the Whitetail Times. While you’re talking to Denny, also consider joining this fine organization that promotes the interests of Virginia whitetail hunters and sound conservation management.
The Virginia State Turkey Calling Contest will be held Aug. 10. 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 plans to have personnel on hand and several educational 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 and even register a boat. For a special experience, the department’s K-9 team of Labrador retrievers will be on hand and give demonstrations throughout the show.
A display that always draws a crowd is the NRA Great American Whitetail Collection. 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 11½ pounds and is one of the largest free-range bucks ever bagged.
Lots 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 with tips on hunting the rut. Kip Campbell, of Red Arrow, on the Outdoor Channel, will discuss tactics for taking whitetails with archery gear. Scott and Brandon from Trophy Room Adventures will also give a talk on deer and other game. 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 in the Tarheel State, besides doing his TV show.
Chef Albert Wutsch, author of The Art of Cooking Venison, will demonstrate how to make delicious culinary fare out of wild game. Joel Porter, a professional retriever trainer, will give tips on how to make your dog a talented partner in the duck or goose blind. Travis Stauch, a waterfowl expert, will tell you how to call in those birds. He has won the Virginia State Duck Calling Championship several times in a row. He hunts mostly on the Potomac River and other Mid-Atlantic flowages.
All told, there will be over 300 booths at the show featuring hunting supplies, rifles, 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. 10 and 11, admission is $10 daily or $15 for a three-day pass. Children 16 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.