April 22 • 04:30 PM

Outdoor Weekend set for September 7-9 in Imlay City

September 01, 2012
The days are little shorter, the mornings a little cooler, sure signs of fall. Nothing could be more of an indication of fall than the upcoming 26th Annual Woods-N-Water News Outdoor Weekend. This year's fall extravaganza will take place Sept.7-9 at the Eastern Michigan State Fairgrounds in Imlay City. We'd like to invite you to come and celebrate our outdoor heritage.

We have lined up an outstanding event for showgoers starting with great outdoor retailers, educational displays and exhibits – over 200 in all. Featuring just about every type of products for outdoor enthusiasts. Add oodles of entertainment from jumping dogs, to wild animals, artistic chainsaw carvers, historical civil war encampments, a living history center with flintknapping, primitive skills, blacksmithing, a 1794 trader's camp, Native American storytellers/dancers, birds of prey (Sunday only), a camp chili cook off (Saturday only), seminars, a gun auction (Sunday), lots of wildgame food, refreshments and puppies—lots of puppies!

Byron Ferguson

Shooting Show

Back this year to 'wow' attendees will be the world's greatest longbow shooter, Byron Ferguson. Byron became infatuated with the bow and arrow at the age of 12 and began working as a bricklayer's helper to earn money to purchase his first recurve. Now famous for his coin trick, Byron once shot eight dimes in a row out of the air. He uses no sights or other gadgets when he shoots. He developed his style of shooting by sitting in a totally dark room and shooting out the flames of candles. Splitting a playing card in half -from the side - is one of Byron's favorite tricks and his most famous shot, putting an arrow through a lady's diamond ring. He and his wife Wanda will put on a shooting demonstration you won't want to miss.

Byron Ferguson will provide great entertainment at the Outdoor Weekend with his longbow trick shooting shows.

Seminars For

Serious Deer Hunters

We've put together a great event this year and are really excited about our tremendous deer hunting seminar line-up. I'm really excited about this year and with good reasons: The best known father and son deer hunting team of Greg and Fred Abbas ((A-Way Hunting Products/A-Way Outdoors TV) are Michigan trophy deer hunters with over 50 Michigan trophy buck entries between them in CBM, P&Y, Buckmasters, and the Long Hunters Society. We are still getting calls about Fred's tremendous seminar he presented last year, "Mock Scrapes, The Deadliest Tactic Of All," where they gave out their secret scent formula for mock scrapes. Well, you know Fred and Greg are going to top that performance and have another amazing seminar for this year, "Creating the Ultimate Buck Factory." They will cover almost all aspects of growing and hunting big bucks, even in pressured hunting areas. Check out Fred's article in this issue on page 38. If you want to improve your deer hunting attend one of the seminars; Fri. at 6 p.m., Sat. at 1:30 and 3:30 and Sun. at again at 1:30.

The hottest topic in the deer hunting community is land and habitat improvement and we have that covered at our seminars with one of the best known Michigan expert Tony LaPratt. Do you want to consistently harvest trophy whitetail bucks? Is your small acreage hunting property not living up to its full potential? Is your property in a high pressure hunting area? Then you won't want to miss Tony LaPratt's seminars! Tony has developed cutting edge concepts, tactics, and new discoveries that are 10 to 20 years ahead of their time on whitetail deer, and land management for whitetail hunting. Tony LaPratt is a professional trophy deer hunter, habitat management expert and hunting consultant. Tony leads the nation in manipulating and influencing the habitat and bedding areas to attract large mature bucks.

Of course we couldn't have the great deer hunting seminar line-up without Mr. Food Plots, Ed Spinazzola, the author of two books on the subject. Ed will offer insight into improving your deer hunting land with his incredible seminar, "Planting Game Changing Kill Plots!" Plus Veteran photojournalist Richard P. Smith, author of the most comprehensive book on deer hunting and new DVD, "Walking With Whitetails" who found one of the best ways to learn about whitetailed deer is to follow them around to see where they go, what they do, what they eat and how they interact with one another. And now you can share in seeing and learning some of the unique things he's seen and learned about these normally shy animals by walking with him!

Continuing with incredible deer hunting seminars and a continuation of the deer hunt, what do you do once your deer is down? Learn the proper field dressing and skinning demonstrations of big game by Steve and Sue Francis and family, owners of Country Smoke House in Almont. Their seminars have been so popular they will be back again this year along with Chef Ryan, who will offer cooking demonstrations. The seminars have turned into sort of an 'everything you need to know about what to do after you shoot your deer!' Steve and his sons will also be giving butchering tips demonstrations, big game cooking and tips on sausage making. You won't want to miss these presentations on Saturday and Sunday.

Air Dog Championships

Open To All Dogs!

If your dog loves to catapult into the water you're invited to come to this year's Outdoor Weekend as Milt and Brian Wilcox's Ultimate Air Dog Championships return this year and the competition is open to all dogs and their handlers. First-timers are welcome. With a small amount of knowledge, you will be ready to mount the dock. Any breed or mix may enter. Also, there is no limit on the age of either handler or dog, as long as they can both safely compete. There are no better competitors than hunting dogs. Their training keeps the dogs in peak physical condition, so that come fall, they are ready to hit the woods, fields, ponds, and lakes. Remember, there are no bad jumps. If you can manage to coax your dog to jump off of a portable dock standing five or six feet high, into a pool, in front of a cheering crowd, you should be proud! For more information go to

What's New In Ice Fishing?

Frank's Great Outdoors, leaders of the popular winter sport of ice fishing will have numerous displays at this year's event. The newest ice fishing products will be on display that have never been seen by the public! Here's your chance to pre-order before they are gone! Plus, product representatives will be on hand to give you expert advice. Whether you're a die-hard ice angler or new to the sport you'll find what you need!

So Much More

• Back again for the second year is the chainsaw carving contest. Five of the best carvers will compete for cash prizes with showgoers having the opportunity to buy the winning works.

• The Waterfowlers' Area, sponsored by Freeway Sports Center of Fenton, will offer specialty exhibitors with boats, blinds, calls and decoys for the waterfowler.

• Attractions, seminars and demonstrations are not the only new items; we also have a host of new vendors joining the weekend, vendors with knowledge not only in products, but also in all aspects of hunting, fishing and the outdoors. The hottest topic in the hunting community is crossbows and we'll provide the experts and the products. If you're curious about these primeval weapons upgraded with modern technology the Outdoor Weekend is the place to come.

• Terry McBurney, Woods-N-Water News staff writer, will return again this year answering questions and offering free appraisals about sporting collectibles, especially vintage fishing tackle. Bring your old "stuff" to the weekend and let Terry give you an idea of what it's worth. He is also interested in purchasing items for his own collection.

• Commemorative Bucks of Michigan-the official scorers for record-book big game-will have scorers in Imlay City. Patrons can bring their deer, bear, elk or turkey mounts to the show and have them professionally measured. Many successful hunters will have their trophies on display at the CBM booth under the big tent.

• Living history; Reg Pettibone and his family will teach Native American culture through interpretive dances and artifact displays of the Ho-Chunk nation (Saturday and Sunday).

• Outdoor writer and author Dennis Neely will be on hand answering your black powder shooting and black powder hunting questions. He will have his 1794 River Raisin trader's camp set up and will be your guide to learn the value of wilderness necessities, price beaver pelts and compare today's hunting gear with the trade guns, linen and leather clothing and shelters used long ago. Learn the unique mix of fair-chase hunting, old-style muzzleloaders and American history.

• The encampment will also feature Pat and Joe Schnur, naturalist and primitive skills instructor, who has lined up a great group to demonstrate primitive skills and will have a special focus for kids. Dave Long, who was featured in last month's Woods-N-Water News, "the blacksmith with the big feet," will be back demonstrating the fine art of blacksmithing.

• The 8th Arkansas - 22nd Michigan Civil War reenactors' authentic encampment was a big hit when introduced a few years ago and will be back, offering an opportunity to visit living history.

• The Puppy Area will again have hundreds of puppies to pet, photograph and buy. Most major hunting breeds will be represented. If you're interested in selling quality, healthy hunting breed pups call

810-724-0254 or check out for the rules and regulation and registration forms.

• The Camp Chili Cook-off on Saturday, September 8, features teams competing for $750 cash with judging at 3:00 p.m.

• On Sunday the raptors are back! But you don't need to be afraid of these birds of prey! The Michigan Hawking Club plans to return to the Outdoor Weekend on Sunday, September 9 only. Their last visit saw the most licensed falconers at one gathering and the birds are so beautiful you don't want to miss them.

We look forward to another great show, welcoming back old friends and making new ones!

Show hours are Friday, Sept. 7, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 8, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Sept. 9, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Imlay City is located between Flint and Port Huron; the Eastern Michigan State Fairgrounds is on M-53, a half-mile north of I-69 off Exit #168. Admission is $8 per person. For more information check our website or call 810-724-0254.

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