Nothing could be more of an indication of fall than the upcoming 23rd Annual Woods-N-Water News Outdoor Weekend. This year’s fall extravaganza will take place Sept. 11-13 at the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds in Imlay City. We’d like to invite you to come and celebrate our outdoor heritage. We’ve put together a great event this year, bringing back some of our showgoers’ all-time favorites, and adding a new event we’re sure will become a favorite.

One of the new features this year is the Outdoor Weekend’s 3-D Shoot, held each day of the show, offering a youth shoot on Friday, an open shoot on Saturday and a team shoot on Sunday. We’re certain you’ll find it to be entertaining. X-Factor Archery has agreed to be our partners in this event, bringing their computerized 3-D pop-up and moving target system. This unique format will allow three divisions, (5-8, 9-11 and 12-15 age groups) of youth archers to compete for an individual championship. On Saturday it’s time for the big boys to compete for cash and prizes, with $500 offered to the champion. And on Sunday the Team competition will provide some friendly competition among archery and range shooters from across the state. For more information or to enter call our friends at X-Factor Archery, 517-879-1001. Deadline to enter is September 4th.

The “Ultimate Air Dogs” show is back and even more exciting. This is an event that not only can you watch in amazement as dogs long-jump off a dock into a pool, but that you can bring your dog and participate. Milt Wilcox and son Brian have also added the Ultimate Vertical or Super Fly – where the dog must snatch a bumper suspended in midair eight feet from the dock. For complete details and schedule see MaraLee Richardson’s story on page 8 of this issue!

The proper field dressing and skinning demonstrations of big game by Steve and

Sue Francis and family, owners of Country Smoke House in Almont, has been so popular they will be back again this year. The seminars have turned into sort of an ‘everything you need to know about what to do after you shoot your deer!’ Steve 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 only.

A-Way Hunting’s father and son team of Fred and Greg Abbas will be back with a new seminar topic, “Anyone can Invent A To Z.” It’s a little known fact that Greg and Fred Abbas are inventors as well as noted hunters. Between them they have several patents covering everything from hunting to automotive. In the hunting field they have invented the well known Bowgrunter Plus deer call, Scent Web, Turkey Skinz and Inject-A-Lite. New this year is the Dual Grunter deer call, the World’s only dual function deer call. They not only invent products, they invent hunting tactics as well. They also have a television program, A-Way Outdoors, seen on the Sportsman Channel and the Pursuits Channel. Greg and Fred are better known as Michigan trophy deer hunters with over 50 Michigan trophy buck entries between them in CBM, P&Y, Buckmasters, and the Long Hunters Society. Fred leads the state in trophy buck entries, and is the only hunter in Michigan history to tag 4 trophy book bucks in one season. Both Greg and Fred are outdoor writers and have written exclusively for Woods-N-Waters News for over 15 years. This is a must see seminar.

We’re continuing with the expanded ‘Habitat Improvement Seminars’ that are so popular. The ever popular “Mr. Food Plots,” Ed Spinazzola of Quality Deer Management fame and author of two books on the subject, will offer insight into improving your deer hunting land.

A popular feature writer for Woods-N-Water News, Richard Smith is one of

Michigan’s most popular outdoor writers and will again be offering seminars on a variety of whitetail hunting strategies, including UP Deer Hunting. The UP’s abundant public land makes it a great place for anyone to hunt whitetails. Even though there aren’t as many deer as southern Michigan, there are some whoppers. The two highest scoring bucks for the state came from the U.P. during 2008 and Richard will show you how you can bag the biggest bear of your life.

Jerry Allen is the owner of Blood Glow LLC and will again share his expertise in game tracking and understanding blood trails including identifying wound types, direction and speed of travel. The future of blood tracking is here today and Jerry will share it with you.

Back again this year will be the Ultimate Portable U.P. Deer Camp, big enough for 10-11 hunters, complete with hot and cold running water, complete cooking center (that would rival many restaurant grills), bunks, gun rack and of course…the kitchen sink! Let me explain; buddies Robert Smithers and Dean Losee came up with the idea of designing and building a camp that was structurally sound, weatherproof, that could be constructed in a short time, torn down as quickly and fit in a trailer to transport from home to camp. The first “Camp Cabin” was a simple 10 ft x 28 ft. After family and friends joined in the fun and committed to hunting their special place in the wilds of the U.P., the plans were altered and improved and their portable cabin is now 24 ft. x 32 ft. and the memories and hunting fun has been non-stop.

Robert philosophy is, “If there’s something we need, we figure out a way and make it!” Everything in the camp is custom, designed to fit their needs. He added, “we’ve add something new every year, but I think we’ve run out of ideas.”

The neat thing is that this group of hunters wants to share with the showgoers what they’ve done, how they did it and why. So, they’re bringing their U.P. Deer Camp to the Outdoor Weekend and look forward to meeting, greeting and talking to other hunters. What great fun!

The Waterfowlers’ Area, sponsored by Freeway Sports Center of Fenton, will offer specialty exhibitors with boats, blinds, calls and decoys for the waterfowler. Dog trainer Charlie Linblade will be doing seminars on waterfowl hunting techniques, decoy spreads, blinds, etc. The ever popular Todd Alofs of Quacker Attacker will again be doing calling seminars in the dog area also. Plus new to this year’s calling will be world renown waterfowl caller Buck Gardner, along with Erik Trombley. Buck Gardner, one of the top duck callers in the nation, is a World Champion and Champion of Champions duck caller who has taken waterfowl calling to a higher level. He will entertain the crowd Friday evening (Sept. 11), and throughout the weekend. Gardner also has a complete line of top quality calls — Buck Gardner Calls.

Many of the top manufacturers in outdoor sports will be represented at the weekend, including Avery, War Eagle Boats, Go-Devil, Gator-Trax Boats, Drake Waterfowl clothing, Mud-Buddy and Wingfeather. Plus guides and experts.

Praying for his good health (see Tom Antor’s story page 82), Bill Yoder, who’s back in the profession he loves – even though it almost cost him his life, will have his Live Deer Show back on display this year. Last year the CWD scare hit just prior to the show and Bill was not allowed to transfer his deer – this year however, he’s coming, and Forest, his 17-point buck is ready to show off.

New 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 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 and Coleman camping items. 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. See Terry’s article in this issue about the finds from previous Outdoor Weekends (page 64).

Many cherished mounts and replicas of world-record whitetails will be on hand during the weekend. The fascinating collection is part of Odie Sudbeck’s Awesome Antlers Museum in Topeka, Kansas. Sudbeck is the author of several books, including Heartland Trophy Whitetails, Awesome Antlers, Mammoth Monarchs and Trophy Treasures, all of which chronicle his passion for collecting photos, sheds and mounts of huge and unusual white-tailed deer.

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.

Primitive skills workshops and demonstrations: Michigan native Lou Becker, who has revived the art of spear throwing in his book, The Atlatl and Dart Workbook, will demonstrate this arcane sport and method of defense. Expert flintknapper Gary Noblit of Jonesville demonstrates the fine art of making arrow and spear points, as well as creating bows and fletching arrows the natural way. Reg Pettibone and his family will teach Native American culture through interpretive dances and artifact displays of the Ho-Chunk nation (Saturday and Sunday).

The encampment will also feature; Pat Schnur, naturalist and primitive skills instructor, who will demonstrate native lore, edible, medicinal and poisonous plants. Her husband Joe will also be doing flintknapping and wood carving. Husband and wife, Phil and Diane Klimowicz will be showing bowl burning, paddle making, basket making and cornhusk doll making respectively. In addition Chris Schnur will be offering primitive skills and how to handle being lost in the woods. His presentations are especially designed for kids and families.

Richard English has gathered some wild animals that will amaze you, including a couple of African porcupines, a variety of cats and a 100 year-old turtle.

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

The Camp Chili Cookoff on Saturday, September 12, features 20 teams competing for $750 cash with judging at 3:00 p.m.

There will be 175 exhibitors on hand with clothing, calls, treestands, blinds, hunting gear, fishing tackle, camping equipment, works of arts and specialty boats and vehicles.

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 Sept. 13 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.

Show hours are Friday, Sept. 11, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 12, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Sept. 13, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Imlay City is located between Flint and Port Huron; the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds is on M-53, a half-mile north of I-69 off Exit #168.

Admission is $7 per person.

For more information check our website

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