September 01, 2016

It’s September and that means it’s time for the 30th Woods-N-Water News Outdoor Weekend, scheduled for Sept. 9-11 at the Eastern Michigan State Fairgrounds in Imlay City. The objective of the weekend is to “celebrate our outdoor heritage” and we have lined up an outstanding event for showgoers starting with great outdoor retailers, educational displays and exhibits – over 225 in all…just about every type of product for outdoor enthusiasts. Add a boatload 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, a Camp Chili Cook Off, seminars, a gun auction (Sunday), a waterfowl calling contest, a kids archery range and lots of food, refreshments and puppies—lots of puppies. There is so much happening at this year’s event there’s not enough space to write about it all, so check out the special insert in the middle of this issue and at


The Trappers Association are new to the show this year, helping us celebrate and understand our outdoor heritage and the very important role trapping plays. The National Trappers Association is committed to defending and promoting the safe and ethical harvest of furbearing mammals and to the preservation and enhancement of their habitats.

As I mentioned last month working with Williams Gun Sight Co. out of Davison ( this year on a new display/event, never seen in Michigan before…Williams is sponsoring Mobile Tactics ( Mobile Tactics provides a state-of-art mobile-portable, self-contained, live firearms training/shooting facility. Through Williams, showgoers will be actually be able to “try out” firearms before buying as well as receive training and instructions all in a safe and comfortable environment. Mobile Tactics is a ballistically secure trailer, allowing the firing of pistol, shotguns, and certain rifles.

Seminars For Serious Hunters

We’ve put together a great event this year and are really excited about our tremendous deer hunting seminar line-up. One of the best deer hunters in the state, Fred Abbas (A-Way Hunting will top past seminars with this year’s seminar on “The Deadly Art of Mock Scrapes.” They will cover almost all aspects of hunting big bucks, even in pressured hunting areas. Check out Fred’s article in this issue on page 46 for a preview. If you want to improve your deer hunting attend one of the seminars.

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 experts, 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!

Of course we couldn’t have a great deer hunting seminar line-up without Mr. Food Plots, Ed Spinazzola, the author of two books on the subject and a new DVD. Ed will offer insight into improving your deer hunting land with his incredible seminar.

New to the seminar stage this year is Adam Lewis with his seminar topic; “Breaching the Whitetail’s Last Defense!” Learn the new techniques and tactics of “sound concealment” that can take your hunting to a new level. In this seminar you’ll learn new science on deer hearing, noises hunters make, how these noises hurt hunting success, and how to leverage this knowledge to gain a new advantage this fall.

Country Smoke House

Field Dressing Demo

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 venison 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 family 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 at 1 p.m.

Air Dog Championships

Milt Wilcox’s Ultimate Air Dog Championships return this year to Imlay City. You can see the best of the best when these jumping dogs and their handlers compete for the championship. First-timers are welcome with open jumping taking place Friday (Sept. 9) only from 5 – 7 p.m. 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. 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 Imlay City’s event. The newest ice fishing products will be on display. 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 and some incredible deals!

So Much More

• Back again for the fourth year is the chainsaw carving contest. Four 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 exhibitors with boats, blinds, calls and decoys for the waterfowler. The Michigan Ducks Unlimited will be hosting a waterfowl calling contest for kids and adults, check out For more information: www.

• 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.

• Terry McBurney, Woods-N-Water News staff writer, will answer questions and offer 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 on 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 Outdoor Weekend 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.

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

• The Outdoor Weekend 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 regulations and registration forms.

• The Camp Chili Cook-off on Saturday, September 10, features teams competing for $750 cash with judging at 3:00 p.m.

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

Show hours are Friday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, 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 and kids 12 and under free and free parking. For more information check our Woods-N-Water News facebook page, website or call 810-724-0254.