It’s a celebration of our Outdoor Heritage, the first weekend after Labor Day and the annual kick-off t0 the fall season; it’s the 36th annual Woods-N-Water News Outdoor Weekend, Sept. 9-11 at the Fairgrounds in Imlay City. We have lined up an outstanding event for showgoers starting with great outdoor retailers, educational displays, and exhibits…just about every type of product for outdoor enthusiasts. Add a bunch of great entertainment from jumping dogs to artistic chainsaw carvers, Native American storytellers/dancers, a Camp Chili Cook-Off (Saturday), climbing wall, 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 and on our Facebook page.

Cribbage Challenge

New to the Woods-N-Water News Outdoor Weekend this fall is the “Cribbage Challenge.” Play with some of the best cribbage players in the U.S.: Jim Blough, a Platinum Award winner, ranked #3 nationwide, and David Aiken, Life Master One Star, has won twenty-one tournaments. The players will offer tips, tactics, and strategies and play one-on-one, and of course, it’s all just for fun.

Raptor Returning

Also new to this year’s event is The Michigan Hawking Club, which will have various raptors on display all weekend under the BIG EXHIBITOR TENT! The group is a non-political, non-profit organization whose purpose is preserving the sport of falconry and conserving birds of prey.

Speaking of raptors, the Michigan Avian Experience was so popular last year we had to get them back. Using non-releasable, wild, native Michigan raptors as teaching partners, they share an educational, conservational, and incredibly exciting experience, with a “Raptor Meet and Greet, Saturday and Sunday only!”

Bryon Ferguson Returns

Byron Ferguson is widely recognized as one of the greatest traditional archers alive. He has performed for the crowned heads of Europe and on national TV on the Tonight Show. His accuracy is so great he qualifies as superhuman. He’ll be back at this year’s Outdoor Weekend, demonstrating his amazing talents with wife Wanda. Their show will not only amaze you, but it’s very entertaining!

Foss Locked Antler Display

If you love antlers and add the uniqueness of ‘locked antlers,’ you must see the Foss collection…it’s astounding! The Foss Brothers have been collecting locked antlers for a very long time and have amassed an incredible collection of locked antlers, and Ron will have it on display the entire weekend. You don’t want to miss it.

Seminars for Serious Hunters

We’ve always been proud of the hunting seminars offered at the Outdoor Weekend, but this year’s are over the top! Incredibly informative with thinking outside the box, these deer hunting experts will take your hunting to the next level. Back after a few years off the show circuit is Fred Abbas of A-Way Outdoors; with his nearly 70 Michigan record book bucks to his credit, he will amaze you with hunting tactics (Saturday only). Along with outdoor writer Adam Lewis who believes in deer hunting like a surgeon! Details, research, intel, precise tactics to remove big bucks from the woods. Back again is Tony LaPratt, with his immense knowledge of land and habitat improvement, one of the best-known Michigan experts if you want to consistently harvest trophy whitetail bucks. Check out pages 49-52 of this issue (the special Outdoor Weekend insert in the middle) to find complete seminar information and times!

Country Smoke House Field Dressing Demo

Rounding out and completing our champions of deer hunting seminars and the 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 an ‘everything you need to know about what to do after you shoot your deer!’ Steve and his family will also give butchering tips, demonstrations, big game cooking, and sausage-making tips. You won’t want to miss these presentations on Saturday only at 2:30 p.m.

Air Dog Championships

Milt Wilcox’s Ultimate Air Dog Championships return this year to Imlay City. First-timers are welcome and encouraged for this year’s event. Your dog does not have to be UKC or ASCA registered to jump at this event. This event includes UAD exclusive games: Fetch-It, Chase-It, and Catch-It. Their team will demonstrate each game, followed by a hands-on practice session before the event starts. They will not just throw you out there not knowing what you’re doing – they will make every effort possible to teach everyone how to handle their dogs in these great new super fun games! Please note there is a fee for jumping; go to their website for all the details:

So Much More

• Back again will be three days of champion chainsaw carving demonstrations by Alonzo Montoya of Newaygo and Tom Gillman of Bay City. It’s amazing what these artists can do with a chainsaw!

• The Waterfowlers’ Area sponsored by Freeway Sports Center of Fenton will offer exhibitions 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 in products and 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. Remember the $114,000 spearing decoy a picker found in a garage sale? Well, what’s in your old tackle box? Terry gives you an idea of what it’s worth. He is also interested in purchasing items for his 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 to answer your black powder shooting and black powder hunting questions. Learn the unique mix of fair-chase hunting, old-style muzzleloaders, and American history.

• With the help of the Lapeer County Animal Control (LCAC) and the Michigan Hunting Dog Federation, the Puppy Area is new and improved to make a positive experience for everyone. The LCAC will assist puppy breeders, sellers, and buyers in understanding the importance of canine health and will not allow the health of puppies to be jeopardized by anyone in any way. There will be puppies to pet, photograph, and buy. Most major hunting breeds will be represented. If you’re interested in selling quality, healthy hunting breed pups, check out the rules and regulations at or call 810-724-0254.

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

The show times: Friday, 3 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 $10 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.