Even though we’re dead into the heat of another Mississippi summer, it is already time to start thinking about the fall, leaves changing, cooler weather, fishing without sweating, and finally, hunting seasons. Definitely this is my favorite time of year.
Just around the corner on Aug. 3-5 at the Mississippi Trademart comes the biggest and best outdoors show in all of the state. The Mississippi Wildlife Extravaganza will unfold into full action again for its 26th-anniversary edition. You absolutely have to plan to be there and bring the whole family.
For those coming to the “Ganza” for years now, everyone has come to expect to see certain venues and activities. Many of them are cornerstone events, so expect to see them again.
Headlining the prime list of Extravaganza activities is the annual Big Buck Contest. Anyone can bring in a mounted white-tailed buck that was harvested in Mississippi to be scored via the Boone and Crockett by official scorers with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. Bucks scoring a minimum of 125-inches can be entered into the state’s noted Magnolia Records Program.
Each participant in the contest will have their buck scored and receive a certificate of the score suitable for mounting. Winners of the contest will be given place ribbons, a certificate and photographed to be included in the MWF’s annual magazine. There is also a cash-drawing and all winners will be announced on the stage on Sunday at 4 p.m.
Even hunters, families and especially kids love to see the near 200 deer mounts that will be on display at the show. This is the one time of the year that deer hunters can actually gaze upon the big-buck potential this state produces. It is not unusual to see real B&C or Pope & Young Archery trophy class bucks on-site at the Ganza.
Other traditional activities will be fishing demonstrations, reptile handling, falcons, archery shooting range and much more.
Additionally, Friday is designated as Kid’s Day with special activities just for the youngsters coming to the event. This is the perfect day to bring the whole family to share in the fun.
Headliner Featured Speakers
The Wildlife Extravaganza has been known to invite some of the most popular outdoor personalities from across the country to come share their hunting exploits and this year is no exception.
Joining us this year will be hunting television stars Pat Reeve and Nicole Jones of the acclaimed Outdoor Channel’s Driven TV. These Minnesota residents have been involved in outdoors television production at one level or another for 20 years.
“Driven” is a reality-based hunting show that is quickly becoming one of the best shows on the air today. It is popular among guy hunters but also the ladies and kids alike. This pair does all the regular hunting work themselves including hanging tree stands, posting trail cameras and scouting the woods on foot. They will have plenty of exciting tales to share on the seminar stage, and can also be visited at a booth during the show. This alone will be worth coming out to see Pat and Nicole.
And let’s not forget the best part of this annual event. That would be the exhibitors inside the Trademart show hall. Visitors can expect there to be upwards of 200 exhibitors from all over the United States and Canada. There will be all types of outdoor hunting and fishing gear on display and for sale.
I have used this opportunity for several years to pick up an extra piece of hunting clothing, socks, or a cap or t-shirt. I love t-shirts as my wife can attest to me having way too many already. I bought my youngest daughter’s hunting coat at the Ganza. You might also find lots of dealer close-outs on clothing, jackets, boots, hats, knives, and other gear.
Hard core gear can be found there, too. I have bought two hunting ladder stands at this event as well as several tripod stands for our hunting camp. You can find hunting blinds, all kinds of calls for deer, ducks, and turkey. Other services including outfitters, land finance companies, public agencies like the MDWF&P where licenses can be purchased, and outdoor service organizations will display at the Extravaganza.
Remember, too, that the Mississippi Wildlife Federation is the primary sponsor of this event. It is their main fundraising event of the year. We expect between 30,000-40,000 people to come through the gates buying tickets. Sure ticket sales covers the expenses of the show, but the profits all go to statewide wildlife and conservation programs. You can check out everything that the Mississippi Wildlife Federation is doing across the state on their web site at www.mswildlife.org.
Mark Aug. 3-5 down in your calendar or on your phone, pad or other device to remind you to come to the annual Wildlife Extravaganza. You’ll be part of the greatest outdoor show held in Mississippi and can experience the kickoff to the fall outdoor seasons firsthand.