Best show in town

Mark your calendar for the Mississippi Wildlife Federation Wildlife Extravaganza.

The event will be held again at the Trademart Building on the grounds of the Mississippi State Fairgrounds Aug. 5-7. This will be the 25th edition of the show and one of the best attractions this year.

Show hours will be 3 p.m. -9 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 5; 9 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6; and on Sunday the show will be open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. for the close. Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for children ages 6-12; kids aged 5 and under are admitted free.

Friday is Kids Day at the event where children aged 12 and under get in free and adult admission is $7. What a deal. Weekend passes can also be purchased at the door.

Go wild for wildlife events

The line-up includes a number of the usual suspects, which means Preston Pittman will be on stage with some of this great turkey hunting antics, tales and tips. Paul Meek will be a repeat, teaching kids how to use turkey calls.

Snakeman Terry Vandeventer with his program “Snakes of Mississippi” will present his usual great presentations on snakes showing off numerous live specimens on stage. Jason Reynolds will be back too with his Fetch Tub and some fine retrieving dogs jumping for big air outside in front of the entrance to the show.

Other displays, live presentations and other interactive events include long bow archery shooting, live hawks with tethered flights, tree stand safety demonstrations for kids, pellet gun shooting and a trampoline bungee jump outside.

The main stage headliners

The main show personality this year will be Stan Potts of Springfield, Ill. Stan has been a bowhunter for over 40 years and has scored on numerous trophy class white-tailed deer. He is a member of the Realtree Pro Team and a well known outdoors television personality. He has been featured in many outdoor articles, and appeared in several hunting videos and television shows. He currently co-hosts “North American Whitetail Television” on the Outdoor Channel and “Whitetail Country” on ESPN 2. Be sure to attend Stan’s main stage seminars.

Also to be presented by Bill Hamrick of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks will be a program titled the “Feral Swine Pandemic.” I know in particular that Mississippians are definitely interested in the growing challenge of controlling the ever expanding population of wild pigs in the state. Hogs are destroying valuable crops and tearing up wildlife habitat to boot.

Show vendors

Expect to see back this year nearly all of the booths and show vendors that have attended the annual ‘Ganza for years. This is the time for Mississippi outdoors people to see the latest in hunting and fishing gear, hunting apparel including spot-on popular casual clothing, game calls, wildlife management services and equipment, ATVs, UTVs, tractors and food plot implements, hunting guide services, food plot seed providers, tree stands, cutlery, archery gear, turkey calls and too many other outdoors products to count.

Many federal, state and national conservation organizations will have information booths at the show. These include such groups or organizations as Ducks Unlimited, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, Treestand Manufacturers Association, Safari Club, National Wildlife Federation, National Wild Turkey Federation and many other groups.

Remember also the food vendors that come to the show providing tasty snacks and country fair favorites. Expect to see the usual baskets of fried catfish, dill pickles, chicken-on-a-stick, corn dogs and other goodies including ice cold drinks.

The host role

Let’s be ever mindful as well why the annual Wildlife Extravaganza exists in the first place. This event is the primary fundraising event for the No.1 wildlife conservation organization in the state, namely the Mississippi Wildlife Federation. Funds collected at this event go to support such projects as Adopt-A-Stream, the Youth Squirrel Hunt, Outdoor Photography Workshop, Katfishn’ Kids and many other outdoors education programming opportunities.

The MWF is extremely proactive in a number of conservation efforts across the state and remains ever vigilant to fight again any threats that might pop up to damage wildlife conservation in Mississippi.

If you are a serious outdoors person, then you owe to yourself and our state to get involved with conservation efforts. Consider joining the MWF. All of the programs, activities and current conservation information can be found at www.mswildlife.org.

See you there.

John J. Woods, Ph.D., is the regular outdoor columnist for the Mississippi Business Journal. In his day job, Woods is vice president in charge of economic development and training, Eagle Ridge Conference and Training Center, the Workforce Development Center and contract training services at Hinds Community College in Raymond.

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