Third Annual Manitoulin Deer Show packs them in the doors

Perry’s Great Northern Gun and Bow Shop out of Sault Ste. Marie has been a part of the Manitoulin Deer Show since its inception and reports that it has been a profitable partnership. photos by Michael Erskine

MANITOWANING—The Manitoulin Deer Show is entering its third year and it just keeps improving with every passing year.

Beverly Wright, right, is all smiles as she collects her chili winning prize.
Beverly Wright, right, is all smiles as she collects her chili winning prize.

“I really can’t say enough about how great my committee is,” said organizer Jackie White, Project and Events Coordinator for the municipality. “They are a really amazing group of people.”

Hey, a guy's gotta eat. Rob Argue of the Quality Deer Management Association tucks into some great Loco Beanz lasagna.
Hey, a guy’s gotta eat. Rob Argue of the Quality Deer Management Association tucks into some great Loco Beanz lasagna.

According to vendors taking part at the show, this year’s numbers appear to be up yet again. “We have been here right from the start and this has been a great show for us,” said Reg Perry of Perry’s Great Northern Gun and Bow Shop out of Sault Ste. Marie. Judging by the steady stream of gun boxes headed out to the parking lot bearing the company’s logo a lot of his customers agree.

The Manitoulin Deer Show, which took place at the Assiginack Arena from 10 am to 3 pm on August 27, featured a full ice surface of vendors, exhibitors and a list of speakers covering a wide range of subjects of interest to hunters and outfitters alike.

Kelly Timmermans of Country 103 does on location reporting.
Kelly Timmermans of Country 103 does on location reporting.

One of the most popular events was the Wild Game Cookoff, where contestants can enter any dish with ‘wild’ game in it, judged this year by Larry Robinson, Buck Phillips and Bob Purdy. The judges’ efforts could not have been terribly onerous if their broad smiles were to be taken as any indication. If there was a broader smile on the floor, it had to belong to Beverly Wright, whose venison chili proved to be this year’s winner, taking home a brand new stainless steel barbecue.

“My sister entered last year, but she couldn’t this year so I thought I would,” grinned Ms. Wright. Her secret? “Tobasco sauce. Hot Tobasco sauce.”

The arena walls were well lined this year with mounted deer heads and antler racks, small wonder since the first prize was a 308 Savage rifle. Winner Bob Newman of Manitowaning was pretty pleased. “I am a Savage guy,” he admitted, after The Expositor scribe drew his name from among the entries for the win, noting that at least two of the three racks he entered were bagged with Savage rifles. “They are a solid gun, accurate and nothing much ever goes wrong with them.”

 Wild Game Cook-off judges Larry Robinson, Buck Phillips and Bob Purdy dig into the contestants offerings in front of a drooling crowd.
Wild Game Cook-off judges Larry Robinson, Buck Phillips and Bob Purdy dig into the contestants offerings in front of a drooling crowd.
Fuel the Fire has been heating up the outdoor show world on Wild TV.
Fuel the Fire has been heating up the outdoor show world on Wild TV.

Master of ceremonies Steve Wood kept the day rolling well, introducing the many speakers and pointing out the various things going on across the arena throughout the day.

One of the very special events was an announcement that during next year’s rifle season hunt, if hunters bring their deer to White’s Shell Garage so that QDMA Canada – Manitoulin Island Branch (Quality Deer Management Association) can weigh, measure and collect statistics, the hunter’s name will be entered to win great cash prizes. There will be draws for buck, doe and fawn categories. “We are really excited about this partnership with QDMA Canada-Manitoulin Branch,” said Ms. White, adding that there will be more details unveiled as the date gets closer.

Among the exciting events taking place during the day were a Kids Wilderness Challenge, that included a marksmanship contest with BB gun and bow. “I think this is something that can really be built on,” said Assiginack Councillor Les Fields, who was on hand through much of the day taking in the festivities and enjoying the great refreshments provided at the concession stand by Loco Beanz.

Ask a CO they know! Conservation Officer Horula talks deer tags.
Ask a CO they know! Conservation Officer Horula talks deer tags.
A young archer lines up his shot during the archery demonstration at the Manitoulin Deer Show.
A young archer lines up his shot during the archery demonstration at the Manitoulin Deer Show.

One of the exhibitors taking part in the Manitoulin Deer Show were the folks at ‘Fuel the Fire,’ an exciting new outdoor adventure program currently airing on Wild TV and locally produced. “We just aired our ninth episode and we have 11 and 12 in the can,” said Neil Debassige. “We are pretty excited because we are currently in discussions with a distributor who may be presenting us into the European market, and maybe even into the States.”

Outside, archery experts Sheila Madahbee and Raymond Madahbee of Wikwemikong were taking both adults and children through their archery range, which included both standard targets and model creatures to shoot at.

The folks at Quality Deer Management Manitoulin Branch were on hand to  provide information on improving the local deer herds through best practices.
The folks at Quality Deer Management Manitoulin Branch were on hand to provide information on improving the local deer herds through best practices.

As the day’s events drew to a close, the door prizes attracted a good sized crowd (you had to be present to win). First name drawn out of the box was that of Denis Santerre of Campbell Township. It was small wonder that his choice from the table was the 242 Remmington Savage.

Door prize winner Denis Santerre of Campbell Township shows off his new 242 Remington Savage.
Door prize winner Denis Santerre of Campbell Township shows off his new 242 Remington Savage.