The annual spectacle of trophy deer, camouflage clothing, TV personalities and hunting gear of every type and price point takes place this weekend with the 37th edition of the Dixie Deer Classic.
The annual hunting exposition will have an extra splash this year, spokesman Jim Hudson said, with the addition of the DockDogs, a canine aquatic sport made popular through ESPN and The Outdoor Channel.
Special guests are two Outdoor Channel celebrities: Michael Waddell, aka “Bone Collector,” and bowhunter Chris Brackett, host of “Fear No Evil.”
The expo focuses on whitetails, but hunters of turkeys and other species will find plenty. It’s a family event, too, with many kids activities, including the N.C. State’s Leopold Wildlife Club Scavenger Hunt and a BB gun shoot.
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The Wake County Wildlife Club conduct the show to raise funds for educational and conservation programs. Helping more than 20,000 paid visitors through the weekend requires hundreds of volunteers.
“Last year, we had a total of 132 volunteers (just from the club), and they put in 2,847 volunteer hours,” said coordinator Paul Gessner, a retired Wake County Superior Court judge and now a Wake County Sheriff’s Office attorney.
Hundreds of additional volunteers work with the organizations attending the show.
In the competition, each dog pursues a thrown toy and leaps from a dock into a pool. Categories include Big Air, Extreme Vertical and Speed Retrieve. Competition will be Friday through Sunday at the Kerr Scott Building.
Any dog can be entered in a special Try DockDogs session at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Learn more at https://dockdogs.com/eventscal/2017-dixie-deer-classic/.
Find local competitions at www.facebook.com/CarolinaDockDogs.
Antlers: Admission includes measurement of a set of antlers by trained scorers in the Exhibition Building. Enter by 5 p.m. Saturday to be eligible for Sunday’s awards.
Bear skulls: Skulls will be measured for the second year.
Trail cams: The N.C. Bowhunters Association’s trail cam photo, video and photo entries close at noon Saturday.
Turkey calling: N.C. State chapter of National Wild Turkey Federation Tarheel Open starts at 10 a.m. Saturday. Registration starts at 9 in the Jim Graham Building.
Among the entrants in the Bowhunter/Archery Challenge 3-D Shoot will be Culli Cain, 11, of Raleigh who often shoots longer archery courses.
On the tight 3-D course, “mostly you have to guess the distance of the target, so that’s kind of fun,” said the Fred Olds Elementary fifth-grader who recently finished third in his age division in Las Vegas at the Vegas Shoot, the world’s largest indoor archery shoot. “And being able to learn where the rings are on the target and being able to learn the animals is pretty fun.”
The shoot has divisions for 8-under through seniors. Register for a time slot at www.ncbowhunter.com. Younger divisions shoot at 6:30 p.m. Friday, on even hours 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday; advance registration is not required.
Proceeds support NCBA programs.
Dixie Deer Classic
When: March 3-5
Where: State Fairgrounds, Raleigh; Jim Graham Building, Exposition Center, Dorton Arena, Kerr Scott Building
Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $12 three days; $6 Friday for youth 12-18, seniors, military, women
App: Dixie Deer Classic phone app has vendor booth numbers, a floor layout and an events schedule and alerts
Noteworthy: A shuttle runs between the Graham Building and Kerr Scott.
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