Published February 14, 2010, 12:00 AM

Deer Classic adds to the Duluth boat show

Resorts, boats, fishing tackle and campers will take their usual places at the Duluth Boat, Sports and Travel Show that starts Wednesday, but it may be what’s upstairs at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center that grabs the most attention.

Resorts, boats, fishing tackle and campers will take their usual places at the Duluth Boat, Sports and Travel Show that starts Wednesday, but it may be what’s upstairs at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center that grabs the most attention.

The first Northland Outdoors Duluth Deer Classic — with taxidermy displays, hunting seminars, hunting gear and even live bears — will run in conjunction with the boat show. The same ticket gets you into both events.

The Deer Classic is sponsored by the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary of promoting deer hunting in the state. Twin Ports-area chapters of MDHA will be on hand to answer questions about the organization and chat about deer hunting.

“In Minnesota, and across the Midwest, more people hunt deer than hunt anything else. We want people to stop by and share the passion and madness that is deer hunting,” said MDHA executive director Mark Johnson. “We’re crazy about deer, even watching deer, and we know there are a lot of other people out there like us. Stop by and tell us a story.”

MDHA is sponsoring seminars on hunting and planting food plots, Johnson noted, and is helping organize an effort by Minnesota Official Measurers for free scoring of deer and moose antlers.

Duluth’s Artistic Anglers taxidermists will have full-body displays of a moose, black bear, wolf, grizzly bear, mountain goat, cougar and a 200-plus-score whitetail at the show, along with its usual replica trophy fish. The company, owned by Matt Yernatich, has work on display at Cabela’s stores across the country and is a national leader in crafting replicas of trophy fish that are released.

While most Northland residents won’t be asking Yernatich to stuff an entire bull moose or grizzly anytime soon, that doesn’t mean we don’t like to look.

“I have the moose there just because it’s such an impressive animal up close. People stand there and stare at it,” Yernatich said. “You’d need a pretty special place in your house to put something like that. And a pretty special wife to let you do it. … And a pretty special job to be able to pay me for it.”

The Deer Classic also will feature a 32-point, non-typical buck that scored a new state record for Minnesota archery, 237 3/8 points. The buck was shot last fall at Camp Ripley south of Brainerd by Minnesota hunter Scott O’Konek.

But there’s more than deer hunting at the Deer Classic, held in the DECC’s City-Side Ballroom. The Montana-based Great Bear Show will have a display of live bears with a professional trainer interacting with the bears while offering information about the species.

Other highlights include Alaska hunting guides and a return appearance by John Pesak and his hunting dogs from Royalty British Kennels near Hinckley. Other experts will offer daily seminars on duck hunting and flagging geese.

Duluth News Tribune Outdoors writer Sam Cook is the host of the Deer Classic.

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