2016 Outdoor Show Season Gets Underway


The Field & Stream Outdoor Life Deer and Turkey Expo (above) is one of 14 outdoor shows this winter in Michigan. Courtesy photo.

By Howard Meyerson

The start of a New Year is always fun in Michigan. The weather may be unpredictable, but the winter outdoor show season goes on regardless. With 14 shows scheduled around the state between now and mid-March, outdoor enthusiasts have their pick of venues. There are shows for hard-core hunters and anglers, boaters, archers, paddlers and fly tiers.

“We are very focused on deer hunting,” said Jake Steingraeber, executive director for Field & Stream Outdoor Life Michigan Deer and Turkey Expo, which returns this year to the Lansing Center, February 19-21. “I am really very excited about the line-up of seminars which focus on hard-core enthusiasts.”

You may recall the show, now 30 years old, was formerly the Michigan Deer and Turkey Spectacular. It was acquired by Bonnier Corporation in 2011, the publisher for Field and Stream and Outdoor Life magazines.

The show was moved from Lansing to Dimondale in 2013 due to a scheduling conflict, according to Steingraeber. But attendees largely preferred the Lansing venue, and so it is returning.


Shoot Like a Girl is a new attraction at the Field & Stream Outdoor Life Michigan Deer and Turkey Expo. Courtesy photo.

The expo offers a strong mix of seminars for deer and turkey hunters, covering topics like “Big Bucks on Small Tracts: Maximizing Success on Small Properties” and “Calling & Decoying Educated Gobblers, among others. There are also vendors selling hunting gear and accessories, and every attendee receives a free subscription to Outdoor Life or Field & Stream magazine.

A country music concert has been added to the 2016 lineup featuring country star, Josh Thompson, whose hit singles “Way Out Here” and “Beer on the Table” rose to 15th and 17th on Billboard Magazine’s Hot Country Songs chart in 2010 and 2009 respectively. Thompson’s concert is 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Feb. 20.

Other new attractions include “Shoot Like a Girl,” a virtual shooting range, where women learn to shoot compound bows, pistols and firearms, and the “Wall of Fame” where attendees’ display their best buck antlers. All will have scored 150 or higher.

“We have a new display called ‘Whitetails of North America,’ Steingraeber said. “It has full-body, high quality replicas of the Number 1 typical and Number 1 non-typical world record bucks and shoulder mounts for the others. There are 24 deer in all.  This is the first time it is being shown in the Midwest.”

Season Kick-off

Michigan’s Outdoor Show season kicks off next weekend with the Ultimate Fishing Show Detroit at Suburban Collection Showplace, in Novi, from January 7-10. It’s one of several Showspan Inc. shows this year including the Grand Rapids Camper, Travel & RV Show, Grand Rapids Boat Show, Outdoorama and Ultimate Sport Show. There are also specialty shows for fly tiers and bowhunters.

Expect to see some changes at the 21st Annual Traditional Bowhunters Expo at the Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds, Jan. 29-31.  Founder Jerry Brumm, now 73, is passing the baton to Bob Brumm, his son.

The show has 100 vendors and draws 3,000 to 4,000 archers from around

Don Gilson

The Traditional Bowhunters Expo highlights stone arrowhead makers and bows and arrows. Photo by Jonathon Gruenke / Kalamazoo Gazette.

Michigan who come to see the top bowyers, arrow-makers and presenters, in the specialized world of traditional archery, the world of hand-built longbows and recurves that are favored by 15 percent of the bowhunting world, according to Jerry Brumm.

“We created the show 21 years ago to promote traditional bowhunting,” explained Brumm, owner of Great Northern Bowhunting Company in Nashville, Michigan. “There was a lot of misconception out there. People would ask ‘Do you really use those to hunt?’ We knew people had survived for thousands of years using these bows and arrows. This show was a way to educate people.”

Brumm is well-known for his beautiful wooden bows. He plans to continue building them at his Nashville shop.

“My wife and I are in our 70’s and every year the show gets a little more difficult to pull off,” Brumm elaborated.  “We figured 20 years is a good round number and approached our sons and Bob was interested.”

Bob Brumm, who owns Great Northern Quiver Company, plans to do more at future shows to appeal to younger bowhunters, those who are integrating modern technology, like trail cameras, or those who backpack and hunt.

A new attraction this year is a 3-D outdoor archery tournament with cash prizes. The event is co-sponsored by the Potawatomi Bowmen.

“After being with (my father) from the start, I didn’t want to see the show go away,” Bob Brumm said. “We’re looking to add different elements and draw people who are true target shooters, people who may not come to shows but shooting is their passion.”

Celebrate Fly Tying

Passion for fly tying is what draws folks to the annual Celebration of Fly

Chris Soule's Pink Baby Doll. A new pattern intended for salmon and steelhead. (Courtesy Photo)

Chris Soule’s Pink Baby Doll, a pattern for salmon and steelhead. Courtesy Photo.

Tying too, now going into its 12th year.  The show on February 27, at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Wyoming, features 35 tiers from around the state.

This year’s event will highlight the works of young tiers.  Several between 11 and 18 years old will be displaying their designs.

“We’re trying to bring more focus to youth,” noted Christopher Soule, president of the Grand River Fly Tyers, the group that hosts the show. “What you often find at these shows is a bunch of old gray-haired dudes. We want to show people that this isn’t just a hobby for old white guys, and that kids can tie just as well as adults.”

If you’re looking to find a show near you, or a show special interest, be sure to check out the Outdoor Show Season calendar. Each is a guaranteed bright spot at a time of year when the weather outside can be unpredictable.


2016 Outdoor Show Season Calendar

Jan. 7-10: Ultimate Fishing Show Detroit, Suburban Collection Showplace, Novi:  showspan.com

Jan. 14-17:  Grand Rapids Camper, Travel & RV Show, DeVos Place, Grand Rapids:  showspan.com.

Jan. 29-31:   23rd Annual Huntin’ Time Expo West, The Delta-Plex Arena, Grand Rapids:  huntingshows.net.

Jan. 29-31:   21st Annual Traditional Bowhunters Expo, Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds, Kalamazoo:  gnbco.com

Feb. 19-21:  Field & Stream Outdoor Life Michigan Deer & Turkey Expo, The Lansing Center, Lansing: deerinfo.com/michigan.

Feb. 13-21:  58th Annual Detroit Boat Show, Cobo Center, Detroit: detroitboatshow.net

Feb. 17-21: Grand Rapids Boat Show, DeVos Place, Grand Rapids:  showspan.com

Feb. 25-28:  43rd Annual Outdoorama, Suburban Collection Showplace, Novi:  showspan.com.

Feb. 27: 12th Annual Celebration of Fly Tying, Grand River Fly Tyers, Knights of Columbus Hall, Wyoming: grandriverflytyers.com

Mar. 11-13:  Flint Steelheaders Boat, Fishing & Outdoor Show, Birch Run Expo Center, Birch Run: flintsteelheaders.org

Mar. 5: 21st Annual Quiet Water Symposium, East Lansing, Michigan State University Pavilion for Livestock & Agriculture Education, East Lansing: quietwatersymposium.org

Mar. 10-13: 24th Annual Spring Boating Expo, Suburban Collection Showplace, Novi: springboatingexpo.net

Mar. 12-13: Midwest Fly Fishing Expo, Macomb Community College Sports & Expo Center, Warren: midwestflyfishingexpo.com/.

Mar. 17-20: 71st Annual Ultimate Sport Show Grand Rapids, DeVos Place, Grand Rapids: showspan.com.


Appears in MLive Media Group Newspapers.

About Howard Meyerson

After more than 30 years in the outdoor writing business, you would think I'd know better.
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