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Inclement weather proved to be but a small obstacle for the 11th annual Bedford Outdoor Sportsman Association’s (BOSA) show.
That’s because the event was held in the dry warmth of the Bedford Armory.
Once again, it drew a large crowd of outdoor enthusiasts and, once again, the show delivered a wide ranging array of outdoors-related fun.
David Looney, BOSA treasurer, has been there for all of the shows and has seen the event grow over the years.
“We could have placed more (exhibitors) if we had the space,” he said. That, in spite of the fact the Bedford show was in competition with a similar show being held in Harrisonburg the same weekend.
The main driver of the show seems to be getting and sustaining youth interest in nature.
“Otherwise, when we’re gone, who will take care of the outdoors?” asked Looney.
Sharon Thompson, a BOSA member, said, “The public has come to expect bigger and grander things (from the show).”
Thompson and company seemed to deliver. Exhibitors ranged from Studio 43 Pottery to log cabin builders to turkey guides to trappers.
Also featured was a two day guided hunting and fishing adventure in Paintbank, VA, that was auctioned off. A raffle had a top prize of a Buckstop Camps bear hunt.
One of the most popular exhibits with the youth was a hunting simulator, while the adults seemed quite in awe of the bearhunting taxidermy display, which featured several black bears in fearsome poses.
The highlight of the show was the presence of Dr.. James Kroll, who delivered two lectures.
He was recruited to present at the show through the vigorous lobbying of Steve Grant and Barry Arrington.
Kroll, widely known as Dr.. Deer, has starred in several videos on deer behavior and is considered to be the father of modern deer management.
Having worked with whitetails for 35 years from Canada to Mexico, he has published 8 books.
He has pioneered work with infrared-triggered cameras, food plots and landscaping techniques for whitetails.
He is also the host of “Dr. Deer’s Whitetail World” on television.
One of the highlights of the show each year is the presentation of the Parker Award. It is given in memory of Bill Parker and is awarded for promoting sportsmanship by practicing traditional, ethical and safe hunting skills.
This year, the award was given in honor of the late Gene Parker and was handed to members of his family. Among those was Gene’s widow, Julie, one of the key drivers in the construction of the bear taxidermy display, by the way.
Nobody was too young for the show. Three-month old Danner Karnes smiled his way through several exhibits, perhaps knowing that his time in the field would soon arrive.
Said his father, Dwaine, “He’ll be involved as soon as he can.”
To which mother, Jackie, stated, “Momma gets the first four years. After that, he’s in the woods.”