Outdoors: Minnesota Deer Classic set for National Sports Center debut

31st annual Minnesota Deer Classic to be held March 8-10 at National Sports Center in Blaine, Minnesota

The 31-year old Minnesota Deer Classic enters a new era as the venerable Minnesota sport hunting show moves to a new venue, the National Sports Center (NSC) in Blaine, Minn., under new ownership and with new attractions made feasible by the unique venue offered at the NSC.

The National Sports Center Foundation purchased the Deer Classic from founder and long-term producer Hugh Price last September. In the past, the event has been held at several different locations, most recently at the Minnesota State Fair Coliseum.

This year’s Deer Classic will be held at the 35,000 square foot Schwan Center on the campus of the National Sports Center. The show will also utilize some of the unique outdoor space offered at the NSC.

“As the new owners of an event with a proud history, we are working hard to honor the past traditions of the show, such as the trophy registration and measuring,” said Expo Director Greg Savino. “At the same time, we also want to install some new ideas, programs and special events, especially some that will utilize our ample outdoor space at the National Sports Center.”

Special events:

Attendees can bring in their whitetail, moose, elk, and bear trophies to be officially measured.  Certified measurers for all national big game record books, such as Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young will be available.

Antlers by Klaus will present a display of enormous whitetails, including the Minnesota Monarch, the Knisely Buck, the Ghost Buck, a world record albino from Wisconsin, the archery world-record Real Langlois Moose, and a premier collection of record breaking sheds.

The move to the NSC campus will allow some new and unique outdoor programs. A 3D archery shoot will be held outdoors in the NSC Stadium. This will be a full-fledged competition, with entrants shooting at fifty 3D targets and competing for prizes. There is an additional fee to compete in the 3D shoot. Pre-registration and on-site registration is available. For more information on registering for the 3D shoot click here.

Shed deer antler hunting dog trainer Tom Dokken will lead a shed dog event that will be held on soccer field U2.

Krugerfarms.com presents former Miss Sprint Cup Paige Duke. Duke, who was also a bachelorette on CMT’s Sweet Home Alabama, works with Krugerfarms.com representing their KF Fearless line of women’s outdoor wear. She is an avid outdoors person herself.

Two seminar topics will present timely information and statistical updates on two of the most newsworthy wildlife stories in Minnesota: the decline of the moose population and the recently completed wolf hunt.

Seminar presenters and topics (all seminars will be held in the Schwan Center.)
Bill Miller, legendary outdoor television host, writer and outdoor educator for more than 30 years. Miller’s shows have appeared on ESPN, the Outdoor Channel, and the Sportsman Channel. “Shot Selection and Ballistics,” 1 p.m. Saturday; “Bullet Performance and Outfitter Selection,” 11 a.m. Sunday.

Dusty Minke, Krugarfarms.com professional fisherman, Forest Lake, Minn’s Minke has also hunted big game all over Minnesota. Through his sales work for the outdoor shooting sports industry and fishing in professional tours, Dusty is able to utilize quality products in the field and teach others how to best use the same tactics and goods. “Deer Cam Strategies,” 5 p.m. Friday.

Tom Giese, born and raised on a dairy farm in western Minnesota, Giese received his bachelor’s degree in agriculture from North Dakota State University. Upon graduation, he was hired by a national feed nutrition company in 1988. He has been active in animal and wildlife nutrition for nearly 25 years. “Chunky Buck Minerals,” 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

Dave “Benny” Bennett, hunting and fishing guide in the Lake of the Woods area of Ontario’s Sunset Country for 20 years. “Hunting Big Woods, 4 p.m. Saturday.

Jason Lund, avid outdoorsman and a professional photographer and videographer for over 15 years. His work has been featured in Outdoor Life, Sports Afield, North American Outdoors and In-fisherman and has worked on television productions all over North America and India.. “Outdoor Filming & Photography,” 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

Al Heidebrink, retired Minnesota DNR Conservation Officer with more than 30 years of experience, primarily in the Grand Marais and Ely areas of Northeast Minnesota. “Moose Hunting 101,” 6:30 p.m. Friday. This seminar will also discuss the most recent census data on the decline of the moose population in Minnesota.

Dick Alford, long-time turkey hunting expert who has hunted turkeys in New Zealand, Hawaii, the Florida Everglades and 17 other mainland states. “Turkey Hunting Tips & Tricks,” 3:30 p.m. Friday. “Making Turkey Hunting an Art Form,” 10:30 a.m. Saturday. “Turkey Hunting – When the Rubber Hits the Road,” 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Dan Stark is the Large Carnivore Specialist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fish and Wildlife. Dan works as the state’s wolf specialist, overseeing the transition of wolf management from the federal government to the Minnesota DNR and implementing the state’s wolf-management plan. Dan also works on bear season and policy issues for the DNR.  “Minnesota Wolf Season and Management Recap,” 8 p.m. Friday.

Tom Dokken is the owner of Oak Ridge Kennels in Northfield, Minn. and the president of North American Shed Hunting Dog Association (N.A.S.H.D.A.) “Train Your Dog to Find Shed Antlers,” 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

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