Deer season is pretty much over and you’ve worn your self out.  But everyone knows that in a week or two the call of the wild will be back. So as a lover of the outdoors there are a few options out there. Sure there is a few seasons out there and some hunting to be had but there’s some other opportunities out there that are perfect for the off season for hunters and their families.

    This year I would encourage everyone to take advantage of Trade Show, Convention and Banquet season!  With all major hunting seasons over the outdoor industry ramps up and SHOW season is on.  I’ve been going to shows since I was old enough to drive, 20 plus years of shows has been fun and everyone should take the time and go to a show or two.  Not only are they fun and informative but usually there are outdoor products for sale at great prices.  These shows are great for family groups, church groups or just a buddy trip.  I can’t cover them all but here’s a few that you might want to try to visit.

Local Banquets

The first and maybe the most important and overlooked shows are the banquets.  Every small community has a local banquet of some kind.  All of these are local volunteers and your friends and neighbors.  They promote conservation and the outdoors on a local level but also help on a national level too.  Banquets are always a fun night out with friends where you can have good food a drink and win some prizes!  This is all for a good cause and the more support you give the more these local chapters can help with local events.  I personally have been involved with the NWTF chapters for a lot of reasons.  We do fishing events, handicapped events, calling contest, give out turkeys during the holidays to families in need and much more.  If you don’t already volunteer you should think about it.  These chapters always need more help.  NWTF, Ducks Unlimited, Quail Unlimited and many more are great banquets to go to and is a great off season event.

Deer Shows

There is nothing better to take the edge off of deer hunting withdrawals than going to a deer show.  I’ve been to decades of deer shows.  It never gets old seeing a states largest deer on a wall of fame.  Most states have deer shows of some kind and they are all great.  But when it comes to deer shows within driving distance you need to go to the Iowa Deer Classic.  Iowa has some huge deer and this show does a great job of showing them off.  Vendors from the industry are there visiting and selling product  to show goers and its a great time for all.  Some times these shows have archery competitions, turkey calling contest and raffles.  The Iowa show is a great show to load up a truck or van full of hunting buddies and make a day of it!

Specialty Shows

There is always a few shows out there that are a little more specific to ones needs.  Gun shows, knife shows, decoy carving and game calls are just a few.  One on my list that I have not been to but plan on going to in a few years is the Unicoi Call Maker Show.  Never heard of it?  Well most haven’t unless you’re really into turkey hunting.  I really love to turkey hunt and love the classic game calls used to hunt turkeys.  This show has some of the nations best call makers selling all types of calls for the turkey hunter.  If you’re looking for a high quality custom call you most likely will find it here.  Box calls, pot calls and more can be found here.  If you’re looking for something special for you or foe someone else this should be on your list of places to go.


Who doesn’t like to walk into a store or a museum and see all of those cool mounts and murals?  Probably a lot of people!  But definitely not me or my kids.  My kids love to see deer, moose, elk and anything else that might be in a Cabela’s display or at a bass pro.  There are all types of cool places like this out there but one that must be on your list is the Bass Pro museum “Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium.  This might be one of the coolest places I have ever been under one roof.  I was fortunate enough to visit it before completion and was in awe.  We eventually went back with the kids when it was finished and it was absolutely unbelievable.  The time and effort to make everything perfect was so life like was the best I have ever seen.  I could go on and on about this museum but I won’t.  Just go.  Take your family and allow some time to walk through this huge display.  You won’t be disappointed.


IF you’re going to go to one convention go to the NWTF convention in Nashville.  You can do this one in a day but its a long day.  I’d recommend a few days.  To get the full affect of the convention and the Opryland Hotel it’s always good to book a room there.  The hotel in it self is awesome and has a museum quality about it.  The convention is everything turkey you could ever want and more. With contest off all kinds, vendors, outdoor personalities and seminars this is a top to bottom conservation based show with a heavy turkey influence.  If you have the time the best day to walk the floor is Friday.  Less people to bump into and you can actually have a conversation with the vendors.  Saturday is great too but it will be wall to wall people and much harder to look at products and visit.

Winter is here and soon the cabin fever will hit.  Grab your family and friends and go to a show, convention or museum.  You won’t regret it.  Also remember your local banquets!  They are not only fun but important for the community and the future of hunting, fishing and the outdoors.

Take some one new to enjoy the outdoors and remember have fun.

Mark you calendars:

All American Open Calling Contest Feb 8, 10 a.m.

Nemo NWTF Banquet Feb 29

Look Nathan up on Facebook.

Nathan Wilt - Hunt and Fish

Message him @nathanwilthunt

Recommended for you