I prayed every 50 miles that my 2005 GMC Sierra with 212,000 miles on it would not give up on me. “Lord, please watch over me”, I prayed. As I was making the 8-hour trek across three states, I thought about what to expect at the 2016 Iowa Deer Classic. I had been eyeing up the exhibitors and seminar lists for the past few weeks and I had been looking forward to learning as much as I could this weekend. It isn’t too often you get Lee and Tiffany Lakosky, Tom Nelson, Bill Winke and many other hunting experts all under one roof. In addition, I wanted to be able to connect with a few exhibitors and talk to them a little about their product and hunting. Needless to say, I was amped up. I wanted to write this article for those who enjoy attending outdoor expos and shows. So here is a quick synopsis of my experience at the 2016 Iowa Deer Classic.
I was fortunate enough to arrive Friday afternoon just in time to attend Bill Winke’s seminar “Patterning Mature Bucks”. Additionally, I attended Tom Nelson’s seminar “10 Mistakes Deer Hunter’s Make”. I got to shake hands with Tom Nelson and found out he only lives a stone’s throw away from me. Both Tom and Bill covered a lot about hunting whitetails and I learned a few new tips and tricks. At these seminars, it is tough to not benefit from them in some way because of the amount of time that these guys spend hunting. Bill Winke talked about patterning bucks using trail cameras and noted that it’s usually on the second card pull when you will start seeing the bucks show up after you hang a camera over a fresh corn pile. He has found that on the first card pull there are typically not that many buck sightings. It is information like this that really gets me thinking about how I operate during and before the season. Attending seminars such as the Iowa Deer Classic gives the “student of the game” an opportunity to pick the brains of the world’s best hunters in person in efforts to better themselves.
In addition to the great seminars, there are a TON of exhibitors at the Iowa Deer Classic. I had a chance to talk with Cody D’Acquisto from XOP Treestands about their current line of stands and what is up and coming. Cody mentioned that XOP is going to release a mobile hang-on stand that only weighs 8 ounces! Also, a favorite company of mine, Wicked Tree Gear, was in attendance and I had the chance to talk with the President Todd Pringnitz. His story is amazing and I am truly jealous of his career and lifestyle. I spoke with several other exhibitors at the show and what was great is that everyone loves talking deer hunting. They may be there to sell their product (and that’s their primary purpose), but it seems like everyone truly enjoyed a good deer hunting conversation. I felt like I was right at home.
If you’re a student of the game and enjoy attending expos, I strongly recommend you make plans for the Iowa Deer Classic in 2017. The seminars and a wide variety of exhibitors alone made the entire trip for me. However, there was also a 3D archery competition and a turkey calling contest that I didn’t even get to see as much because I was so occupied with everything else. It is definitely an expo I plan on returning to in the future. But based on the deer mounts on the wall at the classic’s big buck contest, I hope the next time I return to Iowa is to fill a buck tag. Thanks for reading!