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Expo on target for big success

August is over and summer is winding down. It won’t be long nowuntil the leaves burn red and the weather turns mercifully cool.When it does, whitetail deer will finally get up and on themove.

And on Oct. 1, Lincoln County’s sportsmen will take to the woodsto hunt them down as the first deer season begins. But beforehitting the trail and climbing into tree stands, those hunters willhave a chance to stock up on the latest outdoor gear and suppliesat the third annual Lincoln County Wildlife Expo, where theemphasis has shifted from show to sales.

“We’ve really pushed for more show deals,” said Quinn Jordan,manager of the Lincoln Civic Center and expo organizer. “In thepast, a lot of vendors were just showing things. There were a lotof good products and services on display, but people couldn’t buyanything. This year, come ready to do some hunting seasonshopping.”

The expo will be held on Friday, Sept. 17 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.and on Saturday, Sept. 18, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the LincolnCivic Center on Beltline Drive. Children 6 years old and under getin free, admission for children age 7 to 12 is $3 and adultadmission is $5.

This year’s expo will be the largest event yet, with almost 50vendors offering a wide range of hunting, outdoor, wildlife,automotive, culinary and decorative products.

Jordan said a little more than 3,000 people attended last year’sexpo, and he expects to surpass that number this year. As such, theapproximately $6,000 the civic center spends to host the eventshould double in profit as it did last year.

“Through two successful events and great volunteer work, theevent has grown,” Jordan said. “People are coming out to enjoy whatthe expo offers.”

For hunters focusing solely on this season’s time-on-target,Extreme Outdoor Products will be on-hand to show of its bow sightsand other archery accessories; Paul Meeks and Homochitto HollowWoodworks will be selling handmade game calls; and Cajun XtremeGame Lift will roll out its lifting device that easily hoistsharvested game onto a four-wheeler or ATV.

Hunters still working out the planning phase of deer seasonmight be interested in Gatlin Feed’s A-RAK-A-TAK deer feed or themany varieties of supplement offered by Wand’s Seed Store, andperhaps a feeder made by Solid Enterprises LLC. Southern Tractor,Mike’s Tractor and Farm Belt Equipment can sell the machines toclear land for food plots and the seeds to plant there. If ahunting club is in need of some room to breathe, McDaniel-GrayUnited Country has some land to unload, and DD and C Clearing canmake it ready.

Superior Outdoors offers all manner of deer stands – includingelderly and handicap-accesible models – and Oakwood Outdoors makesthe waterproof bags hunters may need when crossing streams to getthere.

If hunting clubs need to gear up the camp, Steel Outdoors,Herring Gas and Magnolia Enterprises will be selling a variety ofoutdoor cooking and camping accessories.

Fielders PRO Shop, Power Sports, Car City and Stan KingChevrolet and Sullivan Ford will showcase four-wheelers, ATVs,trucks and automotive accessories, and Fishers of Men will detailtheir handmade boats.

For the hunter in the home, Vendors Emporium, Good Medicine andDan’s Camo Sheets will offer all manner of outdoor-themed homedécor items, and Donna McCue will be selling women’s outdooraccessories. John Shemwell’s handmade gun cabinets will also be forsale.

Outdoor department store Gander Mountain will also be present atthe expo, along with the Bullet Hole, Morgan Taxidermy, DucksUnlimited, Hebert Fishing Charters, Louisiana and MississippiSportsman magazines, Big Boys Deer Processing, Paul Ott,Mississippi Trophy Hunters, Brookhaven Animal Rescue League, King’sDaughters Medical Center, the Mississippi Natural Science Museumand the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries andParks.

Hot Eats and Cool Treats, Mitchell’s, Three Bears and Loyd StarAttendance Center’s Future Farmers of America will sell food at theevent. Just Kiddin’ of Brookhaven will host a play area forchildren.

The 2010 Lincoln County Wildlife Expo will feature some of thesame events from the previous two years, such as the wildlifedepartment’s 3D archery shoot, the big buck contest, rock wall anddoor prizes. The event’s annual culinary showdown has been changed,however, to a gumbo cook-off.

“We tried venison recipes first, but there wasn’t enough deermeat left by the that time of year. We had a chili cook-off thesecond year, but there wasn’t enough interest. This year we’rehaving a gumbo cook-off,” Jordan said.

Entry into the gumbo cook-off is $45, and cooks mustpre-register by noon on Sept. 17 by visiting the civic centeroffice, calling 601-823-9064 or online atwww.lincolncountywildlifeexpo.com. Visitors will be able to pay asmall fee to enter the cook-off area and taste-test all thepreparations.

The wildlife department will speak about Mississippi huntinglaws at 7 p.m. Friday, But other than that, the long line ofspeakers and presenters common at the first two expos has beenscrubbed.

“People want to see and buy what’s new for the upcoming season,and they want to socialize. They really don’t want to hear a lot ofwhite noise,” Jordan said. “We’re trying to generate a morelaid-back atmosphere where they can go browse at theirconvenience.”