AUGUSTA — Thousands of people donned camouflage and snow boots Saturday during the second day of the State of Maine Sportsman Show at the Augusta Civic Center.

A steady snow was falling as the show’s doors opened at 9 a.m., but it didn’t stopped thousands of visitors from coming to check out the latest in outdoor gear including bows, rifles, clothing, vehicles and other equipment.

“It feels like we’re in the middle of February, but people are anxious to get out and do some spring activities,” said David Trahan, executive director of the Sportman’s Alliance of Maine, which puts on the show. “Weather like this helps us because it makes people want to come to a show.”

The three-day show concludes Sunday and features more than 100 vendors from across the state and some from elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada.

Brian Potter, a co-owner of Northwood Bear Products of Mineral Point, Wisconsin, came to the event after one of his outfitters recommended the show. His company sells food-flavored jelly, sprays and powders to attract bears, and he said he often must tell people the products are for cooking.

“Walking around the show floor and seeing ‘bear products,’ I wondered if they were selling food made from bear,” said Thomas Winston, of Scarborough, who was at the show with a cousin. “I’m glad I didn’t try and sample any, because some of the scents and flavors seem really strong.”


One of the other vendors who saw a lot of activity early Saturday was Trish Jackson, a cocker spaniel breeder and trainer who had a few dogs, including 3-year-old Keeper doing drills and training exercises, to the delight of observing children. The dogs are conditioned to retrieve woodcock, grouse and pheasant.

“They are a hunting breed, and while most dogs can be trained, you are looking for innate abilities,” said Jackson, a part of the Maine Spaniel Field Trial Club, Inc. “I want a dog that’ll work for me, because you can have a dog with the best nose, but if it doesn’t want to work for you, it’s absolutely useless.”

There was a table of Unity College students who are part of Operation Game Thief, including sophomores Morgan Jeane and Keegan Nelligan. They are conservation law enforcement majors who volunteer at the nonprofit organization taking tips for fish and game violations that are passed along to state game wardens.

Trahan said he expects an above-average crowd for the show’s final day Sunday and has big plans for next year and beyond. He said the show has been evolving over the last several years and has to continue to keep pace with innovation and technology improvements in society.

“We have some new activities including a great deer display with some of the largest whitetail deer. We have more youth activities, and I suspect next year you’ll see even more,” he said.

To keep attracting people to the show, especially young people, Trahan said he wants to have tents, full-size archery and air-gun ranges and even some live animals. He said his organization surveys vendors to get an idea of what they like or would improve about the show and make decisions based on that feedback.


“We want it to be focused on sportsmen, and we’re really trying to improve the show,” Trahan said. “We need to do more with computers because that’s our society right now, so why not get kids into hunting, fishing and trapping and using some of that equipment and technology that’s available?”

The event also included a children’s area with a hands-on fishing experience, and a veterans’ resource center. The show begins at 9 a.m. Sunday and concludes at 4 p.m. Admission costs $8 for people ages 13 to 64; and $6 for active-duty military personnel, adults 65 and older and children ages 5 to 12. Children under 5 are admitted free.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ


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