Not everyone was watching the University of Louisville’s NCAA Tournament game Saturday afternoon.
Marty Bryant of Okolona and others were at the Field Stream Outdoor Life Kentucky Deer Turkey Expo instead, although the game could be seen on a couple televisions in the West Hall of the Kentucky Exposition Center, where the shooting being watched was with bows instead of basketballs.
“I’m happy to see it,” Bryant said of the event, adding that it was the first hunting exposition in Louisville — other than a boat show — in several years.
Bryant, who hunts deer and turkey, bought a plaque to hang a turkey tail and beard, a deer lure and a knife sharpener.
“You get to look at a lot of hard-to-find items,” he said, “items that you wouldn’t think about. A lot of people’s personal inventions that they’ve got.”
Expo Director Jake Steingraeber said the show is designed to give hunters a chance to get practical assistance, featuring experts and seminars rather than television celebrities.
The expos are 30 years old, he said, are done in four other Midwestern states and try to market to a niche of deer and turkey hunters rather than a broader focus that would include fishing or other forms of hunting.
Kentucky “really fits” because of the number of people who have hunting licenses, he said, and “it’s really in kind of the breadbasket — if you will — of white tail deer hunting.”
Steingraeber said the plan is to return next year, but a decision will be based on feedback from exhibitors and the number of attendees. Steingraeber said the shows benefit from a large number — about 70 percent — of return attendees, something that a new show doesn’t have.
“It takes a while to build that base up,” he said. “Starting from scratch, we’re just looking to reach these hunters where they are. … We’re not a one-and-done type operation.”
Aubra Browning of Madison, Ind., came to the show with his wife, granddaughter and others.
“If it walks or flies, I hunt it,” Browning said, noting he’d been to a similar show in Indianapolis about a month ago. “I like the variety of stuff that they have here. You’ve got a lot of guys who’ve got a lot of calls here,” many of which could be heard throughout the aisles of the show.
Browning said he bought a flashlight, but “I really, to be honest with you, there’s nothing here much that I need. I just like to come and look.”
Reporter Gregory A. Hall can be reached at (502) 582-4087. Follow him on Twitter at @gregoryahall.
If you go:
Field Stream Outdoor Life Kentucky Deer Turkey Expo
West Hall, Kentucky Exposition Center
9 a.m to 4 p.m.