Every year in March, the Wake County Wildlife Club put’s on the Dixie Deer Classic in Raleigh, NC. It’s something that we try and visit most years, and enjoy doing so. Usually there is a showcase of some of the largest whitetail deer harvested in the state, seminars on various outdoor related items, usually around hunting, speaking engagements by outdoor celebrities, dog competitions, a chili cook-off, and a variety of vendors. We always go with a goal in mind and this year I wanted to see Michael Waddell, learn about CWD, and speak with an specific outfitter.
Micael Waddell has been a hunting celebrity for a few decades now. I remember first seeing him on Real Tree Road Trips, he made an appearance on Jeff Foxworthy’s “The Incomplete Deer Hunter”, and now he owns the Bone Collector. Waddell was slated to speak for an hour, and you would expect the majority of his talk to be about hunting tactics and favorite states to hunt in. The largest theme of Waddell’s time behind the mic was about doing what you enjoy regardless of others opinions. In today’s time of everyone being overly critical about everything it was nice to hear a message reminding you to forget about what the haters say and enjoy your time in the outdoors.
Chronic Wasting Disease was an important issue covered at the DDC this year. It’s a disease that has taken decades to reach NC, but it’s now here. The NC Wildlife Commission is doing what it can to stop the spread of the disease and educating the public about the disease will go a long way in helping with that. There were booths, pamphlets and a seminar all on the topic. Recently a bill passed in the US House of Representatives for research on the disease., hopefully it will be passed in the senate as well.
For about a year now I’ve considered getting a hunting saddle to hunt out of. After hearing mixed reviews on them I was unsure if it would be something I would want to do. The primary concern with a saddle is being comfortable. They do have a bit of an investment to them and to drop several hundred dollars a pop to try one out can get very expensive very quickly. Knowing other stand types work I’ve just chosen not to get into the saddle game. This year there was a youtube channel owner who reviews hunting saddles and he had a collection of saddles available to test and try and see what you like.
When you only have a few minutes to test a saddle you’re not going to know fully if it’s one you will enjoy sitting in for hours at a time but it does give you an idea of what you might like between brands from the start. After being able to test out several I may have to try hunting from one in the upcoming season.
Last year for the first time I got into bear hunting. It for sure had a different challenge to it than the deer I normally hunt but it was one I enjoyed (even though in my first year I was unsuccessful). There was an outfitter that I knew would be at the classic and I specifically wanted to meet up them to get more information on going on a hunt with them.
There is more I could go into, it was a very productive and educational day around an activity I love. We have a few months of fishing before it’s time to hit the woods and hunt again (after turkey season) but now is the preparation time before the season starts.