Farmers, landowners and hunters who want to learn more about managing deer populations, mitigating crop damage and improving hunting can learn a thing or two about managing the state's natural resources at the 10th annual Delmarva Sportsmen's Classic slated for this weekend.
Topics for Saturday's daylong seminar include building a successful quality deer management program, whitetail management trends, responsible hunting, buck scoring and managing and hunting in small woodlots, Delaware Department of Agriculture spokesman Dan Shortridge said.
In essence, the Sportsmen's Classic will have something lined up for everyone, said Charles P. West II, president of the Quality Deer Management Association's Delaware State Chapter, the primary sponsor.
"If you're a hunter and you want better deer, these techniques will be applicable to you," West said. "If you're a farmer and you need less deer, then some of these techniques will help you balance the deer herd.
"We don't think of deer as pests. I'm a farmer as well," said West, of Gumboro. "They're a resource that needs to be managed. That's what the QDMA is all about – teaching people to manage their herd and wildlife habitat on their properties."
The Department of Agriculture has supported QDMA's Sportsmen's Classic by helping with logistics, West said. Ducks Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Delaware Wild Lands, Travis Taxidermy, the Mid-Del Charitable Foundation, Walls Irrigation and Hopkins Gun Shop are co-sponsors.
Speakers include Dr. Mark Conner of Chesapeake Farms in Chestertown, Md.; Dr. Grant Woods of GrowingDeer.tv; QDMA founder Joe Hamilton; Kip Adams, QDMA's education and outreach director; and Bill Jones, wildlife biologist with the Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife, West said.
Vendors will also be on hand, and food will be available for purchase, with limited free venison samples provided by Mark's Meats, Shortridge said.
In addition, exhibitors will be on hand to talk to people about ways to manage their forestland and how to control invasive species and weeds on their properties, West said. People can also learn about conservation programs run by the state and the feds.
West said the Delaware Sportsmen's Classic had grown each year since its inception 10 years ago. As such, he expects more than 300 people to attend Saturday's affair at the Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington – provided the weather holds up.
"This is the first year we've had to charge," West said. "It has been free. It mainly helps with the cost of renting the building and for speakers' travel fees. The speakers that came in only asked for travel expenses; they are not asking for honorariums."
The event was usually held in early February because the speakers were easier to schedule and farmers were less busy this time of year, West said.
Page 2 of 2 - "It'll be fun and entering and it will also be education. There will be a lot of conversation between hunters, farmers and other landowners, which is also a way to learn."
IF YOU GO
WHAT Delmarva Sportsmen's Classic
WHEN 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday
WHERE Delaware State Fairgrounds, Dover Building, 18500 South DuPont Highway, Harrington
COST Admission is $5, with children ages 15 and younger admitted for free.
CONTACT Call (302) 542-6323; visit www.delawareqdma.org; email email@example.com