If you've ever wanted to learn how to call a goose, shoot a bow or skin a muskrat, then mark your calendars for next Saturday. Sept. 28 marks the fifth annual Provincial Hunting Day at Oak Hammock Marsh.
The free event runs rain or shine and usually attracts about 500 visitors. It's equally appealing to veteran hunters and those who are considering taking up the sport.
"There is a real mix of people who attend the event," said Carolyn Kosheluk, program manager for the Manitoba Wildlife Federation, which spearheads the event. "Some existing hunters will come to join in the celebration, often bringing their families. Other visitors are new to hunting and attend to learn about the hunting opportunities in Manitoba, including how to get started."
Provincial Hunting Day was first proclaimed in 2009. It happens on the fourth Saturday in September every year to celebrate the role hunting plays in wildlife management and conservation.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can learn about mentored hunts, how to introduce kids to safe shooting sports, equipment care and other topics. Manitoba Conservation's canine unit will be on hand to demonstrate the work these dogs do. To test your accuracy, step up to the air-rifle range. For a real test, learn how to throw an ancient weapon called an atlatl. The main stage will also feature a special presentation on that age-old topic: why we hunt.
Danny's Whole Hog is offering free lunch for the first 500 guests, and there's live music from Double Trouble, featuring young fiddle players Luc and Aiden along with their father, Robert Wrigley. Prizes will be handed out on the hour.
Youth are encouraged to enter the calling contest later in the afternoon. An expert caller from Cabela's will run through the basics before the competition begins.
Visit exhibits from companies and groups that support hunting in the province, including Manitoba Wildlife Federation, Travel Manitoba, Safari Club International, Ducks Unlimited and the Manitoba Natural Resource Officers Association.
For more information on Provincial Hunting Day, visit the MWF website at www.mwf.mb.ca or join the Provincial Hunting Day Celebrations at Oak Hammock Marsh Facebook event page.
Shel Zolkewich writes about the outdoors, travel and food when she's not playing outside, traveling or eating. You can reach her with your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org