-By Brandon Wikman
The North American Shed Hunter’s Club Hunting and Sport Expo featured an array of incredible spectacles that every hardcore hunter could only dream about. I had the opportunity to be there first-hand and experience the frenzy.
Mark and Tom Miller, who are shed hunting maniacs from Wisconsin, began the NASHC. It has evolved into an annual event that boasts big antlers. They travel the country promoting the sport of shed antler hunting, which has ignited. Thousands of hunters and outdoor fanatics bring their most prized shed antlers to be scored and displayed. It is an experience that you have to see to believe. This year they held the show in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, where they featured dock dogs, seminars, exhibitors, and so much more; all in one mega-building!
A special area of the show displayed the largest bucks killed in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. The bone-sprucing giants pulled drooling crowds from across the entire Midwest. It was one of the most moving feelings I’ve ever felt.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Bob Decker, who killed the infamous “Field & Stream Buck” November 1st 2008. The buck blasted into the new Wisconsin non-typical record book tallying 233 2/8 inches of pure hard horn. It is now Wisconsin’s greatest non-typical class buck ever killed.
Decker has been traveling just as much as I have on the weekends. During tradeshows, Decker has lines of people waiting to hear the unforgettable story of how the hunt unwravled. Many listen with an attentive ear, bulged eyes, and a smile from ear-to-ear. Decker happens to be one of the most humble, modest, and appreciative people I’ve ever met. He hasn’t let the size and glory of his kill outshine his home-style personality.
When people were finished staring at the best collection of Midwest whitetail, they continued walking through the exhibitor area. One of the most talked about booths at the show was Dick’s Whitetail Taxidermy, owned by Dick Gunther. He showcased a magnificent booth full of top-notch quality works of art. His craft is putting the essence of life back into game. Gunther is one of my dearest friends and hunting partners. He is the only taxidermist in the entire state of Wisconsin that I fully trust to mount my deer and turkey mounts. He is from Camp Douglas, which is less than 20 minutes from my home. It makes easy critter transportation turn-around from woods to his shop.
The other talk of the show was a new line of apparel called Rut Junky. Dan Schaeffer is the owner of Rut Junky apparel and is a fellow Wisconsin native. Schaeffer’s line of apparel is trendy, hip, and cool. It takes on an entire new meaning of outdoor addiction. His screen-printed designs are flashy, distressed, and totally one of a kind. It’s nice to see an outdoor wear that caters to a different generation. I picked-up a few for myself and buddies.
Booth’s speckled the showroom floor from corner to corner. My little cousin’s favorite happened to be the shed antler search. It is like an Easter egg hunt, times 10! Throughout the entire day, kid’s rummaged through corn stalks, sifted through hay, and dug into heaping piles of straw in search for bone. My cousin had the time of his life and it is a memory that I will never forget. There’s no better way to get our youth involved into the sport than providing them opportunities to experience what nature has to offer.
I was pleased to see both Mark and Tom Miller throw down another successful yearly event that inspires the love and adoration for shed hunting fanatics. Please take a moment to check out their website at www.ShedAntlers.org.