If you block off deer hunting opening weekend from all other activities and own more camo and blaze orange make up the majority of your wardrobe, you may be a deer hunter. If you are, there’s an event like no other held every first weekend in August at Washington County Fair Park in West Bend.
“We try and present everything here that would relate to a deer hunt. If you think about it you know we’ve got to obviously bows and guns and tree stands,” Hugh Mcaloon, the owner Deer Fest Washington County Fair Park said. We’ve got Outfitters, but we’ve had you know things to build log cabins and outfit your hunting camp. So, we bill Deer Fest as everything deer.”
Without a doubt it’s a deer hunters paradise, complete with gear and hunting tools, seminars, and celebrities from the professional hunting world who offer tips for hunting enthusiasts.
“We have exclusive expert seminars. So, a lot of our celebrities that hunt for a living will come in and do seminars, and you know, people that are in the business doing seminars. That’s a big draw! Then we also have two archery tournaments,” Mcaloon said.
The event takes place just ahead of the bow hunting opener so hunters can check out all the new gear before the season starts.
“Deer Fest is the only deer show type event that takes place this close to the hunting season. A lot of the other events are in the late winter, spring, but we’re right on the start of the season. People are getting into it, they’re shooting their bows getting their tree stands ready, so yeah, it’s a kind of a primer if you will!”
For a state with a strong tradition of deer hunting, it makes sense to have the Midwest’s largest all-deer festival take place in Wisconsin.
“I’ve told people for years that if you take every facet of deer hunting, you know the number of deer, the quality of deer, the number of hunters, the number of economic…you know, the impact…put it all into a blender; blend it up; Wisconsin’s the number one state in the nation. Far and away. Nothing compares.”