For 14 years, Buckarama has brought thousands of hunting enthusiasts together in Perry to mark the start of the hunting season. This year will be no exception, as the event kicks off Friday at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter.
“We started Buckarama in Perry in 1991 and have been there ever since,” said Sam Stowe, sportsmen’s programs manager for the Georgia Wildlife Federation, which hosts the event. “We’re expecting between 12,000 and 14,000 attendees. Each year it just gets bigger and better. This is a rite of passage for the upcoming hunting season, in particular deer season. We have hunting vendors with everything from deer lures to guns, boots, duck hunting supplies and raccoon hunting supplies.”
Featuring a variety of seminars each day -- including trophy maintenance, white tail hunting, coyote hunting and more -- this event offers a wide array of educational opportunities as well as a chance for nature enthusiasts to come together about issues affecting Georgia’s natural lands and wildlife.
“We’re going to have some hunting, fishing and outdoors activities,” Stowe said. “One of the biggest highlights is the kids’ section. We have a special section in the show just for little hunters including a fishing rodeo, BB shoot, archery shoot, Southeastern Reptile Rescue snake how, craft projects and more. At the Fishing Rodeo, kids lasso a catfish in a pond. You’d be surprised at how many adults want to get in on the action, too.”
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Then, for kids of all ages, there is the Southeastern Reptile Rescue show.
“We have Jason Clark with the Southeastern Reptile Rescue holding a reptile show each day, which has been really popular in the past. He’ll have snakes, of course, an alligator and turtles. ... It is undeniably one of the favorites.”
In addition to all the fun and shopping, Buckarama offers a hunting safety course.
“Pre-registration is encouraged at www.georgiawildlife.com or at the show on Friday afternoon,” Stowe said. “Enrollment is limited to first 75 people, so it’s a good idea to register early.”
“This year, we are featuring for the second time a ‘Tricked Out Truck Show,’ ” Stowe said. “Any of the hunters can bring their hunting truck for a people’s choice contest. There will be plaques for first, second and third places. It’s always a lot of fun to see what people do and to get ideas.”
And don’t worry, ladies, this event isn’t just for the guys.
“At least 30 percent of our attendees are women,” Stowe said. “More women are learning to hunt and liking it. We definitely have items for them, and we have other items for sale in the vendors section that might appeal to non-hunters, like upscale jewelry. There is a little something for everybody.”
When: 1-7 p.m. Aug. 14, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 15, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 16
Where: McGill Marketplace and Heritage Hall, Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter, Perry
Cost: $8 adults; $5 ages 6-12 and older than 65; free for ages 5 and younger with an adult