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Wildlife, hunting, fishing on display at Buckarama expo

JASON VORHEES/THE TELEGRAPH Perry, GA, 08/16/2015: 
 Mike Dorn of Juliette carries a climbing deer stand while walking with his son Hunter, 7, who carries a gun case through the 2015 Buckarama Sunday in Perry.
JASON VORHEES/THE TELEGRAPH Perry, GA, 08/16/2015: Mike Dorn of Juliette carries a climbing deer stand while walking with his son Hunter, 7, who carries a gun case through the 2015 Buckarama Sunday in Perry. jvorhees@macon.com

PERRY -- Joshua Houck, 13, sat front and center in a crowd of about a hundred people Sunday as a snake wrangler pulled a variety of snakes from secured boxes.

Spalding County-based Jason Clark of Southeastern Reptile Rescue told the crowd that most Georgians who are bitten by snakes are bitten two or three minutes after they see the snake.

It’s while they’re deciding how they’re going to catch or kill the snake, he said.

“Watch where you put your hands and feet,” Clark said. “Never try to kill or catch a snake and you’ll never have to worry about a bite.”

During a talk aimed at educating visitors about snakes native to Georgia, Clark gave onlookers a glimpse -- from a safe distance -- at venomous timber rattlesnakes, a cottonmouth and a copperhead.

Houck said his favorite part of the show was the rattlesnakes.

“I liked the rattlesnakes and how the rattlers work,” he said.

The show was part of the annual Georgia Wildlife Federation Buckarama expo held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds this weekend.

An exhibition hall held tables where visitors could buy anything from a scope for a hunting rifle and camouflage to T-shirts and soap made from goat milk.

After watching the snake show, 6-year-old Hawke Oller, of Juliette, tried his hand at catching one of about a dozen catfish using a loop tied to the end of a pole.

His mother, Allison Oller, said Hawke’s been enjoying the interactive activities at the expo for years.

“Everything’s so hands-on,” she said. “That’s important when you’re trying to teach them the right way to fish and hunt.”

In its 31st year -- the 24th in Perry -- the Buckarama is aimed at promoting the outdoors, said Mike Worley, president and CEO of the Georgia Wildlife Federation.

About 6,200 people attended the show Saturday, Worley said.

A seemingly steady flow of visitors streamed in Sunday afternoon.

“We’ve got a good crowd,” Worley said.

He said the show is one of the federation’s largest fundraisers, helping fund advocacy efforts, educational programs, and work to protect wildlife and natural resources.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398 or find her on Twitternote>.

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