The snow is receding, the ice is melting and temperatures are warming.
For many Mainers, those changes generate excitement about the arrival in earnest of spring as Mother Nature reopens her doors to the plethora of outdoor activities to be enjoyed during the warm weather months.
If you’re looking for like-minded folks to talk with about fishing, hunting, boating and paddling, or if you want to check out a new boat, learn about becoming a Registered Maine Guide or shop for outdoors products, then there’s one place you need to be this weekend.
Co-sponsors The Maine Sportsman magazine and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine will be hosting the 41st State of Maine Sportsman’s Show at the Augusta Civic Center.
From Friday through Sunday, the venue will be jam-packed with vendors, displays and informational booths — and thousands of people — for the annual gathering of the central Maine crowd. Organizers report there will be 125 exhibitors on hand.
“It is the largest such show in Maine,” said The Maine Sportsman editor Will Lund. “We expect over 8,000 people to attend over the three days.”
The State of Maine Sportsman’s Show made its highly anticipated return in 2022 after a two-year hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Patrons turned out in force.
There will be activities for outdoor aficionados of all ages and interests, including seminars and demonstrations, art, photography and carving shows, and the State of Maine Surplus Firearms Auction. The show kicks off at 1 p.m. Friday and runs until 8 p.m., then continues from 9 a.m. to 7 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is offering an assortment of presentations, including the Duck Stamp Program, a Maine Furbearer Program update and instructor training for trapper education classes, as well as a Maine Warden Service informational session.
Other presenters will include the Big Woods Bucks crew covering a handful of hunting topics, Suzanne Hamilton on the secrets of pistol marksmanship, Maine Women Hunters discussing beaver trapping, and author Tim Caverly of Allagash Tails with a talk called “The Allagash: New England’s Wild River.”
There are many more sessions during the show, some of which cater to kids by providing a turkey calling contest and a dedicated children’s area that will include some fun, hands-on activities.
Of course, there will be plenty of food available for purchase.
Sunday’s firearms auction, which will include more than 240 guns that have been seized by law enforcement or are surplus, begins at noon. There is a preview starting at 9 a.m. Paid admission to the show gets you into that event.
Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for seniors, Veterans and kids ages 5-12. Those age 4 and under are admitted free. A three-day pass also is available for $15.
For a full schedule of all the events and sessions planned for the show, check out The State of Maine Sportsman’s Show website here or on its Facebook page.