Detaching from technology and getting outdoors were the central themes at the Straffordville Community Centre Sunday morning during a fundraiser to help pay for $250,000 in renovations to the centre.
“We’re more than halfway towards that goal,” said Brad Andrews, organizer of the show.
The newly renamed Great Outdoor Hunting, Fishing and Gun Show featured everything from fishing equipment to taxidermy and kayaks.
“It was originally a gun show but it has turned into much more than that,” Andrews said.
Robert Jones and his 16-year-old son Lucas, of Otter Valley Paddle Sports, explained they began to sell kayaks a few years ago after searching unsuccessfully for an affordable kayak.
Their Tillsonburg dealership now offers multiple lines, as well as classes, to give kayakers the experience of being more closely in touch with the water.
And their kayaking hobby has taken them to Long Point Bay, Big Creek and Otter Creek, and even to Florida.
The best part, Lucas said, is disconnecting from your phone, not worrying about what is going on in the outside world, as well as the opportunity to observe wildlife.
Terry Wilson, of Erie Bassmasters, who meet every third Thursday of the month in Delhi, was at the show to encourage people to take up the sport of angling.
“You don’t even need a boat,” he said. “If you are interested in fishing, there is a lot of knowledge to be gained.”
John Rakoczi, president of the non-profit Long Point Bay Angler’s Association, said his group is about conservation, giving anglers opportunities and encouraging young people to become involved with the sport.
“When you look at the demographics, you don’t see a lot of young people,” he said. “As long as you give them the opportunity, hopefully there is a spark and they will take it.”
For David Finley of the Ruffed Grouse Society of Canada North Shore Chapter, a non-profit group committed to conserving the bird’s habitat, the show provided a forum to educate.
The ruffed grouse make a distinctive sound by fanning their wings or “drumming” the air.
“Ruffed grouse need young forest (to survive) because old forests don’t provide enough cover and they are subjected to predators,” he said.
They, too, are committed to mentoring youth in regards to land stewardship and upland game bird hunting.
They recently donated $2,000 to East Elgin Secondary School for a land stewardship course.
The chapter is hosting a fundraiser on May 26 in Courtland. For tickets call 519-428-7433.