AUGUSTA

March 31, 2010

Maine Sportsman's Show set for 3-day weekend run

AUGUSTA -- People will have an opportunity to sell their rifles and shotguns at the 30th Annual State of Maine Sportsman's Show this weekend.

L.L. Bean firearms experts will be on hand at the three-day sportsman show, which starts Friday, to buy used "long guns." The company sells new and used guns at its hunting and fishing store in Freeport.

Earl Kingsbury, event coordinator for the Augusta Civic Center, said a security guard will be stationed at the main entrance to direct people with guns to a side door that leads to the Cumberland Room.

"There will be a police officer at that door, checking guns as they come into the building," Kingsbury said Tuesday. "Folks ought to enter there, have their guns checked, sell their guns to one of the experts, then exit through the same way they came in. So if they want to come to the show, they'll have to go through the main doors."

The police officer will check to see that the guns are unloaded and that the trigger and hammer are tied down as a safety precaution.

Carolyn Beem, L.L. Bean spokeswoman, said the company is trying to increase its visibility in the used-gun market.

"This is new for us," Beem said. "I think we did it at the Lewiston Twin City Gun Show a couple weeks ago. It's something that we've just begun looking at. We think it's a good way to connect with people and get out there in the market itself. There are lots of gun opportunities with the small mom-and-pop stores and bigger retailers for used guns."

She said L.L. Bean follows all national and state laws associated with buying used guns.

"It's a little different when buying than selling," she said. "We're only looking at traditional hunting guns, but would definitely be interested in looking at antique guns."

This year's show gives people an opportunity to attend more than 100 seminars and stage events.

The 12 huge draws this year include L.L. Bean's display of outdoor equipment, seminars on hunting elk and deer, and a multievent program called "Save Our Deer Day."

The audience will get to talk to wildlife biologists and experts about how to hunt coyotes, feed deer and plant food plots. Attendees also will hear about plans for restoring northern Maine's deer herd, which has seen a sharp decline over the past few years.

Harry Vanderweide, the show's co-director, said families will have a range of entertaining choices to enjoy.

"I'm very proud of what we've accomplished," Vanderweide said. "We're really trying to pay attention to children. That's why we have the ATV forum to give them sample rides to emphasize safety. Trout Unlimited is offering fly-fishing training, and the Bow Hunters Association is letting them shoot compound bows. When you combine those things with all the dozen hunting dogs that are going to be there, it's more a family outdoor festival."

The Alliance of Trail Vehicles of Maine will allow children ages 8 to 16 to operate an all-terrain vehicle in a safe, controlled manner on an outdoors course in the Augusta Civic Center parking lot.

Occasionally, a game warden will stop the youths, he said, and ask questions such as, "Is your machine registered?" to prepare children to operate their own ATV on a trail.

A rare taxidermy display of two bull moose locked in combat will be exhibited. "The Final Charge" is one of two such mounts in North America, Vanderweide said. The display resulted when Adella Johnson found the remains of two bull moose on her New Sweden property in May 2006.

"The moose had died after their antlers became locked in battle during the previous fall's rut," Vanderweide said. "Adella donated the antlers to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for educational purposes."

Other events include a wildlife photography contest, an outdoor art contest, a performance by Maine humorist Gary Crocker, an antique collection of outdoor gear, a spaniel field trial demonstration and a display by wildlife bronze sculptor David Smus, who is the show's Artist of the Year 2010.

"As always, the Maine sporting camps industry will have a strong presence in the auditorium, offering trips for everyone, especially budget-minded folks," Vanderweide said. "Among the 25 outfitters and sporting camps, folks can choose from exotic destinations to storied Maine choices."

Show times are 1 to 7 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets cost $7 for adults and children 13 and older; $4 for children 5 to 12. Children 4 and younger are admitted free.

The event is sponsored by The Maine Sportsman magazine and the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine.

Mechele Cooper -- 623-3811, ext. 408

mcooper@centralmaine.com

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