Northeast Ohio Sportsman Show brings outdoors indoors

Northeast Ohio Sportsman Show brings outdoors  indoors

Buckeye Big Bucks, a company that comes in and measures and grades buck racks for those who want to find out how their big bucks stack up against others, will again be on hand during the annual Northeast Ohio Sportsman Show in Mt. Hope Jan. 16-18.


Winter is an ideal time of the year to whet the appetite for everything outdoors, but for Northeast Ohio Sportsman Show event promoter Jody Witzky of JW Promotions, they would prefer to have Old Man Winter back off a bit for this year’s show at the Mt. Hope Event Center Jan. 16-18.

Last year saw winter unleash a storm that kept people away in droves, which was too bad because this event has become one of Ohio’s biggest hunting, fishing and outdoor life events. According to Witzky, if something can be found in the great outdoors, whether it is hunting, fishing, camping, hiking or more, it can be found at the Northeast Ohio Sportsman Show.

“We have worked hard to keep this a pure sportsman show,” Witzky said. “Last year probably cost us around 7,000 people because of the weather, and that is something we can’t control, but we can make sure that we have a terrific line-up of outdoor speakers who are engaging, informative and interesting and cover a wide variety of topics. We can make sure that we have 180 top vendors here to connect with people, and we can make sure that we provide a spectacular three days of outdoor activities that will keep people busy from start to finish.”

One of the main reasons many people come to the sportsman show is to book their own trips and events through the many various vendors who will be at the show. Witzky said tripping, hunting and camping excursions are all booked during the weekend. Plus there are many more outdoor experiences to be booked.

Another big drawing card is the huge fish taken that allow plenty of fishing demonstrations. With the wide glass area that showcases the many fish inside the tank, it gives visitors a firsthand view of exactly what takes place underwater.

This year Witzky has even invested in his own tank, purchasing one from Michigan.

“It’s nice not having to worry about availability of the tank now,” Witzky said. “It cost $6,500 to rent one for three days, so this will pay for itself quickly. But more importantly the tank is one of our biggest draws, and people love watching the fish and experiencing demonstrations in a very up-close way. The fishing seminars are one of our biggest draws.”

Another draw is Buckeye Big Bucks, a company that comes in and measures and grades buck racks for those who want to find out how their big bucks stack up against others.

Witzky said according to Buckeye Big Bucks, this event is their largest in Ohio with a huge number of hunters bringing in their bucks to be scored.

“Guys love the opportunity to officially have their deer racks scored,” Witzky said. “That has been a popular stop since we first started it in the show.”

The doors of the Mt. Hope Auction facilities will be open during a three-day span. The show will take place Thursday, Jan. 16 from 2-9 p.m.; Friday, Jan. 17 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Saturday, Jan. 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. During those times the great outdoors will move into the event center, where patrons will have every opportunity to experience every aspect of the great outdoors.

The speakers make up a large portion of the three days.

“The seminars are a main part of the weekend,” Witzky said. “We will have professionals talking about hunting, fishing, trapping and night hunting and more, and these guys are very knowledgeable in their respective fields. Their seminars are incredibly informative, and we have worked hard to continue to bring in new, fresh seminar topics along with some of the favorite speakers who have been here year after year.”

Returning due to popularity will be Joe Zaffuto, whose seminar, “Night Eyes,” features nighttime hunting and was a hit last year. Chris Scrant will zero in on waterfowl hunting, which he has spent the past three decades doing. Dan Armitage will present “Kids’ Fishing Fun” in the enormous Hawg Trough mobile aquarium, demonstrating for kids the use of tackles, bobbers and live bait and featuring props that include the world’s largest bobber and biggest fish hook.

Longtime favorite adventurer Bill Epeards will share about his experiences hunting all over the world, where he has hunted for moose, elk, caribou, mule deer, whitetail deer, mountain lion, bear, alligator and more.

Carl Bachtel is a multi-species angler who works at WKYC TV3 in Cleveland. He has fished for anything that swims but will focus on crappie. He is a co-host of the radio show, “Nature and the Outdoors.”

Ron Slater is a professional fisherman for the National Professional Anglers Association and an experienced bass fishing guide. A senior writer for Angler Magazine, he will talk all things bass.

Tony LaPratt is an experienced whitetail deer hunter with all kinds of trophy harvests to his name. The founder of Whitetail Habitat Research Center and Whitetail Boot Camp, his seminars will focus on whitetail experiences.

Another big part of the show will be the vendors show, which will feature close to 180 outdoors vendors who will offer anything and everything connected to the outdoors. Hunting equipment, camping gear, archery, outdoor gadgets and outdoor gaming tours are just a few of the vendors that will be on hand.

In past shows outfitters from the United States, Canada and Africa were on hand to book hunting and fishing trips.

Then there are the stories shared by visitors themselves as they chat with one another and get into the outdoor spirit.

“Once people start talking about hunting and fishing, it doesn’t take long for them to feel really comfortable around one another,” Witzky said. “I think that is a big part of this event. It also provides an opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts to connect and talk about something that they are all very passionate about.”

If you love the great outdoors, whether it is hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and even photography, the NEOSS, Ohio’s largest sportsman show, is a weekend you won’t want to miss.

For more detailed information about speakers and updates on times of the event, visit

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