"Wild Indiana Returns to Kokomo" by John Martino

Wild Indiana returns to Kokomo By John Martino “For the city the size of Kokomo this is a great outdoor show,” said Robert Timmons of Rochester, after visiting last year’s Wild Indiana. This year’s fifth annual Wild Indiana Outdoor Expo has been set for January 12 from 9 am to 6 pm and January 13 from 9 am to 5pm. The event will take place inside the spacious Kokomo Conference and Event Center, 1500 N. Reed Rd. (Indiana 931). Admission is $5 at the door and children under 12 free. The show is promised to be a true family oriented, community event. The goal is to attract a wide variety of audiences from the experienced to the beginner. In depth presentations will be offered in addition to exhibits and interactive presentations that will spark the imaginations of those who may have an interest but don’t know the many local and statewide options that exist or how to get started. From canoes to campers, bows to bass boats and everything in between the show will beckon a mid-winter chance to look at a wide range of equipment while having an opportunity talk with industry experts. This year’s headliners include bass fishing superstars Mike McClelland, Andy Montgomery and Steve Kennedy. McClelland is a four time Bassmaster Elite series champion. Kim Stricker of the Outdoor Channel’s “Hook and Look” TV will also be on hand with captivating underwater presentations. Others providing informative presentations include Mark Booth of Take Flight Wildlife Education and his highly acclaimed birds of prey. This is a show you won’t want to miss with the entire family. Professional crappie anglers Tom Hankins and Ron Bilbrey will take the stage and reveal their tricks and techniques to catching slab-sided crappies. Well known and expert multi-paddler Garry Hill will enlighten attendees with a program explaining how to canoe, kayak and fish mid-central Indiana streams including our local Wildcat Creek. If you have taken a trophy buck this season, or in past years and want to see what it actually scores, you’re in luck. Bob Graber and several other official Boone and Crockett, Pope and Young and Hoosier Record Buck officials will be set up to measure trophy deer taken by successful hunters. If you are looking to book a hunting or fishing trip many guides have already reserved space to showcase their services. Nearly 100 vendors will fill 80,000 square feet with their outdoor related products and equipment. It is no secret there are many area residents who make hand crafted outdoor related equipment in their own mom and pop shops. From handmade knife sheaths and other products to custom lures and fishing rods, Wild Indiana offers an opportunity to bring these groups together all under one roof. And you can see it all here first. This year’s event is sponsored by Sherm’s Marine, Button Motors, North Central Outdoor Power, Greater Kokomo Visitors Bureau, Kokomo Conference and Event Center, Brownies Marine, American Pond and Lake Management, WWKI, Soremouth Tackle and Laquinta Inns and Suites. The program has been targeted to showcase everything outdoors. Enthusiasts of hiking, fishing, hunting, camping, canoeing, kayaking, and just about every other outdoor interest will find a wealth of information and gear to make your 2019 outdoor activities the best they can be. Hunter Education An IDNR certified hunter education class will also be provided during this year’s Wild Indiana. The free, 10 hour class is set for January 12 from 9AM to 3 PM. and January 13 from noon to 4 PM. Hunter Ed. is mandatory for anyone born after December 31, 1986 before purchasing a valid Indiana hunting license. The class will cover complete firearms safety, hunter ethics and responsibilities along with wildlife conservation. First aid, archery and tree stand safety will also be presented. The IDNR Hunter Ed. is a one and done program. Once completed the student is certified for life. It is important to note that many other states require proof of successful completion of the hunter ed. program before purchasing a hunting license. Hunter Ed. is targeted to those 10 years and above. To receive a hunter ed. Certificate, students must score a minimum 70 percent correct on the 100-question final exam. Students can register for hunter ed. by going to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources website and clicking on the hunter ed. link. You can also contact Howard County Coordinator Denny Heaton at (765) 883-5033 Speaker Schedule Saturday, January 12 Sunday, January 13 9:00am – Crappie Fishing 10:00am – Andy Montgomery 10:00am – Andy Montgomery 11:00am - Kim Stricker 11:00am – Kim Stricker 12:00pm – Mike McClelland 12:00pm – Q & A with the Pros 1:00pm – Andy Montgomery 1:00pm – Steve Kennedy 2:00pm – Mark Booth of Take Flight! 2:00pm – Mark Booth of Take Flight! 3:00pm – Kim Stricker 3:00pm – Mike McClelland 4:00pm – Garry Hill 4:00pm – Kim Stricker 5:00pm – Garry Hill