Whitetails Unlimited's 2011 Deer Camp Tour a Success

"We held 14 Deer Camps this spring, in eight states," said Hawkey, "Overall attendance was up again, and everyone involved, including members, field directors, and sponsors, all thought it was a great series of events."

Planning on the 2012 Deer Camp Tour is already underway, and Hawkey said that he expects Deer Camp events in 2012 to continue to grow. "We're still finalizing dates and locations, and we're evaluating everything from last year so we can offer even more next year," said Hawkey. "We've got firm dates on brand new events, and we will be repeating all of last year's events."

"We use our local Grassroots II events as a starting template for our Deer Camps," said Pete Gerl, Whitetails Unlimited's executive director. "These events are held in great venues, with great food, outstanding prizes, and once-in-a-lifetime hunting and fishing trips. At all the Deer Camp events everyone took home a Deer Camp Tour shirt, and depending on the Deer Camp, as many as one out of every seven people attending won a gun. We try to do something special at our Deer Camps, and the response from those attending shows that they appreciate that."

Field Director Jim Wiltinger held an inaugural Minnesota South Deer Camp in Red Wing, and said that, "This was a tremendous first event. The entire evening was outstanding, and based on the response from those at the Deer Camp, I'm shooting for a 50 percent increase in attendance next year. This event exceeded everyone's expectations." A second Minnesota Deer Camp is being added to the schedule for next spring in Alexandria.

Ohio Field Director Dennis Malloy held his Big Buckeye Deer Camp in Cambridge, Ohio, and noted that, "We had 600 people at the Deer Camp, in this small town, and the feeling in the air was electric. The uniqueness of the Deer Camp atmosphere really pumped up the crowd. We gave away more guns, more prizes, and thanks to the Deer Camp Sponsors we had some fantastic products that were really well received. I got more high-fives from people leaving at the end of the night than ever, and I had people who were leaving wanting to know when tickets would be available for next year's Deer Camp."

As Malloy noted, industry support of the 2011 Deer Camp Tour was outstanding, resulting in high-quality merchandise, travel destinations, and outdoor-related artwork being available in record numbers. "Companies that have partnered with Whitetails Unlimited are getting direct access to the most passionate deer hunters in the country - WTU members," said Gerl. "We had custom-engraved firearms, art from the country's top artists, merchandise that every deer hunter can use, and adventure travel packages that range from fishing in Minnesota, to hog hunting in Texas, to once-in-a-lifetime African safaris."

"The proceeds generated from the Deer Camp Tour are essential for many of our national programs," said WTU President Jeff Schinkten. "We're very pleased about this past year's success, and we're looking forward to making the 2012 Deer Camp Tour even better. The response from our members and our industry sponsors, both regional and national, has been outstanding."