Visitors to the All Canada Show at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles make their way to exhibitors and chat with vendors on Friday, January 11, 2013. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 14, 2013 6:47AM
ST. CHARLES — The two bull moose leaned snarling into each other, massive antlers locked in a battle of wills that would last until both were dead. Nearby, a gray wolf watched the struggle, waiting its chance to take on the wounded giants, while a skunk lifted its tail in terror.
Visitors to the All Canada Show at Pheasant Run Resort this weekend gathered around the spectacle, snapping photos and admiring the lifelike taxidermy in the recreation of an actual event that happened in Lac Seul, Ontario, where two sets of moose antlers were discovered locked together about 20 years ago.
“We could pick them up and take them home,” suggested 6-year-old Dani Duquette, daughter of Kashabowie Outposts representative Martha Duquette. “They’re not heavy right now. They just have foam inside them.”
“I like the giant antlers. They’re really cool,” said 5-year-old Yorkville resident Sarah Ticer. “The moose look so fierce because they’re fighting each other.”
The Hanson Buck, which holds the world record for largest whitetailed deer ever bagged, and an 800-pound musk ox also drew admiring crowds.
“The musk ox is neat to look at because its species is so old. It just looks prehistoric,” Martha Duquette said.
Another popular attraction is the hunting simulator, which lets contestants shoot a laser gun at video images of prey, then rates their marksmanship.
“This is the best thing I ever played!” enthused Caden Cotteleer of West Chicago, who at age 7 is already a seasoned hunter with two geese to his credit. “I want to spend the whole night here.”
Caden’s 11-year-old brother, Cody, and sisters Kaitlyn, 13, and Kamryn, 4, also enjoyed the games and outscored many adult hunters on the simulator. They cast expertly in the flycasting challenge and took each other’s photos holding trophy fish in front of a Canadian lake scene.
“We often take the kids hunting and fishing,” said their grandfather, Tony Cozza of Schaumburg. “They love it, and it’s a great way to spend time with them.”
“We’re seeing a big insurgence in families taking outdoor vacations that include hunting, fishing and camping,” said Cabela marketing manager Diane Schneider, who was showing off hybrid all-terrain vehicles at the convention.
“These are the kinds of vacations many Baby Boomers took with their parents back in the ‘60s, and now they want to pass that experience on to their children and grandchildren.”
Animal art too
Non-hunters at the show could escape into the gallery of wildlife artist Anthony Padgett, who exhibited original paintings costing thousands of dollars as well as framed and unframed prints ranging in price from $250 to $12. Several visitors mistook Padgett’s representational paintings for photographs.
“Anthony always wants to make what he paints look as realistic as possible,” explained his business manager, Heather Rayka, while Padgett chatted with customers. “He wants people to understand what a ring-tailed pheasant or a blue-winged teal look like. And he paints a lot of different outdoor scenes that don’t all relate to hunting or fishing.”
More than 100 lodge and outfitting company booths are represented at the show.
“We’re thinking of taking a Canada trip, so I came to gather information,” said Yorkville resident Rob Ticer. “I could find this information on the Internet, but this way is better. ”
The All Canada Show continues from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at Pheasant Run Resort on Route 64 in St. Charles. $10 for adults; $8 for seniors and children ages 13-16; and free for children ages 12 and under. Visit www.AllCanadaShow.com.