Story by Tom P.

Whether you’re an avid waterfowl hunter, appreciate the art of decoy and shorebird carving, thrill at watching water dogs at work, marvel at the skills of participants in duck and goose calling competition, are concerned about wetlands habitat, want to learn more about the rich history of the bay life, pick up a few tips about photographing wildlife, get some good prices on decoys, ammo and other necessities for the upcoming season, enjoy busting a few clay birds or flinging some arrows, want to learn more about the critical roles sportsmen/sportswomen play in conserving and enhancing New Jersey’s abundant wildlife and habitat resources, well, all this and much more can be experienced during the 35th Annual Decoy & Gunning Show this Saturday and Sunday at Tip Seaman Park and the Tuckerton Seaport, both located on Route 9 opposite each other in the hamlet of Tuckerton in southern Ocean County.

It is easily reached via Exit 58 on the Garden State Parkway and then heading south on Route 539 (left if coming from the north, left if arriving from the south) to the Route 9 intersection. Make a right, and go ½-mile. The entrance will be on the right.

To be sure, this event is geared heavily towards ducks and duck hunting, as these were and remain important parts of life along Barnegat and Great bays. However, there is much more offered via the 300-something exhibitors, and no doubt one will come to fully appreciate what this unique part of New Jersey was once, and pretty much still is, about.

Oh yeah. The eats.

Everything from fried pickles to pulled pork to sausage and peppers, to slap your mama meatball parm sandwiches to ultra-fresh clams and oysters on the half-shell to kielbasa ‘n kraut to spud/onion/green pepper-laden Italian hot dogs to brick thick burgers to fried-as-you-watch funnel cakes to homemade cookies and myriad other epicurean delights are available along what I refer to as “Bellybuster’s Row.”

Hours are 7 a.m.-5 p.m. both days. Admission to the event is free (you read that correctly) and shuttle bus service from nearby parking areas is available at no charge. Take advantage of this, as parking around and within reasonable walking distance of the venues is at a premium until late afternoon hours.

See you there!

Boat Note: Don’t forget this weekend’s Jersey Shore Boat Sale & Expo that‘s running through Sunday at FirstEnegry Park in Lakewood.

Autumn is the ideal time to lay down the cash and arrange the financing, as dealers are eager to move leftover inventory, new or pre-owned, and are giving generous discounts off sticker price. And, if it’s a new vessel (leftovers are still classified as new models), manufacturers are offering several goodies, such as free extended service plans or extra warranty years on the motor. This, plus the 3.5% sales tax all scream “Buy me now!”.

Plenty of floats for perusal, and lots of stuff for the youngsters to do as well.

Who knows? This just may be your time to sign on the dotted line and enjoy the Garden State’s fantastic boating and angling opportunities.

Admission is $5, with all under 12 years of age admitted free. Plenty of free parking is available on site.

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