For the past couple of years I have arranged our trade stands at the CLA Game fair, British Shooting Show and the Midland Game and whilst these have always been excellent for William Powell we feel we are missing out on our European target audience, with this in mind I recently visited the hugely talked about Jagd & Hund show in Dortmund.
The show is very much different to those we hold in the UK as this is an indoor event over 6 days with an attendance of over 80,000. The show is split into 8 halls with each hall being allocated to specific areas of the hunting/shooting world, with exhibitors travelling from all over the world.
One of the main showcases is the annual Stag imitations championships and if you have not witnessed such a thing it’s definitely worth a look. Seventeen contestants in front of a packed audience “bark” it out for a chance to participate in the European Championships held in Hungary. This year’s winner was Hans-Günter Schärf.
UK Gamefairs tend to incorporate a whole host of countryside dynamics and sport, Jagd & Hund focuses more on the core of hunting and the history that has been kept alive with it. I was the only one in a Schoffel gilet that’s for sure, and every other person was proudly wearing their best short collared felt jacket.
Whilst sampling the delights of currywurst and chips (the only thing on the menu) I realised how serious all the visiting public were. Unlike Gamefairs at home where you get a lot of families having a day out in the countyside these lot were clearly all there to spend money and watch the competitions with 100% dedication. It got me asking why Gamefairs in the UK had felt the need to expand away from the ‘Game’ in the name quite so much? Whilst there are the obvious reasons for attracting a wider audience, the European market are clearly thriving with events such as Jagd & Hund because they remain true to their name. Could we learn something from them? It is also worth mentioning the ticket prices at Jagd & Hund were favourable to the UK, which seems to increase year on year. There must be a capping point, has it now been reached with the demise of the CLA?!
With the Summer of newly created Game and Country Fairs ahead it will be interesting to see which comes out on top, and maybe it’s worth looking to European shows for those more serious about their sport.