The symbolic start to the Mississippi hunting season remains the Mississippi Wildlife Federation’s annual Wildlife Extravaganza, which will have its 32nd run Aug. 3-5 at the Trade Mart in Jackson.

A consumer show that features more than 200 vendors/exhibitors offering the latest in outdoor equipment, the Extravaganza’s many aisles exude an atmosphere, unmistakable in its message: Hunting season is just around the corner. 

A yearly average of 30,000 people go and enjoy the feel — using all five senses in fact — to get their minds ready for the coming seasons. They will hear calls, smell scents, see big deer heads, handle equipment, and taste samples of deer processing and other treats. It is an event that has become a tradition for many a Mississippi sportsman.

“We make a day of it, my sons and I,” said Will Burgess of Brandon. “We have since they were knee-high, and now that they are fully grown and pretty much out on their own, we still make it a point to try and go to the Extravaganza as a group. This year, it times out perfectly with my son in the military. He has leave that week, so this one will be pretty special.”

The 2018 Extravaganza is loaded with attractions, including its Mississippi Big Buck Contest, which annually draws the biggest heads taken during the previous season. Then there’s:

• A meet and greet with Will Primos from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Primos Hunting booth.

• Jason Reynolds and his pack of retrievers putting on exhibitions throughout the weekend at the Fetch n’ Fish tank.

• A world championship-sanctioned Duck Calling Competition Saturday at the neighboring Fordice Equine Center, with a berth at the world event in Stuttgart, Ark., on the line.

• A weekend-long 3D Archery Shoot sponsored by the Mississippi Bowhunters Association at the Fordice Equine Center, with divisions for men, women, traditional, youth and cubs.

• Boots & Bling, a “hoedown” fundraiser for Mississippi’s Toughest Kids, Saturday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. featuring live music, BBQ, beer and dancing at the Fordice Equine Center.

• The cast of Real South Hunting.

• Demonstrations including hands-on for children by expert game caller and call maker Paul Meek of Paul Meek Outdoors.

• “Turkey Talk” exhibitions by Preston Pittman.

Show hours are 2-8 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Daily admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for children aged 5 and under. A weekend pass is available for $20. 

Friday is kids day, when children 12 and under get free admission and access to many special events. Many will get free gifts (as supplies last).

For more information, visit mswildlife.org.