Wild Things: Open House at Virlee Gunworks

Aug. 26 event includes range demos, new products

by KEVIN NAZE, [email protected], Peninsula Pulse contributor

Virlee Gunworks Shooting Center is hosting an open house Aug. 26, 9 am – 5 pm, as part of the second-anniversary celebration of its Sturgeon Bay store, 1019 Egg Harbor Road.

There will be range demos, product showcases, membership discounts, giveaways and door prizes, and manufacturers’ representatives from several firearm companies will be on hand. Visitors can see the latest firearms and exceptional shooting facilities. Expert instructors will provide insights, answer questions and offer guidance to those who wish to enhance their shooting skills or explore new firearm options. There will also be a grill-out, providing a selection of delicious food for attendees to enjoy throughout the day. 

Owner Scott Virlee said he wants the open house to create a welcoming atmosphere and a sense of camaraderie. Although he spends much of his week at his New Franken location, the Sturgeon Bay store has the only live-fire digital indoor shooting range in Wisconsin.

As part of the open house, a mini-course on developing a personal and home-protection plan is set for 1 pm, and a 90-minute self-defense seminar begins at 2 pm. 

Find out more at

Brody Richardson of Michigan was visiting relatives in Algoma and had a chance to fish on West Alaska Lake. He was learning to fillet his catch at the Algoma City Marina’s fish-cleaning station while fireworks were exploding over Lake Michigan to wrap up Shanty Days weekend. Photo by Kevin Naze.

Hunts Draw Near

Sept. 1 is opening day of the early goose, teal and mourning dove hunts, and black bear enthusiasts who are lucky enough to draw a tag can begin Sept. 6 with bait in Zones C, E and F, and with trailing hounds in Zones A, B and D. Those using bait in Zones A, B and D can begin hunting Sept. 13.

Trail-cam photos and long-range scouting with binoculars have deer hunters excited about the upcoming archery and crossbow opener Sept. 16. That’s also opening day for the wild turkey, gray and fox squirrel, Northern Zone cottontail rabbit and Zone A ruffed grouse seasons. 

The youth waterfowl hunt weekend is Sept. 16-17, the Northern Zone duck season opener Sept. 23, Southern Zone duck Sept. 30 and Open Water Zone Oct. 14. This year’s youth gun deer hunt is Oct. 7-8, and the pheasant season opens Oct. 14 at 9 am.

Deer hunters in Door and Kewaunee counties will again get plenty of free antlerless deer permits with their bow, crossbow or gun buck tags. Those interested in bonus tags here or elsewhere in the state can check out what’s available at

Deer Processing

If you’ve never processed your own deer and want to learn how, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is hosting a workshop with a step-by-step demonstration Oct. 7 at Peninsula State Park. Participants should arrive prepared to help skin, quarter, cut, trim and package venison. All supplies will be provided, and participants will be able to take some venison home.

Learn more and sign up for the workshop – limited to 15 participants – via a link at

More tutorials are available on the Wisconsin DNR’s Youtube page at, including a deer-processing guide. Part 1 is available at; see part 2 at

Hunting, Shooting Grants

If your archery, gun or hunting club could use some cash for an upcoming project, consider applying for the DNR’s Hunter R3 (Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation) Grant Program.

Projects that are eligible to compete for funding include those that teach people the skills, knowledge and attitudes to be responsible and safe hunters; provide instruction in safe firearm operation, ethics, game laws, outdoor survival and first aid; and focus on hunter and recreational shooter recruitment.

Some past recipient projects included learn-to-hunt programs, hunting-related expos focused on new audiences, and the purchase of outdoor wheelchairs for public use. 

The deadline to apply is Sept. 15. Learn more at

Great Lakes Areas of Concern Conference

The Great Lakes Areas of Concern Conference will be held Sept. 12-14 in Green Bay. It will bring together federal, tribal, state and local agency officials, as well as business proprietors, university researchers, and members of community organizations and citizen-led groups from across the Great Lakes region to explore current issues and discuss efforts to accelerate the cleanup and restoration of the remaining Areas of Concern within the Great Lakes basin – the largest system of fresh surface water in the world. Learn more at

Waterfowl Hunters Expo Aug. 26

The Waterfowl Hunters Expo – a hands-on opportunity to try and buy the latest in outdoor products – is set for Aug. 26, 8 am – 5 pm, at the Sunnyview Expo Center in Oshkosh. The family- and dog-friendly event is the new home of the state waterfowl, turkey and pheasant stamp competition, as well as the state duck- and goose-calling contests. Find more details at