COLUMBIA — Brody let loose an anxious, though lazy growl from the rear of his pen.
The fat, 1,500-pound brown grizzly then looked at his trainer, flipped his massive head back and groaned. He wanted more fried chicken.
Brody was back this year at the Missouri Deer Classic because of popular demand.
“He’s a good bear,” said Jeff Watson, Brody’s trainer who drove in from Indiana to do a show on grizzly bear safety and awareness. “I love him, but he’s spoiled.”
The two-day Missouri Deer Classic started Saturday at the Boone County Fairgrounds. Hunters from across the state came to check out new hunting gadgets, see Brody, listen to seminars and see whether they shot the biggest buck in the state.
Keith Schrimpf, from Guthrie, was pretty confident his 23-point buck would fare well in the Big Buck Contest. He killed the stag in Callaway County with a bow.
“(The buck) made it in all the books,” he said. “That made me really happy.”
The Boone and Crockett Club gave Schrimpf's buck 238 points in the contest. He needed only 150 points to qualify. But he won't know until Sunday if he won.
Schrimpf, 48, has hunted for 15 years. He just started bow hunting three years ago. His birthday is in a couple days and winning the contest would be a well-earned present, he said.
“Two-hundred-and-thirty-eight points is a giant buck,” Ron Roper, the Missouri Deer Classic chairman, said.
Roper started planning the 2012 Missouri Deer Classic the day after last year’s classic ended. The program has been around for 25 years, but Roper took it over from family three years ago.
The grizzly bear, which was a big draw last year, remains a main attraction this year, he said. But the vendors are a big reason why people come to the classic, and a constant screech of turkey calls accompanied the general hum of folks strolling through 165 vendor booths. In one booth camouflage purses were available and just down the line was a new, camouflage wheelchair for sale.
The 2012 Missouri Deer Classic comes to a close at 4 p.m. Sunday.