Celebrating our all-American family hunting traditions and the outdoor experience is the theme here in Salt Lake City, Utah, this week as the Mule Deer Foundation and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife kick off their 12th annual Western Hunting and Conservation Expo (WHCE) at the Salt Palace Convention Center, Feb. 8-11. There is something for the entire family to see and do at this show, and here’s why.
For starters, there is an exhibit hall featuring aisles packed with your favorite gun manufacturers and makers of clothing, accessories and outdoor gear. Companies from Browning, Weatherby and Winchester to Sitka Gear and Kenetrek Boots—not to mention worldwide outfitters and world-class taxidermists—are waiting to talk with you. Then check out the WHCE’s array of free hunting seminars. And just for kids, the WHCE is again offering the popular Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience where young people are immersed in multiple wildlife, hunting and conservation experiences from introductions to wildlife biology to archery and firearm safety.
“We’re really excited for our 12th annual expo,” said MDF CEO Miles Moretti. “The buzz nationwide has been phenomenal to the point we’re already sold out for some of our banquets. New for this year, we’ve expanded the exhibitor hall to 500,000 square-feet, but the demand for booth space is so high that we’ve still got more than 100 companies on a waiting list so we’ve got expand and be even bigger and better next year.”
As for how much the expo has grown, “We’re expecting in excess of 50,000 attendees over the four-day period,” said Ray Crow, WHCE manager. “I believe this show is growing exponentially from year to year because we’re catering to the entire family and all demographics. The blend of attendees and activities makes for a great mix and even more fun.”
In addition, the WHCE offers an opportunity to participate in live and silent auctions offering some of the best hunts, permits and outdoor related merchandise. The icing on the cake: the opportunity to apply for 200 Limited Entry Permits that are only available at the WHCE at a cost of a mere $5 per tag entry. The deadline to apply for any or all tags is the end of the show on Sunday at 4 p.m. You must apply in person and show a photo ID.
WHCE Special Guest: Meet U.S. Secretary of The Interior Ryan Zinke
The WHCE draws a crowd for good reason, but tomorrow there will be quite the special guest here as U.S. Secretary of The Interior Ryan Zinke walks the show floor and makes a special announcement. Zinke will once again underscore his staunch commitment to wildlife and its habitat and to America’s hunters and shooters, who remain the backbone of wildlife conservation. Stay tuned!