SALT LAKE CITY, Utah –-(Ammoland.com)- The Mule Deer Foundation and Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife raised more than $2 million of auction revenue alone for wildlife, habitat and conservation across the West at their joint Western Hunting & Conservation Expo last week, and added about $7 million of economic impact according to local tourism authorities.
MDF and SFW set new records for exhibit space, youth activities and young people attending the show.
The four-day event included three fund-raising auctions for the world’s largest collection of special hunt tags from many states. Saturday night’s auction raised a record $1.1 million.
Auction tags sold at or near record amounts, including the Arizona Mule Deer Tag which broke the all-time Arizona muley fund-raising record, selling for $220,000. One hundred percent of the revenue was returned to the Arizona Game & Fish Department to benefit hunters and wildlife in that state.
MDF President and CEO Miles Moretti said, “While the auction tags raised big money for wildlife, our members, volunteers, fellow hunters and supporters in the outdoor industry helped make this Expo a huge success. These partners join us throughout the year in supporting various state tag raffles and lotteries for the public that make it affordable for everyone to win and help fund conservation.”
There was a 15 percent increase in exhibitor space over last year’s WHCE. With more than 26,000 consumers in attendance, exhibitors reported excellent results, according to SFW President Byron Bateman.
Matt Seidel with Hunting GPS Maps of Missoula, Montana, said, “We were in Vegas last week for another show. It was fun and brought in the high rollers, but as an exhibitor, we did more business the first two days at this Expo than we did all week at the other one.” He continued, “It’s nice having the show in a venue like Salt Lake, where you have people coming in from Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, and all over the world.”
New Zealand guide Wyatt McBride with Spey Creek Trophy Hunting has exhibited at the WHCE since its inception in 2007. He said, “The show was very good this year, and we booked more than ten hunts!”
Representatives from Kenetrek Boots said they had a very successful show as well. They sold about 80 pairs of boots and have already reserved their WHCE booth for next year.
Katherine Grand with Prois Hunting and Field Apparel for Women also said, “This was definitely a worthwhile show for us to attend. We are absolutely coming back next year!”
• Key note address by Official Sponsor MidwayUSA Founder Larry
• Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience (underwritten by Brenda and
Larry Potterfield of MidwayUSA), first time ever at the WHCE, with
273 school children in attendance
• National Archery in the Schools Program tournament, with over 180
• Utah Taxidermists Association Competition
• Arizona Mule Deer Tag sold at auction for record-breaking $220,000
• 235,000 square feet of exhibit space
• 440 show exhibit spaces filled (up from 375 last year)
• 26,000 total attendance (estimate)
WHCE Notable Attendees
• Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert
• MidwayUSA Founder Larry Potterfield
• Conservationist Shane Mahoney
• Country singers Craig Morgan, Daniel Lee Martin and Charlie Jenkins
• Comedian Jeff Foxworthy
• Shawn Michaels, World Wrestling Entertainment
• Outdoor television personalities Colorado Buck, Randy Newberg,
Haley and G.O. Heath, Daniel Lee Martin and Julie McQueen, Phil Phillips and Ron Spomer
• Utah Office of Tourism
• Utah Toyota Dealers
• Les Schwab Tires
• Russell Outdoors
• Barrick North America
• Hoyt Archery
• Davis Tent & Awning
• Tines Up
• Grizzly Firearms
• Trophy Hunter Magazine
The Mule Deer Foundation and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife will again be hosting the WHCE in Salt Lake City Feb. 21-24, 2013. If you are interested in participating, please contact MDF’s Director of Special Events Shawna Huckabey at 1-775-530-6967.
The Mule Deer Foundation is one of the key conservation groups in North America working to restore, improve and protect mule deer, black-tailed deer and their habitat. With a focus on science and program efficiency, MDF has raised millions of dollars and put countless hours on the ground for mission-critical projects. MDF acknowledges regulated hunting as a viable management component and is committed to recruitment and retention of youth into the shooting sports and conservation. Get involved at www.muledeer.org or call 1-888-375-3337.
Headquartered in North Salt Lake, Utah, Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife is a charitable, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. The mission of SFW is to promote the protection and enhancement of wildlife habitat, assist in providing quality wildlife management programs, educating the public about the role hunters play in wildlife conservation, and perpetuating the family tradition of hunting and fishing. Visit www.sfw.net or call 801-936-1386.