Salt Lake City, UT -(AmmoLand.com)- Well placed arrows shot by two Team USA Paralympians sliced through a ribbon this morning to open the doors for the 2016 Western Hunting and Conservation Expo (WHCE).
The Mule Deer Foundation and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife kicked off the 10th annual show at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah with this exciting ribbon cutting ceremony marking the start of the biggest WHCE to date. Flanking the speakers were nearly 200 Salt Lake area students attending the Expo to learn about conservation and the critical role that hunting plays in conserving wildlife and their habitat.
The students will take part in the Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience carrying passports throughout the show to learn about safe handling of firearms, wildlife identification, conservation issues and much more.
“This is the 10th year of the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo and it is the fastest growing, biggest show in the West – and it’s based right here in Salt Lake City,” said Mule Deer Foundation President/CEO, Miles Moretti. “We are thrilled to see so many young faces and guarantee there will be something special for all of you with the Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience, our seminars and vendors – we know you’ll enjoy the show.”
Hoyt Archery, the largest archery manufacturer in the country which is based in Salt Lake City, thrilled the audience by showing off bows shot and signed by big screen superheroes. The students gathered around the bows of Sylvester Stallone as Rambo, Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, and Hawkeye. However, as Mike Luper, vice president of sales and marketing for Hoyt said, the true American heroes are the two retired U.S. Army servicemen, Michael Lukow and Steven Bosson, both members of Team USA’s Paralympic archery team who opened the show with their marksmanship.
“Once again, the WHCE has surpassed our goals with more than 350 vendors, incredible auction items, the coveted tag drawings, and outstanding evening entertainment,” commented Jon Larson, president of Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife. “Anyone with an interest in hunting in the West and around the world will find something to love at this show.”
Although the WHCE is focused on the many activities in the Expo Hall, a key function is also to provide a gathering place to promote effective wildlife conservation. Before the start of the Expo, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Mule Deer Working Group met on February 10 to discuss mule deer management throughout the West. The deer biologists finalized a new document focused on movement barriers affecting mule deer and learned about opportunities to coordinate communications and deer conservation efforts with the National Deer Alliance. The participants also learned about a number of mule deer habitat conservation efforts MDF has undertaken in coordination with the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management through stewardship agreements.
The Western Hunting and Conservation Expo, sponsored by Ammo & More and ACI, is open from 10 am to 7 pm each day before closing at 4 pm on Sunday February 14. The full schedule of events, online registration, and the details of auctions, tags and seminars are available on the WHCE website at www.huntexpo.com.
The Mule Deer Foundation is the only conservation group in North America dedicated to restoring, improving and protecting mule deer, black-tailed deer and their habitat, with a focus on science and program efficiency. MDF is a strong voice for hunters in access, wildlife management and conservation policy issues. 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.