Salt Lake City, Utah: The 2020 Western Hunting & Conservation Expo (Hunt Expo) closed on Sunday February 16 after over 60,000 people passed through the Salt Palace Convention Center to enjoy the show. The attendance once again broke records with a 10 percent increase in attendance above last year’s already record-setting numbers. In addition, the show raised $8.7 million through the show’s three auctions and applications for the Utah 200 limited entry tags, as well as through show passes – the majority of those funds will be directed to conservation efforts. Hunt Expo, hosted by the Mule Deer Foundation and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, boasts over 500 exhibiting companies on more than 600,000 square feet of exhibit space, a dramatic increase over the show’s 14-year history. This year’s event also featured a “fireside chat” and keynote address by Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt as well as remarks by novelist and former Navy SEAL, Jack Carr.
“The Western Hunting & Conservation Expo provides the Mule Deer Foundation with the chance to showcase the incredible work that our staff is doing for mule deer and black-tailed deer – but more importantly it’s a good time for anyone who is passionate about hunting,” said Mule Deer Foundation president/CEO, Miles Moretti. “It’s bittersweet that this will be my last show at the helm of MDF, but I’m proud that in the 14 years I’ve been involved with Hunt Expo it has grown to become one of the biggest consumer hunting shows in the West.”
On Friday, the ladies celebrated and raised money for conservation at the Fabulous 50’s themed Ladies Luncheon, and on Saturday 1,100 of Utah’s top youth archers competed in the state championships of the National Archery in the Schools Program. In addition, the Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience kept kids who attended the show busy with an indoor pellet gun range, sensory trailers, the Armscor rock climbing wall, and many other interactive experiences. At the event’s auctions, almost $4.6 million was raised for conservation including the Utah statewide mule deer tag selling for $250,000 and the Arizona Governor’s mule deer tag selling for $260,000; 100 percent of funds from the Arizona tag goes back to the state’s mule deer conservation efforts. After the evening events, the crowd was entertained by country music star Chris Janson and the iconic band Little Texas.
“We’re proud of the success that Hunt Expo has become in its 14 years,” commented Troy Justensen, president of Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife. “This event provides a great place for people who are passionate about hunting and the outdoors to gather together, find the best new products, and book future hunts. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for this event!”
The 2021 Western Hunting & Conservation Expo will be held February 11-14 in the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Information about this year’s Hunt Expo and details about next year’s show will be posted 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 conserving 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 men, women and youth into the shooting sports and conservation. Get involved at www.muledeer.org or call 1-888-375-3337.
Headquartered in Marriott-Slaterville, 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.