This year’s ribbon cutting ceremony was out of the ordinary for the 7th annual Western Hunting and Conservation Expo (WHCE). Thursday morning inside the Salt Palace, Cabela’s pro staffer Kristy Titus shot an arrow from a tree stand, hitting a bulls eye and slicing the opening-day ribbon. In attendance were some 400 school children, as well as media folks and the general public.

The WHCE, organized by the Mule Deer Foundation (MDF) and Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife (SFW), is being held at the Salt Palace through Sunday, Feb. 24. Exhibit hall hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

School children were brought in to enjoy the grand opening of the Expo and participate in the Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience. This is an endeavor underwritten by Larry and Brenda Potterfield of Midway USA.

MDF Youth Coordinator Jon Zinnel said, “This is a multi-faceted youth program, and we’ve customized it this year for the elementary and middle school kids. They attended interactive sessions with Faith Duncan from Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, Q&A with Olympic shooters and medalists Matt Emmons and Jamie Gray, and a myriad of fun activities with the Utah Div. of Wildlife Resources. Most of the middle schoolers also chose to take part in the gun and archery shooting stations set up inside the Expo.”

Friday’s WHCE will feature auctions, seminars, and the always-popular Ladies Luncheon. Tickets are still available for this Hawaiian-themed party that will include food and fun drinks, Polynesian dancers, and live and silent auctions geared especially towards the ladies.

A few tickets are also still available for Friday’s Conservation Night event with entertainment by Phil Vasser, as well as MDF’s 7th Anniversary Celebration Dinner and Auction Saturday night. The keynote speaker will be Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association, and the Oakridge Boys will close out Saturday night’s gala.

The WHCE has more exhibitors this year than ever before, and is home to Utah’s best taxidermy competition, as well. With the purchase of an Exhibit Hall Pass, attendees can attend free seminars ranging from elk calling, bowhunting tactics, wolf hunting, GPS mapping and more. Come out and see the show, sign up for the 200+ hunt drawing and be a part of one of the key conservation events in North America.

The Salt Palace doors open at 9:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and the exhibit hall opens at 10:00 a.m. Get seminar schedules and other information online at www.huntexpo.com.

Image courtesy Mule Deer Foundation

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