The Mule Deer Foundation (MDF) and Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife (SFW) reached some 33,000 people and raised more than $3 million for the benefit of wildlife and conservation during the seventh annual Western Hunting and Conservation Expo (WHCE) held the last weekend of February in Salt Lake City. MidwayUSA stepped up again, for wildlife conservation, as the 2013 Hunt Expo Official Title Sponsor.

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre was the WHCE keynote speaker, sponsored by Remington. In his opening remarks, he said, “I am reminded of the importance of the Mule Deer Foundation and your work on wildlife conservation, habitat protection and development – your educational efforts that promote safe, responsible hunting.”

The Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience, a program started by MidwayUSA’s Founders, Larry and Brenda Potterfield, was held during the Expo for the second year in a row. New records were set for youth activities and young people attending the show.

Auction tags sold at or near record amounts. Bidding on Friday night’s Antelope Island Deer tag started at $295,000 and sold quickly for $310,000! This amount was $150,000 more than last year, and 90% of the proceeds go back to improve habitat on the Island and benefit mule deer.

The Arizona Special Mule Deer tag broke the all-time Arizona muley fund-raising record, selling for $240,000. One hundred percent of the revenue goes to the Arizona Habitat Council and will be allocated to mule deer projects by the Mule Deer Foundation and Arizona Game and Fish.

The “Hawaiian Luau” Ladies Luncheon and Auction, sponsored by Sisel and Barrick North America, featured live and silent auctions, entertainment and drawings. The ladies raised thousands of dollars for wildlife and conservation, and one lucky winner received airfare and cash for a trip to Hawaii!

The four-day WHCE featured some 300 exhibitors, ranging from guides, outfitters, artists, taxidermists, jewelers and furriers to purveyors of fine guns, knives, optics, clothing and sporting equipment.

The WHCE’s world-class banquets and auctions featured hunts, trips, art and gear. There were over 50 special state, provincial and tribal permits sold – more than anywhere on earth!

Attendees had an exclusive opportunity to enter drawings for 200 premier Utah big game tags, and successful applicants are now posted on the Hunt Expo Web site. Five tags were featured for non-residents only.

The Mule Deer Foundation is planning a special 25th Anniversary celebration July 19-20, 2013, at the Atlantis Hotel and Casino in Reno, Nev. More information will be available soon.

MDF President and CEO concluded, “Through the hard work of MDF’s staff, members and dedicated volunteers, the Mule Deer Foundation continues to gain momentum. We are grateful for our WHCE sponsors who help make the Expo possible. MDF is consistently reaching more young people, and our fund-raising efforts and work on the ground are truly making a difference for mule deer and their habitat.”

Moretti announced that MidwayUSA will again be the Official Title Sponsor for the WHCE next year, slated for Feb. 13-16, 2014. Contact MDF’s Director of Special Events Shawna Huckabey at 1-775-530-6967 to reserve exhibit space.

WHCE Highlights

  • Key note address by the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre
  • Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience, with 355 school children in attendance (up from 250 last year)
  • National Archery in the Schools Program tournament, with almost 700 children participating (about 500 more than 2012!)
  • USA Shooting Team appearances and participation
  • Utah Taxidermists Association Competition
  • Arizona Mule Deer Tag sold at auction for $240,000
  • Antelope Island Deer tag sold for record-breaking $310,000

WHCE Stats

  • 235,000 square feet of exhibit space
  • 300 exhibitors / 426 show exhibit spaces filled
  • 33,000 total attendance
  • Over $3 million raised for wildlife and conservation

WHCE Notable Attendees

  • Wayne LaPierre, NRA CEO and Executive Vice President
  • Buddy DuVall, Executive Director, USA Shooting Team Foundation
  • Former Brigham Young University and NFL quarterback Ty Detmer
  • Singing artists Nathan Osmond, Phil Vassar and The Oak Ridge Boys
  • Outdoor personalities Brian “Pigman” Quaca, Colorado Buck, Gary Lewis, Phil Phillips and Tred Barta

WHCE Seminars

  • Rick Kinmon, How to Successfully Hunt Wolves
  • Cory Jacobsen, Hunting Elk with Confidence
  • Kristy Titus, Scouting Elk on Public Land
  • Al Morris, Calling Game
  • Rob Hart, GPS Mapping for the Western Hunter
  • Marc Smith, Bowhunting Tactics
  • Rowdy Dowdy, Alaska DIY

WHCE Sponsors

  • MidwayUSA
  • Cabela’s
  • Utah Office of Tourism
  • Utah Toyota Dealers
  • Remington
  • Browning
  • Les Schwab Tires
  • King’s Camo
  • Nikon
  • Barrick North America
  • Sisel
  • Hoyt Archery
  • Easton
  • Zamberlan
  • Trophy Hunter magazine
  • Davis Tent & Awning
  • Tines Up

Mark your calendars for MDF’s 25th Anniversary celebration in Reno, Nev., July 19-20, 2013, and next year’s WHCE in Salt Lake City, Feb. 13-16, 2014. For more information, contact MDF’s Director of Special Events Shawna Huckabey at 1-775-530-6967.

Image courtesy Mule Deer Foundation

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