The 2023 Western Hunting & Conservation Expo (Hunt Expo) is earlier than usual this year opening in just two weeks at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. This year’s Hunt Expo runs from February 2-5, 2023, and the exhibit hall has expanded once again to include 544 vendors on more than 671,000 square feet of exhibit and attendee experience space, featuring the industry’s top outdoor brands, guides, taxidermists, and outdoor partners. In addition, the 2023 Hunt Expo will host the Western Big Game Migration Forum on the afternoon of Friday February 3rd which is open to the public. Platinum level sponsors for this year’s Hunt Expo include Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, Toyota, Utah Department of Natural Resources, and the Utah Office of Tourism. Packed full of activities for the entire family, the 2023 Hunt Expo is sure to be a top destination for avid sportsmen and women who dream about hunting in the West.
“Last year was my first Hunt Expo as CEO and I couldn’t be more proud of the event that MDF puts on with our partners at Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife,” commented Mule Deer Foundation President/CEO, Joel Pedersen. “As usual, the Expo Hall will be packed and we have outstanding opportunities for western hunters to find the gear and hunts they’re dreaming about. I’m particularly excited about this year’s Western Big Game Migrations Forum that will feature high level speakers from our partner agencies that we work closely with on our conservation efforts.”
Expo will officially kick off on the evening of Wednesday February 1st where MDF and its partners are hosting a welcome party at the The Depot Event Center that is open to the public with ticket prices including a membership to MDF. On Thursday night, the Super Banquet will offer exciting games and music by American Idol runner up, Hunter Girl. During the day on Friday, the ladies will be Painting the Town Red during their annual luncheon will be Off to the Races in a garden party theme while the Friday night Conservation Banquet sponsored by ACI/Ammo & More includes a welcome by Utah Governor Spencer Cox, remarks by U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Robert Bonnie, and a keynote address by Medal of Honor winner Clint Romesha. As always, the Hunt Expo evening events caps off with the Saturday night banquet that will feature numerous coveted tags in the auction before a concert by country artist Ned LeDoux.
After a successful mule deer summit held in 2022, the Mule Deer Foundation is hosting a Western Big Game Migration Forum that will focus on the incredible efforts since a secretarial order was signed on the Expo Hall floor in 2018. Speakers from federal and state agency partners, as well as remarks by MeatEater’s Ryan Callaghan will talk about the past and the future of these migration corridor conservation projects. The Forum will be in Room 251 D in the Salt Plaza starting at 1 pm. A celebration for the 5th anniversary of the signing of Secretarial Order 3362 will be held at the MDF booth at 3:30 pm on Friday.
A highlight of Hunt Expo is always the 200 limited entry hunting tags available by public drawing for just a $5 per hunt unit application fee. Resident or non-resident hunters simply need a valid hunting or combination license in the state of Utah to apply for these permits with the tag drawing just two weeks after the show. Interested individuals must apply online, then validate the application in person at Hunt Expo. In addition, the evening auctions will feature governor’s tags in several western states, mule deer tags for Utah’s famed Antelope Island and Henry Mountains, and numerous other exceptional items and opportunities. Buyers who are unable to attend the banquets in person can sign up for online bidding through the Hunt Expo website or smartphone app that can be downloaded on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.
“I say it every year, but the Western Hunting & Conservation Expo keeps getting bigger and better and this year is no exception,” said Troy Justensen, president of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife. “We are excited to get back into the Salt Palace Convention Center for this wonderful event to support those who love western hunting and to raise significant funds for conservation.”
The schedule of events, online registration, and the details of auctions, tags, and seminars are available on the WHCE website at www.huntexpo.com or on the Hunt Expo app.
The Mule Deer Foundation is the only conservation group in North America dedicated to restoring, improving and protecting mule deer and 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 in your state or become a member at www.muledeer.org or call 1-888-375-3337.