Western Hunting and Conservation Expo 2017

 The Salt Palace was full of conservationists from all over the country last week. I was witness to the event, which was impressive in size and quality.
Spent time with many friends including  Colter, Rocky and Lorell Heckman of Montana Safaris who joined MDF Director Emeritus, Alden Glidden and I for dinner at both of the banquets.
Also notable was a visit with six-time Olympic medal winner, Kim Rhode (who also visited  MDF members  in 1997 at the Sacramento Expo and MDF Convention). As we waited for the shuttle to the airport on Sunday morning, she told us the story of her first dove hunt which took place in Arizona when she was seven years old.
When a warden approached her and asked if she had shot the doves  that were laying at her feet, she replied. “yes.”
Unbelieving, he asked her a second time and she responded by swinging on a flock of doves overhead and dropping a double.
He turned and walked away. Even a warden would be impressed by that.
Also spent some time with familiar faces from outdoor TV, Dan Harrison (Remmington Country and formerly Tred Barta’s frequent guide, currently an MDF Director) and Freddy Harteis (the Hollywood Hunter) whose Colorado archery mule deer hunt donation sold at the auction for $19,000. They were friendly, very approachable and a kick in the pants to hang out with.
Here’s a copy of the post-event news release from The Mule Deer Foundation and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife.
WHCE Logo 2017_news

For Immediate Release: February 22, 2017

Contact:  Miles Moretti, (801) 230-2207, miles@muledeer.org
Troy Justensen, (801) 557-3352, troy@sfw.net


Salt Lake City, Utah: After four days of a busy show floor and successful evening auctions, the 2017 Western Hunting & Conservation Expo (WHCE) closed its doors on Sunday afternoon. The show, hosted by the Mule Deer Foundation and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and sponsored by Ammo & More and ACI, has become the biggest consumer sport show designed for the western big game hunter. Now in its 11th year, the WHCE has continued to exceed expectations with 46,000 attendees walking the exhibit halls and raising over $6 million for wildlife conservation efforts.“The Western Hunting & Conservation Expo continues to grow every year, and this year was no exception,” said Mule Deer Foundation President/CEO, Miles Moretti. “We had 46,000 attendees come through the show which is great for our exhibitors who were busy the whole show. Exhibitors frequently told us this was their best show of the year. With many of them already signed up for booth space in the 2018 show, we can unequivocally say that Hunt Expo is a resounding success.”

The evening events drew large crowds who took part in the banquets and auctions as well as listened to keynote speakers John Wayne Walding and Kim Rhode; Saturday night’s banquet was sold out with more than 1,700 people in attendance. The auctions featured over 140 items up for bid including governor’s tags, limited edition firearms and artwork, and much more. Top auction items this year included the Antelope Island mule deer tag that sold for $250,000 and the Arizona statewide mule deer tag that sold for $280,000. Combined with other incredible once-in-a-lifetime hunts, the auctions raised more than $4 million and 93 percent of those funds will be dedicated to habitat and conservation programs on the ground. In addition, attendees had the opportunity to enter drawings for 200 special big game tags offered by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources for just $5 a tag. Those funds quickly add up, and are dedicated toward conservation and mission accomplishment for Utah Division of Wildlife Resources as well as MDF and SFW.

The traffic through the show floor was steady and broke records each day throughout the four-day show. The 2017 WHCE boasted an exhibit hall of over 400,000 square feet, an increase of 70,000 square feet from the previous year. The show featured top-quality outdoor manufacturers and retailers, incredible taxidermy, and first-rate guides and outfitters. Throughout the course of the weekend, attendees browsed some of the latest gear available on the market and could book their dream hunting experience. The WHCE is a family-friendly event and that was obvious with the many children of all ages walking the show floor proudly sporting their M.U.L.E.Y. antlers. Every child had the opportunity to participate in the Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience (YWCE), trying their hand at shooting, archery, fly tying, wildlife identification, and much more. Throughout the course of the weekend over 5,000 youth went through the YWCE and had a chance to enter their names into a drawing for either a hunting gear package or a guided Utah deer hunt donated by Majestic Valley Outfitters.

“Once again, the Western Hunting & Conservation Expo is proving that there are many hard-core western sportsmen and women who appreciate coming to a show to book hunts and buy gear,” commented Troy Justensen, president of Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife. “We are proud of how this show has grown over the last decade and hunters can rest assured that we will continue to build and improve the event.”

The 2018 Western Hunting & Conservation Expo will run from February 8-11, 2018 and it is expected to be even larger than this year’s event. Mark your calendar for next year’s event and stay up to date on planning through the WHCE website at www.huntexpo.com.

About MDF 
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.About SFW
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.

California Fundraising Tag

There are many fundraising tags made available by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). These tags are a product of legislation passed by the California legislature and signed into law by the Governor.

Many conservation organizations supported the creation of these tags including, for one, The Mule Deer Foundation (MDF). So it’s appropriate that I made my fundraising tag purchase at MDF’s Santa Rosa banquet last weekend.

CDFW made the tag available and authorized that MDF Chapter to sell it at the banquet. My high bid was $10,500. Five percent will go to MDF to cover the cost of selling the tag and the remaining 95 percent goes to the Department to be used as funding for deer-related conservation and associated expenses.

Now for the good part. The tag, called an Open Zone Tag,  is basically a season pass to hunt for deer during California’s numerous seasons. With that tag in hand, I can hunt any of the hunts that I’ve drooled over for years.

For about two hours this morning I looked over old California Big Game Booklets and listed the places I’d like to go. And, I can go to many of them if I don’t pull the trigger too soon.

Yes, I could have kept on putting my name in the hat for these tags, but at my current rate of success I would probably have died without hunting any of them. Finally impatience won out.

Or, I could have made trips and photographed deer without a tag, but that wouldn’t be nearly as exciting.

I plan to set my sights high and pass up a bunch of bucks before I pull the trigger. However, I’m not passing up Mr. Big even if he’s the first deer I see.

I’m making my list which will likely include hunts in X2, X5, D6, X9a, X6 and maybe even a B zone. In search of nostalgia, I’ll probably visit a few of my old haunts. I’ll probably hunt a couple zones during the August archery season while also scouting the country  in preparation for the late season opportunities.

This is a very full plate of activities, so we’ll see how much I can actually pull off, but I’m not making other plans. I’ll likely hunt with my bow, muzzle-loader and rifle before it’s done. The early archery seasons start in mid-August and rifle opportunities continue almost to the end of December.

I plan to keep notes and post them here. That will be part of the fun.





Montana Safaris Donates Deer Hunt to MDF Livermore 2014 Banquet

The Bob Marshall Wilderness is a huge expanse of mule deer country.

The Bob Marshall Wilderness is a huge expanse of mule deer country.

This is a all inclusive wilderness pack-in horse-back hunt for one hunter – 8 days. Includes a free upgrade to a wolf combo hunt. Also may be upgraded to an elk/deer/wolf combo hunt (arrange with outfitter). All meals, guides, horses and complementary shuttle to the airport are included. Deadline to apply for tag/license/permit is March 15, 2014. Total cost of deer license is $570.

Note: Because the 15th of March falls on a weekend this year, on-line tag applications can be completed on Monday, March 17th.

Check out their website at http://www.montanasafaris.com

Montana Safaris, Lorell or Rocky Heckman

200 US Hwy 89

Vaughn, MT 59487



Dates: General Rifle Season

Additional hunters: $2,700

Location: Bob Marshall Wilderness

Check out the banquet flyer by clicking on the links below:

Flyer front page

2014 flyer pg 2

2014 ticket order form

Fish the Fall River and Golf at The Fall River Country Club.

Your host for this two-day trip will be Rob Lawson of Lawson’s Wildlife Adventures.

Lodging will be at the Fall River Inn and all meals for the two-day stay are included.

Rob Lawson will be your guide while you fish the Fall River and/or Bidwell Reservoir. You make the choice and Rob will take care of the rest. Fishing in the Fall River will be from Rob’s 14′ Aluminum Boat while fishing at Bidwell Reservoir will be from float tubes provided by Rob.

Bring your fly rod and golf clubs to the Fall River Inn and enjoy this two-day sojourn in the Shasta Cascade Country.

Stacks Image 13

One of the fishing options is Bidwell Reservoir where you may catch a giant rainbow like the one pictured.

Green fees at Fall River Country Club are not included, but Rob will transport you to the club and pick you up when your round is complete. You can fish one day and golf the other or do all in one day.

Here are links to the MDF banquet flyer.

Flyer front page

2014 flyer pg 2

2014 ticket order form

Kodiak Charters Donation to Livermore-Pleasanton 2014 MDF Banquet

Kodiak Charters has donated an Alaska adventure for two hunters or fisherman. MDF will auction this trip at the Livermore Banquet scheduled for March 14, 2014.
The trip begins with a commercial flight to the town of Kodiak and from there a small plane will take you to the northwest end of Kodiak Island. Kodiak Charters owner,  Randy Blondin, will assist with scheduling the short flight across the Island which typically costs $104 one way.
Depending upon your arrival time in Kodiak you may need to stay over before catching the charter flight.The regular retail price for these trips is $2,250, but the price for additional hunters booking at our dinner will be at the “show special” price of $1,875 each.

Fishing trips for halibut, salmon and crab are primarily summer activities while hunting for Sitka blacktail deer and caribou takes place primarily in the fall. For further  information and scheduling, call Randy or Terri at (907)942-4909. The dates are subject to availability. All hunts are unguided. Kodiak Charters will drop you off by boat and pick you up at the end of the day.

For more information about the banquet and ticket ordering click on the links below.

Flyer front page

2014 flyer pg 2

2014 ticket order form

Livermore-Pleasanton Chapter of MDF Celebrates 20th Annual Banquet March 8, 2012

For the 20th time, Livermore-Pleasanton MDF will raise funds for deer. The event will take place March 8 at the Palm Event Center, 1184 Vineyard Road, Pleasanton.

Tickets are $80 single or $125 for couples. The event is limited to the first 250. Tickets can be purchased from Bob Holm, (925)447-2044 or myself.  If you have not received a banquet announcement, you can download it here.

2012 Banquet mailer – 3 pages

I’ll be posting more info as the date approaches.

Mule Deer Foundation Convention

I’ll be leaving for the Western Hunting Convention and Big Game Expo in SLC tomorrow morning. The event is also the MDF convention with big banquets on Thursday and Saturday (Feb 5&7 2009).

The event fills up the Salt Palace, which is huge. There will also be a concert on Friday night and Jeff Foxworthy will be MC at the Saturday night event.

The show is a typical hunting trade show with many booths where exhibitors display info about their products. Most interesting are the guided hunting trips all over the world.

The best part of the trip is getting together with my MDF friends from all over the country. I’ll have to work hard not to get too carried away and come home with something I can’t afford.

We’ll also be talking about making MDF a better organization and stuff like that.