Tens of thousands of people attended the Arizona Game and Fish Expo held on the weekend of March 23rd. In spite of some challenges with wind on Saturday, attendance was strong and the expo set a record for Sunday attendance, capping out at over 17,000.
I have been touting this expo to anyone who will listen and I can tell you that it is a "must-go" family adventure. There is literally something for the entire family and it is one of the best-organized events I have attended. The weather is generally great. Parking is easy. Lots of port-a-potties. Lots of food vendors. There's cowboy action shooting. There are lots of opportunities for you kids to safely shoot pellet guns, .22s and even archery. There are seminars on everything from crappie fishing to optics.
Almost all of the conservation groups are represented - the Mule Deer Foundation, Arizona Elk Society, Turkey Federation - you name it. All of the gun manufacturers are set up there. They had the latest models to check out and you could get in some range time as well. There are 4x4's and boats and quads and the the opportunity to even drive some cool stuff.
Perhaps most importantly, this is a chance for Arizona Game & Fish to strut their stuff. You can learn about snakes and tortoises and raptors. You can learn about water safety and agun safety and archery safety too. You can learn about the rules and regulations associated with off-road travel.
Whether you are an Arizonan or a visitor, this is event is just plain fun and informative. It is truly a day well spent. From the Game and Fish website:
To inform, educate, train and introduce the public through activities, demonstrations and exhibits of hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, archery, wildlife watching, off-highway vehicle and watercraft recreation, wildlife conservation, wildlife education, camping, trapping and other related outdoor activities that are consistent with the Department’s mission, policies and positions.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department manages for all wildlife in Arizona but does not receive any Arizona tax dollars.
The Department is run on a user-pay, user-benefit business model, with funding coming primarily from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, tags, stamps, a portion of federal excise taxes on certain hunting and fishing equipment, and a few other sources such as watercraft licensing / registration fees, OHV decal fees, and the Heritage Fund (a portion of Arizona Lottery ticket sales).
No Arizona tax dollars are used in conducting the Outdoor Expo
We have a great agency in Game and Fish, and they put on a heck of an event. I strongly encourage you to get next year's event on you calendar NOW! Next year’s Outdoor Expo will be held on March 29-30, 2014, at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix.