Come on out to the AZGFD Outdoor Expo March 24-25

PHOENIX – The largest hands-on outdoor recreation expo in Arizona is coming soon! Dates are set for the Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo presented by Shikar Safari Club International. Come out Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25 to the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix. Admission and parking are free.

One big change this year is we’re expanding the size of our amAZing wildlife tent, which has been a huge attraction the past couple of years.

You’ll have the opportunity to see live “ambassador animals” from the department’s Wildlife Center and learn fun facts. As always, there will be plenty of hands-on fun for all ages like kids fishing tanks, target archery and other shooting sports in a safe, supervised, controlled environment on the range.

Get a feel for specialty shooting disciplines like clay target, cowboy action, practical pistol, black powder, and air gun. Check out the many firearms manufacturers, including some new brands this year.

Don’t miss the always popular cowboy mounted shooting competition. See OHV and ATV exhibits. Give kayaking a try at the “Lake Paddlemore” kayaking pond. Hike a field course and learn cool camping tips. Learn about boating and how to stay safe on the water. Talk to experts about Arizona’s wildlife, fishing, hunting and more. Visit with more than 100 exhibitors, including outdoor recreation and conservation groups, government agencies, and commercial vendors of outdoor products and services.

The department will auction off its annual collection of wildlife assets at the Expo. Sets of antlers, hides, skulls and head mounts, as well as wildlife artwork and taxidermy – all seized during law enforcement investigations, obtained from animals killed in vehicle collisions, or acquired through donations – will be put on the auction block both days. Funds generated from the auction are used to purchase equipment and technology used in the investigation of wildlife crimes and to protect the state’s wildlife resources.

Concessionaires will have food and beverages available for purchase, and many accept only cash — ATMs will be on site. There is a nominal charge for ammunition at some of the target shooting venues.

Expo hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 24, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 25. The Outdoor Expo is easy to find, located on Carefree Highway, about 1/2 mile west of I-17 in Phoenix.

See more information about the 2018 Expo.

2017 Outdoor Expo one for record books

PHOENIX — For the second straight year, the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Outdoor Expo – the state’s largest free outdoor expo – has set an all-time attendance record.

The event, presented by Shikar Safari Club International, drew 46,600 visitors over the March 25-26 weekend at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix. That shattered the previous two-day weekend record of 41,100, set in 2016.

A “Youth Day” experience also was offered March 24 that attracted 1,800 students, teachers and chaperones, bringing this year’s three-day total to a record 48,400. The previous record was 48,000 in 2015.

“We’re not aware of any other event of this scale that combines conservation, recreation and industry into such a welcoming environment for the public,” said Scott Lavin, the department’s wildlife recreation branch chief. “This is where people can find plenty of hands-on activities, test and purchase the latest equipment and products, and connect with social organizations that can provide countless ‘next step’ experiences to support their outdoor passions.”

The expo features everything from wildlife exhibits and family fishing tanks, to kayaking at the 90,000-gallon “Lake Paddlemore” and trying out firearms in a safe, controlled environment on the range. There also are many opportunities for visitors to check out more than 150 exhibitors, including sportsmen and conservation organizations, recreational shooting groups, government agencies and commercial vendors of outdoor products and services.

Since 2007, the expo traditionally has been scheduled for the last weekend in March (but not to conflict with Easter weekend). This year marked the 10th anniversary of the “Outdoor Expo.” The event previously was known as the “Hunting and Shooting Showcase” from 2004 to 2006.

For the third straight year, Shikar Safari Club International was the presenting sponsor. Gold sponsors were OneAZ Credit Union and Shooter’s World/Daniel Defense. Silver sponsors were Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation, Sportsman’s Warehouse, FN America, Cabela’s and Target Factory. Bronze sponsors were the Mule Deer Foundation and Lincoln Property Company.

“We are grateful to our sponsors and 155 exhibitors who support this event and provide us with an opportunity to introduce ourselves as a department and share our mission with the public at no charge,” Lavin said.

Next year’s expo is scheduled for March 24-25, 2018, at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility. Visit www.azgfd.gov/expo for more information.

AZGFD Outdoor Expo next weekend

PHOENIX — Arizona’s largest hands-on outdoor expo is next week and it’s FREE! The Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo, presented by Shikar Safari Club International, will be held on Saturday, March 25, and Sunday, March 26, at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix. The event offers loads of activities, presentations and exhibits for everyone from novices to seasoned outdoor recreationists.

The Expo has come a long way since its 2004 inception that had only a handful of attractions and exhibitors. It is now one of the north Valley’s biggest and best-attended events of the year.

Some of the things attendees can do include:

  • View live wildlife exhibits (hawks, reptiles, small mammals, more).
  • Give kayaking a try at the “Lake Paddlemore” kayaking pond.
  • Hike a field course and learn cool camping tips.
  • Take the kids to two huge catch-and-release fishing tanks.
  • Learn target archery.
  • Try out different firearms in a safe, controlled environment on the range.
  • Learn specialty shooting disciplines – clay target, cowboy action, and more.
  • Learn from informative talks on wildlife and outdoor recreation.
  • Cowboy mounted shooting match at Royce W. Anderson Family Arena.
  • View OHV exhibits, rock crawler demos, learn about responsible riding.
  • View boating exhibits and learn about watercraft safety.
  • Visit with more than 150 exhibitors.

Admission and parking are free, but people might want to bring a little cash for the variety of food and beverage concessionaires and other vendors. ATMs will be on-site.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 25, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 26. The Expo entrance is on Carefree Highway about a half-mile west of I-17. Just follow the signs.

The title sponsor of the Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo is Shikar Safari Club International. Gold Sponsors are OneAZ Credit Union and Shooter’s World/Daniel Defense.

For more information, visit www.azgfd.gov/expo.

Arizona Game and Fish Outdoor Expo draws record weekend crowd

ExpoRecap_2016_bannerPHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s 2016 Outdoor Expo, presented by Shikar-Safari Club International, drew a record crowd of 41,100 people during the April 2-3 weekend at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix.

Combined with 4,500 students, teachers and chaperones who turned out for the Friday, April 1 Youth Day, the 45,600 total was the second-highest three-day turnout in Expo history.

We’re thrilled with the public’s interest in the Expo,” said Game and Fish Recreation Chief Scott Lavin. ”We hold this annual event to introduce or re-engage the public with the many wildlife-related and other outdoor recreation opportunities available in Arizona.”

The Expo showcases activities such as fishing, hunting, shooting sports, archery, camping, off-highway vehicle recreation, boating recreation, and wildlife viewing. In addition to the hands-on activities, more than 150 exhibitors were on site, including sportsmen’s and conservation organizations, government agencies, and commercial vendors of outdoor products and services.

“Despite a number of other high-profile events in the Valley over the weekend, the record Expo turnout shows there is huge interest in learning about the great outdoors,” said Lavin.

For the second straight year, the Presenting Sponsor of this year’s Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo was Shikar-Safari Club International.

Gold Sponsors were Cabela’s, Arizona State Credit Union, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Silver Sponsors were Bass Pro Shops, Sportsman’s Warehouse, and HPR Ammunition. Bronze Sponsors were the Mule Deer Foundation and Bill Luke Dodge.

“We’re grateful for the support of Shikar-Safari Club International and all of our other sponsors and exhibitors,” said Game and Fish Director Larry Voyles. “Without their participation, we could not conduct an event such as this. They are helping pass along our outdoor heritage to current and future generations.”

The mission of the Arizona Game and Fish Department is to conserve Arizona’s diverse wildlife resources and manage for safe, compatible outdoor recreation opportunities for current and future generations. The department operates without receiving any Arizona general fund tax dollars. Outdoor Expo costs are paid for by sponsor and exhibitor fees.

Next year’s Outdoor Expo will be held March 25-26, 2017, at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix. More information will be posted at www.azgfd.gov/expo as it becomes available.

Give your trigger finger a workout at 2016 Outdoor Expo

Expo_-_ShootingPHOENIX — If you’re interested in firearms but don’t know where to start, or just want to take a few shots with the latest firearms from some of the biggest manufacturers, then don’t miss the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s 2016 Outdoor Expo.

For two days – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 2, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 3 – the largest outdoor recreation expo in Arizona will take over the Ben Avery Shooting Facility and provide all kinds of fun, hands-on activities and demonstrations, including opportunities to watch, learn and sample everything “shooting.” Admission and parking are free.

The best way to get started would be to attend “An Introduction to Firearms” at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Outdoors Presentations Tent, located in Area 1 (Family Adventure) just west of the expo entrance. Cliff Saylor of Cabela’s will explain the basic types and concepts of firearms, offer tips for choosing a firearm, and suggest places where a novice can learn the basics of shooting.

Then head over to “Introduction to Shooting” (also located in Area 1), where after a brief safety presentation adults and children 9 and older can participate in target shooting using .22 rifles. Adults with children 8 and older are encouraged to give BB gun shooting a try in Area 2 (Main Area). If shooting with a bow and arrow sounds like fun, learn all about it at “Archery for the Whole Family” (in Area 1). This activity is geared for families with children 8 and older.

Other shooting opportunities will include steel target, black powder, air gun, practical pistol, mini gun, clay target, benchrest, rimfire steel challenge, cowboy action and an archery field course. While most are free, keep in mind some venues charge a nominal fee for ammunition.

A few of the organizations that will be sponsoring shooting opportunities include Hassayampa Rod and Gun Club, Arizona Cactus Cappers, Desert Christian Archers, Honeywell Sportsman Club, Shoot Right, Arizona Cowboy Shooters Association, Dillon Aero, Shooter’s World, Cactus Match League and Ben Avery Benchrest Shooters.

Some of the biggest names in the firearms industry, like Sturm, Ruger & Co., Glock, Walther Arms, Patriot Ordnance Factory (POF), Robar Companies, Heckler & Koch (HK), Sig Sauer and Nemo Arms, also will make available their latest products for expo-goers to take a few shots (for a nominal fee for ammunition).

If watching an accomplished shooter in action is more your speed, international trap competitor and Olympics hopeful Tayler McNeil will perform at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. both days in Area 3 (OHV, RV, Mounted Shooting Arena, Shotgun).

The expo is presented by Shikar Safari Club International. Gold sponsors include the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), Cabela’s and Arizona State Credit Union. Silver sponsors are Bass Pro Shops, HPR and Sportsman’s Warehouse. Bronze sponsors are the Mule Deer Foundation and Bill Luke Dodge.

Game and Fish conducts the expo to promote wildlife-related and other outdoor recreation activities. The public’s participation in these activities supports the department’s mission and funding. The department receives no Arizona tax dollars, and no tax dollars are used in conducting the expo.

For more information about the expo, visit www.azgfd.com/expo.