PHOENIX – Outdoor enthusiasts won’t want to miss the Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo on Saturday, March 31, and Sunday, April 1, at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix.
The family-friendly Expo offers loads of activities, exhibits and presentations for everyone ranging from novices to seasoned outdoor recreationists. Best of all, admission and parking are free!
All of the favorite attractions and activities from past years’ Expos will be offered, including live wildlife exhibits (hawks, reptiles, small mammals, more), the huge catch-and-release fishing tanks for kids, target archery, camping demos, the opportunity to try out target shooting on the range, rock crawler demonstrations, field courses, presentations on hunting, fishing, archery and wildlife, and the chance to visit with more than 150 exhibitors, including outdoor organizations, government agencies, and vendors of outdoor products and services.
There are some new attractions at this year’s Expo. Drivers can test-drive a Jeep on a short dirt driving course, sponsored by Airpark Dodge/Ram/Chrysler/Jeep.
An expanded boat show will display boats of all varieties, including pontoons, sport boats, fishing boats, cruisers, wakeboard boats, and more. New and used boats will be available for sale by several dealers.
The Arizona Mounted Cowboy Shooters Association will have two full days of exciting competition at the Royce W. Anderson Family Arena on the Expo grounds. The grand entrance of riders (approximately at 11 a.m. both days) shouldn’t be missed.
Among the scheduled shooting and archery demos at the Expo are exhibition shooter Tim Bradley, who will put on an amazing display of clay target shooting at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day, and Randy Ulmer, a member of the National Bowhunters Hall of Fame, who will periodically conduct archery demonstrations both days. The Arizona Cowboy Shooters Association will also periodically conduct fast-draw demos.
Off-highway vehicle enthusiasts will be able to see exciting rock crawler demos scheduled at various times both days. Game and Fish will display its new ATV simulator, which will run demos at various times. You’ll also be able to pick up information on places to ride, OHV laws, and how to ride responsibly.
Anglers can take their kids to the youth fishing tanks (sponsored by the U.S. Fish and WIldlife Service) in the Family Adventure Area, or they can see casting demos and pick up tips from local experts at the Demo Fishing Tank (held every hour on the hour) in the Main Area. There will also be demos on bow fishing in the Cabela’s Archery Village.
Hunters can pick up tips from experts, attend one of the hunting presentations (see below), or visit with the many sportsmen’s and conservation organizations who will be on site.
There will be a full schedule of outdoor talks in the Family Adventure Area. Presentations will include Arizona’s venomous reptiles, raptors of Arizona, jackrabbit hunting, how to fillet a fish, easy ways for archers to improve their shot, hunting using horses, and the department’s Operation Game Thief program. A list of talks and times can be found in the link to the event program at www.azgfd.gov/expo.
There will be the opportunity to try out firearms from various manufacturers, including Glock, Ruger, Smith & Wesson, Beretta, Savage and ATI.
Attendees who want to try out different forms of specialty shooting, such as cowboy action, black powder, practical pistol, and steel target shooting, will have the chance to do so with local shooting groups. Shotgun shooters can also try out clay target shooting with shotguns from Benelli, Remington and Beretta. There is a nominal fee for ammunition at most of the shooting venues.
Don’t forget to drop by Cabela’s Campsite for displays of the latest gear and to play some outdoor games, or visit the Optics Tent to see the latest in binoculars and spotting scopes.
Although Expo admission and parking are free, you might want to bring a little cash to purchase food and beverages from the variety of concessionaires who will be on the expo grounds, or if you are interested in purchasing outdoor-related products from the vendors who will be on site.
Expo hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 31, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 1.
Gold sponsors of the Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo are Cabela’s and Airpark Dodge/Ram/Chrysler/Jeep.
The Ben Avery Shooting Facility is located at 4044 W. Black Canyon Blvd. in Phoenix (located on Carefree Highway, about 1/2 mile west of I-17 – just follow the signs).
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is operated on a “user pay, user benefit” business model. The Outdoor Expo promotes wildlife-related and other outdoor activities to the public, which supports the department’s mission and funding through their engagement in those activities. The department receives no Arizona tax dollars, and no tax dollars are used in conducting the Expo.
For more information, visit www.azgfd.gov/expo.