Many of you will have enjoyed the experience of the Wild Deer, Hunting, Guiding and Fishing Expo at Sandown Racecourse in March.
For the patrons, exhibitors and event organisers it was a successful and enjoyable weekend despite the weather which at times threatened to blow everybody away.
For the Australian Deer Association, the Expo was an opportunity to showcase our organisation, our passion for game, our culture, and above all, the incredible community we have established over the past 50 years.
ADA provided volunteers who helped bump in and out of the venue, acted as guides and marshals and manned the main gates.
We were blessed with a volunteer crew for whom nothing was too much trouble, everything was done with a smile and a minimum of fuss.
When we refer to “deer people” we are not simply drawing the obvious connection to hunting. We are talking about people who have a passion and commitment to everything deer, including all that was on display at the Expo.
Game management, hunter education, safety, wild food, conservation and ethics all formed part of the Expo experience.
One thing we learnt is that the talk tent needs to double in size, especially when Paul Boag is presenting his Sambar hunting essentials. To see people standing in the pouring rain so they could also soak up some of his vast knowledge was in many ways’ representative of the spirit of the event.
There was equal enthusiasm (perhaps tentative at first) for game chef Riccardo Momesso’s venison carpaccio. A few hardened hunters who looked like they’d never faced a ridgeline they couldn’t traverse initially struggled with the idea of raw venison but quickly returned for seconds after their first taste.
The expo was an opportunity to try new things, test new equipment and make new connections.
Game managers from Victoria and New South Wales were on site and hunters welcomed the opportunity for one-on-one discussions. The ADA stand was busy throughout and our R-Licence testing station was overwhelmed.
The Expo is on again next year, this time in Bendigo, and a lot of work is being done now to make it even better.
The Wild Deer Expo is a significant partnership for ADA, and more than that, it is an opportunity for you, our deer people, to have an event you can be proud of and that helps to attract more people to participate.