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  • Peter Maggenti, HEI #3712

International Sportsman's Exposition

International Sportsman’s Exposition – Sacramento

This past weekend in Sacramento at Cal Expo was the International Sportsman’s Exposition (ISE) Show. Hunter Education had a large booth inside the Youth Fair in the Expo Center Buildings run by CHEIA. We had a nice display of hides and horns for the kids to touch feel. Many children who have never been in the outdoors had tons of questions about them! We also had a great deal of handouts and materials for them to take and look at about hunter safety, hunting information and wildlife. The big attraction of our booth however was the Laser Shot, where kids could come in and shoot at video simulated flying ducks with a “Laser” firearm which simulates a real firearm in weight and feel. We had over 1600 people come through our booth this weekend with over 500 kids shooting in the booth. None of this could have been possible without all the volunteer Instructors who showed up everyday to help run the booth!

The other booths in our building were the California Waterfowl Association with an Air Soft range which was partially staffed by local Boy Scouts, The California Bowmen’s Association who had an Archery Range set up, which was very popular! Sacramento Safari Club-a Chapter of Safari Club International also had their ‘Sensory Safari’, which is a big collection of taxidermy animals from all over the world which the kids could touch and feel. How many kids get to say they have touched a Polar Bear?!

Some of the other booths in other buildings of the Youth Fair included the Boy Scouts of America, California Fly Fishers Unlimited where kids could learn to tie their own flies, California Inland Fisheries Foundation where kids could build their own lures. The Cal. Dept of Fish and Wildlife Fishing Passport Program, a Bear Aware booth, Hatchet Throwing and in the courtyard of the Youth Fair buildings was a rock climbing wall and Wilderness Unlimited sponsored ‘Lucy’s Catch and Release’ Trout pond where kids could catch some nice Rainbow Trout! There were more other booths which escape me at this time! Suffice it to say, there was a lot there for kids to see and do.

The weather was a big concern as we had several storm fronts blow through over the weekend and I think that affected attendance, especially at the Youth Fair because we were to the right of the main entrance while the rest of the show was to the left. I am sure that many kids never made it to the Youth Fair as their parents either didn’t know we were there, or with the weather and the distance, they didn’t want to make the journey to see us. We still had a great show regardless and many children got to see, participate and enjoy the portion of the show that is specifically dedicated to them!

One of the great joys for instructors working the booth was getting to see many people who had gone through their Hunter Education classes! I feel bad that I often don’t recognize them, but am very happy when they come up and introduce themselves to me and tell me of their hunting experience since taking my class! Some even sent me photographs with their success stories!

The rest of the show was quite a success it seems as well! There were outfitters from all over the world with booths there to book hunts and answer questions, as well as many many vendors selling hunting, fishing and outdoor related gear.

Often as I walk around these shows I look for items which can be of fund raising use for California Hunters Education Instructors Association The main problem with seeking donations from vendors is that they are asked by many other groups during the show. I understand they are there to make money that is their job, but it is so convenient to have them all together! We did manage to gather some donations for both organizations, and have some potentially good deals set as well! If you anyone you know would be willing to make a donation of an item we could use in our raffle at the Annual Training Conference, please contact us!

Overall I think it was a very good show. The atmosphere this year seemed to be better as well. People were generally in a better mood I thought. Many of the vendors I spoke with were doing better business than they had expected too! Some of the outfitters are already booking out to 2019 because 17 and 18 are filled! Even some good friends who are booking agents for African Hope Hunting Safaris reported having a better than average show and booking several hunts!

We all made some new friends, reacquainted with some old friends and bought a few new items to play with at this show. It was a good time, and if you get the chance to go next year, you defiantly should! We can always use more volunteers in the booth, even if for only a couple of hours. Don’t forget to bring the kids as there is a lot for them to see and do!

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