The hunt is on in Bendigo

LOVERS of the great outdoors will be at home in Bendigo this weekend.

Up to 15,000 people from across the globe are expected to flood the town for the Wild Deer and Hunting Adventures’ Hunting and Guiding Expo.

It is the biggest show of its kind in the Asia Pacific and features nearly 300 stalls on everything from hunting and shooting to taxidermy, fishing, cooking and four-wheel-drive accessories.

The event attracts exhibitors from all over the world including Europe, America, Argentina and even Mongolia.

Organiser Peter Costin said the event, held every two years, has something for everyone.

“It is a family show,” he said.

“It is not just hunting and hunting gear we have guides and professionals and it is everything to do with the outdoors including four-wheel drives; you name it.

“If you can’t find what you are looking for at our show, it doesn't exist.

“We have wholesalers and retailers so you can see stuff for sale you wouldn't see at any other show.

“People can see exotic taxidermy with animals you wouldn't normally see unless at a zoo."

Mr Costin said there was also an educational element to the exposition.

"People can learn how to prepare meat or how to prepare an animal for taxidermy," he said.

“It is a real eye opener.

“We had close to 15,000 people come two years ago so we are expecting that number again.”

The first show was held in 2008 in Wodonga but since then it has expanded and outgrown its original address, moving to the Prince of Wales Showgrounds at Bendigo.

“The first show we had just under 10,000 people in the two days,” said Mr Costin, a professional hunting guide who first started hunting when he was 12.

“The next time we had 12,500, last year in Bendigo we have 15,000 and this year we hope to top that one.

"The Wild Deer and Hunting Adventures magazine is the premier hunting magazine and I think a lot of people who buy and read it want to be part of the show.

"This is the show to go to.

“We get a lot of overseas visitors who come to Bendigo for it.

“I was talking to a guy the other night in Darwin and I said I was from Victoria, he asked if I was near Bendigo because that’s where they have the show, and he said he was coming down for it.”

The Hunting and Guiding Expo will be held at Bendigo Exhibition Centre at the Prince of Wales Showgrounds on the February 1 and 2 from 9am to 4pm.

The event is alcohol free and adheres to all the rules of the Victorian Firearms Registry.

A charity dinner and auction on the Saturday night will benefit the Royal Children’s Hospital’s Parents for Cancer Research.

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