Huge crowds scope out big hunting expo

HUNTERS scoped out new weapons at one of the world's biggest hunting and guiding expos in Bendigo at the weekend.

Trophy animal heads lined the walls and cooking demonstrations were held for cutting up deer at the Prince of Wales showgrounds.

Hundreds of people queued to get in before doors opened at 9am Saturday.

Expo co-ordinator Pete Costin said about 14,000 people attended the two-day event.

He said he was pleased with the turnout considering the hot weather conditions and inadequate air conditioning. 

Mr Costin said visitors represented every continent on earth, apart from Antarctica. 

He said the 260 stalls on display offered everything you could ever need for hunting.

Mr Costin said highlights of the event included the bow hunting range and car simulator. 

“If you can’t find hunting or outdoor type products here, it probably doesn't exist,” he said.

Mr Costin said exhibitors and customers came from around the world.

“I would say a lot of people have travelled to Bendigo just for this weekend,” he said.

“We’re the largest expo in the Asia pacific region.”

South African Abel Olivier said he heard about the event from Australian clients who had gone on his safari tours.

“It’s my first time in Bendigo,” he said.

“There’s a lot of interest here. I think hunting is picking up in Australia.”

Mr Olivier’s SS Pro Safari business offered safari travel packages for hunters of all levels of experience.

“It’s mostly elderly men,” he said.

“We do hunting and sometimes sightseeing trips for the ladies as well.” 

There was a strong local contingent at the event, with many customers loading up on ammunition and hunting equipment.

Brad Sides, from Bendigo and Jarrod Brewster, from Ararat, bought gun bags, knives, stickers and stubby holders.

Brad’s 13-year-old brother Jack Sides also bought a knife.

He said he was just starting to get into hunting.

It was the second time the expo has been held in Bendigo and organisers said they were hoping it would return in two years.

To see more pictures from the hunting expo, visit or turn to page 19.

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