Wildlife on display during expo Thursday

Published 12:04 am Monday, September 8, 2014

VIDALIA — When the doors open to the Vidalia Conference and Convention Center on Thursday, outdoorsmen and women will walk into a hunting and fishing paradise.

The eighth annual Highland Wildlife Expo will feature nearly everything imaginable outdoors from live animals to guns and four-wheelers.

“It is a family oriented evening for the community, and everything is free,” said team leader Bruce McCall. “The first half of the night will be granted to booths, and we will cook jambalaya and everybody eats free.”

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Taxidermy, live animals, leather work, antique guns and some local businesses that have hunting supplies are just a few of the things that will be displayed.

McCall said there is also a welcoming place for kids.

“We have a whole separate kids area, where they will have their own activities,” he said. “They’ll build birdhouses, Smokey the Bear will be there, and there will be live animals for them to see.”

But the fun doesn’t stop there, as the expo will have three featured speakers for the second half of the night.

“First, we have the game wardens of Louisiana, Mississippi and the federal game warden. After they get through, we’ll have an industry-focused guy, and this year, Jim Brown will talk about optics and scopes and how to select the best for your gun and hunting situation.”

The main event, and third speaker of the night, may be a recognizable face to many.

“To top it all off, the featured guest speakers are Chad and Dana Wall. They are a husband and wife bow-hunting team that have Wallhanger TV on the hunting channel.”

Not only will attendees be able to explore booths and listen to knowledgeable outdoors speakers, they will also have a chance to win some prizes.

“We finish the night with a handful of grand prizes,” McCall said. “We are going to give away a Polaris four-wheeler, an AR-15, a two-man boat, a guided fishing trip, a hunting trip and a chainsaw. We’ll give away about 10 grand prizes and that is just a sample of some of the biggest things.”

McCall said that around $25,000 was given away in door prizes last year.

The Highland Wildlife Expo is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start.