11th annual Highland Wildlife Expo today

Published 11:46 pm Wednesday, September 13, 2017


NATCHEZ — Highland Baptist Church has an event tonight at the Vidalia Conference and Convention Center to help the Miss-Lou get ready for the hunting and fishing seasons.

The Highland Wildlife Expo is in its 11th year, and expo team lead Bruce McCall said even though the team went all out for its 10th anniversary, year 11 is going to be even better.

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“We are really excited about it,” McCall said. “Come on out and have a good time. It will be a free family-oriented event.”

The first half of the 3-hour event will feature 30 booths with people showing off their crafts and gear. McCall said booths would include leatherwork, homemade knives, gunsmiths, woodcarvings and taxidermy.

The men of the church will cook jambalaya, and McCall invited the community to grab a cup and walk around exploring the different options.

McCall said the women of the church would also have prepared some desserts.

Hunter Erwin, who has come the last several years, will be present singing some country music songs in the background. Erwin is from the Baton Rouge area.

The event will also feature a children’s area. McCall said live animals would be present, as well as Cooper the Dog and Smokey the Bear.

“We will do some crafts, have face paintings and several games and other entertainment for the kids,” McCall said. “The idea is that the whole family can come and there will be something for the younger kids to do while the adults visit the booths and listen to guest speakers.”

The second half of the night will feature several different speakers.

Game wardens from the Louisiana and Mississippi departments of wildlife, fisheries and parks will share updates on the rule changes for hunting and fishing, McCall said.

The key speaker for the event is Baton Rouge-area wildlife photographer Ray Mears.

Mears recently went on a wildlife safari in Zimbabwe and would share some images and video with the room from that safari and other shoots.

“He will share his experiences as a professional photographer,” McCall said. “His emphasis is on entertaining folks with photography and stories about his being out in the wild. But he will work in his testimony about what Jesus has done in his life.”

McCall said the church last year gave away $20,000 in door prizes and plans to do the same this year. Prizes include guns, a two-man boat, a 400cc all-terrain vehicle and a chainsaw.

The expo is from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight at the Vidalia Conference and Convention Center. The event is free.