THE inaugural Huntfest held during the long weekend in June 2013 was an outstanding success with attendances surpassing all expectations.
Organisers had to endure a request from local council prohibiting the exhibiting and sale of firearms and ammunition, which needless to say proved to be very challenging in terms of attracting some of the more traditional exhibitors.
However, organisers have now secured the required approvals to exhibit firearms during HuntFest 2014.
They have also secured a much larger outside exhibitor’s area so that there is a far greater scope for showcasing the latest in – hunting and equipment, 4WD, camping, clothing, quad bikes and UTVs, archery, field cooking equipment, meat processing and preserving equipment, field dressing, cooked and fresh food vendors, including sea food, and other outdoor exhibits.
There will also be demonstrations in skinning and processing the meat from game animals.
What is HuntFest?
The HuntFest idea was conceived as there were no photo/DVD competitions that specifically targeted hunters and the role they play in the conservation of their local environments.
With more than 300,000 registered hunters in NSW alone, or 1 million Australia wide this gave HuntFest, a unique opportunity to highlight, in a positive way, the benefits hunters bring to many communities, especially small rural communities.
They inject many hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in pursuit of their chosen, legal sport. It was also an opportunity to promote the health benefits from “game meat” and for producers of “game meat” a chance to highlight their wares.
It is also hoped to lift the profile of conservation hunters and the role they play in frontline conservation and regeneration of public and private lands in NSW.
With this in mind HuntFest seeks to get together all the elements that make hunting such a popular activity by inviting exhibitors to showcase their products in one location.
The location boasts an inside building, which will house 35 booths, and a large outside area which consists of a combination of bitumen and grassed sites.
All areas will be patrolled by security over the entire period of the event.
HuntFest will run over two days in 2014, this June long weekend, and two weeks before the Sydney Shot Show.
Hunters spend money
There are about 220 AHO clubs (Approved Hunting Organisations) in Australia with a combined membership of approximately 500,000.
There are 32,000 R-Licensed hunters in this group in NSW and that number is growing daily.
A study by the University of Queensland showed in 2011/12 hunters spent $76.2 million across NSW, and the hunting industry in NSW alone supports 1370 jobs.
A Public Benefit Analysis of game licence holders showed the average hunter spent $4296 on his or her hobby last financial year.
In the same study 4200 hunters’ expenditure on camera gear alone per year was just over $120,000.
Yet not one retailer in Australia caters for this market. Hunters spend money on their sport and are happy to do so and it’s a growing industry.
More than just HuntFest at Narooma
Narooma is just four hours south of Sydney, two and a half hours east of Canberra and six hours north of Melbourne on the South Coast of NSW, known for its picturesque waterways and game fishing.
Narooma still has that small country town feel about it. It has the most pristine waters of anywhere on the far south coast in which to fish or swim.
It also has a great beachside cycle way from Narooma to Dalmeny.
Along with the best golf course in Australia and if that’s not enough, jump on one of the many charter boats for some great game fishing, a trip to Montague Island or just head out whale watching.
Yes there is a lot more going for Narooma than a day at HuntFest that will get the crowds in.
Spreading the word on HuntFest
The South Coast Hunters Club, who manages and runs the HuntFest event, has been advertising in hunting magazines, and all local newspapers form Ulladulla to Eden.
Advertisements will also be run on local radio stations on the Far South Coast and with local and interstate contributing businesses.
Organisers have the added bonus this year in that the Australia Hunting Adventures television program will be filming an hour-long special on HuntFest, which will include substantial footage of all exhibitors.
This program will go to air on the East Coast this year and has also been picked up by one of the mayor networks for nation-wide screening next year.
The HuntFest website is www.huntfest.com.au
Growing list of Huntfest exhibitors
As there is limited area within the Narooma Sport and Leisure Centre complex, reserved for high security exhibitors, organisers this year have been able to extend the outside space.
This will be the only event of its type held in NSW next year and organisers are sure they will see it very well attended again.
This event is planned for the next five years and will only get bigger and the South Coast Hunters Club is working on that already.
Over the next few months the organisers of HuntFest will be making quite a few announcements that will entice more people to this great event.
Any exhibitor attending in 2014 will be given preference in 2015.
Visit the website for updated exhibitor list that is updated only as exhibitors are confirmed:
List of exhibitors for 2014:
TJM 4WD Equipped
Gold Coast Shooting Supplies
Australian Safari Industry Association
Paul Boags Outdoors
Australian Hunting Adventures TV Program
Sporting Outback Supplies
Abelas Gun Shop
Under the Southern Skies
K & R Metcalfe Taxidermist
C & J Tanning
Blown Away Accessories
Stainless Steel Products Narooma
African Cape Safaris
EDI-T Lights Australasia
Bush Talk Firearms
Narooma Fishing & Dive Centre
Black Diamond Outdoor Supplies
Batemans Bay Mens Shed
Iain Hamilton Custom Knives
Coffee Driven Mobile Café
King Fisher Marine
Narooma Seafood Direct
South Coast Hunters Club
Australian Deer Association
SSAA Batemans Bay
Shooters & Fishers Party
Nepean Hunters Club
Australian Hunters International