GHFF Holds Second Annual Hunting And Fishing Expo
The Georgia Hunting and Fishing Federation (GHFF) held its second annual Sportsman’s Expo in Baxley October 7-8. The event is a fund-raiser for GHFF, and they relocated the event from Alma, the site of the initial Expo, to larger accommodations this year as the event is growing.
The 84,000-square-foot Baxley Fairground Annex accommodated the crowd of both patrons and vendors. Both the larger facility and the air conditioning were welcomed improvements over facilities last year.
GHFF Expo committee chairman Vernon “Moose” Jowers characterized the weekend as very successful. “The rainy weather hurt attendance a bit Friday but Saturday the crowd was exceptional,” he said.
Vendors reported an excellent show. Everything from arts and crafts to archery supplies to storage buildings and knives and guns were included in the show. Not surprisingly, dog boxes and dog-food companies were prominent among the vendors.
Notable attendees at the Baxley Expo included State Sen. Tommy Williams, who addressed the crowd. State Reps. Hinson Mosely and Tommy Smith attended, as did WRD Director Dan Forster, who participated in a question-and-answer session with the crowd.
The GHFF organization initially grew out of the perceived threat that WRD was out to end dog hunting for deer in south Georgia, and then end all dog hunting for everything — rabbits, coons and quail. The group has been very active and vocal, and legislators and the governor have certainly been made aware of their concerns during the past two years.
During those years, the Federation has matured and become better organized and funded, and is thus more efficient in accomplishing its goals. Those goals are the betterment of hunting and fishing and securing the future of their sports.
The GHFF was effective in saving two south Georgia WMAs from the DNR budget ax last year, and they are gearing up to support the coming pro-hunting constitutional amendment next November. The sportsmen’s group, with strong backing from dog hunters, is still not pleased with the regulations regarding dog-deer hunting, but they are better informed about the legislative process and how to move through the political system.