Outdoor Expo Draws 1,500 Enthusiasts

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A total of 1,500 participants took part in New Mexico Outdoor EXPO May 15-16, learning new outdoor skills or polishing old ones. The most popular events were .22 rifle, archery and rock climbing, Other events include shotgun, muzzleloader and casting.

This year's event was a success not only because of the increased number of participants but the overall quality of the experience. The demonstrations, exhibits and events gave participants plenty to do.

At the shotgun range, an 8-year-old participant told an instructor he was an expert because this was his third year shooting at EXPO.

"We went through about 20,000 rounds of ammunition at the .22 range," said volunteer instructor Jim Hirsch. "There were people who never shot a gun before and it was a safe, fun environment for them to learn."

One popular demonstration was the fishing tank, a 4,000-gallon aquarium that housed a wide variety of fish from bass to trout. The clear sides of the tank gave viewers an opportunity to see how fish responded to various lures and flies.

Next year the Department expects to grow on this year's event and expose more people to New Mexico's great outdoors and outdoor recreation. Tentative dates for next years event is: May 14-15, 2005. For more information, call 841-8881 or visit www.wildlife.state.nm.us/.