Wild Game and Camp Cooking Feed Thousands at Oklahoma Wildlife Expo

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Volunteers at the 2008 Oklahoma Wildlife Expo prepare and serve food samples at a Dutch oven cooking demonstration. This year the Wildlife Expo will be Sept. 25-27 at the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City.How much wild game can 38,600 sportsmen consume in three days? The answer is at least 2,000 pounds of venison and catfish and well over 200 gallons of buffalo chili. That is how much food was sampled at the Taste of the Wild exhibit at last year’s Oklahoma Wildlife Expo, and that does not even include the near 7,000 samples of camp-style Dutch oven snacks served to Expo visitors. Sportsmen can sample wild game and camp food this year, too, at the fifth annual Wildlife Expo slated for Sept. 25-27.

Held at the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City, the Wildlife Expo is Oklahoma’s largest outdoor recreation event, offering guests the chance to shoot shotguns and archery equipment, ride mountain bikes and ATVs, catch fish in a fully-stocked pond, experience kayaking, attend seminars and more for free.

At this year’s Expo, wild game meat will be served at the popular Taste of the Wildlife booth, where last year more than 1,000 pounds of fried catfish, more than 1,000 pounds of venison and about 220 gallons of buffalo chili were served to Expo visitors. Dutch oven demonstrators also served samples of deserts, stews and other delicious camp foods cooked right on site and provided seminars on the basics of Dutch oven cooking. Visitors were able to learn secrets of the trade, including what tools are needed to make camp cooking easier and how many coals to use when cooking with a Dutch oven.

“Visitors to the 2009 Wildlife Expo should make it a point to try each of the foods they can sample at the Taste of the Wild booth,” said Rhonda Hurst, Expo coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “They should also be sure to attend a Dutch oven seminar to learn a new recipe or even learn about this style of camp cooking for the first time.”

In addition to sampling game meat and camp food, visitors also can attend a cooking seminar with renowned chef, restaurant owner and wild game cook Michael Fusco. Owner of Michael Fusco’s Riverside Grill in Tulsa, Fusco shows the ins and outs of handling and preparing wild game with culinary expertise every year at the Expo.

“Michael Fusco has partnered with the Wildlife Expo from its beginning and has always been a favorite among Expo visitors,” Hurst said.

The Wildlife Expo is hosted by the Wildlife Department in partnership with a wide range of other state agencies, private individuals and outdoor-related companies to host Expo. The huge event is designed to provide hands-on learning opportunities for all types of outdoor enthusiasts while promoting and instilling an appreciation for Oklahoma’s wildlife and natural resources.

Whether catching a fish for the first time, designing a personal fishing lure, or building a birdhouse to take home with them for free, visitors to the Expo get the chance to soak up a full weekend of free outdoor knowledge, skills and experiences as hundreds of volunteers and Wildlife Department employees work to keep the event exciting, educational and entertaining.

“If you want to try over a hundred outdoor activities, then be at this year’s wildlife Expo Sept. 25-27,” said country music star and outdoorsman Blake Shelton of Ada, who has made an appearance at the Expo in the past. “If you love to hunt and fish like I do, then take someone to this year’s Wildlife Expo.”

The Wildlife Expo will be held at the Lazy E Arena, just north of Oklahoma City. Expo hours will be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily Sept. 25-27. Log on to wildlifedepartment.com regularly to stay up to date on this year’s Expo activities.

This year’s Expo will again feature “School Day” Sept. 25, when busloads of school students from across the state will arrive and enjoy a day at the event. For more information about School Day or the Wildlife Expo, log on to wildlifedepartment.com.