Preparations for HuntEx2023 to be held at Gallagher Exhibition Centre in Midrand from 21 to 23 April 2023, have already started in May 2022. This year’s show, which takes place shortly before the onset of the hunting season, focuses on firearm dealers of which 23 already confirmed their participation. As with previous events, several foreign firearm manufacturers will use this opportunity to gain a foothold in the South Africa’s commercial firearm sector.
The organisers are confident that HuntEx2023 will not disappoint and will meet the expectations of South Africa’s firearm enthusiasts. The shortage of hunting rifle exhibitors at HuntEx 2022 elicited fierce criticism from certain quarters. In response, Adriaan Woudstra, organiser/owner of HuntEx, explained that the lifting of Covid restrictions in January 2022, left them with only two months to prepare for HuntEx2022.
“It takes five people about ten months to prepare properly for a HuntEx show. Following the lockdown, we only had two staff members left. After considering the short time period and the limited staff, management decided that it would be a fatal error to skip another year. Therefore, we persevered and hosted HuntEx2022, albeit at a much smaller scale than usual. Although we had 275 exhibitors, only 13 were firearm dealers,” said Adriaan.
Furthermore, the firearm industry experienced severe stock shortages and decided to skip the 2022 event. Changing trends in the civil firearm industry contributed to the fluctuating environment as the demand for tactical firearms exceeded that of hunting rifles. This resulted in only a small number of hunting rifles on exhibit during HuntEx2022. Understandably, hunters were very upset and declared that it had been their last visit to HuntEx.
Irrespective of the negative response, exhibitors were satisfied with their sales. Approximately 21 000 people visited HuntEx without having to wear masks, and the majority of visitors were delighted that they could attend the show and mingle. The positive feedback from the regular supporters, encouraged Adriaan and his team to start working towards hosting a better HuntEx in 2023.