SLC • Former NFL quarterback donating signed football to benefit Utah deer transplant study.
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Former Brigham Young University and NFL quarterback Ty Detmer is still firing with rifle-like accuracy, but he is now focused on guiding clients to big-game trophies rather than collecting mini statues named Heisman.
Detmer, who broke 59 NCAA records and hoisted the acclaimed Heisman Trophy as a junior at BYU in 1990, returns to Utah this weekend to attend the seventh annual Western Hunting & Conservation Expo at the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City.
Detmer will be at the show and in the Texas T Hunts exhibition booth from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday promoting hunts on his 1,300-acre T-14 Ranch in south Texas.
Detmer, who spent 14 seasons in the NFL with six teams, will also be supporting public mule deer herds in Utah by providing for auction, a football signed by Heisman Trophy winners at the 2012 ceremony.
"I've been selling hunts on the ranch mostly by word of mouth, and I wanted to get a little more serious about it," Detmer said from his home in Texas. "I also wanted to know how I could help on the conservation side of the expo. About 20 of the former Heisman winners signed footballs this past year, and I thought it might be something people would be interested in."
Expo organizers say money raised from the signed football will help fund an ongoing deer transplant study by BYU researchers and biologists from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources in southern Utah.
More than 27,000 people are expected to visit the expo, which opens at 10 a.m. Thursday and runs through 4 p.m. Sunday. Outfitters, sporting goods manufacturers and hunting experts from around the world will be in the booths and leading seminars throughout the show. Hunters can apply for drawings to hunt in Utah, and some of the most highly valued permits from around the world will be up for auction.
The Mule Deer Foundation and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, two Utah-based hunting conservation groups, are hosting the expo.
Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, is the keynote speaker at the main banquet on Saturday night. The Utah State National Archery in the Schools Program is also being held during the expo.
Detmer, who says he does occasionally like to hunt whitetail deer or any of the variety of non-native exotic species on the T-14 Ranch, really enjoys guiding his four daughters or clients on hunts.
"It has been fun to watch them grow up as hunters," Detmer said of his daughters who range in age from 12 to 20. "It becomes a battle every year about which one of them gets to hunt for whitetail. It isn't that different from football with people whining for me to get them the ball."
Detmer also said guiding clients to hunts of a lifetime is not all that different than coaching football, which is what he is doing at St. Andrew's Episcopal private school in Austin.
"Being a guide is about keeping people calm and talking them through the process. It is also fun to get to know different species and their habits. It's kind of like football that way," he said. "Hunting is a lot more relaxing than football though. I tell my wife I have to work when I have groups to guide, but it is something I really enjoy."
Western Hunting & Conservation Expo
When • 10 a.m. Thursday through Sunday
Where • Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City
Admission • Entry is $20 a day for adults, $10 for youth (11-17), kids 10 and under are free
Info • www.huntexpo.com