2024 SCI Convention – The Auctions

The Safari Club International had another successful convention in Nashville. In addition, from what I’ve been told, they have signed a 10-year contract to continue holding the convention in Nashville. From a personal perspective, I love it as Nashville is an easy drive for me and the city is much nicer than Las Vegas or Reno in my humble opinion.

The convention is more than a celebration. It is the major event used to raise money to support SCI and the SCI Foundation’s mission of hunter advocacy and worldwide wildlife conservation.

According to SCI’s report on the convention:

 SCI held record-breaking dinners and live auctions that featured gourmet wild game meat meals, which sold out on Friday and Saturday nights, raising more than $20 million for SCI/F advocacy and conservation efforts.

As noted, one of the key components of the fund-raising effort are the auctions. In addition to the nightly auctions mentioned above, they also held both live day auctions and silent auctions. All told, there were 17 different auctions that raised by my estimate over $6.2 million. The amount raised by the auctions increased each day of the convention with approximately $2.3 million raised on Saturday.

The big ticket items were reserved for the night auctions. These included a 5-day hunt for two hunters seeking walrus in the Canadian territory of Nunavut which went for $150,000, a 7-day Alaska coastal hunt for mountain goat and Sitka black tail deer which raised another $250,000, and a 14-day hunt in Tanzania for leopard, Cape buffalo, and plains game that went for $42,500.

The auction item that raised the most money was the one-of-a-kind highly engraved Beretta SL3 Tutankhamun 12-gauge shotgun which went for $435,000! Originally unveiled at last year’s convention, it had been purchased by Alex Roy of EuroOptic. After displaying it as his company’s headquarters for a year, he donated it to be auctioned off by SCI this year.

Lest you think it was all five and six figure items auctioned off to deep-pocketed millionaires and billionaires, the auctions had a number of lower priced items. For example, there were earrings that went for $60, packs for $150, and a pair of Italian leather handbags for $125.

You could also find bargains if you bid smartly. Whether it was it was $250 worth of Swift ammo for $175, $375 for a pair of Kenetrek Mountain Extreme boots that normally retail for $500, or a $1,500 Trijicon AccuPoint scope for only $500, bidders found bargains.

If you were looking for a plains game hunt, you could do very well especially in the day auctions. One 7-day South African plains game hunt for four hunters and four observers in Limpopo went for a mere $1,200. It included a $1,000 credit for trophy fees. Checking the outfitter’s website, the daily fees would have totaled over $11,000!

I have a R/T ticket to Johannesburg that needs to be used by mid-September, I had been talking with a number of outfitters at the convention about a short trip with limited number of animals in late August. I had a number of quotes that I obtained both here and at the earlier DSC convention. I finally decided to see if there was something that might fit the bill in the auctions and I did. After checking with Tsala Safaris about their openings in August, I bid on their donated hunt. I had met Brandon and Johanrie “Jo” van Zyl at an earlier convention and like the young couple. The auction I won was for two hunters and two observers for a 7-day hunt that is a mix of four trophy animals and 16 cull or herd reduction animals. I think because it had to be taken this year, it reduced the bidding. Nonetheless, it has worked out perfectly for me and I will be making two dream trips to South Africa this year. With luck, my brother-in-law will be joining me for both.

Tsala Safaris compound in Limpopo
The Tsala photo of their booth at SCI