DSC Convention Day 3

I am taking this snowy day to finish my posts about the Dallas Safari Club Convention which ended Sunday a week ago. I should be at the airport getting ready to fly to Las Vegas for the SHOT Show and SCI Convention but weather has thrown a wrench in that.

My third day at the DSC Convention was similar to earlier days in that I spoke with outfitters, cruised the aisles, drooled over guns, and attended a couple of seminars. I did see some interesting taxidermy and artwork as you can see below.

My two biggest highlights were chatting with “the” Bill Laughridge of Cylinder and Slide and meeting Kevin “Doctari” Robertson. I chatted with Mr. Laughridge about the Browning Hi-Power as well as the new Springfield SA-35. He thought the Springfield SA-35 was a good upgrade to the Browning model as he had worked on customizing a couple so far.

With regards to Kevin Robertson, I was walking the aisles and heard this guy speaking with a couple of people. I knew that voice! I had recently heard it on John McAdams’ Big Game Hunting Podcast. Dr. Robertson is the author of the The Perfect Shot and The Perfect Shot II. Those books combine his experience as a veterinarian and as a licensed professional hunter in Zimbabwe to provide hunters with the knowledge to make a clean kill on tough African wildlife. As with Mr. Laughridge, he was a very nice gentleman and willing to talk.

I also attended a seminar put on by Hornady on bullet design. The engineer presenting the seminar said they were going to work backwards from the animal dying to find the type of bullet needed for the task. An animal dies from the lack of oxygenated blood to the brain. There are three systems that can be impacted that will cause death: circulatory, respiratory, and nervous. In other words, the animal dies from blood loss, damage to its lungs and/or heart, or from a spinal or brain shot that shuts down the nervous system. When designing a bullet the engineers give consideration to placement, penetration, and expansion. Placement is always important while on some animals you need more penetration and on others expansion is more critical. Unfortunately, I had to leave before they finished the seminar.

The other seminar I attended was put on by Michael Sabbeth who is a student of the media. His seminar dealt with how the media portrays hunting and especially trophy hunting. Much of the seminar was deconstructing an interview done by Emma Barnett of the BBC with Danene van der Westhuyzen who runs Aru Safaris with her husband in Namibia. Danene is one of the few female PHs in Namibia and is president of the Namibian Professional Hunters Association. Sabbeth found Barnett to be a master of rhetorical tricks and unethical in her use of them. You can read his deconstruction of the interview here.

DSC Convention Day Two

Day Two was much like the first day with a lot of walking around. I did get to talk with a couple of Eastern Cape outfitters about trips in 2023. One was Marius Goesen of KMG Safaris who I really enjoyed talking with. My friend David Cole had gone with him on an earlier trip and plans to go again.

Two highlights from the the day were a seminar that was an accumulation of tips and wisdom about going to Africa. As one of the presenter put it, he was just there in November and some things had already changed. His point was whatever happened for a friend a year or five ago is probably already out of date. Thinks change that quickly. I took 3 plus pages of notes and will do a separate post on that later.

The second highlight was a dinner organized by Africahunting.com for those who participate in its forums. I met a lot of great people there and had some really good Tex-Mex food.

I’m keeping this short so that I can head in to the convention. This will be my last day there so I need to make the most of it.

DSC Convention Day 1

DSC or Dallas Safari Club is holding their annual convention in Dallas. Of course, where else would they hold it! This is my first time attending it so I didn’t know what to expect.

First impressions is that it is a lot like the NRA Annual Meeting exhibitions but without the mega-booths from the major gun makers like Ruger, S&W, SIG, and the like. Having attended the NRA Annual Meeting here at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Dallas Convention Center just a few years ago, I have a decent appreciation for how the space is filled. I would put it at about 3/4 of what I saw at the NRA exhibition.

The gun makers were off in a section by themselves and the mix here is widely different than what you’d see at either SHOT or the NRA Annual Meeting. While SIG and Savage both had booths, they were much smaller. Moreover, instead of seeing S&W, you got Rigby, Holland and Holland, and a slew of custom gun makers. The American Custom Gunmaker’s Guild had a section to themselves and their work there would take your breath away.

You of course had outfitters from around the world. There were the US outfitters with hunts for everything from brown bears in Alaska to guide whitetail hunts in Indiana with the western elk and sheep hunts thrown in for good measure.

The African contingent covered the continent from east to west and north to south. In terms of value, a 5-7 day hunt in the Eastern Cape of South Africa goes for $4-5000 plus or minus. For that you’d get upwards of five animals. By comparison, a guide whitetail hunt for archery in Indiana goes fro $4500.

You also saw some interesting things for sale such as this swamp buggy from Argo. I think I heard the sale rep say that the tires can be used for extra fuel storage. I didn’t ask the price. I think it probably is in the range of “if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it”.

Finally, while I have much more to write about the DSC, I’ll save it for another time. I just want to add this last picture taken this morning from my room. I didn’t realize until I look at a map and then looked out the window again that the Texas School Book Depository and Dealey Plaza were a mere block away. I am of an age that I do remember where I was when JFK was assassinated.

South Africa Is Not Happy

The countries in southern Africa are not especially pleased with the rest of the world. This is due to the travel bans being put in place restricting travel to and from a number of southern African nations as a result of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Probably no country is as pissed off as South Africa. President Cyril Ramaphosa was especially angry calling the travel restrictions “unjustified and discriminatory.” He went on to add:

“The prohibition of travel is not informed by science, nor will it be effective in preventing the spread of this variant. The only thing the prohibition on travel will do is to further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond to, and recover from, the pandemic,” Ramaphosa said on Sunday.

Travel and tourism were finally getting back on their feet in South Africa after being crushed by COVID-19 in 2020. This is especially true for the safari industry. For example, with the US ban on visitors from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique among others, outfitters and safari companies will not be able to send representatives to major conventions in January such as those of the Dallas Safari Club and Safari Club International.

Spike.T, who is a regular on the Africahunting.com forums and who lives in Zambia, posted this somewhat satirical account of the Omicron variant and the world’s reaction.

“In just 48hrs everything just went upside down, looking at all the updates and social media posts I could not help but write the below outlining the absurd response from the countries. Maybe some of them will realize what has actually transpired.”

South Africa: Hey guys, look what we discovered in our labs while researching Covid19 variants and mutations

World: What??

SA: It’s a new variant of Covid19, seems to be different than others, lets work together and study it further.

World: What? You have a new variant of Covid19?!?!

SA: No, we just found a way to ‘identify’ a new variant, it seems it has also already been detected in Hong Kong, Israel and Botswana.

UK: Hey guys, no offence but we already have 45,000 cases a day, don’t wear a mask everywhere, allow large gathering however we cannot risk getting a new variant.

SA: But we just identified it and showed you guys how to check for this variant, it did not originate here. We have advanced labs because we do research on AIDS, TB and other communicable diseases.

UK: Thank you for the research, however a complete travel ban to you and your 5 neighbors.

Netherlands: We heard UK banned flights to you because you have the new variant, we are also imposing a ban to you and your neighbors!

Namibia: WTF! What did we do? We have less than 20 new cases a day since a month now!

EU: Guys, we have a situation in our hands.

Namibia: The situation where Germany has had 76,000 cases a day and Other countries are breaking daily records for cases?

EU: No, not that situation.

Lesotho: Is it that UK still has 40,000+ cases a day and doesn’t seem to have it under control?

EU: No, UK isn’t a part of us anymore, not our concern.

Malawi: We hear Poland has some serious rise in cases and hospitalizations

EU: Really?! We have no idea, we must look into it. But not what we are talking about.

Eswatini: What situation then?

EU: We heard that South Africa has a new variant, their numbers are rising rapidly and since some of you are next to them, we need to close travel to the region with immediate effect!

SA: Dude, we just identified it! We only have a few cases in the region. Especially when compared to what you guys have. What’s with the knee-jerk reaction?

Namibia: Knee-jerk, that’s the word we were looking for.

UAE: We are closing flights to Southern Africa, we don’t want to risk it. Sorry guys.

USA: We are looking into this and studying the variant, we wont ban flights yet.

SA: Thank you USA, finally a voice of reason!

Mauritius: Sorry SA and the variant group, I saw some other countries refer to you as that, we are friends and all but we are concerned about our tourism and economy, so we will also ban you guys for now until we know further.

SA: We thought you were family. Goes to show how money is more important!

Belgium: We already have 1 new case of the new variant, thanks a lot SA.

SA: We literally just showed you how to identify it.

UK: Thanks a lot SA, now we also have 2 cases of it.

SA: What about our vaccinated people?

World: Nope, we need to run tests first and figure out what this virus can do and how effective the vaccination is against it.

WHO: Hey guys, a quick question. The next Greek alphabet is ‘Xi’. What do we do? China? Are you here?

China: Don’t you dare! Leave us and our president out of it. Call it something else. And we don’t allow anyone in anyway, so the variant is not our concern.

WHO: We got it boss. It’s now called Omicron.

WHO: Sorry we meant Sir. China isn’t our boss.

SA: It’s true what they say, no good deed goes unpunished. The next time we won’t tell you guys about the next mutations or variants we find.

World: Sorry can’t hear you, too busy dealing with the outbreak that you caused. How about we talk about this later?

Namibia: It’s the weekend, lets braai & go camping and let the world figure this one out themselves, we are still open to everyone. And if you wish to travel here, ask your leaders to start thinking before making decisions.

To be continued…..

Written by Nrupesh Soni.

I know there is great fear about COVID-19. While I am neither a scientist nor an epidemiologist, it seems that this strain may be more transmissible but on the ground reports indicate that the symptoms tend to be less severe. We shall see but I really hope that we don’t head into another round of lockdowns or even Australian-style concentration camps.

Dallas Safari Club Celebrates 40 Years

The Dallas Safari Club will be celebrating their 40th anniversary in January with the DSC Convention. The convention will be held January 6-9 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

In preparation for this event, they have released a short video showing their progress since 1982.

I have never been to a convention like this and hope to attend in January. My dream is to do a plains game hunt in either Namibia or South Africa in 2023. I grew up reading Hemingway and Ruark. While a two month safari in Kenya aka British East Africa is a thing of the past, a plains game hunt is not and actually can be cheaper than an elk hunt in Colorado.

Rep. Ryan Zinke’s Nomination For Interior Secretary Garners Approval

Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) was selected by President-elect Donald Trump to be his Secretary of the Interior. Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, is the lone Congressman from Montana and was rumored to have been a potential candidate to take on Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) in 2018. Zinke’s selection has garnered approval from the NRA, the NSSF, and other organizations.

From the NRA-ILA:

Fairfax, Va.— Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, issued the following statement on the nomination of Congressman Ryan Zinke to be the Secretary of the Interior:

“On behalf of our 5 million members, we commend President-Elect Donald Trump for nominating Congressman Ryan Zinke of Montana to be our next Secretary of the Interior,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. “The sportsmen and women of this nation have long waited for an Interior Secretary who understands the need to preserve America’s outdoor heritage for generations to come. Ryan Zinke will champion those traditions with the devotion of a true outdoorsman while serving as our next Secretary of the Interior.”

From the National Shooting Sports Foundation:

NEWTOWN, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries, today praised President-Elect Donald Trump’s selection of U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) to become Secretary of the Department of the Interior.

“In Congressman Zinke we have a true friend of American sportsmen who believes in the inestimable value of our public lands. We are confident Congressman Zinke will work to preserve and promote our hunting and related outdoor traditions. He is an American hero, a lifelong hunter and angler, and a true conservationist in the tradition of Teddy Roosevelt,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “The Secretary of the Interior is arguably the nation’s single most important position with regard to the management of federal lands, wildlife habitat and natural resources. Competing interests must be balanced with what will be in the best long-term interest of the nation. We look forward to enthusiastically supporting his nomination in Congress and then working with Secretary Zinke to help him achieve that mission.”

“We are very pleased that President-Elect Trump is listening to the voices of American sportsmen and conservationists, but no one should be surprised. That positive influence has been close at hand for many years in the form of his son, Donald Jr.,” Keane added.

From the Boone and Crockett Club:

The Boone and Crockett Club, the oldest wildlife conservation group in the U.S., founded by Theodore Roosevelt, praises President-Elect Donald Trump’s announcement of U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) to become Secretary of the Department of the Interior.

“Ryan Zinke has already demonstrated the leadership required as America’s top conservation steward, and the president-elect has done likewise in embracing it.” said Ben B. Hollingsworth Jr., president of the B&C Club. “The congressman has seen that frustrations with federal land management are the driver of many controversies and has rejected surrendering those federal lands as a supposed solution. Ryan Zinke and Donald Trump know that ever since Theodore Roosevelt made federal lands and conservation a national priority, hunters and other sportsmen-conservationists have carried out the work on the ground that ensures America’s wildlife heritage.”

The Boone and Crockett Club moved its national headquarters to the Rocky Mountain west in Missoula, Montana in 1992 because the Club’s leadership at the time felt this would be the epicenter of many future conservation challenges for land and wildlife.

In a statement released by Zinke, the new Interior Secretary said he would uphold Theodore Roosevelt’s belief that public lands are “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” He continued by assuring the public that he will “work tirelessly to ensure our public lands are managed and preserved in a way that benefits everyone for generations to come.”

Hollingsworth said, “We are proud that Montana, where we call home and where the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch is located, is the source of so much conservation leadership at this moment in history. With the state so well represented in Congress, having a Montanan in the administration is a prime opportunity to restore working relationships in Washington to the benefit of conservation work on the ground.”

From the Dallas Safari Club:

DSC congratulates Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke on his recent nomination to lead the Department of Interior. Zinke will be charged with protecting the natural resources of the U.S., which includes federal lands and overseeing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. DSC is pleased to see the position filled by an ardent proponent of continued access to public lands and a champion of conservation.

“DSC has supported Representative Zinke since his first run in Congress,” said DSC Executive Director Ben Carter. “He symbolizes the DSC mission of ensuring the future of conservation through hunting and protecting hunter’s rights. We are excited to see how he handles the critical issues facing wildlife and wild places. Our membership respects and appreciates his dedicated service to this Nation as a former Navy Seal and as a Congressman. He has proven to be a straight shooter in all aspects, and we look forward to working with the newly nominated Interior Secretary.”

Zinke is a native of Montana and has a lifelong love of hunting and fishing. During his time in Congress, Zinke has a track record of backing hunter’s rights. He announced his support for the Sportsmen’s Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Enhancement Act, which contained seven provisions to reauthorize or implement ways to fund conservation programs on federal and private lands.

In a released statement, Zinke stated, “As inscribed in the stone archway of Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner, Montana, I shall faithfully uphold Teddy Roosevelt’s belief that our treasured public lands are ‘for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.’ I will work tirelessly to ensure our public lands are managed and preserved in a way that benefits everyone for generations to come.”

“Zinke is a sportsman just like the members of DSC,” said Carter. “His heart lies in the same place as ours and we feel he is the perfect person to direct management of our lands and wildlife. This is a great step in ensuring the future of hunting, fishing and the outdoor life for upcoming generations.”

Finally, in what I consider the greatest endorsement of Zinke yet, is this statement from the Center for Biological Diversity. They have been consistently a thorn in the side to hunters, anglers, and shooters with their constant lawsuits against lead-based ammunition and professional wildlife conservation management efforts.

TUCSON, Ariz.— Freshman congressman Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) has reportedly been picked by Donald Trump to serve as secretary of the Interior to oversee endangered species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, hundreds of millions of acres of public land including the national parks, Bureau of Land Management lands and national wildlife refuges and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Zinke was a staunch, early and controversial supporter of Trump throughout the presidential campaign. Trump has picked his wife Lola Zinke to oversee the transition of the Veteran’s Administration.

Statement of Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity:

“Ryan Zinke has a dismal 3 percent lifetime environmental voting record. His brief political career has been substantially devoted to attacking endangered species and the Endangered Species Act. He led efforts to strip federal protections for endangered wolves, lynx and sage grouse, voted to exempt massive agribusiness and water developers from Endangered Species Act limitations, and opposed efforts to crack down on the international black market ivory trade.”

“Zinke consistently votes for the interests of oil and gas companies, which is not surprising since Oasis Petroleum is his largest campaign contributor and the oil and gas industry is his third-largest sector contributor. He has also voted against and attacked the establishment of protective national monuments on public lands.”

“On the bright side, Zinke has spoken and voted against the outright transfer of federal public lands to states and corporations. This is in keeping with positions taken by Donald Trump and his son Donald, Jr. Unfortunately Zinke has championed the same result — greatly increased logging, mining and oil drilling, greatly reduced environmental protections, elimination of federal control, and weakening of environmental standards — by turning over public land management to industry-dominated panels appointed by state governors. In Zinke’s scheme, industry and state interests get all the environmental destruction and profit they want, with the federal government being made to pay for it through nominal retention of land title.”

“Zinke’s cynically named ‘Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015’ was one of several schemes he led to turn control of public land to industry-dominated panels. It was widely opposed by conservationists, sportsmen, businesses and even some timber companies for dispensing with environmental laws and public involvement in order to ramp up unsustainable logging levels.”

“Disturbingly, in 2012 Zinke contradicted his recent stance when he signed the extremist Montana Constitutional Governance Pledge promising to ‘legally and administratively oppose the multitude of bureaucracies that have sprung up to enforce the unlawful seizure of our native land and its resources including, but not limited to: the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Park Service, the various bureaus of Wildlife and Fisheries, etc., and restore the rightful powers over the land to the State and private ownership.’ During confirmation hearings, the Senate needs to grill Zinke on this contradiction and ensure he truly supports keeping public lands in public hands.”