Registration For SCI Convention Opens

The registration for the 2023 Safari Club International Convention is now open. The even will be held February 22nd through 25th in Nashville at the Music City Center. This is the convention center where the NRA has held their annual meetings in the past.

This will be the first SCI Convention to be held outside of Nevada since 1993. In their earliest years, they held some conventions in cities like Atlanta and Orlando. However, they were not a great success when compared to Las Vegas and Reno. I am hoping this year will be prove to be different.

The 2022 convention was fun in Las Vegas and we split our time between it and the SHOT Show. I enjoyed the exhibits as well as attending some of the seminars. Not wanting to be tempted, I skipped the auctions and banquets. All of that said, I’m excited that it will be held in a location to which I can easily drive and where I know my way around. I also like the timing of it as it won’t make the month of January jam-packed with events.

More information on the convention is below in their press release:

SCI’s preferred hotels for the 2023 Convention include Grand Hyatt Downtown, Hilton Nashville Downtown, Hyatt Place Downtown, JW Marriott Nashville, The Westin Nashville, Renaissance Nashville, and Omni Nashville. Please mention “SCI2023” or “Safari Club room block” when booking hotels over the phone to receive discounted pricing. 

The Convention will showcase unique hunting opportunities on six continents, world-class taxidermy and art, and give manufacturers their first opportunity to demonstrate new products directly to consumers. Considered the “Ultimate Sportsmen’s Market,” the Convention also plays host to dozens of topical seminars presented by subject matter experts. Several hundred hunts, fishing trips, firearms, works of art, jewelry, and other items and services are offered at live and silent auctions, helping SCI raise hunter advocacy and conservation funds. Finally, you won’t want to miss out on the nightly banquets and world-class entertainment starring country music celebrities, hunting superstars, and much more!  

Whether attendees are looking to book their dream hunt, scope out the latest firearms and gear, or find taxidermy inspiration, the SCI Annual Convention will impress with many exhibits and something for everyone! 

To register for the 2023 SCI Annual Convention, visit https://showsci.org. To contact a registration agent, please dial 520-620-1220 or call toll-free at 888-746-9724.

UPDATE: I came across this teaser video on the 2023 SCI Convention. It is definitely well done.

They Call This A Protest?

The Complementary Spouse and I were able to attend a couple of days at the Safari Club International Convention in Las Vegas. It coincided with the SHOT Show which really worked out well for us.

Just like with those who push gun prohibition, the hunt prohibitionists are divided between the well-funded astroturf groups and the wannabe players like Compassion Works International. The former would include well-funded organizations like PETA, the Humane Society of the US, and the Center for Biological Diversity. I would liken the latter to groups like the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (sic). In other words, they put on “protests” with lots of advance fanfare that draw little more than a dozen protestors.

Frankly, I would not have even known of CWI if I hadn’t seen a mobile billboard like this one on Saturday, January 22nd, as we were leaving the Mandalay Bay complex.

After doing a bit of online sleuthing, I found their website and their social media pages. They call themselves “animal advocates” and “activists”. As part of their mission statement they say:

CWI is  committed to ending speciesism and fostering a compassionate, vegan world that shows respect for the autonomy of all beings.

Ye gads!

They say that they participated in protests every night of the SCI Convention as part of the Worldwide Rally Against Trophy Hunting (WRATH). They say that they had people standing in solidarity with animals who braved the cold of Las Vegas to make their voices heard. The cold of Las Vegas? If I remember correctly the evening temperatures were in the 50s.

Here is a picture from one of their protests that I found on their Facebook page. I count all of 16 participants.

May be an image of 6 people, people standing and outdoors

By contrast, the auctions and events held at the Safari Club International Convention raised over $15 million for wildife conservation and advocacy. I sincerely doubt that these protestors have ever considered funding anti-poaching efforts in Africa or even the United States.

While I am sure some of these protestors are well-intentioned, they fail to recognize their own neocolonialism and cultural imperialism. They believe that THEY – upper middle-class Americans – know what is best for Africans and not the scientists and wildlife conservationists on the ground in countries like Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia (among many others). These and other African countries use a model of wildlife conservation where the wildlife policy is governed by science, that animals are considered a public resource, and that it is a shared resource that must not be wasted.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of both the Dallas Safari Club and SCI. Also in the interest of full disclosure, I have treated the anti-hunting movement with disdain long before I learned of DSC and SCI.

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.

Safari Club Convention In Las Vegas

The Safari Club was supposed to have their 50th annual convention in Las Vegas in January of this year. However, with Nevada shutting down and virtually every major convention canceled, it got postponed to 2022. As I noted back in February, both the SHOT Show and the SCI Convention will be held the same week in Las Vegas. So on one end of Las Vegas Boulevard you will have the SHOT Show in the Sands Expo Center and on the other end you will have the Safari Club Convention at the Mandalay Bay.

I have attended a number of SHOT Shows now as media but I have never attended a hunting convention like the Safari Club Convention. As my goal is to go to Africa on a hunting safari in 2023, I think it is way past time to do it. I applied today for media credentials for the Safari Club convention and, fingers crossed, it will be approved.

One of the things that makes hunting conventions like that of SCI different is that they hold banquets with entertainment and auctions every night of the convention. These are meant to raise money to support wildlife conservation here and abroad. As such, they are not exactly cheap to attend nor are they meant to be. The cost to attend all four banquets is $450. That said, they do have some big hitters from the entertainment, political, and hunting world.

From a release I received at the end of September on the banquets.

Blue Collar Comedy legend Larry the Cable Guy will kick things off at SCI’s grand opening dinner and auction on Wednesday night. The multi-platinum-selling and award-winning artist is one of the top comedians in the country. He’s starred in films like Delta Farce, the Cars franchise, and numerous stand-up specials. Laugh out loud with Larry the Cable Guy at the Mandalay Bay Ballroom on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, from 6:15 pm – 9:30 pm.   

Thursday evening is the Night of the Hunter Awards and will be hosted by professional hunter and TV host Jim Shockey and writer and outdoorsman J. Alain Smith. At the Night of the Hunter Awards, SCI honors the individuals and organizations dedicated to conservation. SCI will recognize its achievements during a banquet and auction at the Mandalay Bay Ballroom on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, from 6:15 pm – 9:00 pm.  

Friday night’s dinner and auction will be packed full of some of the greatest defenders of American freedom. These include retired Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient Master Chief Petty Officer Edward Byers and political leader, businessman and avid outdoorsman Donald Trump, Jr. The event will be held at the Mandalay Bay Ballroom on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, from 6:15 pm – 10:00 pm.  

Country music star Craig Morgan, ​​with such hits as “Redneck Yacht Club” and “That’s What I Love About Sunday,” will start off Saturday evening’s entertainment. The grand finale event features television host and conservative political commentator Tucker Carlson, of Tucker Carlson Tonight and Crossfire. Tucker will close out the convention celebrating SCI’s 50 years of freedom at the Mandalay Bay Ballroom on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, from 6:15 pm – 9:30 pm.

However, what really interests me will be the exhibits and the chance to actually meet PHs from various African countries to discuss a possible trip. I understand there will be a number of seminars as well.

Being that we are gluttons for punishment, the Complementary Spouse and I are going to try and cover both the SHOT Show and the Safari Club International Convention. We have our room booked and need to book our flights. To top this off, I am probably going to go to Dallas little more than a week earlier to attend the Dallas Safari Club Convention. I understand that they are much different and I want to experience the difference.

You can accuse me of being a Fudd but really I am rediscovering some of my earlier interest in hunting from my late teens and early 20s. I really consider myself Gun Culture v1.5. Besides, I really did go a paper in college for Non-Western Civilization on Robert Ruark’s Something of Value.

SCI Utah Chapter Had A Special Guest

I get a lot of press releases in my email. Most are somewhat interesting but not enough to prompt me to post about it.

I got one this morning on behalf of the Utah Chapter of Safari Club International. They raised $350,000 at their recent banquet. Having been in charge of a banquet and auction years ago for my local chapter of Trout Unlimited, I can assure you this is an astounding figure. If we made $20,000, it was considered a phenomenal amount.

$105,000 of this money will go to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources while another $210,000 will be spent by the chapter on DWR-approved wildlife conservation projects.

However, that is not what made this press release so interesting. Look at the picture below. Notice anyone that looks familiar. How about the guy in the blue sports coat?

If you said to yourself, “Damn! Isn’t that Chris Cox?” The answer would be yes. After getting stabbed in the back by the unholy alliance of Wayne LaPierre and Bill Brewer, he formed his own public affairs firm called Capital 6 Advisors. David Lehman, former Deputy Director of NRA-ILA and its General Counsel, is also now part of that firm.

Cox was the special guest speaker at the banquet. He had this to say:

“The incredible success of SCI Utah’s Annual Conservation Auction and Banquet demonstrates Utah’s strong support for our hunting heritage and right to keep and bear arms. The money raised at this event will ensure that wildlife species and their habitats will continue to grow and thrive. The enthusiasm and dedication from the chapter members clearly show that the future of hunting and conservation in Utah is in good hands.”

I am glad to see Cox starting to reemerge in public. I can only speculate how things might have been different in the 2020 elections if he had still been at the head of ILA. Maybe Trump would have still lost but I really think the Senate Majority Leader would still be Mitch McConnell and not that reptilian Chuck Schumer.

Safari Club Convention And Other Events Too? What A Great Week!

I received a press release announcing the 2022 Safari Club Convention has opened registration. It is to be held in Las Vegas on January 19th to the 22nd at the Mandalay Bay. Those dates got me to thinking about what else just might be happening at that same time.

I found this! The AVN Adult Entertainment Expo is being held the 20th to the 23rd at the Hard Rock Casino.

And this as well – the World of Concrete! Tools, trucks, mixers, oh, my!

Just kidding. I mean they are being held in Las Vegas at the same time but that is not really what caught my eye.

What did catch my eye and excite me is that the SHOT Show is being held January 18th through 21st at the Sands Expo Center. The recently opened Caesars Forum will also be the scene for part of the SHOT Show.

So this means both the Safari Club Convention and the SHOT Show will be in Las Vegas the same week. I really think this is great because it would be one airfare and one hotel instead of two. I certainly plan to go as things stand now.

I’m sure I’d be exhausted trying to do both but what wonderful exhaustion it would be!

Safari Club Cancels Vegas Convention

Safari Club International announced late yesterday that they had canceled their convention scheduled for February 3-6, 2021 in Las Vegas. They noted that the COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the State of Nevada and Clark County health officials made it impossible to have a successful event. Included in the Clark County restrictions reported on Monday, are a limit of 1,000 attendees or registrants for trade shows, conventions, conferences, and other large events.

Other large shows that have been previously canceled include SEMA and the Consumer Electronics Show. The SHOT Show says they still plan to go on but realistically I don’t see how. The Complementary Spouse and I are registered to attend as media but will likely cancel due to all the restrictions. Friends in Las Vegas also have told me that the hotel discounts along the Strip have attracted the wrong crowd and crime is up significantly.

From their post:

For 49 consecutive years SCI has conducted its annual convention, bringing together from around the world, hunters, exhibitors, conservation stakeholders, and generations of SCI members. This annual event celebrates hunter advocacy, raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for wildlife conservation, and enables the planning of hunts that further support conservation on every continent. It is one of the most anticipated gatherings of the year not only for the reasons above but also because it is the one week that our community can rely upon to renew friendships and reignite the fire that drives us all to carry on the traditions of hunting.  We did not reach this decision lightly…

Despite our disappointment with this development, SCI will be there for our members and exhibitors in 2022 to reflect on all these accomplishments and celebrate them together. The 2022 Convention will take place in Las Vegas and will be a celebration of our hunting heritage and the perseverance we all needed to get through this, together.

Jim Shepherd of The Outdoor Wire covered the cancelation in his column this morning. He noted:

As SCI and SCI-Foundation’s CEO Laird Hamberlin told me, “we couldn’t make it work with the box we’d been put into by Las Vegas, Clark County and Nevada officials.”

The box in Las Vegas is, indeed, a small one. Using its latest guidance, Las Vegas’ rules limit events to 250 people. In some instances, that rule can be maximized to 1,000 people.

SCI’s exhibition space alone covers 625,000 square feet. Each evening during the Convention, SCI holds banquets and social events routinely attended by as many as 2,000 people.

Considered by many to be essential elements of every SCI convention, they were non-starters under the Las Vegas restrictions.

Changing the dates, I’m told, wasn’t an option. Restrictions on crowds and uncertainties about international travel were also concerns.

Collectively, all the challenges and unknowns just made the kind of extravaganzas the SCI Convention has become, impossible.

Heavily impacted by this decision will be the guides and outfitters who would have exhibited. For many, bookings done at the SCI Convention account for 80% of their annual business. SCI, according to Shepherd, intends to expand its “Share the Impact” program to these guides and outfitters.

SCI Benefit To Support Outfitters and Guides

Guiding is hard work. While I have never gone out with a hunting guide, I have gone out with a fishing guide during the summer. One of my most memorable trips started at 8am and didn’t end until we got off the river at 11pm. I know it was hard for me but it was harder for the guide.

The pandemic has impacted and will continue to impact hunting guides and outfitters worldwide. I know people who have had to cancel trips to Africa and undoubtedly the pandemic will impact guided hunting here in the Northern Hemisphere.

To help mitigate the impact, Safari Club International is holding an online benefit that starts on Saturday, August 1st, and runs until August 22nd.

More about these event in their release below:

Washington, DC (July 27, 2020) – To support professional hunters and outfitters negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, Safari Club International (SCI) is launching the Share the Impact Outfitter Benefit, a multi-day online charity event that runs from August 1-22.   

SCI is painfully aware of the terrible toll the current pandemic, and related restrictions continue to have on the professional hunting industry. These unprecedented challenges facing outfitters affect the entire hunting world and wildlife conservation worldwide, which is why it’s vital that we “share the impact.” 

In response to this need, SCI will host the Share the Impact Outfitter Benefit, representing one of the largest-if not the largest-fundraising effort from the organization in recent memory. The online charity event is dedicated to assisting the industry and will begin on Aug. 1 and runs to SCI’s Summer Board Meeting on August 22nd. 

“The challenges being faced by outfitters affect us all, and without our support, there will be devastating effects for the wildlife conservation movement worldwide,” SCI CEO W. Laird Hamberlin said. “It’s vital that we come together now to share the impact of the pandemic and support our guides and outfitters.” 

The program will include an online auction of donated items and unique experiences, with 100% of the net proceeds going directly to industry relief through outfitter associations. These associations can provide direct assistance to guides and outfitters, making the most of fundraising contributions for those negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. 

Bidding opens on August 1st. For more more information about the Share the Impact Outfitter Benefit, visit safariclub.org/sharetheimpact.

Outfitter associations include those in Canada, the US, South Africa, New Zealand, Spain, and more.

SCI Honors NC State Senator Bill Rabon

Safari Club International recognized NC State Senator Bill Rabon (R-Bladen, Brunswick, New Hanover, Pender) as their 2017 State Legislator of the Year. He was recognized for his work to preserve and protect hunting and especially for his role in expanding Sunday hunting.

From their release:

Safari Club International has recognized North Carolina State Senator Bill Rabon as SCI’s 2017 State Legislator of the Year. We are appreciative of Senator Rabon’s efforts to advance legislation promoting and protecting our outdoor heritage and tradition of hunting, our Second Amendment rights, and the valuable role hunting plays in wildlife management and conservation.

“We congratulate Senator Rabon for his outstanding leadership in the North Carolina State Senate, particularly for his tireless efforts to expand Sunday hunting in North Carolina and we are honored to present him with SCI’s 2017 State Legislator of the Year award,” said SCI President Paul Babaz. “Senator Rabon’s work has resulted in great victories for sportsmen and women and we are proud to have him as a leader for SCI and for all hunters in the Tar Heel State.”

Since his election to the North Carolina State Senate in 2010, Senator Rabon has been a champion for all sportsmen and women. He has advocated for countless pieces of legislation and has supported hunter recruitment, retention, and reactivation efforts – including expanding and repealing North Carolina’s Sunday hunting laws and working to make the right to hunt and fish a part of the state’s constitution.

“The rights of hunters are increasingly threatened and maligned today, but those rights are inextricably linked to the conservation of wildlife across the world,” stated Senator Rabon. “Teddy Roosevelt said it best: ‘In a civilized and cultivated country, wild animals only continue to exist at all when preserved by sportsmen… the genuine sportsman is by all odds the most important factor in keeping the larger and more valuable wild creatures from total extermination.’ It’s more important than ever to stay aggressive and diligent as we fight to protect hunters’ rights. No one has done that as reliably and successfully as Safari Club International. I’ve long been proud to be a member, and today I’m tremendously honored to receive this prestigious award.”

As Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, Sen. Rabon was instrumenting in getting H559 passed which expanded Sunday hunting to include public lands.

Sen. Rabon is also a stalwart advocate for the Second Amendment and gun rights. He is rate 4 stars by Grass Roots North Carolina and has a 100% voting record on gun rights.

Safari Club International Relocates Headquarters

While it may have no hunting season, the District of Columbia is where many of the rules, regulations, and laws that impact big game hunting in the US and in the world are made. Thus, it should be no surprise the Safari Club International has decided to move their headquarters from Tucson to Washington, DC. SCI made the decision at their recent Annual Hunter’s Convention. The move was effective on February 1st.

From SCI:

SCI KICKS UP ITS GAME TO PROTECT HUNTING

On February 1, the Board of Directors of Safari Club International changed its headquarters designation from Tucson, Arizona to Washington, DC. The purpose of the move is to focus and intensify SCI’s efforts on all forms of advocacy to protect the freedom to hunt, in coordination with other hunting organizations.

SCI’s CEO Rick Parsons will relocate to the SCI office on Capitol Hill in early April. SCI has advocacy, Litigation and communication units in that building. The SCI Foundation, which owns the building, houses its conservation department there. Parsons has a degree in International Law and has specialized in wildlife conservation issues. While working with the U.S. Government, he helped to draft and implement the global treaty (called CITES) that regulates trade in wildlife so as to prevent extinctions. Parsons has been with SCI since 1985. He has hunted in Virginia, Michigan, Texas and South Africa.

At the same Board meeting, the SCI Board applauded the new Advocacy Communications program of SCI that emphasizes an aggressive approach to outbound communication based on the theme of hunter pride. The goal of the program is to provide information about hunting to the vast majority of people who are neutral on the issue. The information will be designed to change the conversation by giving these neutrals something new to consider about hunting.

The decision to designate Washington, DC as SCI’s headquarters and to relocate the CEO was made in the midst of SCI’s 46th Annual Hunters’ Convention. The Convention is an extraordinary global gathering of the SCI family and hunting world. In all, 1,100 exhibitors from the U.S. and all over the world showed their hunting opportunities and hunting gear to more than 20,000 attendees.

There were seminars on hunting technique, ethics, legal issues and a host of other topics. There were side meetings with government delegations from Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, China and Kazakhstan, to name some. There were evening events featuring fundraising auctions to support the work of SCI and its sister organization, the SCI Foundation.

Between them, SCI and the Foundation put more than $3.5 Million on the ground annually for wildlife conservation, anti-poaching, education and humanitarian efforts related to hunting. SCI also funds a wide variety of advocacy activities in the U.S. and globally. Next year’s Convention will be in Reno, Nevada on January 9-12, 2019.