Safari Times

Safari Times, the news arm of SCI, is published monthly and is exclusive to SCI members. Available in print and digital format, the Safari Times presents timely information of interest and importance to the organization's members regarding conservation and humanitarian projects, legislation, wildlife management, outdoor education and local, national and international wildlife issues. Regular contributors include SCI officers, leading outdoor writers and legislative experts.

2019 Issues

On February 1 the UK’s Daily Mail ran a headline that read, "British socialite Lady Victoria Hervey says America's biggest hunting convention is full of 'bloodthirsty killers' after going undercover to expose callous firms cashing in on deaths of safari animals at risk of extinction.”

Ms. Hervey apparently bought an SCI membership and came into the Convention in Reno where she secretly taped people. She then attacked us by taking her information to the media.

We have been told that the secret taping may have violated Nevada law and will check that out.

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When someone refers to me as a “professional hunter” it’s a lot like fingernails on a blackboard! The title of “PH” connotes long apprenticeship and proper licensing in far-off places. I’m just a gunwriter, and happy to be just that. However,  I’ve done enough guiding to know that I lack the patience to do it fulltime! Fortunately, I don’t have to— but I do enjoy matching wits with the whitetails on our Kansas farm.

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January Tune Up At SAAM

The truth is very few of us do as much shooting as we should. I suspect even fewer among us do enough of the right kind of shooting to really prepare us for shots we will encounter in the field. These are busy times; even under the best of circumstances it’s difficult to budget range time. Many of us have challenges getting access to good ranges and few among us have ready access to the right ranges, with targets marching out to the actual distances we might need to shoot at game. There is no easy solution! Over time, experience helps, but field shooting experience takes years to acquire. Hey, we are all going to miss now and again, but I’m certainthe only way to consistently shoot well afield is to practice regularly from field shooting positions at a variety of distances.

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2018 Issues

The midterm elections are now in the rear view mirror, and the result is a mixed bag. President Trump defied the long arc of history in one respect with a net gain of two Republican seats in the Senate. But in the House, he hit the historical average with precision. In the past fifty years, presidents with an approval rating of less than 50 Percent have averaged a loss of 40 House seats in their first midterm election.

Ballots are still being counted in a few outlying races, including that of SCI supporter Rep. David Valadao in California’s 21st District. Convention attendees will be familiar with Rep. Valadao, as he has faithfully attended for several years.

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"The more the media and public learn of the antis, the less they like them. The more they learn of us, the more they like us."

That is a quote from an email that SCI’s Director of Communications, Steve Comus, sent to me after we did battle with the antis recently when they attacked several hunters on social media. As we started to respond, the antis turned on SCI with a snarl. We received hundreds of obscene and threatening calls — virtually a call a minute for several days.

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With summer winding down, and autumn arriving, hunters everywhere are preparing for and anticipating days spent afield. Gear is checked and sorted out, and plans are being finalized for a day of wingshooting, a weekend of waterfowl hunting or time in the woods, on the tundra and in the mountains pursuing big game. And as good as the days in the field will be, we also anticipate evenings spent with friends in hunting camps, relaxing by the fire and reliving the events of the day.

Sadly, we cannot be in the field or camp all the time. But, there is another place where you can enjoy the camaraderie of hunting camp and take the first steps toward your next adventure. SCI’s Annual Hunters’ Convention is the place where hunters gather. 

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By the time this column reaches SCI members, the 2018 midterm elections will be in the homestretch. Predictions keep changing, but it currently appears that the House of Representatives could switch to Democratic control. That makes it all the more important to bolster the ranks of pro-hunting lawmakers in Congress.

Dozens of outside groups will be ramping up their spending in coming weeks in a bid to swing close elections toward favored candidates. SCI is among them, working through our Political Action Committee to elect pro-hunting lawmakers in a number of close races in key swing districts and states.

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President Trump makes headlines every day. He ignores tradition, smashes convention, defies expectations and makes statements that are startling in their  irectness. Then he goes to bed and gets up to do it all again the next day. But it’s quite likely that no action he has taken, or will take during his time as President, will have so lasting an effect as his nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court.

As we all know by now, replacing Justice Anthony Kennedy with Judge Brett Kavanaugh will swing the court to a much more reliable and predictable majority of conservative jurists.

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Between trade talks, tariffs, immigration and foreign summits, the President is throwing out new challenges every day and neither the media nor the Congress can  keep up. With every passing hour, the political establishment is reeling at the machinegun pace of policy pronouncements and Twitter broadsides that blast out of the White House. Left in the wake of this new political jet stream are hurt feelings, confused pundits, embarrassed foreign leaders and mystified market traders – all
unsure of what to expect next.

The befuddlement is especially thick on Capitol Hill. The House is mired in an intractable dispute over immigration, with competing factions pushing wildly disparate bills.

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America’s guides and outfitters are enthusiastic about President Trump’s exemption from Executive Order 13658 for Recreational Services on Federal Lands.

The exemption reads in part, “The implementation of Executive Order 13658 threatens to raise significantly the cost of guided hikes and tours on Federal lands, preventing many visitors from enjoying the great beauty of America’s outdoors. Seasonal recreational workers have irregular work schedules, a high incidence of overtime pay, and an unusually high turnover rate, among other distinguishing characteristics. As a consequence, a minimum wage increase would generally entail large negative effects on hours worked by recreational service workers.”

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Wyoming’s Game and Fish Department reports that the state’s population of gray wolves “continues to be healthy and exceed all criteria established to show that the species is recovered.”

The Department’s annual report on wolf population monitoring and management showed the state’s minimum wolf population to be at least 347 wolves as of Dec. 31, 2017, including at least 238 living outside of Yellowstone National Park and Wind River Reservation, at least 97 inside Yellowstone National...

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In February, President Paul Babaz and I decided to reach out to two online hunting communities that tend to be very critical of SCI. They have both welcomed our participation. They are pleased that we are willing to listen to their concerns and that we take the time to respond.

It's easy for people in the hunting community, SCI members and non-members alike, to have negative views. They cannot possibly know all the details about what goes on inside a large and complex organization like SCI. When you start explaining, folks often calm down and take a different attitude. At least they understand that we are trying.

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SCI Convention’s Saturday night guest speaker was NRA’s Chris Cox who didn’t pull any punches when it came to calling-out those who are  against hunting.  veryone from the obvious targets such as antis and Hollywood to even those among us who call themselves hunters (so long as you hunt their way) found  hemselves in the crosshairs of a man who is used to big sociopolitical fights and winning them.

“I don’t care if you’re an African hunter, an upland bird hunter, an eatwhat-you-kill hunter or a high fence hunter. Do you want to BE a hunter, or not?” Cox asked  he cheering crowd. “We’re either going to get serious, get united and fight back together, or our grandkids are going to learn about hunting the same way they’ll  earn about landlines and rotary phones— from a history book,” he added.

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All hands on deck! As the cartoon on the preceding page shows, antis are trying to pick off hunting species by species and somewhere on that line are the species  ou hunt. We must draw the line and stop and hold the antis there.

I was just having a conversation with a friend of mine and said that I hope the recent ban on hunting grizzly bears in BC would be a wake-up call for hunters in North America and abroad. My friend was quick to remind me that this isn’t the  first time the anti’s have used their emotionally charged, false fact propaganda campaign to advance their agenda.

We’ve seen this before where anti-hunting groups use Canada as a test case before exporting their “Emotional Agenda vs. Science-Based” conservation back to the  U.S. We are seeing that right now with mountain lions and other cats in Arizona.

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2017 Issues

Safari Club International opposes efforts by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other antihunters to end the hunting of mountain lions and bobcats in Arizona by way of the ballot box.

HSUS and other anti-hunters currently are circulating petitions hoping to place their deceitfully draconian measure on the ballot in 2018.

“This is just the latest move by antihunters to end all hunting,” said SCI President Paul Babaz. “They have made it clear that their strategy is to go state-by-state, species-by-species, if that’s what it takes for them to end all hunting. Please join SCI’s fight to block this attack on our freedom to hunt.”

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Recently in conjunction with the grand opening of the Wonders of Wildlife Museum in Springfield, MO, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke officially declared October as National Hunting and Fishing Month.

Zinke championed the order to recognize the lasting and positive impact of hunters and anglers on wildlife and habitat conservation in America.

Excise taxes on firearms, ammo and tackle generate more than a billion dollars per year through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration acts.

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Safari Club International leads from the front when it comes to protecting the freedom to hunt.

Unlike other groups who long ago abandoned the battle, SCI has fought in lawsuit after lawsuit to defend the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's regulations to delist recovered wolf populations. And unlike some groups who have only recently joined the war, SCI has been fighting for wolf delisting since the very beginning – from as early as 2003 when the FWS first issued a rule to downlist gray wolves from endangered to threatened status.

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On July 25, 2017, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of David Bernhardt of Virginia to serve as Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior (DOI), joining Secretary Ryan Zinke at the top of the 70,000-person agency. He was nominated by President Trump for the position of Deputy Secretary on April 28th. On July 24, 2017, the Senate voted 53-43 to confirm the nomination.

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Buried in the recent torrent of more salacious tweets from our president was a comment on Senate procedure in which he wrote, "The U.S. Senate should switch to 51 votes, immediately, and get Healthcare and TAX CUTS approved, fast and easy." The president's impatience with the speed of legislative progress is certainly understandable, although his proposed remedy is neither popular with Senators - who are notoriously loath to accept advice on how to run the Senate – nor would it solve the problems that his agenda is facing.

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In case you were wondering, the odd name comes from Somalia, a simple version of this tiny antelope's alarm call that, according to our SCI record book, sounds like “zhikzhik.” Dik-dik is pretty close! The smaller races of dik-dik are almost the smallest animals with hooves and horns; only the tiny royal antelope of the West African forests is consistently smaller. But even the largest, Namibia's Damara dik-dik, is a tiny, dainty antelope weighing possibly 15 pounds, and that's twice the size of some of the smaller races in the Horn of Africa!

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This column was written the day that Judge Neil Gorsuch was sworn in to the Supreme Court.

The moment seems somewhat anti-climactic; the outcome of his nomination has not been in doubt ever since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-K) vowed to deploy the "nuclear option" if necessary to overcome resistance from Democrats. In the end, only three Democrats crossed party lines to vote for Gorsuch, so McConnell did not hesitate to order up the rule change and steamroll the intransigent Democratic opposition.

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U.S. hunters heading to South Africa with firearms need to make certain that they have versions of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Form 4457 that South African officials will accept. Form 4457s list, among other things, firearms that are taken from and intended to be returned to the U.S.

The Professional Hunters' Association of South Africa (PHASA) initially notified SCI that the South African Police Service's Central Firearms Desk announced that they would no longer accept United States Department of Homeland Security Certificates of Registration, commonly known as CBP Form 4457s

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I have been on the job as CEO for two months now. Despite my 30-year association with SCI, I am amazed at all the things I am learning.

My biggest impression is one of a lot of activity. We all know that SCI is a lot things to a lot of people. When you see the level of activity from all the people on staff , you get an appreciation for the level of complexity of running the organization and the amount of activity. One measure of that is the email traffi c. Without exaggeration, I get more than 200 emails a day. Some are conversational, some are intense and complicated. But each one needs to be read and considered.

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On January 19, 2017, Safari Club International SCI filed a lawsuit against three sets of Obama Administration regulations prohibiting and restricting certain methods and means of hunting on National Wildlife Refuges and National Preserves in Alaska. SCI filed suit in federal district court in the District of Alaska.

SCI's lawsuit challenges the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) and National Park Service's (NPS) illegal acts in ignoring and overriding the State of Alaska's authority to manage wildlife and regulate hunting in Alaska. The Complaint documents

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SCI and the SCI Foundation are working together to respond to the latest attempt by anti-hunting groups to interfere with sustainable use conservation. Most recently, these animal rights groups have focused their efforts on African leopards.

In response to a petition filed in July 2016 by the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International, Center for Biological Diversity, International Fund for Animal Welfare and Fund for Animals, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a 90-day finding that an endangered listing for all African leopards currently listed as threatened "may be warranted."

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