Nice e-mail from Zambia.

Dear Mr. Hosmer,

Hope you are well and that all the pressure from the SCI Convention is somewhat easier and lighter on the shoulders.

The executive committee and I and all the members of the PROFESSIONAL HUNTERS ASSOCIATION of ZAMBIA would like to extend all our thanks and gratitude to you and SAFARI CLUB INTERNATIONAL for the support and unselfish determination to accommodate us as an association. We are grateful for all your efforts even in how insignificance you might think it is, for us it meant the survival of our industry and the prosperity of our country.

Please except our sincere thanks and appreciation for your pressure to uplift the Elephant and ivory ban for Zambia, the SCI Convention booth, AWCF sponsorship and funds towards our travel expenses. Without your generous sponsorship we would not be able to form such a great part in the international hunting arena.

PHAZ would also like to extend our congratulation to you in your appointment as the new SCI Foundation President.

Please convey our gratitude to the SCI board of directors.

Yours sincerely,

Phil C. Minnaar

Chairman

PROFESSIONAL HUNTERS ASSOCIATION OF ZAMBIA

The Upland Nation Spreads Its Wings at the Safari Club International Convention

The Annual Hunter’s Convention held by Safari Club International is a magnet for power players in big game hunting, but this year marked a departure as leaders in upland shooting announced significant developments with far-reaching implications.

Quail Unlimited is teaming up with the SCI Foundation to stage an American outdoor game fair intended to rival the sprawling extravaganzas in the UK. Billed as the Southeast’s largest game fair, it’s scheduled for September 23-25 at the Foxhall Resort and Sporting Club in Douglassville, Georgia – a section of the US with a distinct heritage of plantation upland shooting.

The Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada also saw news from the Beretta Trident Program during the show’s run of January 26-29.  Launched in May 2010 with four charter destinations, the Beretta Trident Program had unveiled a scrupulous quality rating-system for hunting, shooting and clays venues designed to ensure an unblemished experience for sportsmen. During the SCI Annual Hunter’s Convention, the Beretta Trident Program revealed its first international presence for wingshooters, as well as additional “Tridents” for their inaugural members.

At the SCI Convention, shotgun luminaries such as Zoli President, Paolo Zoli, were talking with enthusiasts about their firearms like this Zoli shotgun.

This year marked the 39th Annual Hunter’s Convention, and if you have never attended the conference the array of quality shotguns among 1,100 exhibitors sprawled across 650,000 square feet is alone worth the price of admission.

Unlike the massive Shot Show, which is reserved for industry professionals, the SCI Annual Hunter’s Convention is open to all enthusiasts. Shotgun lovers get to handle fine firearms and chat up executives they may normally never meet. Alex Diehl, Krieghoff’s General Manager, is always friendly and obliging. Guy Bignell, the CEO of Griffin & Howe, was ever-present in their display. Purdey’s CEO, Nigel Beaumont, approached people admiring his guns. The legendary Tony Galazan of Connecticut Shotgun would answer questions and talk about his impressive inventory of firearms. Norbert Hausmann, CEO of Blaser, spent a lot of time in the company’s exhibit. Paulo Zoli was extremely helpful when it came to his eponymous shotguns and rifles. Cav. Ugo Gussalli Beretta was available in the Beretta retail store and gun exhibit. And restoration mastermind Doug Turnbull of Turnbull Manufacturing Company was happy to share his expertise.

Krieghoff showcased its best shotguns at the SCI Convention, similar to this exhibition-grade K-80.

In addition to meeting the men and women of shotgun royalty, the SCI Annual Hunter’s Convention laid before you the most gorgeous and rarified shotguns on the planet.

Boss & Co., Hartmann & Weiss, Holland & Holland, Fanzoj’s remarkable tri-bore drilling shotguns, the breathtaking George Hoenig Rotary Round Action shotgun, Holloway & Naughton, Peter Hofer, G.S. Pedretti, Verney-Carron and Westley Richards came together in a singular experience of shotgun Nirvana.

Of course, the SCI Annual Hunter’s Convention was equally as impressive for rifles that occupied the same six-figure stratosphere as the bespoke shotguns available on the show floor.

The fascinating three-barrel drilling gun by Fanzoj of Austria.

Still, amid the dazzling display of shotgun artistry, the biggest developments in upland wingshooting came from Quail Unlimited, the SCI Foundation and the Beretta Trident Program.

The strategic alliance of Quail Unlimited and the SCI Foundation is gearing up for its first

EPIC Outdoor Game Fair. Both groups are 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. The proceeds from the fair will help underwrite their ongoing programs to defend and promote America’s outdoor heritage.

In the spirit of their UK predecessors, the organizations intend for the EPIC Outdoor Game Fair to capture the universe of hunting and fishing, but in the cradle of Southern plantation hunting.

Joe Hosmer, President of the SCI Foundation. “We felt that with us driving it, we would get lined up with the Southern plantation culture,” said Joe Hosmer, President of the SCI Foundation. The venue of the Foxhall Resort and Sporting Club was also influenced in part by “the majority of SCI members involved in the shotgun sports.”

The EPIC Outdoor Game Fair is slated to be held on 1,100 acres along the Chattahoochee River under management by the Foxhall Resort and Sporting Club. The setting is about 20 minutes from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The organizers are expecting about 29,000 adults and legions of families.

For destinations in the Beretta Trident Program, Three Tridents are the pinnacle of performance. At the SCI Convention, four of the participating venues were awarded their second Trident.

On top of the EPIC Outdoor Game Fair, news of expansion and accolades came from a press conference in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the Beretta exhibits.

Jonathan Sherrill, President of the Sporting Heritage Corp., which oversees the Beretta Trident Program, named their first two international affiliates. The Sierra Brava Lodge and its sister operation, Estancia Los Chanares, are both in Cordoba, Argentina – providing the Beretta Trident Program entrée into the country’s celebrated high-volume dove shooting. Each was awarded one Trident for upland birds.

The first-generation of Beretta Trident Program venues advanced from their initial One Trident up to Two Tridents. Three Tridents are the pinnacle of excellence.

Upland shooting at Joshua Creek Ranch.

Less than five percent of such operations worldwide merit even One Trident. The Two Trident destinations are now Joshua Creek Ranch in Texas, the Cheyenne Ridge Signature Lodge in South Dakota, the Highland Hills Ranch in Oregon and the Pine Hill Plantation in Georgia.

“These affiliates represent the best of the best for upland bird hunting destinations and have earned the distinction of a Two Trident rating by making even better the hunting and overall guest experience,” said Dennis Doyle, Vice President of Operations for the Sporting Heritage Corp.

The Beretta Trident Program was itself recipient of the Award of Excellence for Shooting Sports by Sporting Classics magazine. The honor came in recognition of the Beretta Trident Program’s groundbreaking efforts in providing sportsmen and women with an objective rating system for hunting and shooting sports venues.

Irwin Greenstein the Publisher of Shotgun Life. You can reach him at  letters@shotgunlife.com.

 

Pronghorns are back!

Pronghorns are reasserting themselves as the fastest land mammals in Washington, thanks to a sportsmen’s group that joined with the Yakama Nation for an end run around state bureaucracy and environmental red tape.

Volunteers from Safari Club International and tribal members released 99 of the prairie speedsters recently on the Yakama Indian Reservation after trucking them 700 miles from their capture site in Nevada.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials said they are supportive of the reintroduction. However, by not involving the state agency in the pronghorn capture and release, the Yakamas avoided dealing in advance with issues that get sticky for government agencies.

The remote potential for introducing disease to livestock already had been raised as an issue by the Washington Cattlemen’s Association.

Other agricultural groups were concerned about the pronghorn’s inclination to leave the sagebrush country for irrigated alfalfa and grain crops when foraging gets tough.

The Yakama Nation would not allow its members or wildlife biologists to be interviewed for this story despite numerous requests.

Pronghorns, also known as antelope, are a unique North American mammal that thrives in sage country and wide-open spaces where they can leave danger in the dust at speeds of 50-60 mph.

The largest populations are in Wyoming and Montana, but they are plentiful enough for big-game hunting in all of the Western states, except Washington.

Pronghorn numbers in their traditional range once rivaled those of the bison, said Andrew Jakes, pronghorn researcher at the University of Calgary. They hit bottom at less than 13,000 animals in the early 20th century, but wildlife management has brought them back to about 1.2 million animals roaming sagebrush and native prairie from northern Mexico to southern Alberta, he said.

Archeologists have dated pronghorn bones found in central Washington at 500 to 13,000 years old. Lewis and Clark reported pronghorns as being native to the Columbia plain during the westward portion of their expedition.

Other than that, the pronghorn’s existence and disappearance in Washington is sketchy until the state wildlife agency made three attempts to reintroduce the critters in the 1900s.

The most recent reintroduction efforts were sparked by Safari Club International chapters around the state starting about seven years ago.

“The state never said they didn’t want the antelope, but the proposal always seemed to get the slip-through,” said Glenn Rasmussen, SCI-Central Washington member from Wapato.

SCI chapters from Puget Sound to Central Washington paid $42,000 for the WDFW to complete a pronghorn habitat assessment that was completed in June 2006, said Joe Greenhaw, Puget Sound Chapter president at the time.

That was after the Puget Sound Chapter had funded feasibility studies as early as 2004.

“The (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife) kept wanting more environmental impact statements and what all,” Rasmussen said. “Finally, the chapters said no more, since no one in the state could guarantee that there would be antelope on the ground after all the money was spent.”

However, the Yakama Nation also had been looking into reintroducing pronghorns on its 1.2-million acre reservation. Once the SCI funding source joined with the Yakama Nation’s sovereign right to do pretty much what it chooses on its own land, the reintroduction was almost as speedy as a pronghorn.

“Basically, this is the Yakama Nation’s project and we’re just arranging the financing,” Rasmussen said. Much of the money, including the $25,000 paid to Nevada for the capture operation, was donated from Shikar Safari Club, a group of wealthy sportsmen not related to Safari Club International, he said.

The tribe has the advantage of being free from complying with certain environmental laws and environmental impact statement requirements, said Donny Martorello, WDFW big-game manager in Olympia.

“They’re an independent nation,” he said. “We don’t have jurisdiction over their actions.

“We’d been working with the conservation and hunting groups and we completed a habitat assessment in 2006. We confirmed that pronghorns are indigenous to the state and that we have the habitat for them.

“But the next step was an environmental impact statement and that’s expensive – probably $50,000-$100,000 – and there was no guarantee that we could move forward once it was completed.”

Strapped for money and staff time, and not eager for another source of crop-damage claims, the agency suggested that SCI put the pronghorn reintroduction on the back burner, Martorello said.

“The Yakamas have been working for several years to get pronghorns on the ground, so we know they’re up to speed,” Martorello said. “We’re supportive of it.”

The Washington Cattlemen’s Association is concerned about the potential for introducing brucellosis or tuberculosis, said Jack Field, the association’s executive vice president.

“And I certainly hope the habitat is able to sustain the antelope on an annual basis so they don’t end up on neighboring crop lands around Toppenish or Patterson,” he said.

“Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of information. It’s not been a very transparent thing considering all the parties that may be affected by this action.”

Jason Kelly, spokesman for the Washington Department of Agriculture’s state veterinarians, echoed Fish and Wildlife officials.

“The state does not have any jurisdiction on animals moving into the Yakama Reservation,” he said. “We’re ready to work with the tribe but they’re not required to seek our permission.”

Kelly said the state veterinarians were aware that pronghorns were coming in.

“Our understanding is that tribal officials and Nevada where conducting animal health testing,” he said. “The tribe would need to make a decision on what to do if any of the animals tested positive.”

Peregrine Wolff, Nevada state wildlife veterinarian based in Reno, said blood samples she drew from pronghorns delivered to Washington are being tested for brucellosis and possibly for tuberculosis, although it might be several weeks after the animals were released in Washington before results are available.

Martorello said it was too early to say how pronghorns might be managed in the future.

“If they take – and I think they will given the advances wildlife biologists have made in reintroducing species – there’s a potential for allowing some pronghorn hunting,” he said.

“If the pronghorns start colonizing outside the reservation, we’d probably approach them the same way we’ve looked at moose moving in from Idaho. We would start managing, and hunting is one of the tools we use.”

— Document online: The “Assessment of Pronghorn Habitat Potential in Eastern Washington,” funded by Safari Club International and produced by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, is available on the WDFW website at tinyurl.com/WA-pronghorn.

Comments from Katte of PHASA

Joe

Congratulations on the work and effort the SCI Foundation has done to allow the exportation of Trophy elephant from Zambia. So important to know that these hunts – your foreign currency creates 16 jobs for every client.  More than we can say for any other industry in Africa and the footprint the hunting fraternity leave is that of more areas,  species and number of game being conserved and communities being empowered through training, a secure food source and income/ownership.  One must also state that due to high norms and values guiding the hunting fraternity and the unselfish investment in conservation and communities the hunting fraternity’s contribution  culminate into sustainable and responsible utilization of natural resources.  Many communities and species have seen improvements that was never possible before!  These species, bio-conservation areas and communities absolutely depend on the global hunting fraternity.  Hunting equals sustainable life and livelihoods and the primary focus and impact of hunting is its contribution to conservation and social upliftment that the hunters created.

 

Well done!

Katte

Note from author: Eduard “Katte” Katzke is the current the President of the PROFESSIONAL HUNTERS’ ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH AFRICA (PHASA)  www.phasa.co.za

 

Historic Elephant Announcement by Zambian Government

For Immediate Release January 31, 2011

Washington, DC – Safari Club International Foundation (SCIF) is pleased to announce that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will allow the importation of 20 elephant hunting trophies annually from Zambia starting this 2011 hunting season. This historic announcement was made at the 2011 SCI Annual Hunters’ Convention in Reno, Nevada.

“After years of collaboration, the FWS has made the determination that sustainable hunting of elephants will contribute to the enhancement of the survival of elephants in Zambia,” said SCI Foundation President Joseph Hosmer. “As a form of sustainable-use, hunting is a key component of wildlife conservation and management worldwide. The SCI Foundation is very proud to be part of the announcement.”

A formal exchange between the FWS and the Zambian government was made on Thursday, Jan. 27 in conjunction with the SCI Foundation Department of Science-based Conservation and Research. The finding of enhancement by the FWS is a conclusion reached after many years of information sharing, including government to government meetings facilitated at the SCI Convention and the African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWCF).

Underwritten by the SCI Foundation, the AWCF convenes African governments, world renowned wildlife biologists, professional hunter associations and leading conservation NGOs to share information and discuss current wildlife management issues.

Contact: Nelson Freeman; media@safariclub.org

– SCIF –

The SCI Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization that funds and manages worldwide programs dedicated to sustainable science-based wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian services, including such programs as Sportsmen Against Hunger, Sensory Safari, Safari Care, Disabled Hunter, the American Wilderness Leadership School, Becoming an Outdoors Woman & More and Youth Education Seminars (YES) Outdoors. Visit http://www.safariclubfoundation.org for more.