New Game Birds Of The World, Record Book Launched By SCI

Paul Babaz Ready to Usher in a New Age of Wingshooting at Safari Club International
Safari Club International, long-known for big-game hunting and conservation programs, is making a significant push into wingshooting, which we expect to accelerate next year with the appointment of Paul Babaz as the organization’s next President.

Mr. Babaz is now SCI’s Deputy President Elect. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, he’s a big-game hunter foremost but also a wing and clays enthusiast who believes that SCI will benefit from the outreach efforts toward shotgun owners under current president, Larry Higgins. Mr. Babaz’s term as SCI president begins July 1, 2017.

“Wingshooters are a huge demographic of hunters that tend to feel left out of the SCI activities,” said Mr. Babaz.

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Paul Babaz pauses for a photo at Foxhall Resort & Sporting Club before an informal round of sporting clays.

The push by SCI into wingshooting doesn’t diminish its core mission of hunter advocacy. Instead, wingshooting supplements the big-game passions of its members.

Wingshooting grabbed the spotlight at SCI with the recent announcement of Game Birds of the World Grand Slam. Under the auspices of the SCI Record Book Committee and organized by committee member Britt Hosmer, who in turn assumed the position of Game Birds of the World Committee Chairperson, the new wingshooting program supports both bird hunters as well as the conservation and sustainability of global species and their habitats.

Under her guidance and with the support of Mr. Higgins, the Game Birds of the World ad-hoc Committee of PhD biologists and known experts in the bird hunting community have worked diligently to finalize a list of acceptable game birds from each continent. There are strict limitations as to what birds can be accepted into the program.

The initiative played into Ms. Hosmer’s strengths. An avid hunter, she’s also Principal of Rock Environmental – a consulting firm in Fredericksburg, Texas that helps organizations develop high-impact philanthropic action plans for environmental and human-rights projects.

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Britt Hosmer

Game Birds of The World is a recognition by SCI that, although there are 2.6 million bird hunters in the U.S., the organization hasn’t offered programs for them outside of shotguns and bird hunting trips sold at the SCI convention and local chapters. Still, SCI remains steadfast as an advocate for hunters’ rights worldwide.

Of interest is that SCI’s research showed that its primary membership of big-game hunters also enjoy the shotgun sports. For instance, 88 percent of their members participate in upland game bird hunting, 77 percent of members hunt waterfowl and 80 percent shoot shotguns/trap/skeet. SCI has approximately 53,000 members from 106 different countries organized in 206 chapters and also represents millions of other hunters from around the world.

“We looked at the marketing demographics for shotgun shooters,” Ms. Hosmer, explained. “It’s a huge demographic we can utilize, and we have the software to build a truly great database from a scientific standpoint.”

Mr. Babaz is of the same mind – talking about the fact that wingshooters are integral to a diversified marketing push by SCI to recruit younger hunters.

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Paul Babaz keeping score on the sporting clays course of Foxhall Resort & Sporting Club.

And sporting clays factors in as well. Mr. Babaz, his business associate Lee Haverstock and friend Duvall Brumby of Yates Insurance Agency in Atlanta recently started an informal monthly sporting clays group that meets at the beautiful Foxhall Resort & Sporting Club in Douglasville, Georgia. It’s a laid-back afternoon of shooting on the leafy 15-station course followed by catered barbecue in the club house. The get-together reflects the inherent sociability of clays that could serve as a model for recruiting new SCI members through the shotgun sports.

Likewise, with Game Birds of The World, SCI furthers its commitment to attracting new members who are often introduced to hunting through wingshooting. Game Birds of The World also provides additional incentive for existing members to seek out SCI Record Book entries.

In that vein Ms. Hosmer explained that Game Birds of The World is an entrée into the SCI record books for female hunters who are not as inclined to pursue big game as their male counterparts.

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Also a clays enthusiast, Britt Hosmer shoot Krieghoff Sporting Clays Event in Las Vegas.

“The women liked the idea of documenting a hunting legacy,” she said. “We’re adding something that they could strive for and check off.”

For veteran SCI members with declining physical abilities, Game Birds of the Worlds presents an easier way to express their passion about collecting species.

Mr. Babaz elaborated that a growing number of SCI members are slowing down on the mountain hunts as they get older. “We want to take them back to their roots of wingshooting and bird dogs that’s a little less rigorous.”

Since Game Birds of the World only requires photo documentation, acknowledgement by the SCI Record Books is easy.

Members are invited to submit entries by sending a photo entry form and verified field photograph to the Committee. Each entry is only $20.00. SCI’s Record Book Software will be utilized for all processing of entries, which will be reviewed by the committee before being accepted. All approved photo entries will be added to a member’s species summary and apply to the Game Birds of the World Awards competition. The Game Birds of the World platform is stand alone and will not mix with the Big Game platform. Still, participants are considered for Diana Award and Young Hunter Award that recognize women and youth.

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Joe Hosmer

Mr. Babaz served as a catalyst for Game Birds of the World. Friends with former president of the SCI International Foundation, Joe Hosmer, both men had discussed starting their own American quail slam that would entail logging different species of the game bird. However, the idea soon expanded into all game birds. Ms. Hosmer stepped in, acted as the liaison with the appropriate committees, collected the experts and actually formalized and integrated Game Birds of the World into SCI.

“Paul and I have been kidding her all along to do a quail slam and that’s been escalating,” said Mr. Hosmer. “Britt put legs under it.”

“Paul understood why Game Birds of the World is important and got very excited about it,” said Ms. Hosmer.

The announcement of Game Birds of the World took place as Mr. Hosmer was preparing to step down as President of the SCI International Foundation after holding that position for six years. His replacement, Warren A. Sackman, III, is serving a two-year term.

The difference between SCI and the SCI International Foundation is that SCI, whose motto is “First for Hunters,” is an advocacy group for hunters’ rights. By comparison, the mission of the SCI International Foundation is to fund and direct wildlife programs dedicated to wildlife conservation and outdoor education.

During his final days as President of the SCI International Foundation, Mr. Hosmer explained, “As we speak right now we have 60 wildlife projects going on around the world. Its width and breadth is huge. And more in line with shotgunning, we’re looking into more studies relative to upland birds.”

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Joe Hosmer and Paul Babaz enjoy upland hunting together.

Mr. Hosmer’s departure from the SCI International Foundation poses a harmonic convergence of sorts for SCI’s wingshooting expansion. As of July 8, 2016, he was appointed to the National Board of Directors of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever – the largest wildlife habitat conservation organizations for upland hunters.

The move by Mr. Hosmer presents a new-found synergy for SCI in the wingshooting arena. With 2016 more than half over, the remainder of year lets SCI move closer to those upland conservation groups. Beginning mid-2017, however, Mr. Babaz has plans for closer ties.

“I want to work with other like-minded groups for a more unified front to protect our freedom to hunt,” said Mr. Babaz, citing groups such as Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, the National Rifle Association and the Boone & Crockett Club.

As the current SCI administration solidifies a multi-organizational front for hunter advocacy, the SCI International Foundation will cross-pollinate those relationships for more robust conservation programs that will touch the upland community.

Mr. Hosmer expects that a tighter bond with Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, for example, would result “in studies that involve quail and wetlands from a conservation point of view. It could take the form of grants with universities and state agencies as we partner with more habitat groups.”

In discussing SCI’s newfound commitment to wingshooters, one point becomes glaringly obvious. The SCI International Convention has a large number of shotgun manufacturers and dealers exhibiting at the show. Ticking off their names builds a premium list including Krieghoff, Griffin & Howe, Holland & Holland, Purdey, Fausti, Beretta, Westley Richards and Peter Hofer.

The exhibitor roster also features wingshooting destinations and outfitters from around the world.

And for the past four years, the Safari Club International Foundation and Krieghoff International have hosted a sporting clays tournament in conjunction with the convention. Held at the Clark County Shooting Complex in Las Vegas, the proceeds from the fundraiser go to the Boy Scouts of America.

With that groundwork already in place, the upcoming convention on February 1-4, 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas will focus more attention on SCI’s wingshooting members.

“There will be an area within the convention that’s going to be catering to the wingshooter,” said Mr. Hosmer.

In effect, the current SCI President, Mr. Higgins, has started the upward trajectory for wingshooters that Mr. Babaz wants to fast-track.

“I would say that Paul is very much a bird hunter,” said Ms. Hosmer. “I’ve hunted with him all over the world. It’s nice that someone with that perspective is coming into SCI. It’s a collective sport and very inclusive.”

As a son of the South, Mr. Babaz started hunting ducks and doves as a boy with his older brother and father in New Iberia, Louisiana. Big game hunting entered his life during his teens.

After serving in the U.S. Army as a helicopter door gunner from 1986 to 1996, he enrolled at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he graduated with a bachelor’s of science degree in finance. In 1993 he moved to Atlanta, Georgia where he became Senior Vice President-Investments with Morgan Stanley Wealth Management – a job he still holds.

By 2000, he’d become involved with SCI’s Greater Atlanta Chapter. In the ensuing years he assumed more responsibility within SCI both domestically and internationally, including his involvement with government affairs and on the committee of the Beretta and SCI Foundation Conservation Leadership Award presented at the convention’s annual gala. He currently serves on the boards of SCI and the SCI Foundation.

Mr. Babaz is a dedicated conservationist whose energy reaches beyond SCI. He belongs to the Georgia Natural Resources Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, Dallas Safari Club, Delta Waterfowl and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

“There’s a lot of legislative work that we need to do,” Mr. Babaz said.

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

Useful resources:

Web site for the Safari Club International Foundation

The Safari Club International web site

The 2017 Safari Club International Convention web site

 

SCI Babaz SHOTGUNLIFE 6-page story

 

Leaders of Conservation: SCI Foundation President Joe Hosmer

This week I talked to SCI Foundation President Joe Hosmer about his work with the argali sheep and his vision for the future of his organization.

This week I talked to SCI Foundation President Joe Hosmer about his work with the argali sheep and his vision for the future of his organization.

This interview with Safari Club International Foundation President Joe Hosmer is part of OutdoorHub’s Leaders of Conservation series, in which we sit down with leaders of the North American conservation movement to learn more about the stories behind their organizations and people.

In 1972, two safari clubs—one in Los Angeles and one in Chicago—decided to join up and create Safari Club International (SCI). Over the next four decades, SCI reached out to independent safari clubs across the globe to combine sportsmen in an unified organization. Many people think it was during this time that the Safari Club International Foundation, the conservation branch of SCI, split off from the original organization. Joe Hosmer, president of the SCI Foundation, said that’s not exactly accurate.

“SCI Foundation is the original entity,” Joe shared. “We later created another organization which we also gave the name Safari Club International, and the original club became SCI Foundation.”

The problem of having similar names is that, of course, many people tend to get the groups mixed up. But the goals behind the organizations are self-evident.

“That is the easiest question we get,” Joe said.”SCI is ‘First for Hunters’ while SCI Foundation is ‘First for Wildlife.’ The Foundation is the other half of the equation, and our mission is wildlife and wildlife conservation.”

Although they are different legal entities, Joe said the partnership between the two groups is a harmonious one.

“You’re not going to have hunters unless you have wildlife and you’re not going to have wildlife unless you have good conservation practices.”

Joe is a 15-year veteran of SCI Foundation, spending 10 of those years in the group’s conservation committee. To many, Joe was the obvious choice when he was selected as the Foundation’s president in late 2010. A lifelong hunter and conservationist, Joe also brought the skills he learned from a successful career in the telephone industry.

“It began many, many years ago when I got out of college,” Joe started with a chuckle.

He had followed in his father’s footsteps and went into telecommunications, rising through the ranks and ending up in places like Central America and West Africa as a design and engineering contractor. While training personnel in Liberia, Joe decided to start his own company.

“Twenty-eight or 29 years later, that little corporation had 500 engineers on each continent,” Joe said.

He eventually traded the corporate office for fieldwork.

“At an SCI meeting I raised my hand one time and said, ‘Jeez guys, I sold my company so I got a little time on my hands. Is there anything I can do to help?’ Somebody asked me if I did a lot of work overseas and I said yup. They asked me if I was used to dealing with foreign governments and protocols and I said yup again.

“The next thing I know my wife’s telling me I was away from home almost more than I was at home. I was traveling all over for SCI over wildlife issues, conferring with experts and biologists.”

The home of the argali can be as beautiful as it is remote.

When he was the Foundation’s Conservation Chairman, Joe and Dr. Bill Moritz led field teams to Tajikistan for sheep surveys in early 2010. The Foundation’s focus was on the region’s argali sheep, also known as Marco Polo sheep. Driving Toyota Land Cruisers at an elevation of 17,000 feet, the team conducted sheep counts and calving studies in partnership with the Tajik government. Due to decades of wild sheep management, Tajikistan has the world’s highest concentration of argali sheep and a remarkably stable population. A significant portion of the conservation funds used to protect these animals from threats like poaching or habitat loss comes directly from hunters. However, Tajikistan halted hunting of the animals in 2008 and 2009 despite a minimum population of 24,000 wild sheep. Ironically, this move threatened to remove the protections that the argali sheep enjoyed.

“The establishment of game management areas that provide trophy animals have ensured the survival of wild sheep and other mountain wildlife,” wrote sheep expert Dr. Raul Valdez, who accompanied the SCI field teams. “In these areas, wild sheep are protected from illegal hunting and domestic sheep are managed in coordination with wild sheep to avoid overexploitation of the forage resource.”

As a result of the SCI Foundation team’s surveys, the Tajik government reallowed hunting of the argali sheep.

“That was one of my fondest successes,” Joe said.

For the last three years, the Foundation has sent teams to Tajikistan twice a year to ensure the health of the argali sheep. With 60 landmark conservation projects, Joe intends to lead the Foundation through one success at a time.

Tajikistan's wilds contain the world's largest population of Argali sheep.

“One of my goals for the SCI Foundation is for the organization to mature to the point where it will be recognized as the leader of the hunting community and sustainable wildlife conservation,” Joe shared. “It’s a lofty goal, but it’s one we find ourselves closer and closer to every day.”

But he still finds time to travel and hunt. Later this year Joe will be returning to the high altitudes of Central Asia, but his vehicle of choice will be a little bit different than the last time he went.

“In addition to being an avid hunter and conservationist, I’m also an enthusiastic motorcyclist. I have the opportunity to travel to the Himalayas for three weeks this May, so I’ll be crossing the mountains on a Triumph motorcycle.”

And this time, he won’t have to count sheep.

We would like to thank Joe for taking the time to talk with us. 

Images courtesy Joe Hosmer

Daniel Xu +

 

| April 17, 2014 | Originally posted: http://www.outdoorhub.com/stories/leaders-conservation-sci-foundation-president-joe-hosmer/

Letter On Behalf of AWCF Participating Nations:

Letter sent to: Sally Jewell, John Kerry, Eric Holder

Cc’ed: Barack Obama, Susan Rice, Michelle Gavin, Douglas Griffiths, Wanda Nesbitt, Patrick Gaspard, Alfonso Lenhardt, Mark Storella, Charles Ray, Machivenyika Mapuranga, Palan Mulonda, Liberata Mulamula, Ebrahim Rasool, Martin Andjaba, Amelia Matos Sumbana, Tebeleo Mazile Serestse.

“…. In conclusion, we urge the implementation of the Executive Order to incorporate a formal plan for strong cooperation and collaboration with African countries to better leverage and allocate resources throughout the world on the poaching crisis.

Respectfully,

Joseph H. Hosmer, President

Safari Club International Foundation

On behalf of the 12th Annual African Wildlife Consultative Forum attended by the representatives of the following countries:

Botswana

Ethiopia

Mozambique

Namibia

South Africa

Swaziland

Tanzania

Zambia

Zimbabwe …”

 

READ THE FULL LETTER!

Letter On Behalf of AWCF Participating Nations

African Conservation Leaders Deliver Strong Message to U.S. Government

Last week, Safari Club International Foundation held its 12th annual African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWCF) in Livingstone, Zambia. Conservation leaders attending included wildlife management authorities from the nine African counties of Botswana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as representatives from the safari industry, NGO and wildlife science sectors.

The government representatives attending the AWCF delivered this week a letter to the Co-Chairs of the Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Attorney General Eric Holder. The letter presents their recommendations for the implementation of President Barack Obama’s Executive Order Combatting Wildlife Trafficking.  The letter recommends that the Task Force appoint Safari Club International Foundation to its Advisory Council to act as a liaison for the African governments who are the principle agents for conserving wildlife on their continent.

“It is distressing that Africa’s governments were not included or even consulted on the U.S. government’s new Task Force to stop poaching. This policy decision of the U.S. government directly affects Africa’s communities, wildlife, and economies. To ignore these countries is an obvious misstep that needs to be rectified,” SCI Foundation President Joe Hosmer said.

During the forum, presentations on the global importance of hunting and tourism were made to the AWCF attendees. This spurred great interest on the part of both the African governments and the African professional hunters associations to embark on a socio-economic review of consumptive and non-consumptive tourism in Africa. SCI Foundation will assist in funding and managing this economic review.

The Operators and Professional Hunters Associations of Southern Africa have also sent a letter to the Task Force explaining their integral role in Africa’s wildlife management, and requesting official participation in implementation of the Executive Order. From anti-poaching patrols on land areas that are 22% larger than all the national parks of Africa, to employment opportunities for local individuals, to infrastructure projects that improve the livelihoods of the community where they work and live, the role of the outfitters and professional hunters of the safari business are inextricably linked to the sustainability of Africa’s wildlife.

“The AWCF is successful because it gives African governments, conservation professionals, and professional guides a platform to generate consensus on critical policy issues that are otherwise often made without their input. SCI Foundation is prepared to be the liaison for Africa’s nations, communities, and its future by working directly with the U.S. government to end poaching,” Hosmer concluded.

Letter On Behalf of AWCF Participating Nations: http://wp.me/p2AKuX-f9

Letter On Behalf of Operators and Professional Hunters Associations:http://wp.me/p2AKuX-fh

12th Annual African Wildlife Consultative Form Wrap-up

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Today the 12th annual African Wildlife Consultative Forum (AWCF) came to an end, and the attendees provided insight into Africa’s pressing wildlife policy and management issues.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Senior Wildlife Inspector Jay Pilgrim presented the details of President Obama’s Executive Order on combatting wildlife trafficking. The AWCF delegates expressed concern that Africa’s ideas and cooperation was not adequately included in the United States efforts to curb poaching and illegal wildlife trade, and will share these concerns in a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. The letter will include African government recommendations for consideration by the Executive Order’s Task Force and Advisory Council. It also suggests the Task Force reconsider the appointment of SCI Foundation to the Advisory Council, stating a resolution that SCI Foundation is to serves as formal liaison for African issues in the United States.

Wednesday’s discussions on the African lion spurred thought-provoking deliberations as the US Fish and Wildlife Service continues to decide if it will list the African lion as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act.  Two lion experts, Dr. Dennis Ikanda of the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute and Dr. Paula White of Zambia Lion Project presented to the delegates about their ongoing research and the status of the African lion. They also discussed their recent experiences of communicating lion expertise to Members of US Congress, the US Government and NGOs while in Washington DC in June and September.  These efforts were in concert with providing decision makers with all the information necessary on lions, in order to prevent an unwarranted listing decision.

 

In response to these presentations, and following a presentation given by SCI Foundation on the Fighting for Lions campaign, the AWCF governments drafted a letter to Mr. Dan Ashe, Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The African governments wanted to express their concern that the United States did not properly consult African governments for information regarding the African lion as part of the United States led species status review.  The status review is part of the process of considering the lion for listing as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. The letter also voiced disappointment that African governments were not involved or even invited to provide information to the USFWS at the June 2013 lion workshop that was held in Arlington, VA.

 

Reports from each country will be presented to close out the meeting. Through these presentations the delegates have the opportunity to show how their countries management and policies are benefitting conservation. SCI Foundation is proud to see that our efforts promote capacity building within the governments and continues to show the global importance of the hunting community. The Foundation looks forward to keeping our readers informed as new information develops.

 

Follow JOE HOSMER on TWITTER @JoeHosmer, INSTAGRAM, AND FACEBOOK!

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Olympic medalist Corey Cogdell and world-renowned shooting instructor Chris Batha will be among the celebrity guests of the Second Annual SCI Foundation & Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Sporting Clays Fundraiser occurring Feb. 4, 2014. All the events proceeds benefit the youth education programs of both SCI Foundation and BSA.

“I’m a hunter, and I have experienced first-hand the positive impact that SCI Foundation’s outreach programs have for getting more young adults into our sport,” said Olympic medalist Corey Cogdell. “And additional thanks go to Krieghoff International, who is a committed corporate partner, dedicated to seeing our outdoor heritage passed on to the next generation.”

Chris Batha shares Cogdell’s enthusiasm for the event and the programs it supports.

“The Boy Scouts and sporting clays are both traditions that were started in the U.K.,” said Batha. “It only seems fitting that even in modern times these skill development activities unite to raise awareness and funds for our traditional outdoor and sporting pursuits.”

The Boy Scouts of America and SCI Foundation promotes education worldwide and has donated generously in support of its respective projects and programs.

“Our goal at SCI Foundation is to deliver high quality results for youth education and outreach on hunting and sustainable-use. It would not be possible without the amazing support of Krieghoff, Corey, and Chris who are true ambassadors for all hunters worldwide. Please join us for the Second Annual SCI Foundation and BSA Sporting Clays Fundraiser on Feb. 4, 2014,” concluded SCI Foundation President Joe Hosmer.

Krieghoff International has donated a new Krieghoff K-80 Pro Sporter over/under, 12 gauge shotgun with 32-inch barrels for the event.  A sweepstakes drawing for the gun will be one of the highlights of the Second Annual SCI Foundation & BSAF Sporting Clays Fundraiser. Every shooter who registers for the competition will receive one ticket to the drawing, with additional tickets available for $100 apiece. A maximum of 300 tickets will be sold, so register soon to secure your spot for February 4th.

To make your reservation contact Kimberly Byers at the SCI Foundation Headquarters at (520) 620-1220, ext. 322 or email to kbyers@safariclub.org

MEDIA CONTACT: Nelson Freeman; Nfreeman@safariclub.org

Safari Club International Foundation (SCI Foundation) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that funds and manages worldwide programs dedicated to wildlife conservation, and outdoor education. Since 2000, SCIF has provided over $50 million to these causes around the world.

Visit the SCI Foundation’s website at www.safariclubfoundation.org for more information on how you can contribute to international conservation.

 Like SCI Foundation on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/SCIFOUNDATIONCONSERVATION

Join SCI Foundation on Twitter: http://twitter.com/SCIFoundation