Safari Club Launches National Effort To Fight Anti-Hunters, But Who Is Leading Local Fight?

Daryl Kirby | October 1, 2003

The first issue of a brand new magazine came across my desk last month. It had slick, glossy paper and a handsome buck on the cover. My first thought was… another national hunting magazine with a lot of articles on gear, Illinois bucks, and maybe a how-to article on driving a neck of woods between two giant corns fields. In other words, not high on my interest level.

Donʼt tell Burch, but I donʼt spend a lot of time reading the national hunting and fishing magazines anymore. I should. Iʼm an editor of an outdoor magazine — itʼs kind of like required reading to see what other folks are up to. But the articles donʼt interest me much anymore, even though I grew up reading every page of every outdoor magazine I could get my hands on.

So whatʼs changed? I think the change for me started way back in 1989 when I was still in school in Athens, and I stopped at a local convenience store. On an orange rack next to the counter was a folded-up, tabloid thing on dirty newsprint that had a fish on the cover and in giant letters — Catch Oconee Bass in May. I subscribed a few days later, and a year after that they let me start working there.

Back to that glossy new magazine that showed up on my desk last month. It turned out that it wasnʼt just another national hunting magazine with generic articles. The title was Hunt Forever, with a subtitle that read, “A Champion for Hunting Freedoms.” The copy at the top touted an article called “14 Things the Antis Do to Stop Hunting.”

I flipped through the magazine, and the entire dang thing was devoted to what the anti-hunters were up to, kind of like 80 pages of Eye on the Antis with pretty pictures.

Itʼs about time.

The magazine is being published by SCI — Safari Club International, a non-profit group that most hunters probably associate with high-dollar hunts in other countries. But SCI has lobbyists in Washington and a full-time staff on Capitol Hill. They also have their own lawyers, and SCI has shown a willingness to use those lawyers to go head-to-head with HSUS and other anti-hunting groups.

I can envision SCI partnering and complimenting the efforts of the U.S. Sportsmanʼs Alliance (formerly WLFA), in much the same way that PETA and HSUS might join efforts. We need all the help on the national front that we can get.

Then the situation came up in Talbot County (see page 14), and I realized a much greater threat to whether you and I can hunt in the future lies closer to home.

GON ran an article that let folks know that Talbot County was going to vote on something that had the potential to run hunters out of the county. Hunters responded by contacting local businesses that would lose money, landowners who would lose lease fees, and they packed the commission meeting. After the meeting, I had person after person come up and thank us for running the article.

“No need to thank us, thatʼs what GON does,” I said over and over.

Then I directed people to thank Terry Scott, a hunter who lives in Talbot County who took the time to contact GON just in time for us to get something in the magazine about the pending vote. If it hadn’t been for Terry, there would have been a traffic jam at the Talbotton square as hunters hauled their trailers out of the county.

The hunters of Georgia need more Terry Scotts. Actually, to be effective we need 159 Terry Scotts — one in every county in Georgia. Then we need 300 men and women in every county like those who showed up in Talbotton for the meeting. Without them, donʼt think for a second that we would have had the same result.

SCI and the U.S. Sportsmanʼs Alliance are critical to battle HSUS and PETA in Washington and in the courtrooms. They have resources and people and can do things in Washington that GON could never dream of. But they weren’t in Talbot County.

If you think you could be a local point-person that can help GON keep sportsmen informed on threats, e-mail me at [email protected].

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