by Karen Mehall Phillips - Friday, January 13, 2017
The Houston Safari Club’s (HSC) 45th Annual Convention and Hunting Expo in The Woodlands, Texas, Jan. 13-15, kicked off today with rave reviews, but guess what topic is tops on the show floor: The National Rifle Association of America. As we hunters continue to celebrate a new year full of promise following the 2016 elections, HSC attendees are giving credit where credit is due: to the NRA. The show-floor sentiment comes on the heels of a Grandview Outdoors article posted earlier this week naming the NRA as the No. 1 pro-hunting organization in America as part of its “Top 10 Pro-Hunting Organizations” roundup.
Perhaps HSC’s Melanie and John Pepper, HSC past presidents, are touting that message loudest of all here, which speaks volumes considering they are saying it at their own show. “Without a doubt,” said John, “HSC and other great hunting organizations would not be here at all if not for the NRA.”
Both NRA, HSC and SCI Life members, Melanie is the co-chair of the NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum (HLF) and a member of the NRA Women’s Leadership Forum—an impressive array of roles for someone who never even held a gun until she met John. She tapped into his excitement of hunting so quickly that the pair got married in Africa while on safari 20 years ago and have been living the hunting lifestyle and promoting our Second Amendment freedoms ever since.
Enthusiastically speaking of her involvement in the NRA HLF, Melanie said, “I am unwavering in my support of the NRA. We hunters are under attack like never before, and I want to help the NRA do something about it—to stand strong against anti-hunters, to introduce other women and youth to our outdoor heritage, to promote the right to protect ourselves and our families.”“HSC and other great hunting organizations would not be here at all if not for the NRA.”
Now getting back to that article … While it is spot-on, of course it takes all hunting and conservation organizations—starting with the HSC—working together to protect our precious hunting heritage into the future. And where better to celebrate wildlife, wild places and the sporting lifestyle this weekend than at the HSC Convention?
Drawing thousands of visitors and exhibitors worldwide, the event showcases outfitters from home and abroad along with some of the finest wildlife art, firearms and, of course, jewelry, all sure to turn heads. More than 700 people will attend the evening banquets and live and silent auctions. All proceeds go toward fulfilling the HSC’s mission to of preserve hunting through education, conservation and the protection of hunters’ rights.
By the way, did I mention that on Saturday night Texas Parks and Wildlife will award a coveted Texas Bighorn Sheep Reserve Tag to the highest bidder? No doubt the cost will be more than my wallet can handle, but it is fun to dream. And the best part: The bulk of the proceeds will be donated back to the Texas Desert Bighorn sheep program. This sought-after permit awards one hunter the opportunity to chase a desert bighorn ram between September 2017 and July 2018, taking place on one of three Texas Wildlife Management Areas. The highest bidder also receives a rifle from Legendary Arms Works.
The HSC convention is being held at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center from Friday through Sunday, Jan. 13-15. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. For more information, click here.
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