Safari Club InternationalPresident Paul Babaz addressed the crowd at today's media luncheon on opening day of the 46th annual SCI Hunters' Convention in Las Vegas, Jan. 31-Feb. 3, on the importance of taking the story of hunters and hunting to mainstream media. Like the NRA—through NRA-ILA and its NRA Hunters' Leadership Forum—and every other group in the collective hunting community is realizing, we must reach out to the mainstream media, and ultimately the American public, and explain hunters' critical role in wildlife conservation if America is to sustain wildlife species and their habitat for future generations.
"We hunters are always speaking to each other but we need to reach outside to the non-hunters—those who have no opinion about hunting one way or the other," said Babaz, emphasizing the need to educate the public about hunting.
And he's right. As Babaz talked about the many great groups who are working to make a difference—the NRA, National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, to name a few—he concluded, "We need to form alliances and speak with one voice to address the issues. If we're not there [referring to reaching out to the mainstream media and general public], then we're not part of the conversation. The timing of Babaz's message regarding the need to be proactive is quite fitting as an expected 24,000 hunters gather here at the Las Vegas Convention Center for the annual SCI show this week. I've personally had several conversations with attendees who clearly understand that hunting is under attack as focus turns to the importance of expanding our collective reach. While those in the middle may never hunt, we want them to recognize that hunters and non-hunters alike care about wildlife and animal welfare and that hunters fund the bulk of wildlife conservation—and are happy to do it.
Now back to the lighter side of attending an SCI Show. With nearly 1,100 exhibitors on the show floor, there really is something for everyone here. No wonder it is widely referred to as "The Ultimate Sportsman's Market." Between the aisles of booths on the show floor and the array of hunter skills seminars, there is almost too much to see and do within a four-day period. In addition, while attending the live and silent auctions and fundraising banquets, millions of dollars will be will be raised to benefit SCI and the SCI Foundation’s mission to foster hunting advocacy, wildlife conservation and education worldwide. (For those who want to get in on the social media action, use #sciconvention in all your social media posts.)
About SCI: Safari Club International is a leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide. It has nearly 200 Chapters worldwide accounting for members in all 50 states and in 106 other countries. Click here for more information.