With most hunting seasons in their final days, savvy hunters will spend the next month or two researching and preparing for their next great adventure. Safari Club International launches its annual Convention in Reno, Nevada, this week and thousands of hunters from around the world will attend. Sporting shows, like SCI, matter because they provide the opportunity to meet, interact with, and analyze critical information that leads to a successful hunt. You can speak to guides and outfitters directly; meet with state wildlife agencies for unbiased wildlife information; learn about new hunting options and exciting big game hunts; check out the latest hunting rifles, bows, and blinds; shop for art and wildlife products for a special someone or your den; and finally, share your great hunts with fellow adventurers.
I’ll expand on these benefits one at a time, but first you should know it’s not too late to register for this year’s SCI Convention. Visit www.showsci.org and you’ll find all the information needed to attend.
Shake Hands With Your Outfitter
Online research is convenient, yet cannot provide the ability to speak one-on-one with the person handling the details of your hunt. Often other interested hunters convene at an outfitter’s booth, and you can learn from their inquiries, as well. As you look at the photos in the booth and perhaps taxidermy of animals displayed, ask “Are these representative animals of what I can expect to see? Were these taken on your hunts? Recently?” There is no better way to gauge a person than looking them in the eye and speaking directly.
State Wildlife Agencies
If forest fires, drought, disease, or deep winter snows greatly affected a region, state wildlife officials will alert you to those changes. Years ago, when wolves first invaded Idaho, elk hunting changed drastically, an unanticipated result we learned firsthand.
Big game outfitters, here and abroad, have to make a living in hard times and see ups and downs in game populations as part of nature. That’s true, but that doesn’t mean that you should book an expensive hunt after EHD has killed 50% of the whitetail herd and most of the big bucks. Most Western states, Canadian provinces, and many countries have staff at SCI, and the information you can learn is invaluable.
Hunt A New Species
A few years ago, I didn’t know what an aoudad was. Since first seeing one mounted at SCI, the urge to challenge this import from the Middle East grows stronger each year. If you are frustrated about drawing mountain sheep tags or turned off by the considerable expense, the aoudad makes a great substitute.
At sporting shows like SCI, you can ask outfitters about animals you may be unfamiliar with. “Do they have a rut? What equipment will I need? When is the best time of year to hunt them?”
Gear Up For The Next Season
Firearm and archery manufacturers are an integral part of hunting shows. They know that thousands of outdoor-minded people will visit their booths, and what better way to show off their newest gear than displaying it for all to see? The SCI convention houses some of the most powerful and valuable firearms in the world. You can find side-by-side rifles with hand engraving that become works of art as well as valuable hunting tools. Archers often can find the latest bows, crossbows, broadheads, and other hunting gear. Some shows have shooting lanes where archery gear can be tested.
Buy Art and Artifacts
An outdoor show, and SCI in particular, is a wonderful place to pick up a trophy for your den or living room. The art displayed at SCI is truly amazing with nationally known artists rendering wildlife scenes never seen in photography.
Taxidermy is incredible, as well. At SCI you will see numerous interactive displays in which predators attack prey. Outfitters use artistic taxidermy to sell their adventure hunts and you will likely see a mount or two that will influence your next choice. Wall-mounted pedestals are the latest innovation.
Finally, Have Fun
Most outdoor shows are held in large venues where there are many auxiliary activities. Reno, Nevada, will host the SCI Convention this year, and the area has a ton of fun things to do. Gambling and nightlife are high on many lists, yet skiing and winter mountain fun are just an hour away.
Shows often have fun and educational activities as part of their program. The Great American Outdoor Show (NRA) and SCI offer a series of fun and instructional activities for participants daily. Americans are blessed with North American wildlife like few other nations, thanks to the support provided from hunters and conservationists. Visit a show, and your hunting world will expand and your horizons extend. Hunting shows matter.