Had a blast at this year’s SCI Show. Been going for many years and really enjoyed getting caught up with old friends and meeting folks from all over the world. There’s really no substitute for face-time with folks to get a real-feel for their hunting operation. This year I had several missions - represent the Mid-Atlantic Bowhunters Chapter, research a few outfitters I‘m interested in, finalize a booking for Bezoar Ibex, and was notified I’d be receiving the SCI World Hunting Award (will likely cover that in a separate thread).
Attendance was clearly up and with a roaring U. S. Economy people were booking hunts. Early Wednesday afternoon I ran into Johnny DuPlooy of Muchinga Adventures who guided me in the Luangwa Valley of Zambia and one of the biggest outfitters there. He said he’d never seen anything like it. Folks were lined up at his booth from the opening bell. His consession “sold out” for 2020 by noon on day one. By the end of the show he was half-way booked for 2021 and helping his hunting partners fill their camps. It was the same for most outfitters I spoke to. But the hunting market is “fickle” - some things are hot and some are not.
Our chapter, www.mabc-sci.org is continually growing and we’ve deepened partnerships with exceptional outfitters from all areas of the world. We began as a bowhunting organization and that’s still where our heart lies, but as we’ve grown we still heavily promote bowhunting and archery but are now solidly an “all methods” chapter. These days, I even sneak in a rifle hunt or two myself (but don’t tell anybody). So, whether it’s Moose, Elk, Tahr, Snow Sheep, Cape Buffalo, or Whitetails, with a Bowtech, Remington, or anything inbetween, we’ve got something to offer. Here’s just a couple:
Professional Russian Outfitters - Max’s booth was very busy with folks looking for everything from Kamchatka Brown Bear to Marco Polo. We’ll be offering one of Max’s Kuban Tur hunts on our upcoming February 22nd auction on www.onlinehuntingauctions.com Just noticed my Snow Sheep picture right above my head on Max’s wall. It was a spectacular adventure.
Savage Encounters - Chad Lenz is a fantastic outfitter and an all-around great guy. He has an exemplary record of success hunting just about all species of North American Big Game. He’s also a lucky dude. I was teasing him a bit over recently winning an Altai Ibex Hunt on one of the recent DSC raffles. A guide/outfitter who’s both lucky and good - what more do you want. We’ll be offering one of Chad’s Elk hunts on our upcoming February 22nd auction.
Now to my own pursuits - next up is Bezoar Ibex in Turkey. After much research I decided to book this hunt with some who specializes in Turkish hunts. It didn’t take me long to decide on Caprinae Safaris. Was an absolute pleasure dealing with Riza and Mehmet at both DSC and SCI, where we consummated the deal. Now I’ll just need to get my gear ready and live in the gym.
As a special treat, at this year’s Night of the Hunter event J. Alain Smith and Jim Shockey drug me up on stage and presented me with the SCI World Hunting Award (Bow) for completing 11 Grand Slams and 17 Inner Circles at the Diamond Level, all via the arrow. It was the culmination of a journey that began almost 40 years ago. The best part was all of the world-wide adventure, unforgettable experiences, and many life-long friendships that blossomed along the way. (I may post another thread about it, haven’t decided).
All-in-all, it was a blast - very successful and had a fabulous time
Congrats on a the SCI World Hunting Award. Quite a feat" You were standing in some pretty high cotton in that award photo.
To roughly explain the SCI Awards Program (if that’s even possible).
There are individual award categories based on a specific class of animals such as Milestones and Inner Circles. With Milestones you need to take a certain number from the list to complete it, and with a Inner Circles there are levels of completion (copper through diamond level) for each category. Some of Milestones should sound familiar, like the African Big 5, African 29, North American Wild Sheep, Bears of the World, etc. Think there are a total of 15 possible Milestones and a Hunter needs at least 11 to complete the World Hunting Award. Even though it’s incredibly challenging to complete I’ve always appreciated the flexibility built into SCI’s program. The Inner Circles are a bit more complex. Some like the Hunting Achievement Award are straight-forward, requiring a bowhunter to make 65 Record Book entries to make the Diamond Level. Others like the Animals of Africa require 37 animals but also a specific number from each sub-category, like Wildebeest, Spiral Horns, Pygmy Antelope, Thick Skinned Game, Big Cats,etc. A bowhunter needs to complete 17 of this type of award to qualify for the World Hunting Award.
After completing a certain number of Milestones and Inner Circles the cumulative awards come into play beginning with the Pinnacles of Achievement (levels 1-4), followed by the Zenith Award, to the Crowning Achievement Award, and finally the SCI World Hunting Award. So, a bowhunter needs to travel very far and wide and fling quite a few arrows at all kinds of critters.
It’s been quite a journey. Hunters are very generous folks and so many helped and encouraged me as we trudged the trail together.
Trying to figure out how to post about the journey without using all of Pat’s bandwidth. Maybe just a few of my favorites and those I found most challenging. Will work on something.
SCI is still noticeably bigger and has more breadth and depth of hunting content, especially if you’re someone looking to hunt internationally. Attendance was clearly up and I really have to compliment how the show was laid out this year. There were fewer non-hunting related booths and those were more compartmentalized than in previous years. Also, a higher percentage of the gear offered is top-tier. Even the banquets and food were a cut above this year. In my opinion it is still the premier all-around hunting expo - best variety of premium outfitters. Of course if someone is specializing in mountain or western game, the Sheep or Salt Lake shows may be a better option.
NEWS: 2021/22 SCI moves back to Las Vegas; 2023-25 Nashville
DSC is definitely coming on strong and growing every year. Much bigger and more diverse than it was 10 years ago. It has a bit more relaxed atmosphere than SCI and the feedback I hear is the outfitters feel the show management appreciates them more. The gear is often more mid-range to premium compared to SCI, but it still offers something for just about everyone. There is also still a heavy focus on deer hunting and a number of hunting ranches offered, but I’m very pleased to see the growing numbers of international outfitters attending. I enjoy it, especially watching the improvements from year to year.
Just my 2 cents. Your actual mileage may vary.
Good luck, Robb