I would like to introduce you to our Record Book Director, Gabe Paz. Gabe comes to us from the Game Warden world where he retired as an Arizona Game Warden after 20 years so he could come work for us at SCI in the Record Book Department. Gabe also comes to us from the SCI chapter world where he has volunteered for the Arizona Chapter of Safari Club International since 2004. When Gabe joined SCI, it was at the request of his local chapter so they could start working in cooperation with the Game and Fish Department. What impressed Gabe the most about SCI was the dedication of the chapter members, the ability to use the “70%” banquet revenue to directly assist in sponsoring Junior Camps, Ranch Clean Ups, sponsoring Hunter ed classes, and water projects. Lastly he was most impressed with the advocacy that was occurring at the National level in Washington DC as well as internationally with CITES as those decisions affect all hunters. Now 15 years later he is still an active member of the Arizona Chapter who is fully invested in the SCI and SCIF Missions!
Gabe is responsible for the day to day operations in the Record Book Department where on average staff process five to six thousand Record Book and photo entries per year. Gabe oversees the documentation of SCI Member’s hunting legacy which will soon surpass 200,000 Record Book entries. When I asked Gabe for his thoughts about Record Book program, he was most impressed to find that SCI members submit entries for every animal they take that SCI recognizes! Gabe’s old understanding of Record Books made him believe that the only hunters that harvest the biggest and best would want them entered into the book, but he was most impressed with the fact that SCI members enter everything no matter the size. Of course, records are broken from time to time and members still chase the biggest animals because it is in our nature. But for the most part, SCI members participate in the Record Book because they believe in documenting their hunting legacy as a member of SCI.
Now that Gabe has been in the Record Book Department for three years, he refers to the SCI Record Book as a Record “Keeping” Book since animals of all shapes and sizes are documented. Gabe understands the value of Record Book and Photo entries as a valuable tool for biologists to understand hunting trends and wildlife population trends. The Record Book is also a valuable tool for SCI members. SCI is a network of hunters and locally, it’s easy for members to network and learn from one another about where and what to hunt. With over 42,000 members we now have the SCI Online Record Book which has become that 21st century tool for SCI members to see where other members are hunting, who they are hunting with, and the sizes of game being taken. The Online Record Book is updated every two weeks with new entries and now our professional staff includes two wildlife biologists that are always looking for opportunities to work with the Record Book Committee to update taxonomic notes to provide our members with the most up to date information.
In closing, we thank everyone who believes in our program, and we encourage new participants to join in and start submitting your entries and awards to document your hunting legacy. The future of hunting is in our hands and no matter what emotion the antis attack us with, we have the data in our own SCI Record Book to prove that hunting works!
Happy Hunting–Jeff Meyerl