Nearly 230 like-minded sportsmen, women and conservationists gathered for a night of food, fun, fellowship and fundraising as the Georgia Chapter of Safari Club International hosted its annual Sportsman’s Banquet and Auction at Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna.
Georgia SCI was proud to welcome fellow hunter and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who shared hunting stories and signed House Bill 362 into law. In addition to addressing several Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) legislative priorities, House Bill 362 will legalize the new CVA .40 caliber muzzleloader for deer hunting in the Peach State. During the bill signing, the Governor was joined by BPi Outdoors CEO Nate Treadaway and General Manager Dudley McGarity, as well as senior officials from Georgia DNR, SCI volunteers and state Senator Tyler Harper.
“Now more than ever, it is important to be good stewards of the incredible natural resources Georgia has to offer,” said Governor Kemp. “By updating Georgia DNR rules and regulations through House Bill 362, we can ensure both conservation efforts and hunting traditions are protected across Georgia. I am thankful for the work Georgia DNR and the Georgia Safari Club International have done to push this bill across the finish line and support Georgia wildlife.”
Also joining Georgia SCI was former United States Secretary of Agriculture and former Governor of Georgia Sonny Perdue, as well as the former First Lady of Georgia, Mrs. Mary Perdue.
During the night’s event, Georgia SCI recognized two individuals from the Georgia DNR, Corporal Eddie Tompkins and Trent Blalock. Cpl. Tompkins was awarded the 2020 Investigative Game Warden of the Year, and Trent Blalock was recognized with the Wildlife Resources Division’s Wildlife Technician of the Year award. Each of the award recipients was presented with a handmade knife from Zimbabwe.
The Georgia Chapter of SCI gave an overview of the chapter’s 2020 efforts to recruit and educate new hunters and gun owners. Through various events, the Georgia Chapter of SCI introduced more than 30 people to firearms and introduced another 35 people to hunting.
Prior to the live auction, attendees heard from SCI Chief Executive Officer W. Laird Hamberlin about SCI’s mission, including the active role SCI is playing in protecting the rights of hunters here at home and around the world.
CEO Hamberlin spoke of several ongoing lawsuits in which SCI is the only organization involved in the litigation to protect hunting. SCI’s team of in-house lawyers and lobbyists in Washington, D.C., as well as outside consultants, are working day-in and day-out to ensure the tradition of hunting is safeguarded for future generations. CEO Hamberlin emphasized that SCI will continue to be the leader in defending the freedom to hunt.
The money raised during the annual Sportsman’s Banquet and Auction will help fund the Georgia Chapter’s full slate of conservation-related initiatives, educational programs and wounded veteran events during 2021.
The night was made possible by Georgia SCI volunteers, generous donors, and the following sponsors: BPi Outdoors, Bergara, CVA, Adventure Outdoors, Paul Babaz, Cal Hardie – Whitetail Properties Real Estate of Northwest Georgia, Lures & Lead, Glasslined Technologies, Broomsedge Rod & Gun, The Striper Experience, Corrosion Control, Inc., Allen Dawson, Lester Richardson, and Source Outdoor Group.