Hidvégi Named 2023 Weatherby Foundation Award Winner

International Hunter From Hungary Dedicates Life To Conservation 

Béla Hidvégi, founding president of the SCI Hungarian Chapter and an SCI International Director, was recently named the 2023 Weatherby Foundation Award winner.

“We at the Weatherby Foundation extend our warmest congratulations to Béla on winning what is considered to be the highest award in the hunting world,” said Peter A Larsen, the foundation’s president. 

Larsen said Hidvégi has an amazing record in the game-fields of the world and has a truly outstanding record of conservation and writing accomplishments.  

Hidvégi has now won three of the most prestigious awards in the hunting industry: The Conklin Award, Pantheon Award and now the Weatherby Award. 

Hidvégi said this one is very special. 

“When I was 9 years old, my father told me that we would go hunt bongo together one day.”

Hidvégi grew up in Hungary, and his father was imprisoned by the communists for six years. 

“Those words stayed with me and kept me going through the difficult times after I escaped during the 1956 Hungarian uprising,” said the hunter. “My father’s dream came true after 56 years when I finally got that bongo. That is why hunting, and this award, are so important for me. This proves to myself what I can do, and it shows the younger generation that all is possible.”

Hidvégi lives by a personal motto: “Determination, stamina and humility.” His extensive collection of international game animals is on loan to two museums in Hungary where there are more than 560 full and shoulder mounts, mostly of African game animals. More than 100,000 visitors attend the museums each year.  

He has written 11 books, three on mountain hunting, and appears frequently on TV or in talks in Europe about hunting and conservation.  

The Weatherby Award selection committee uses three criteria, as well as other factors, to determine that year’s winner. They are: hunting accomplishments, conservation and education, and character and sportsmanship. 

“In my country, one of our great hunters once said, ‘I finally got up to the top of the cucumber tree.’ I have the same feeling now,” said Hidvégi. 

“Béla has been an unwavering champion for conservation and hunting and his accomplishments with SCI and in the field are incomparable and an inspiration to the entire international hunting community,” says SCI CEO W. Laird Hamberlin. “SCI celebrates Béla rightfully joining the prestigious group of past Weatherby award winners.”

Weatherby Foundation International will present the award at a gala in Dallas in January.

Accomplished international hunter, conservationist, historian and SCI leader Béla Hidvégi was named 2023 Weatherby Foundation Award winner. He has also won many other awards, including the SCI World Conservation and Hunting Award (pictured), Conklin and Pantheon awards.