Hunters: The First Conservationists

By John McLaurin, SCI President

This article originally appeared in the September/October 2023 issue of Safari Magazine.

Hunters and hunting have been part of human culture since the beginning. Hunters were the first and most effective conservationists. 

This is the time of the year when we can celebrate the fruits of our conservation successes — when we can go hunting and commune with nature as part of the natural order. 

Sustainable use wildlife conservation as practiced by hunters will help assure that there are huntable populations of wildlife resources for future generations of hunters. 

We now can enjoy all the benefits of the time, effort and resources, both monetary and sweat equity, that we have invested in conservation, just as our fellow conservationist hunters have been doing in the Southern Hemisphere during other parts of the year. 

Whether it is tending to our own property, leased property, or going on an outfitted hunt, I wish you all an enjoyable and productive time in the great outdoors! 

The best thing about being a hunter and conservationist is being in and appreciating nature. By hunting and supporting SCI and sustainable use wildlife conservation, you have an important hand in assuring that wildlife and our hunting heritage will continue for generations to follow. 

Today, a well-organized and funded SCI is required. Advocacy, legislative and litigative actions are required to meet the challenges to hunting and successful wildlife conservation — challenges that are increasing exponentially. 

SCI has an advocacy team of dedicated professionals who are in constant engagement on our behalf. Successes this past year are too many to list here, but include: 

Lobby Day After a 4-year hiatus, 100 SCI volunteers and staff visited Capitol Hill in May and participated in 60 meetings with members of Congress and their staff. 

Washington, D.C., Headquarters SCI brought together African ambassadors, Congressional leaders and hunting and conservation organizations for our first “Hunters on the Hill” event in our Washington, D.C., office. 

The Future of Hunting Our “Women Go Hunting” campaign kicked off, supporting the 2024 SCI Convention theme “The Future of Hunting” with a new “Women Go Hunting” Facebook page. 

Firearms The assault on firearm ownership is hot and furious, not only affecting current hunters but also deterring future hunters. We fight this battle daily. 

Trophy Import Bans and Permits SCI defended the issuance of individual permits for sport-hunted leopards from three countries. 

Public Relations and Social Media SCI’s digital footprint is bigger every quarter. We now have 188,850 followers to SCI’s Facebook page, and the 50,000 subscribers to our YouTube channel have racked up 15 million views! 

These successes wouldn’t have happened without your individual and collective leadership and support. Thank you! Good hunting! See you in Nashville at the end of January.