Of Safaris, Blue Bags & Doves

By W. Laird Hamberlin, SCI, SCIF CEO

This article originally appeared in the 2023 July/August edition of Safari Magazine.

Our name is Safari Club International, which evokes visions of hunting in Africa. Certainly, SCI is first for hunters everywhere, but our name is a Swahili word, so Africa comes to mind.

This happens to be what many consider to be the peak safari season in Africa. I have a safari scheduled this month and will again be participating in the SCI Foundation SafariCare Bell Family Blue Bag program.

SafariCare Blue Bags are filled with medical, educational and other relief supplies, clothing and toys. The Blue Bags are taken to remote areas by hunters and the supplies are delivered directly to villages, clinics, orphanages and schools, doctors, caretakers and teachers.

I encourage all SCI members to take Blue Bags on your hunts around the world. Hunters were humanity’s first humanitarians, so it is only fitting that we continue that noble tradition.

In fact, I encourage all members to support the programs of both SCI and SCIF. That’s because what we do matters. These programs help make the world a better place, and that’s reason enough to be a part of them.

As importantly, we are judged more by our actions than by our words. SCI’s advocacy efforts are second to none, and much of advocacy has to do with words — in mass communications, before legislative bodies and in courts around the world.

We get an A+ in that regard, and we should all be proud of it. Yet there is more that we all can do, individually and collectively, to help realize our mission to protect hunting and promote wildlife conservation worldwide.

Our positive actions can help the masses of undecided people around the world to understand why hunting is so critical to real conservation and why hunters are the good guys.

If that isn’t enough, our positive actions as SCI members within the world of hunters can do nothing but serve as a superb recruiting tool to bring all hunters under the SCI umbrella.

This is a win-win-win proposition that promises to assure a bright future for hunters and hunting. That future rests on six pillars: Advocacy, Convention (Event Services), Membership, Hunting, Chapters and Conservation.

With that in mind, I wish all members heading to the Southern Hemisphere safe travels and rewarding hunts.

Remember that on the heels of the safari season are the opening of many hunting seasons in the Northern Hemisphere.

Sept. 1 marks the opening of the dove hunting season in most U.S. states. What that means for me is that I’ll drop off my rifle when I return from Africa, pick up a shotgun and go hunting again — this time for doves.

Meanwhile, it’s not too early to plan on attending the 2024 SCI Convention in Nashville Jan. 31 through Feb. 3. Save the date. I hope to see you there. Thank you all for being members of SCI. We can’t succeed without you.