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Peach State Sportsmen Raise Funds for Georgia SCI Conservation and Education Programs

Hundreds of sportsmen, women, and conservationists from across the Peach State gathered on Saturday evening at Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna for the annual Sportsman’s Banquet and Auction hosted by the Georgia Chapter of Safari Club International (SCI).

Georgia SCI welcomed dignitaries, current and former elected officials from across the state, SCI chief executive officer W. Laird Hamberlin, industry partners, and several members from the 2021 National Champion University of Georgia Bulldogs football team. 

Two individuals from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources were recognized for their outstanding work in protecting Georgia’s natural resources. Sergeant Tim Vickery was announced as the 2021 Investigative Game Warden of the Year and Jonathan Helton received the Wildlife Resources Division’s Wildlife Technician of the Year award. Additionally, Georgia SCI presented the Georgia DNR Law Enforcement Division with a $2,500 contribution towards the Ranger Hotline, an important resource used to assist wildlife law enforcement with curtailing poaching throughout Georgia.

Banquet-goers heard from SCI CEO, W. Laird Hamberlin, about SCI’s mission, including the active role SCI is playing in protecting the rights of hunters here at home and abroad. Mr. Hamberlin noted that SCI has been involved in more than 100 lawsuits over the past several years to protect hunting and hunters, at times being the only pro-hunting organization in the courtroom taking on anti-hunting groups. SCI’s team of in-house lawyers and policy experts 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. He touched on the work being done by the Georgia Chapter to recruit new hunters and shooters, and the example the Chapter is setting for other SCI chapters around the country. Mr. Hamberlin ended his remarks by inviting attendees to join SCI for next year’s annual convention that will be held February 22-25, 2023, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Dollars raised during the annual Sportsman’s Banquet and Auction will help fund the Georgia Chapter’s full slate of conservation-related initiatives, including support for Georgia DNR and wildlife research, educational programs such as the Chapter’s Introduction to Hunting Firearms event, youth deer hunts, and the First Timer Mentored Deer Hunt, as well as veterans’ initiatives like the three-day-long Wounded Veterans Fishing Weekend on Lake Lanier and Veterans Deer Hunt.

The night was made possible by Georgia SCI volunteers, generous donors, and the following sponsors: Paul Babaz, Larry Shores, Adventure Outdoors, BPI Outdoors, Bergara, CVA, Corrosion Control, Inc., Benelli USA, Franchi, Primary Weapons Systems, Taurus, YETI, Broomsedge Rod & Gun, Cal Hardie – Whitetail Properties Real Estate of Northwest Georgia, Davis & Sons Plumbing, Michael Housworth of Edward Jones, and Source Outdoor Group.

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