SCI Celebrates 50 Years of History

Washington, D.C. (October 19, 2021) – During its 50-year history, Safari Club International has been the leader in defending the freedom to hunt through advocacy efforts around the world. The organization’s accomplishments have been praised by world leaders and impacted generations of hunters worldwide.  

It all started in 1971 when lifelong hunter C.J. McElroy launched a local California hunting club called the “Safari Club” to expand his love of the sport. As the club’s leader, McElroy began consolidating other similar clubs and Safari Club International was born a year later. 

SCI rapidly expanded with chapters across the country and in Europe, opening their first overseas chapter in Spain. Within ten years, they had a significant cultural and legislative impact. SCI went on to launch hunting education programs like the American Wilderness Leadership School and supported pro-hunting candidates to protect hunting rights. 

By 1980, SCI had already represented the United States in discussing and drafting international agreements, successfully campaigned for dozens of political candidates through the SCI Government Affairs Committee and met with President Jimmy Carter to discuss the Endangered Species Act. 

SCI continued its momentous pace for the remainder of the 20th Century. In 1994, SCI’s work resulted in a major legislative victory with the amending of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which allowed U.S. hunters to import legally taken Canadian polar bear trophies.

In 2001, SCI formed the Safari Club International Foundation to ensure the future of wildlife by researching, designing, and promoting conservation efforts. Since launching, the organization has been granted consultative status by the United Nations. 

Then, in 2008, SCI began a concerted effort to address legal issues by launching the Wildlife Law Course for lawyers interested in conservation law. The course brought in legal experts and scholars to discuss policies that shape hunting and wildlife management. One of the earliest speakers was the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. 

Within two years, SCI attorneys were already influencing the outcome of Supreme Court cases. In the 2010 SCOTUS case U.S. v Stevens, the high court agreed with SCI’s position and specifically cited their amicus brief. SCI argued that the federal law, which criminalized depictions of animal cruelty, was so broadly written that it could outlaw legal hunting activities. The Supreme Court struck down the law in an 8-1 vote. 

In 2017, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke invited several SCI officials and members to join the newly created International Wildlife Conservation Council, an official advisory group to advise the federal government on anti-poaching programs, wildlife trafficking and to increase awareness of conservation and economic benefits of hunting. 

The 2020’s have seen SCI take their grassroots prowess to new heights.  With the launch of the Hunter Action Advocacy Center (HAAC) in late 2019, SCI has educated and empowered an enormous grassroots army to push elected officials locally, federally and internationally to stand up for hunting and the myriad benefits it provides for conservation.  Notable accomplishments of advocates using the HAAC have been ensuring expansion of hunting and fishing opportunities on federal lands, the opening of Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania, defeating trophy band across the nation, forcing the withdrawal of bad Biden nominees and the signing in to law of the Great American Outdoors Act.

SCI continues to be the leader in hunting advocacy around the world and is always First for Hunters. 

Celebrate SCI’s 50-year history at the SCI annual convention at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on Jan. 19-22, 2022. Registration is open now at www.safariclub/convention.

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