Last week, SCI hosted its May 2023 Board of Directors Meeting in Washington, D.C., to discuss and advocate for our membership’s priority legislative and regulatory issues affecting hunting and wildlife conservation in the U.S. and worldwide.
From May 10 – May 12, more than 100 SCI members attended this productive conference that featured a Lobby Day, a Capitol Hill reception with SCI’s key allies in Congress, the annual volunteer leadership election from SCI’s membership, and much more. SCI remains steadfast in its clear direction and purpose: protecting the freedom to hunt and continuing proven conservation policies.
As SCI enters its 52nd year of defending your right to hunt, we continue to monitor and lobby for effective policies at every level of government. Over 100 members of SCI met with more than 60 Congressional offices on Lobby Day. These meetings proved fruitful, and we appreciate their partnership and support for hunters’ conservation efforts across the U.S.
During SCI’s May Board Meeting, our leadership confirmed the high-level objectives of our advocacy efforts:
SCI remains committed to opposing trophy bans at the federal and state levels because well-regulated international hunting is vital to conservation, maintaining biodiversity, and species survival in southern Africa and around the world. Hunting programs, especially those involving rural communities in conservation and management, are proven tools to sustain species and habitats.
SCI will continue to support access to lead ammunition as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state governments attempt to enact unnecessary and misguided bans on public land. There is not enough scientific evidence to show that hunting with lead ammunition causes significant harm to habitats or animals. Without readily available and cost-effective alternatives, a ban will only serve to downsize the hunting community.
SCI opposes all legislation that would defund wildlife conservation, such as RETURN (Repealing Excise Tax on Unalienable Rights Now) our Constitutional Rights Act which would repeal the Pittman-Robertson Act. Pittman-Robertson is essential to the hunting community – it has contributed $15 billion towards wildlife conservation, hunter recruitment, construction of public shooting ranges, and other activities.
SCI will steadfastly oppose predator control restrictions on federal land. Wildlife management decisions, including predator control, should be left to state wildlife management agencies and not dictated across the board by Congress. Each state is different, and each state should have the authority to manage its wildlife as needed.
SCI continues to support No-Net-Loss to maintain or increase the current level of hunting and fishing access nationwide. This includes physical access to public lands, economic access, and access to information. Committing to supporting a No-Net-Loss policy means one thing: sound stewardship of our natural resources, as hunters and anglers are essential to effectively managing public land.
Finally, SCI seeks to modernize and strengthen the Endangered Species Act. The ESA’s inadequacy in recognizing states’ input has resulted in uninformed and damaging decisions. States’ role in species recovery and conservation is essential, and the ESA must be amended to give them a louder voice in decision-making.
To carry out these chief legislative and regulatory priorities all year long, SCI held its annual volunteer leadership election. Our membership has elected the following individuals to leadership positions:
- John McLaurin President, Jeff Meryl President – Elect, Mike Crawford Secretary, Don Harter Treasurer, Louis P. Cole Vice President, Tyler Daniels Vice President, Warren Sackman III Vice President, Michael J. Leonard Vice President, Lew Webb Vice President, Joseph Pedersen Vice President, Susan Hayes Sables President.
- Find a full list of SCI 2023-2024 Leadership here.
“I want to extend my appreciation to our membership, staff, leadership, and those members of Congress who stand with us in our efforts to safeguard our hunting traditions,” said SCI CEO W. Laird Hamberlin. “This year’s May Board of Directors meeting at our headquarters in Washington, D.C. was essential to furthering SCI’s mission: protect the freedom to hunt and to promote wildlife conservation worldwide. I am proud to say that SCI will always be FIRST FOR HUNTERS.”