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April 9, 2008

Safari Club International: Frequently Asked Questions

The Humane Society of the United States

What is Safari Club International?

SCI is an international organization catering to the interests of trophy hunters. Though SCI claims to be filled with conservationists, its members are primarily interested in killing the most and the biggest animals to mount as trophies, become listed in SCI record books, and win awards.

When was SCI founded?

SCI was founded in 1973 and is headquartered in Tucson, Ariz.

Who founded SCI?

SCI was founded by trophy hunter C.J. McElroy, who claimed to be the greatest trophy hunter in the world. McElroy hunted in nearly fifty countries, on six continents. He killed nearly 400 trophy animals that appear in SCI's record book, including animals who are now endangered and can no longer be hunted.

McElroy was forced to resign in 1988. Bill Quimby, a past President of SCI, writes in his book "Safari Club International" that there were rumors among hunters that McElroy "ignored hunting laws," that McElroy was even accused of killing a Rocky Mountain bighorn ram in a national park, and that his "ideas of sportsmanship and ethics simply were different from those of hunters who came along later."

What does SCI do?

SCI mainly lobbies for the right to hunt as many species as possible, regardless of their endangered status, and seeks to roll back protections of many protected species.

SCI's so-called humanitarian and conservation-minded projects serve as attempts to whitewash their image.

Do all hunters support SCI?

No. Most don't favor killing animals, particularly rare and endangered species, strictly to be used as a trophy.

Others oppose killing animals within fenced enclosures. The Boone and Crockett Club and the Pope and Young Club refuse to allow animals shot on captive hunts to be included in their record books. But thousands of animals in SCI's record books were shot on captive hunts.

Is SCI composed of your "average" hunter?

No. The average SCI member boasts an annual income of more than $100,000—only six percent of hunters make this much money—and owns 11 rifles, six shotguns, five handguns and a bow. Two thirds of SCI members spend more than a month hunting each year and a quarter of members spend more than 50 days hunting.

 

SCI ignores the concept of "fair chase" that many traditional hunters believe in.

What is the SCI record book of trophy animals?

SCI scores animals based on the size of their antlers, horns, tusks or skull. Their record books enable members to brag to the rest of the trophy hunting community that they killed the most and the biggest animals.

Does SCI allow animals shot in captive hunts to be included in its trophy record books?

Yes. SCI allows fenced animals shot on hunting ranches to be listed.

Some hunting groups, including the Boone & Crockett Club and the Pope & Young Club, refuse to allow animals shot on captive hunts to be included in their record books.

Does SCI allow endangered species to be included in its trophy record book?

Yes. SCI allows endangered species to be included in its record book, including the addax, African cheetah, African leopard and black rhinoceros.

Does SCI reward hunters for killing trophy animals?

Yes. Hunters compete to kill the largest animals, or those  with the biggest horns or antlers.

Most awards are centered around killing a particular set of animals. For example, shooting five of 12 record-class bears makes the member eligible for the "Bears of the World" award, or 79 record-class African species means eligibility for the "Trophy Animals of Africa" award at the diamond level.

Awards are presented with great fanfare at SCI's annual convention where the hunters receive elaborate trophies.

Why does SCI lobby to remove animals from the "threatened" or "endangered" lists under the ESA?

SCI seems to believe that threatened and endangered species receive far too much protection and, in a twisted bit of logic, they believe they can conserve animals by killing them.

In 1979, SCI sought permission to kill and import more than 1,000 endangered African animals for trophies. Their request was denied.

SCI lobbied to ensure that the African elephant was listed as "threatened" instead of "endangered" so that the animal could be hunted. SCI also helped relax protections that were granted to the:

  • bontebok
  • cheetah
  • white rhino
  • mountain zebra
  • red,  black and Kafue lechwe
  • African leopard
  • argali sheep
  • markhor
  • crocodile
  • hippo
  • African lion
  • cougar
  • lynx
  • wolf
  • grizzly bear

SCI even went to court in support of hunting endangered antelope species on captive hunts and sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, demanding that several species be reclassified.

Updated June 10, 2011 

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