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April 7, 2008

SCI: Founded for Trophy Hunters by Trophy Hunters

The Humane Society of the United States

Safari Club International was founded by C.J. McElroy, a big game trophy collector with a sixth-grade education who claimed to be the greatest hunter in the world.

McElroy hunted in nearly fifty countries on six continents, more than 70 times in Africa alone, and killed nearly 400 record-class animals, including:

  • elephant
  • walrus (since protected)
  • scimitar-horned oryx (endangered)
  • addax (endangered)
  • southern white rhinoceros
  • black rhinoceros (endangered)
  • hippopotamus
  • dama gazelle (endangered)
  • polar bear
  • Bengal tiger
  • leopard
  • wolf
  • jaguar
  • lion

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."

Shooting animals from aircraft

Quimby also says that when it was still legal, McElroy enjoyed spotting Alaska's Dall sheep, grizzly bear, moose and caribou from single-engine aircraft, then landing and shooting them the same day.

"[McElroy] could not understand why anyone would willingly backpack or spend weeks in a saddle to hunt one of these animals when there were pilots who could put a hunter on a record book trophy hunt in a day or two of flying," Quimby writes. "Everyone was doing it, he told one hunter, and there were no laws against it (yet), so why wouldn't it be ethical?"

Many hunters, and even SCI members, disliked McElroy and he was eventually forced out. Norden Van Horne, founder of SCI Denver, said that, "as a hunter, I was embarrassed to be part of an organization represented by C.J. McElroy."

Updated April 7, 2008 

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