Safari Club International this week took the first step in a new approach to protecting the freedom to hunt by stepping out boldly to tell the story of hunters and hunting. SCI will speak out about hunting and all the good that it does. SCI will be quick to respond when hunting is criticized. SCI will let the world know that we are proud to be hunters and proud of our contribution to conservation. SCI was the first organization to learn of the change in U.S. Fish and Wildlife policy that now allows the importation of elephants from Zimbabwe and Zambia.

SCI immediately posted a news release about this good news. Anti-hunters and news media outlets went into overdrive, attacking everyone in sight, including the Trump Administration, SCI and the National Rifle Association of America. SCI was quick to respond with the facts. SCI President Paul Babaz took to the airwaves with media interviews, including an appearance on CNNi, where he told the story of how hunting fits into effective wildlife management to segments of society that normally do not learn about the good things SCI and hunters do around the world. He spoke from the heart and from his hunting experience. He spoke about the human side of the story where a downed elephant fed schoolchildren who had not had meat to eat in months.

"We will be more proactive and not back down," President Babaz said, as he outlined SCI's new communications strategy. "For me, it's not as much about winning a debate as it is having our voices heard, being able to deliver some indisputable scientific facts, and lastly, represent all hunters as a proud hunter myself. We shouldn't be afraid to put ourselves out there, even though they may make us look bad. We owe it to ourselves, our members and hunters worldwide to be the representatives they expect us to be." Attacks came quickly and from all quarters. The Guardian reported: "The Trump administration has begun to peel away this legacy in unusual fashion by announcing the lifting of the elephant ban at the African Wildlife Consultative Forum....The event is co-hosted by Safari Club International (editor's note – SCIF co-hosted the event) an Arizona-based group that lobbies against hunting restrictions and auctions off trips to members to head to Africa to hunt the 'big five' – lions, rhinos, elephants, Cape buffalo and leopards. SCI joined with the National Rifle Association (NRA) to legally challenge the ban on elephant trophies. "Conservation groups fear the administration is now held in the sway of SCI and the NRA to the detriment of species such as lions and elephant," The Guardian added. "This is political fealty to the NRA and SCI," said Wayne Pacelle, president of anti-hunting group Human Society of the United States, as quoted in The Guardian.

SCI President Babaz has taken the lead in countering the lies and misconceptions being broadcast by anti-hunters and their lackeys in the news media. "The fight for the freedom to hunt is far from over," President Babaz noted. "We may take some hits, but the world needs to know that SCI is in this fight, and we're in it to win it. With the combined support of all hunters, we cannot lose. I thank all fellow hunters who are already members of SCI for their support, and I welcome the support of all the other hunters who have not yet become members or who have not yet engaged in the battle before us." Safari Club International - First For Hunters is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide. SCI's approximately 200 Chapters represent all 50 of the United States as well as 106 other countries. SCI's proactive leadership in a host of cooperative wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian programs, with the SCI Foundation and other conservation groups, research institutions and government agencies, empowers sportsmen to be contributing community members and participants in sound wildlife management and conservation.

Visit the home page www.SafariClub.org, or call (520) 620-1220 for more information. International Headquarters Tucson, Arizona · Washington, District of Columbia · Ottawa, Canada www.SafariClub.org

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