HUNTERS: What Do African Lions Mean To Local Hunters Elsewhere In The World?

Published on January 16, 2014

Local or exotic, domestic or international, hunting everywhere shares a common threat: anti-hunting efforts. Anti-hunting efforts are global, so their victories anywhere make them more powerful everywhere. When we lose a hunting opportunity in one place, it has an impact on all hunters.  Anti-hunters are working against hunting by targeting certain species, types of hunting, types of ammunition and even entire countries.  We, as hunters, are in the crosshairs of the anti-hunting groups. Literally, they want to make us an extinct subspecies.

Anti-hunters are akin to a pack of wolves, circling their prey and attempting to pick off the outlying individuals before moving in for the big kill. Yes, they want to kill hunting – all hunting everywhere – the entire pack.  Attacks are becoming more frequent and intense as the well organized and well-funded anti-hunting interests expand their scope and reach.

If successful in far-away lands over species that most hunters will never hunt, the antis then will come ashore in North America, Europe, South America and other places to drive a stake through the heart of all hunting there, as well. Yesterday the seals and polar bear. Today, the African lion. Tomorrow, one species at a time, the antis will go for everything else. Yes, it’s for all the marbles.

Tugging in the war of wits are the emotion of the antis on one side, the logic and science of the hunters on the other. Between are government regulators whose decisions and actions often are guided by emotionally charged politics and the need to be re-elected at the expense of logic and science – sometimes to the extent that a species is actually harmed by the unintended consequences of misguided, even if well-intentioned, actions.

At the brink of success and failure is a very small, but highly dedicated and extremely effective SCI legal team in Washington, D.C. When necessary, they go to court anywhere in the land to litigate on behalf of all hunters, not just SCI members. In fact, they are so effective in the legal community that they have created and maintain a continuing education program for attorneys focusing on wildlife law. So influential is this effort that in recent years, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia addressed one session of the continuing legal education program.

Safari Club International and sister organization SCI Foundation are engaged in the epic battle to conserve wildlife and thus save hunting at numerous places around the globe, including Africa where the status of the lion is at issue. Advocacy efforts of SCI have two facets (science and political/legal) that afford the organization to double-tap the system when necessary. Science-based conservation from SCI Foundation provides SCI with the solid data needed for effective messaging on the governmental front, while the same data can be used to defend hunting/defeat antis in the courts. And, of course, that same data can be used effectively in the greater court of public opinion where the ultimate war is won or lost.

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