I grew up in a hunting camp called Hard Luck Hollow. It sat in the woods at the foot of a mountain named Gwen, in a county named Highland. Back then, and it’s been longer than I care to admit, I had no clue that our rights to hunt would ever be in jeopardy. The world I knew and lived in, the culture I was raised in, embraced the outdoor sports, and hunting was the pinnacle of them all. It was a rare man who did not hunt in my rural American childhood. I learned from the men in my life everything a woodsman should know: how to stalk, ambush, dress, skin, and process animals, even how to cook them into tasty dishes. I learned about conservation, ethics, patience, perseverance, dedication, and many other lessons the outdoor lifestyle teaches that carry over into all facets of life. These men I grew up around showed me the way and the skills I needed to be successful in the woods, and in life. I thought that this way, the way it was, would be the way it always would be. I thought they prepared me for everything I needed to be prepared for. We could not see what the changing world would bring. We never imagined that there would come a time gun ownership would be a topic of high debate in our country. And we certainly never thought we would lose parts of, or all of, our right to hunt.
But the time came; it is upon us now more than ever in our history. As a society, we have become so distant and detached from the land, the critters, and our ecosystem, that fewer and fewer understand all of the important things the outdoor lifestyle teaches and instills in us as human beings, and thus into our society. The fewer that understand, the more that are uneducated about the balance of an ecosystem, the greater the risk toward our rights to hunt. The number of people who view hunting as a barbaric blood sport practiced by those they consider Neanderthals has grown enormously in the past four decades. Many of them want hunting stopped, squashed, done, over with, finito. We need to realize this is a fight for our way of life, for the culture we cherish. And we need a united voice so that our voice is heard.
Who is Watching Out for Our Hunting Rights?
We gun owners have the NRA watching our backs every day, keeping the wolves mostly at bay, protecting our Second Amendment rights. But what about our hunting rights? Who is protecting them at a national level? For years, I thought it was being done purely on a state-by-state level. The hunters in a state would have to come together and work to prevent in the passage of laws that threaten their rights to hunt. I have been involved in this in my home state of Virginia on more than one occasion. I can tell you organizing on this level is not an easy task. In fact, it’s daunting. Help, help is the one word that always came to mind when working locally. We need help. Well recently I realized help has been here for a long time, I just didn’t know its name was Safari Club International (SCI).
I had known about SCI for years. I have long known them to be a fine, upstanding organization that promoted hunting abroad. Yes, I said abroad. And that was my ignorance. The word “Safari” itself sent my mind off thinking of exotic game in far-off lands. The word “International” meant around the world in my mind. Sure, they were a great organization, but I thought they were not protecting and promoting my type of hunting, in the places that meant something to me.
Then I did something I should have done years before: I did some research. I found out that my notions of what SCI is, are in fact misconceptions. I found out that not only does SCI work and lobby to protect hunting rights in other countries, but they do it in the Grand Ole U.S.A., even in my home state of Virginia. In fact, if a bill is proposed that would infringe on our rights to hunt anywhere, SCI is there. They have worked diligently over the years gathering funding and building resources to protect all hunters. I found out that, in over 100 cases in the U.S. involving hunting rights, SCI attorneys were there defending my rights, your rights, every hunter’s rights. I also learned that SCI monitors legislative activity in all 50 states, tracking hundreds of bills relating to hunting conservation and firearms annually. Guess where their headquarters are? Within walking distance of Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Dubbed the “Hunters Embassy,” SCI hosts meetings there with key congressmen, continuously working to protect our rights.
There is no right to hunt too small, nor area of land so obscure that SCI will not fight for our rights as hunters. They have been fighting for my right to hunt for many years. I decided it’s high time I join them in that fight. I implore you to seriously consider joining Buck and I in supporting the only national organization that has the resources to protect our hunting lifestyle. United we stand, separated and fragmented we will lose our way of life, one piece at a time. I hope to see more big racks in the backs of pickups with SCI stickers on the back window this fall.
Join SCI today: https://safariclub.org/membership/
Max Rowe, Just Kill’n Time TV