Sustainable Management: Protecting America’s Backcountry


By John Whipple, SCI President

The American West is setting an unenviable wildfire record in 2012. In addition to the toll fire takes on human lives and property, fire also poses challenges for wildlife management and recreational access. But the fires ravaging Colorado and New Mexico are only one of many problems that impact the use and management of U.S. Forest Service lands. Weather variability, invasive species and predator/prey fluctuations are also factors affecting wildlife health, recreational use and recreational access in our National Forests, and forests require dynamic management to respond to those ever-changing problems and conditions. Despite that, the U.S. Forest Service is clinging to a one-size-fits-all management rule prohibiting local forest managers from adapting to changing needs. Safari Club International (SCI) is trying to change that.

The U.S. Supreme Court has been petitioned to consider the case of State of Wyoming vs. U.S. Department of Agriculture, in which Wyoming is challenging the legality of the U.S. Forest Service’s 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule (Roadless Rule).  The 2001 Roadless Rule is an inflexible, centralized, D.C.-based planning approach for 58.5 million acres of National Forest lands. The core problem is that permanent planning aspects of the Roadless Rule make it impossible for local forest unit planners to respond to changing local conditions, and deprives them of tools needed to prevent catastrophic forest fires, reduce the impact of weather conditions, solve predator/prey imbalances and improve access for all recreationalists.

On June 15, 2012, Safari Club International filed our own amicus brief to encourage the Supreme Court to review the 2001 Roadless Rule. SCI’s brief explains how the Roadless Rule contradicts the U.S. Forest Service’s adaptive management approach to forest planning, and violates statutory mandates to revise forest unit plans at least every 15 years. The brief also addresses the inequities that roadless restrictions pose for some members of the hunting community, and the benefits that roadways provide for many species. SCI’s goal is to impress upon the Court the significant impact that the Roadless Rule has on the resources that SCI members and all hunters seek to enjoy in our nation’s forests.

We know that anti-hunting/anti-recreation aggressors will use this court case to further bend the management of our nation’s national forests against hunting and recreation. Those 501(c)(3) “charitable” organizations fighting to protect the Roadless Rule are doing so to appease their own rigid ideology–not the American public. Their threats to our heritage are ever present, and that is why SCI is submitting our own brief to support Wyoming’s challenge.

The position we have taken in opposition to the one-size-fits-all Roadless Rule will not be a popular one in some quarters. We know there will be focused attacks on our organization, but we also know that through our support for active, healthy forest management, SCI is helping to improve wildlife populations for American sportsmen to enjoy for future generations.

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From The Hands Of The Master


The marrying of supreme function under the worst of conditions, with craftsmanship and beauty unlike any seen to that time, is the greatest legacy of the Manton brothers.

BY Terry Wieland

No matter how much you read about something, there is no substitute for personal experience. All my life, I have been haunted by the Manton brothers–John and Joseph–who are acknowledged as the fathers of the London fine gun trade. Before the Mantons, so tradition goes, guns were crude, unwieldy tools. After the Mantons, they were finely balanced, beautifully made, works of art.

In all likelihood, other gunmakers from the Manton era (1800 to 1835, roughly) who are less revered might argue that they, too, contributed to the transformation, and they may have a point. Where Joseph Manton particularly shone, however, was in the fact that so many of his craftsmen left his service to establish businesses of their own, preaching and practicing the Manton gospel of perfection in balance and workmanship.

These men included James Purdey, Charles Lancaster, and Thomas Boss–names that have resided at the “top of the tree” in London to this day. Although I have seen Manton guns in various collections, until recently I never had the opportunity to study one really closely, to put it together, and to see just how an original Manton feels in the hands.

The gun in question is an original flintlock Manton made around 1818, in the midst of the Regency era. Many Manton flintlocks were converted to caplocks, so finding one in its original state, in fine condition, is rare, and that rarity is reflected in their prices. A Manton flintlock might sell for $30,000, where a caplock conversion goes for $5,000. Having handled many different flintlock guns and rifles over the years, I have never been too impressed with their balance and feel, never mind the workmanship. The Manton, however, is a different proposition altogether. Although the barrels are 32 inches (made by Charles Lancaster, we should add) and the gun weighs more than seven pounds, it has better balance than most new and expensive shotguns you find today from reputable makers. How it must have felt to an officer just back from the Napoleonic Wars, accustomed to handling a Brown Bess musket, I can only imagine.

Colonel Peter Hawker, a veteran of the Peninsular War who was badly wounded at the Battle of Talavera and suffered the effects for the rest of his life, was a great Manton admirer, and extolled both his products and his disciples (Purdey and Lancaster especially) in his published works. Col. Hawker was one of the most interesting characters in the whole panoply of English shooting in the 1800s, who drove his ravaged body to shoot in all conceivable weather. His guns endured what his body did, so when Hawker praised a firearm, it was not merely for its charm or good looks.

This marrying of supreme function under the worst of conditions, with craftsmanship and beauty unlike any seen to that time, is the greatest legacy of the Manton brothers. It is even more astonishing when you consider the effects of black powder, with its corrosion and fouling.

The gun I examined, now almost 200 years old, was out of date when Lord Cardigan led the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava, and considered an antique when Lord Ripon was dropping birds at Sandringham. But my friend who owns the gun has loaded it, shot it, hunted with it, and even has a photograph of three grouse that he shot with this gun some years ago. He says it swings and shoots better than most modern shotguns. Sad to say, the craftsmanship that Joseph Manton inspired is now disappearing, even in England, where the few remaining fine gunmakers are incorporating CNC technology and slowly phasing out actual, trained craftsmen. A century from now, the Manton may exist as a living reproach for the skills that we have allowed to die.

SCIF Donates to Whitetail Research


Wisconsin’s whitetail deer research got a financial boost today when the Safari Club International Foundation donated $25,000 to the Department of Natural Resources’ Bureau of Science Services at the Wednesday meeting of the Natural Resources Board.

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp accepted the donation from the foundation’s Jim Hammill, who in turn was presented with a certificate of appreciation from the agency.

Stepp called the donation an appreciated vote of confidence in the agency’s science-based conservation efforts by a respected worldwide organization.

Foundation president Joseph Hosmer said in a that statement Safari Club International was “proud to partner” with the DNR for the purposes of effective game management. “State agencies provide the most critical science to improve game management in the United States,” Hosmer said. “By working collaboratively with state agencies we will be building a long term partnership to keep sustainable wildlife populations for future generations of sportsmen and women.”

Bureau Director Jack Sullivan said the donation will be used for equipment and staff costs related to research into Wisconsin’s state wildlife animal. And, in exchange for the financial donation, the agency will provide to the foundation photographs and video showing how the donation was used for whitetail deer research.

Founded in 2000, the foundation is the charitable organization of the larger Safari Club International. It has provided $47 million to conservation, wildlife education and humanitarian programs worldwide in the past 12 years. The Safari Club International began in 1972 with a mission to protect hunters’ rights while promoting wildlife conservation. The group has about 190 chapters with about 55,000 members globally.

The DNR Bureau of Science Services in 2010 launched a multi-year research project to gather data regarding a variety of factors surrounding the white-tailed deer–including the effects of a changing predator population as well as the hunting patterns in addition to the fluctuations in hunter ranks.

Dr. Karl Martin, chief of wildlife and forestry research, said the Safari donation will be used to assess the causes and rates of fawn and adult buck mortality in the state’s whitetail deer herd. “The goal of these projects is to provide information that will help maintain Wisconsin’s healthy deer herd and continue to produce abundant recreational and trophy hunting opportunities for current and future generations of Wisconsinites.”

Martin said hunters statewide have long been interested in the DNR’s methods of estimating deer herd numbers and assessing the role of the changing predator populations. “Wisconsin’s deer research program dates back to the 1940’s and with the help of Safari Club International this long tradition is continuing to provide information for science-based management of our deer herd. The help of Safari Club International, citizen volunteers, and the sporting community, have been key components to the success of these large-scale field research projects.”

The Best Black Bear Hunt Ever


By Bob Robb

I love black bear hunting so much that when I lived in Alaska I guided a bit for them and hunted them hard both spring and fall. I shot my first-ever bear in the early 1980s, back when you could chase them with hounds in Oregon. Before I left for that hunt, I thought it would be all peaches and cream. You know, dogs chase bear up tree, hunter strolls over and shoots bear, then heads back to camp for cocktails, not a hair out of place. Just like that.

What I found was one of the most physical hunts ever, as we had to chase the dogs up and down and all around some of the steepest, nastiest country in western Oregon. I loved it! That was some 25 years ago. And while I have followed hounds in pursuit of mountain lions and wild hogs a lot since then, I had not chased bears again.

So in late May 2011, my friends Derrick Nawrocki of Alabama and Jason Bear of California joined me on what would turn out to be an archery hunt with hounds that none of us will ever forget. We were hunting with Chris and Cody Korell of Emmett, Idaho-based Korell Outfitters. I’d bowhunted elk with Chris a few years back. And while I didn’t get an arrow off, I was so impressed with Chris and his outfit that I knew I wanted to hunt with him again.

“We do it a little differently than some outfitters,” Chris told me. “A lot of dog guides will turn their hounds loose on the first bear they come across. It might be big; it might be small. Whatever. Before we cut ’em loose, we get out and look for tracks. I will not set my dogs off on small tracks. We only want to shoot mature boars, and the only way to make sure we do that is to not chase small bears. Plus, you are only going to chase so many bears in a week before the dogs need some time off. It’s best to know what you are getting yourself into before you start running the mountains. And when we turn the dogs loose, 90 percent of the time we catch that bear.”

The first morning we split up into three trucks and the search began. There were two packs of dogs: the Korells’ and another belonging to Kidd Youren, a close friend and local houndsman who has been hunting with the Korells for years. Chris and Cody’s father, Larry Korell, was in one truck along with Cody and Jason. Derrick and I were riding with Chris. Kidd and a couple of his buddies went off on their own to see what they could turn up.

We weren’t in the game two hours when our radio crackled. It was Cody, who had found a good track and cut his dogs loose. They had treed a bear up a big pine, so we all vectored in on the tree. As we looked at the bear, I thought to myself how lucky Jason was to be first up. The bear was a stud, big and with a flawless cinnamon hide. Jason made a solid bow shot. Less than half a day into his first-ever day of hunting bears with hounds, he had had tagged a superb 250-pound boar.

Continue reading The Best Black Bear Hunt Ever

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