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.”

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McMillan Adds Caping Knife


Handcrafted knife is specifically designed for delicate work in small areas.

McMillan is best known for its lines of ultra-accurate high-end hunting and tactical rifles, but it also offers custom hunting knives. Recently, McMillan added to that line a small caping knife that’s specifically designed for the fine, detailed cutting necessary when removing a hide that’s going to be mounted.

McMillan Caping knife
When caping an animal, you don’t just remove the hide from the head, you also have to split the lips, nose, and eyelids, and also turn the ears inside out all the way to the tips. And you have to do all of that preferably without cutting a hole through the cape or yourself.

When caping an animal, you don’t just remove the hide from the head, you also have to split the lips, nose, and eyelids, and also turn the ears inside out all the way to the tips. And you have to do all of that preferably without cutting a hole through the cape or yourself. I ran a small taxidermy shop before getting into publishing, and have some experience when it comes to what works and what doesn’t for caping. What works is a sharp blade–one that’s fine, nimble and light, but not so light that it “flutters” around in your hand. For me, caping in the field always meant two knives–one a Victorinox 3 1/4-inch paring knife, and the other a small X-Acto knife with an extra pack of replacement blades. After removing the cape, I’d find a smooth stone about the size of a baseball and stretch the hide over that so I could carefully pare down areas using the Victorinox, and when I got to the delicate areas, I’d switch over to the X-Acto and its razors.

It would be nice to do both the major and fine work with a single knife, so I’m anxious to give the new McMillan a try this hunting season. I see several things going for it as a possible one knife replacement for my two. For one thing, I like its size.  Like the paring knife I’ve been using, the McMillan Caping Knife is big enough to manage making a “Y” or “7” incision at the back of the skull, but is also small enough that you can control it during that incision. Another thing I like are the small serrations along the top of the blade so you can more easily control it using your finger. That’s the type of control needed around the lips, nose and eyes. Finally, it’s made for McMillan by DiamondBlade and from what I’ve read on DiamondBlade, the darn things just stay sharp.

If it holds its edge, then this knife should be just the thing for guides who cape their client’s trophies. For everyone else, it’s a handy size for general utility and camp use.–Scott Mayer

Safari Club International Testifies Before House Committee


Al Maki testifying before House Committee.
Testifying before Congress are (l. to r.) Director Dan Ashe (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), Dr. Al Maki (Safari Club International), Dr. Stuart Pimm (Duke University), Nick Wiley (Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission).

On Tuesday, June 19, 2012, Safari Club International Foundation (SCI Foundation) Chairman of Conservation and SCI Vice President, Dr. Al Maki, testified before the Space, Science, and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight. The hearing covered “The Science of How Hunting Assists Species Conservation and Management,” and sought to highlight the role sportsmen and women play in wildlife conservation, both domestically and internationally. Dr. Maki highlighted how the Endangered Species Act (ESA) works against hunters and their conservation efforts, and spoke on the issue from the standpoint of a professional biologist, avid hunter, and conservationist.

“Government regulations, whether they are a part of the Endangered Species Act or supported by anti-hunting bureaucrats, should not impede conservation funding,” said Dr. Maki. “Hunters have provided too many resources in the form of excise taxes, license sales, and volunteering with organizations like SCI just to be casually overlooked by policy makers.”

Hunters and anglers have voluntarily contributed more than $10 billion dollars to conservation efforts through excise taxes alone since the 1937 inception of the Pittman-Robertson Act. They have been, and remain, the largest advocates of wildlife conservation, however, their efforts have been largely impeded due to the framework of the ESA. The Fish and Wildlife Service and environmental groups have used the ESA to prevent the use of hunting as a conservation measure. Dr. Maki presented several examples of the ESA’s inefficiency, including how the Act harms species enhancement within the United States and beyond.

“We greatly appreciate Congressman Broun and the entire subcommittee’s dedication to address government actions that continually undermine hunter engagement in the conservation of our nation’s wildlife,” concluded Maki.

SCI Donation Helps DNR Add K-9 Unit


SCI Donates money for Minnesota DNR K9 unit.
The Lake Superior Chapter of Safari Club International recently donated $9,500 to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) allowing the department to add a third K-9 unit to its ranks.

The Lake Superior Chapter of Safari Club International recently donated $9,500 to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) allowing the department to add a third K-9 unit to its ranks.

Dale Bruder, Lake Superior Chapter SCI president, said of the donation, “We believe organizations like ours have to work hand-in-hand with conservation officers because we’re against everything they are against — poachers and violators of any kind. Our board thought it was an excellent idea for the organizations to work together.”

K-9 “Axel” and his partner, Conservation Officer (CO) Pat McGowan of Hastings, have already completed nearly 12 weeks of human tracking, obedience and evidence search field training conducted by CO Travis Muyres, a certified K-9 trainer and experienced DNR K-9 team handler.

According to Lt. Todd Kanieski, K-9 unit coordinator, the dog comes in “green,” which allows DNR to train the K-9 how the department wants. Kanieski added that the internal “working drive” of both dog and handler are paramount to the success of the K-9 team. “Being a K-9 handler carries a lot of extra responsibility,” he said. “The handler must have a proven history of making solid decisions in the field. The dog must be social around people.”

Conservation officers typically work alone in a 650 square mile patrol area and the DNR working dog model is a lot like the civilian law enforcement patrol dog. It takes a dog of steady, stable character but capable of controlled aggression under certain circumstances, such as on command, when attacked, or when the handler is attacked. The added dimension of a DNR K-9, however, is the ability to sniff out game and fish violations, which is a force multiplier noted Kanieski.

“Searching for trace blood evidence or a shell casing in a large field or wooded area could take multiple officers several hours, but with the right K-9 team, that task can be done in minutes and the area would be more thoroughly searched,” Kanieski said,“We have had great success at finding fish/game evidence and shell casings in the field. That evidence helps us in protecting our natural resources. A K-9 makes sure of that.”

The K-9s are a small part of the DNR Enforcement Division and relies primarily on private donations from organizations such as SCI that have a heavy interest in conservation education and humanitarian projects. The ability to protect natural resources was a big reason why SCI made such a generous donation to the DNR K-9 program. “We see the benefits of establishing good rapport with game agencies, so this fell right in line with what our chapters need to do,” said Derron Wahlen, SCI field coordinator. Funds to assist with the acquisition of a K-9 are raised through SCI chapter fundraisers. “Without the support of the Lake Superior Chapter of the Safari Club…we would not be adding a third K-9 unit,” said Kanieski.

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