Try an SCI auction for a cheap huntAs we motored southward down I-29 Feb. 18, more and more geese filled the air. Flocks of Canadas and snows became thick as we approached the St. Joseph, Mo., area. We didn’t know it then, but heavy weekend snow would push the geese south again. While we’ll have to wait a bit for our spring goose hunting, the thought of spring geese and walleyes makes March not nearly so boring as some would make us believe.
By: Roger Wiltz, The Daily Republic
As we motored southward down I-29 Feb. 18, more and more geese filled the air. Flocks of Canadas and snows became thick as we approached the St. Joseph, Mo., area. We didn’t know it then, but heavy weekend snow would push the geese south again. While we’ll have to wait a bit for our spring goose hunting, the thought of spring geese and walleyes makes March not nearly so boring as some would make us believe.
Our destination was the Kansas City SCI (Safari Club International) Expo where I would help my longtime friend Oakley Eide sell pheasant hunts on his Outback operation north of Burke. I had time to soak in most everything that was going on. I also visited with many outfitters, including a number from Africa.
A personal highlight was becoming acquainted with Craig Boddington. Boddington, producer of TV’s “Tracks Across Africa,” has written several popular books on hunting Africa. His latest tome deals with Argentine adventure. He is arguably America’s most popular hunting personality. Because of the weather, the crowd was sparse at times, giving us time to discuss everything from African elephants to Zimbabwe politics. This former U.S. Marine appeared to be very sharp!
The banquets on Friday and Saturday nights were well attended. On Friday night, local members received award plaques for bagging various trophies. The youth division included some very young boys and girls. I was uncomfortable with that. What does a 9-year-old have to look forward to? I also question putting high-power rifles into the hands of babes. Apparently I was alone in my thinking.
Auctions also took center stage both Friday and Saturday nights. Donated hunting trips to far away places went for a fraction of their retail value whether it was Africa, the Arctic, Asia, Europe or South America. I bought a hunt in Patagonia for about a quarter of its actual worth. Why the low bidding? The economy might be the culprit. Some folks fear air travel. Others fear political climate. Perhaps it is a combination of all three. I’ll tell you this: If you’re thinking about Africa, and price is a factor, go to next year’s KC SCI auction.
All auction proceeds went to providing hunts for wounded warriors — U.S. military personnel who had lost a limb or suffered serious injury in Iraq or Afghanistan. If I never make it to Patagonia, my money went to a great cause.
* * * * * * * * * *
I received a nice letter from a Chamberlain-area reader. The gist of his letter was this: If the State of South Dakota owns our wild game as I mentioned in a recent column, the state should feed the game during the winter. If payment isn’t feasible, a transferable deer tag would be a welcome gesture. While this topic is far from new, the letter makes a good point.
I don’t see payment, whether it is grain, hay or cash, as being feasible. Money is in short supply — every entity has its hand out, and no one seems willing to go without. I thought Governor Mike Rounds had a good idea in attempting to close small town drivers’ license centers. We only renew every five years, and every one of us visits a Mitchell, Yankton, Huron, Winner or Sioux Falls a lot more often than that.
Yes, some states do give transferable licenses to land owners. In others like New Mexico, landowners are allotted tag quotas for hunting on their property only. When I hunted elk in New Mexico a few years ago, I applied to N.M. Fish & Game and paid for a tag whose geographic boundaries were printed right on the license! N.M. tag numbers depend on quality of habitat, not quantity of acres, and Fish & Game makes that call. The New Mexico system appeared to work for them.
If South Dakota attempted to mete out compensation to landowners in the form of licenses, a major hurdle would be encountered. Nonresidents are not permitted to hunt East River deer. I don’t want to see this law changed, and treating east and west river landowners differently wouldn’t be fair. I’m presuming nonresident tags are a key issue.
Under the current system, farmers/ranchers/landowners can charge for hunting. They can lease hunting privileges on neighboring property in order to expand their range. Beyond applying for the regular issue resident/nonresident tags, “special buck” tags are available at a price to potential hunt customers. There is no quota on archery tags. The system already lends itself to commercial hunting if the landowner is interested in monetary gain. As much as I understand our Chamberlain writer’s view, I think it best to leave the system as it is.
See you next week.