Safari Club International’s 42nd annual convention may be in Las Vegas, but attendees can play the numbers game here without ever entering a casino. Walk the show floor and see how many gorgeous whitetail and Western big-game taxidermy mounts you can count or how many of Africa’s 91 antelope species you see on display. By the way, of those 91, the largest is the 1-ton eland and the smallest has to be the 12-pound dik-dik. If you want to stalk a few of them on the Dark Continent firsthand, many safari packages for multiple plains-game species cost less than the price of an elk hunt out West so that African adventure is more affordable than you think.
You can walk the SCI show aisle-by-aisle at your own pace or pull out the show directory and cover it one category at a time. Search out the hundreds of hunting and fishing outfitters from North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and the South Pacific. Get booking assistance from one of the 35 outdoor-adventure booking agents and 11 travel-assistance exhibitors. Research the world’s best taxidermists at the 22 taxidermy booths in between visiting with 79 gunmakers, 9 archery and 9 ammunition makers, 15 knife manufacturers, 41 equipment manufacturers and 24 trade associations starting with our own NRA.
Want to bring the great outdoors indoors? Visit the 60 booths selling artwork and collectibles. (By the way, check out the Queen Lace Crystal Company capturing the majesty of American and African wildlife on hand-engraved crystal stemware, barware and corporate and custom gifts.) Or redecorate your entire home, thanks to the 22 home-furnishings booths displaying everything from rustic and ultra-elegant antler chandeliers and rugs to Western-themed furniture. While you’re at it, flat out build a new home by visiting one of the custom-home builders here. If you prefer to start small, just buy the custom, hand-carved front door featuring a wild game or outdoor scene. And ladies—and your husbands—did I mention there are 33 jewelry exhibitors here?
If money were no object, I’d already have booked hunts for a monster muley, one of the four species of North American sheep, one of Africa’s Big Five, a tahr and chamois in New Zealand, a water buffalo hunt in Australia and a sailfishing trip to Costa Rica. Of course, there is that 18-day plains-game safari and four-day photo safari with Ethopian Rift Valley Safaris, which, by the way, donated this very package to the SCI Foundation’s Education Sables for its Dream Hunt III Auction tonight. When it comes to Africa, I’ve only been there once, thanks to an NRA Women on Target hunt in South Africa with Tollies African Safaris—and though I did get a gorgeous nyala, there is an even bigger version of it—the mountain nyala—running around Ethiopia. I’d say it’s time to revisit the Dark Continent.
Clearly, I need more money. Fortunately for us hunter-gather dreamers, SCI is selling raffle tickets on the show floor promising a first-place prize of $50,000. I could spend it all here in about five minutes.