As SCI opens the convention hall doors for its 46th annual SCI Hunters’ Convention at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Jan. 31-Feb. 3, you’d think it would be tough to find someone in a crowd of 20,000-plus attendees. That’s not the case with SCI’s living legend, author and World War II veteran Chris Klineburger, 91. Why? Because much of the crowd is gathered around him!
Many hunters tout Klineburger as the pioneer of hunting in Asia and Africa. Others recognize him as the author of two world-class hunting books: “Gamemasters of the World”—a 770-page autobiography chronicling decades of sport hunting and conservation—and “Conservation or Preservation,” an overview of the hunter’s critical role in wildlife management following the international outcry against hunting after the taking of a lion outside an African national park in 2015. Others know him from his epic 1960s hunting film, “The Great Shikar,” chronicling the expedition he and brother Bert made in the footsteps of adventurer Marco Polo as they searched for the Marco Polo sheep in Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor—an area dubbed “the roof of the world” for its foreboding environment. Still others know him as a wildlife conservationist in his home state of Nevada who works with state-based conservation groups while reaching out to non-hunters to tell the story of hunters and hunting and explain the issues regarding the sustainability of wildlife and habitat conservation. As for how SCI knows him, he was of its original founders, who—46 years later—is still walking the SCI show floor, signing books, shaking hands and sharing hunting stories with thousands of his closest friends as SCI kicks off its annual four-day convention.
Few people have done more for American hunters and hunting than my friend Chris Klineburger, including partnering with governments worldwide to open up hunting. For more fascinating information, check out this article, “World-Class Hunter and WWII Vet is SCI Show’s Living Legend,” that I wrote for the NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum website (NRAHLF.org) during last year’s SCI show. I promise you will be intrigued. Then track down this gracious man on the SCI show floor to shake his hand. He will be walking the show floor with his lovely wife, Grace, who has been with him every step of the way. To find them, just look for Chris’ signature gold ram’s-head bolo tie and his gold watch adorned with a ram’s head on each side of the face, and wife Grace’s gold grizzly head and claw pendant. The amount of gold is impressive. Of course, remember that they were able to buy their gold when it was a mere $35 an ounce!
Editor’s Note: NRA Publications wants to take a moment to remember Chris Klineburger’s brother Bert, who passed away on June 18, 2017. Alongside Chris, Bert worked to expand hunting worldwide and hunted countless game species himself, many of which are now out of reach to hunters. Bert guided everyone from presidents and kings to average all-American hunters and will always have a special place in the hearts of the collective worldwide hunting community.