SCI Record Book of Trophy Animals: Documenting the Hunting Heritage
by R. Douglas Yajko, MD, Chairman, SCI Trophy Records Committee
The Safari Club International measuring system was developed by SCI founder and Chairman C.J. McElroy in 1977. Mac as he was known in those days had a vision of providing a record book for SCI members the scoring system was developed for use in the SCI Record Book of Trophy Animals.
The record book quickly gained notoriety with the members and began to evolve into what it is today. The largest change occurred in 1993, giving more emphasis to mass for antlered game. Since that time, all entries for deer, elk and other antlered game have been measured under the new system. The new books have more than 134,000 entries in a four-volume set, including a two volume set of Africa, North America and Rest of the World pages. Encompassing 29 years, this record book is the epitome of an international record book. It includes species, categories, maps, taxonomy and all internal boundaries. We are continuing to refine the distinction between free range and estate animals, and this book will include both categories for all continents except Africa. The previous editions, edited by C.J. McElroy, John Brandt, Al Cheramie, Jack and Casey Schwabland, Irvin Barnhart, and me, show progressive and dramatic growth over the past 29 years.
The new edition continues to recognize the increasing inter- national character of SCI. Federal laws in the U.S. prohibit taking of species designated as “endangered.” However, game laws vary from country to country. So, we now list animals that are legally taken and then exported legally from the country where they are taken to the homes of members of SCI and other countries where these stringent rules do not apply. We also list en- dangered species that were taken prior to the passage of the endangered species law.
The goal of the SCI Record Book is to provide an accurate and complete natural history of the world’s game animals. It also records in a regular and timely way the trophies that define con- temporary hunting throughout the world.
The Trophy Records Committee is committed to using the record book to market SCI through taxidermists, meat processors, outfitters, guides and booking agents throughout the world. A concerted effort is being made to increase the measurers’ network, making it much easier for SCI members and potential members to have their animals scored. SCI members can now locate an official SCI measurer near them by visiting www.scifirstforhunters.org
and clicking on the Trophy Records icon on the home page. Documenting the Hunting Heritage is the primary focus of the SCI Record Book of Trophy Animals. The minimums are lower in the SCI Record Book to encourage more hunters to submit their trophies and provide us with a better picture of the distribution of wildlife.
The Latest edition to the SCI Record Book of Trophy Animals is the Virtual Record Book. Now hunters from around the world can research a hunt prior to booking their hunt. The Virtual Record Book has many sort functions allowing hunters to sort the records by species and location or by species and guides. For example if a hunter is planning his or her first trip to Namibia for Gemsbok and other plains game they can go into the virtual record and pull up all gemsbok taken in Namibia and view the score sheets to see what the horn length and base circumferences are on mature animals. After learning about the species the hunter can then sort the Gemsbok entries by guide/outfitter determining who SCI members rely on the most when traveling to Namibia.
A free demo of the virtual record book can be viewed by clicking the following link: www.scirecordbook.org
. An annual subscription is required for the SCI Virtual Record Book and is available to non-members as well as SCI members. Pictures of the species taken are being gradually added to the Virtual Record Book. The Trophy Records Committee is planning to add the taxinomic notes, diagrams and maps to the Virtula Record Book in 2008.
The magnitude of producing the record book presents many challenges that require careful judgment and an enormous amount of work to provide this tremendous service for SCI members. In May 2005, updated and state-of-the-art software was implemented. The records in this edition are much cleaner than in past volumes; however, there is a lot of work to be completed for future editions of the record book. Volunteers on the Trophy Records Committee and the staff at SCI headquarters in Tucson, Arizona, put in the time and effort because we love and believe in what the book represents. The book is not just a list of trophies, but a conservation tool to use in hunting camps throughout the world. We are striving to print the most accurate and informative record books in the industry and wants to thank the members of SCI for adding their personal trophies to the book, hunters from around the world benefit from the data printed in the record books.