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Wednesday, July 31, 2019
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Why hunters should join SCI – Orange County
There are a number of very good hunting, fishing and conservation-orientated chapters across the state. Perhaps the largest group is represented by Ducks Unlimited, followed by the CWA, NWTF, Pheasants Forever, Quail Unlimited, Mule Deer Foundation and California Deer, just to mention a few of the more active chapters. Based on this WON hunting editor’s association with all of these groups over the years, I would have to say the most active group of hunters in Southern California are members of Safari Club International’s Orange County chapter.

boddingtonguestBODDINGTON GUEST OF SCI – OC — Outdoor journalist Craig Boddington spent an evening with the Orange County chapter of SCI. After signing books, with Audie and Daisy Kurth looking on, who attended the dinner meeting with their dad SCI life-member Don Kurth, this big game hunter talked about hunting around the world. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC

The Orange County chapter is very active in conservation programs, youth education, shooting and hunting venues, contributions to outdoor events and its members take a very active part in big game hunting and upland game bird hunting. WON was the guest of the OC chapter this past week at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim, and the chapter invited outdoor journalist Craig Boddington to speak on hunting around the world, and he was followed by Cliff McDonald, President and Project Coordinator of Water For Wildlife, who spoke about conservation projects in the Mojave Desert and the upcoming Youth Quail Hunt set for the first weekend in October.


This monthly gathering of hunters and sportsmen offers a great evening to exchange hunting stories, talk about hunting destinations around the world, enjoy dinner and then top off the evening with a raffle for a firearm and a number of hunting accessories.


Bill Waddle, President of the Orange County Chapter and also owner of the 6-pack sportfisher Options, offered the following information on what it means to become a member of a SCI chapter and take an active part in annual shooting, hunting and conservation events.


“Although I have yet to hunt Africa, I have been the president of the Orange County chapter of SCI three times. There is an important lesson here in that SCI is not an elitist group of international hunters. SCI represents varmint hunters in California, whitetail deer hunters in Wisconsin and squirrel hunters in Pennsylvania. We all have to stick together and be united under a strong organization that represents our interests and protecting the right to hunt here in the United States and worldwide. Does that mean that you shouldn’t also be a member of Ducks Unlimited or the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation? Of course not, but the lobby power of SCI and the NRA have real strength in the political arena. Everyone is welcome to come to one of our monthly meetings on the third Thursday of the month and enjoy a night of sharing the evening with fellow hunters, listen to our guest speaker and participate in the nightly raffle,” voiced Waddle.


Waddle then went to state, “On a local level, SCI Orange County is instrumental in funding important programs like Water For Wildlife, which maintains drinker/guzzlers for wildlife throughout the Mojave Desert. The Orange County chapter also supports Youth Safari Day and the Mojave Youth Quail Hunt, which are hugely important in getting kids involved in hunting and the outdoors in general.”


Boddington held the interest of the group, as he presented detailed information on big game hunts around the world. His talk was about logistics, problems, costs and the importance of being in good shape when hunting. He covered many animals from the largest sheep of the Himalayans to blacktail bucks along the Central Coast of California.


McDonald spoke to the group about the projects completed in the High Desert and plans for next year.


“This is the 15th year that Water For Wildlife has headed out to the vast Mojave Desert to work on guzzlers and other antiquated water sources. So far volunteers have completed work on 188 guzzlers. To repair, each guzzler costs about $600 to $1,000,  plus the 100- to 130-man hours to complete the job. For just 2019, there were 80 volunteers showing up for work projects and they restored 14 drinkers and put in a total of 1,250-man hours. There were additional expenses of material and equipment costs that amounted to $6,500 and some of the costs were covered by donations from the Orange County chapter of SCI and California Deer,” said McDonald. (See McDonald's letter on page 4 about a recent project in the Bishop area in June in the Eastern Sierra).


McDonald added, “Right now Water For Wildlife, other than the Bishop project, has no plans for projects in 2020 on the books for the vast Mojave Desert, but we are open to suggestions for work projects to be done in the East Mojave.”


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