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Thursday, January 24, 2019
Jr. waterfowl hunts next weekend

Safari Club International’s Hunters’ Convention just awesome
The 47th Annual Safari Club International Hunters’ Convention ended a fabulous four-day run at the Reno Convention Center this past week. This unique venue show cased the finest in firearms, taxidermy and fine art, along with hunting and fishing destinations from all over the world. There were in excess off 1,100 exhibitors at this gala show with many attendees saying that the event was one of the best ever.

Western Outdoor News spent three full days covering the convention and still ran out of time to spend with many outfitters and guides and some of the greatest far off destinations where dreams become a reality at this venue.


Some of the finest antique firearms ever manufactured were on display and representatives from many rifle, shotgun, pistol, knife and ammunition companies were on hand to show off the newest in products for 2019. This show is open to the general public and from walking countless isles this hunting editor would have to state that this year’s show was well attended despite bitter-cold blustery weather on opening day.

Show chairman Scott Chapman summed up the show in the following words, “The Ultimate Sportsmen’s Market is the best opportunity each year to meet friends and family, browse the show room floors and attend a host of informative seminars. At this show, those in attendance can meet up with some of the best outfitters and guides from around the world who gather under one roof, a show-space that is bigger than eight football fields!”

WON’s interest in attending SCI biggest event was to gather information on hunting conditions and the status of wild game around the world. Of course, of much interest was the status of big game and upland game birds here in California, and our adjoining states of Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and Mexico.

Chad Wiebe, master guide and owner of Oak Stone Outfitters, (805) 472-2200, based out of Bradley, offered up the following about current conditions along the Central Coast.

“Recent rains have triggered an early growth of winter wheat/barley and right now fields are covered in green grass that is 3 to 4 inches high. It’s looking like this year will offer up exceptional breeding conditions for all wild game animals. I would look for the wild hogs to have two to three litters of piglets, and perhaps some sows will give birth to big numbers of piglets. Of course, upland game birds in the way of our native Rio Grande turkey and California valley quail, are sure to benefit and hopefully increase brood size as conditions continue to improve with more rain on the way,” said Wiebe.

Ryan Piltz, Hunting Operations Manager with Oak Stone Outfitters, then added, “As for big game we are coming off an excellent year of hunting blacktail deer, Tule elk and hogs and I think that 2019 will even offer up better hunting opportunities. The Rio Grande turkey population has bounced back in this coastal region and we are seeing paired up valley quail whose covey’s size come next fall could be some of the largest in over a decade.” 


HIGH-END FIREARMS — New and very fine antique rifles and shotguns are all part of the SCI’s Hunters’ Convention. This is a must see show for anyone interested in hunting, fishing or traveling to distant destinations around the world. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC

High on this hunting editor’s bucket list of future hunts to be booked at this convention was to finally book a hunt with Arturo Malo of for a season ending Pacific Black Brant hunt on the huge estuary of San Quentin down in Baja Norte. Fortunately, WON met up with Malo just in the nick of time, as he had a cancellation for the last hunt of the season, with one open spot, I grabbed it without any delay. Western Outdoor News will cover this unique sea going goose hunt in a column upon my late February return from this large hunting Mecca.

Checking on hunting around the world with outfitters showed some concern with how President Trump was handling international issues and conservation. While politics is not the choicest of all topics to talk about when there is hunting and fishing options to discuss, it seemed that most of the foreign outfitters and booking agents were okay with what our President is or will be doing about delicate and worldly concerns.

A first-time exhibitor at this year’s convention was the Baja Norte exhibit. WON stopped by and spent quite some time with Eloy German Moreno, Delegate to the Secretary of Tourism for the Mexican state of Mexicali.

“We are here to promote the outstanding hunting and fishing available on Baja Norte. There are many hunting outfitters, guides and fishing destination very close to California and we promote many of these businesses. It is our responsibility to make hunters and anglers aware of what recreation is available on Baja Norte and to provide visitors with the latest information possible to a Baja Norte destination. Of interest to your readers should be that they can now purchase a Mexican fishing license online by simply logging on to our web site at,” said Moreno.

There were many new hunting rifles and shotguns to shoulder, booths were filled with the latest in optics from Trijicon, Swarovski, Leupold, Carl Zeiss and Burris/Steiner Optics and the number of booths filled with hunting accessories, packs, and hunting clothing was simply amazing.

While this hunting editor has visited the dark continent a few times on plains game hunts around South Africa, the quest this year would be to line up an upland game bird and waterfowl mixed bag hunt with perhaps a day or two for inter-acting with the local culture and visiting a few of the great vineyard estates of this country. Hopefully the trip to this destination will come about over our 4th of July holidays, when it’s winter in this part of the world, and the Rand is still trading at 14 to 1US$.

The SCI Hunters’ Convention for 2020 will again be held in Reno and convention dates are Jan. 15-19. For tickets or additional information log on to the SCI web site at

BAJA NORTE NOW ON LINE — WON hunting editor Jim Niemiec spent time with Eloy Moreno, Delegate to the Secretary of Tourism for the Mexico state of Mexicali, at the SCI convention. Conversation on hunting options, fishing and the on-line purchase of a fishing license were the main topics discussed. WON PHOTO BY TONI NIEMIEC

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