By Mike Bodenchuk, Editor-at-Large
As the show season winds down, a short retrospective provides a look at available hunts and what you might plan for in 2019. Almost every vendor at each show offers a donated hunt, so looking at the hunt donations for Dallas Safari Club (DSC), Grand Slam Club/Ovis (GSCO) and Safari Club International (SCI) offers a condensed digest of what’s out there.
At the DSC show, the auction catalog included 73 African hunts, with 46 from South Africa, 10 from Namibia, four from Zimbabwe, three each from Mozambique and Tanzania, two each from Zambia and Mauritius and one each from Uganda, Cameroon and Botswana. Auction hunts also included 20 hunts from US outfitters, 25 hunts from European outfitters (15 from Spain, two each from Croatia, Macedonia, Italy and Austria and one each from Greece and Ireland), 13 from South America (12 from Argentina and one from Bolivia), four from Mexico, 10 from Canada and 11 from the South Pacific (eight from New Zealand and three from Australia). There were four hunts offered from Russia, which straddles Europe and Asia, and only one hunt from Pakistan. There were additional hunts available for silent auction and raffle, but this list shows the relative presence of the hunting industry at DSC.
GSCO, in contrast, offered only eight hunts from Africa (five from South Africa and one each from Namibia, Botswana and Cameroon) and only four hunts from South America, all from Argentina. European hunts dominated the GSCO auction catalog, with a total of 21 hunts (14 from Spain, two each from Macedonia and Greece and one each from Croatia, Italy and Slovakia). North America was represented with 28 donated hunts from the US, three from Mexico and nine from Canada. A remarkable 10 hunts were available from Asian outfitters (four from Kyrgyzstan, three from Pakistan and one each from Tajikistan, Mongolia and Nepal). Russian outfitters donated five hunts, and eight hunts were available from the South Pacific (seven from New Zealand and one from Australia).
The biggest show, in terms of attendance and auctions, is the SCI show and this year’s offerings demonstrate the depth of the outfitters at that show. There were 82 African hunts available for auction (46 from South Africa, 15 from Namibia, four each from Cameroon, Zambia and Mozambique, two each from Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe and one each from Mauritius, Botswana and CAR). North America was represented strongly with 50 auction hunts from the US, 15 from Canada, four from Mexico and a single offering from Greenland. Argentina led South American offerings with 24 hunts (many bird hunts), while Peru and Bolivia each had one hunt available. Asia was represented with four hunts, and an additional four hunts were offered in Russia. Finally, New Zealand outfitters offered 15 different hunts for the auction while Australian outfitters offered four.
Although each convention offers a wide range of auction hunts from around the world, it’s also clear that each show has a distinct character in terms of the outfitters present and the auction offerings. Auction hunts are a direct reflection of the outfitters and booking agents present at each show, so your hunting interests may be better served at one show or another. Keep this in mind when you begin considering the 2019 convention calendar and the types of hunts you are interested in buying. Or better yet, plan on attending all three!