WSI ENewsletter May 25, 2021
EDITORIAL

THE SEVEN M's OF HUNTING

My good friend, Dr. Bill Eikenhorst, who is an intellectual giant, began postulating some basic tenets of hunting some years ago, that he initially referred to as the Four M’s of Hunting. Later he added two additional tenets, and I added the final piece; an assembly that we refer to as The Seven M’s of Hunting. Bill and I have discussed these principles on many occasions over the years and I began crafting some language about a year ago as an attempt to breathe life into this framework of principles.

From my perspective, the collective merit of this model should be to effectively serve as both a litmus and a compass for hunting. One can ponder what hunting “is” and what hunting “is not,” which can lead to complex discussions, and can also create spirited debate. Hunting is partially made up of properties that are hard to put your finger on, hence the difficulty that most people find in answering the question, “Why do you hunt?” But in a world where our societal norms and expectations are critical of environmental responsibility and animal welfare, our ability to understand the complex nature of hunting, while also being able to explain and defend it, is growing more critical. Equally important, our ability to best understand how to steward the sustainable nature of hunting should be inextricably part of this model.

Self-introspection is not an easy process. For starters, people being people, we tend to inebriate ourselves through our own predisposed kool-aid, which circumvents an honest deep dive into matters at hand. Further, special interest groups from within, can create chaos when disparity creeps into the introspective process. Also, the distractions that are inherent to group introspection make it difficult to establish the vision that charts a path forward in reconciling possible reforms that allow for progress. With this notion in mind, I suggest that our hunting community has an urgent need to develop more bandwidth in learning how to remain, or shall we say regain, relevancy within the sideboards of mainstream USA. Thus, The Seven M’s of Hunting offer a conversation platform for such needed introspection.

1. Mystery - When there becomes too much certainty of various details in the hunt, an integral property of hunting is lost - it’s no longer hunting. Rather, it’s something else. When certainty of the harvest is assured, much of the Mystery is no longer. Among other things, this begs the question of, “Can we know too much about an individual animal that is being hunted?”, which may be a prime example of TMI – too much information. Case in point is what we now see with remote cameras that are integrated into hunting, which can sometimes allow us to become extremely familiar with the traits and habits of our quarry. Small enclosures that allow little or no chance for escape, and domesticated game that lose much of their fear for man, represent a few other scenarios that could be used to illustrate possible erosion of “Mystery” in the hunt.


I hope this WSI ENews finds each of you doing well. As they say, “Life’s better outside,” so carve out plenty of time in the Back-40, wherever that may be.


Cheers,

Greg Simons
WSI, Co-owner
TRAILING THE HUNTER'S MOON
TV SHOW

Over the last year, WSI has served as a primary sponsor of the award-winning show, Trailing the Hunters’ Moon. Seasonally airing on Pursuit channel and several digital platforms including Pursuit UP (Roku, FireTV, AppleTV, Google Play), Wild Canada TV, and Carbon TV (App Store, Google Play, FireTV, Roku). Other primary sponsors of this show include Trijicon Optics, Hornady Ammo, Kenetrek Boots, Ruger Firearms, MB Ranch KinG, Double Nickle Taxidermy, Ripcord Travel Protection, Texas Trophy Hunters Associaiton, and Bino Gear.

In addition to hosting several hunts for TTHM, WSI also provides a 1-minute conservation piece for each show. According to proprietor and show host, Blake Barnett, “Our partnership with WSI allows us to strengthen our commitment to professionalism in the hunting industry, while also increasing our emphasis on conservation through integrating the WSI track-record in this space.”

You can enjoy a few of the shows that WSI has hosted for TTHM by going to our website and clicking on our video page. For your convenience and pleasure, we have provided a link to one of the shows right here. 


SIMONS ELECTED TO
DSC BOARD OF DIRECTORS

WSI co-owner, Greg Simons, was recently elected to serve on the Dallas Safari Club Board of Directors. A member of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), DSC is a mission-focused conservation organization, funded by hunters from around the world. With an administrative staff of less than 15 and a volunteer army of 500+, DSC hosts an annual Convention that raises funds for grants in conservation, education, and advocacy. In the past five years, more than $5 million has been channeled to qualified projects, organizations, and programs in support of that mission.  

A life member of DSC, Simons attended his first DSC convention in 1988 and has remained a fan and advocate of this organization. As a board member of DSC, Simons will provide input to the group’s leadership team on matters related to program development, operational strategy, and policy consideration. “The fiduciary responsibility as a DSC board member is something not to take likely and I hope to use my years of serving on other similar boards to provide meaningful contributions.” He also added, “I still serve on boards of multiple other NGOs that are involved in similar work. I would like to better understand how likeminded conservation groups can improve in our collaborative efforts, ultimately synergizing our collective outputs, as that is one of the keys to sustainability of our natural resources through applied conservation.”

Simons is also a board member of National Deer Association, Texas Wildlife Association Foundation, and serves on numerous other advisory committees. It is his sentiment that civic engagement and civic duty are integral components of conservation traction. He also feels that the best way that an individual can help move the needle for hunter advocacy is to become involved with a conservation group, which ultimately allows that person to amplify their efforts. 
WSI REBOOKING POLICY

For those hunters who are planning on attending a WSI hunt, please know that our normal rebooking policy generally provides our clients with a 30-day window after their hunt to pay a $300 rebooking fee. This holds their spot for the following season/year and as soon as we know our dates, prices, and details for the next year, we then circle back to those hunters and provide them with the opportunity to formalize the booking at that time. So, it is important to get on our radar through this payment process to avoid losing your spot for the following year. 

DSC FOUNDATION GALA
It is not too late to plan on attending the Dallas Safari Club Foundation Gale on June 12 at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas. This special night will provide the opportunity to re-affirm your passion and commitment to Conservation Through Hunting and support the great work of DSC Foundation. This special evening includes an excellent line-up of live and silent auction items, great raffle prizes, and an incredible presentation capped off with guest speaker Danene van der Westhuyzen. Make plans to join us at the Frontiers of Flight Museum on Saturday, June 12! You can support this effort through either attending the event or registering for the auction by clicking on a link provided below.

DSC/DSCF has a proven track-record of investing in areas that make a difference, both internationally and domestically, in advancing wildlife conservation and serving as a voice for our important hunting heritage. Whether it’s antipoaching and humanitarian efforts in third-world areas, or youth education in Texas, or working on public policy matters in DC, the important monies that are raised by this organization are leveraged to advance the sustainable health of hunting and wildlife.

DSC Foundation is a charitable organization operating and organized under Section 501I3 of the Internal Revenue Code. As such, the portion of your table or individual ticket price that exceeds fair market value may be deductible as allowed under Section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code.

For more information contact Richard Cheatham at Rcheatham@dscf.org or 972-851-9171.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

For over 15 years, we have been recommending that our clients consider purchasing travel insurance. There are several solid companies that offer good coverage. AIG Travel Guard is a company that we have routinely recommended through our prep packets and on our website. Over the years, we have had many clients who have experienced unforeseen challenges, many who have forfeited monies that have been paid. WSI co-owner has made it a point to purchase travel insurance for all his personal and family vacations in recent years. According to Simons, “I’ve seen first-hand, through our clients, that an assortment of unforeseen events can arise, making it difficult to attend a planned trip, so Deb and I always make it a point to purchase coverage on our vacation trips.”

Make sure you understand what is covered under protection. There are some companies that now offer options that cover some COVID-related matters, but it is important that you fully understand those details before you purchase the coverage. There are many different features with some of these packages including trip cancellation, medivac, lost luggage, and other relevant areas. 

SPIKE IN LICENSE SALES AND OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

While COVID-19 curtailed many American activities, this pandemic has seemed to foster a societal appetite to take to the field in search of something not found behind the confines of bricks and mortar. According to Southwick Associates, resident hunting license sales in 2020 were up 5.4% and nonresident sales were up 1.6%. License sales were up in all four regions (Northeast, Southeast, Midwest and West), though at different levels for each region. Tracking in a similar fashion, virtually all outdoor-related product lines have witnessed record retail sales over the last year, including boating, hiking, camping, ATVs, UTVs, hunting and fishing, and other lines.

This spike in activity bodes well for conservation funding. According to WSI co-owner, Greg Simons, “When you consider that state natural resource agencies largely rely on monies generated through hunting/fishing license sales, as well as excise tax that are paid on guns, ammo, and fishing equipment, this uptick in license and equipment sales is a shot in the arm for these state DNRs.” Further, the increased travel to rural areas also fosters a community-based appreciation for hunters and fishermen through the boost that is provided for economic gain. Simons also pointed out, “From a private lands conservation standpoint, this increase in hunting activity creates a stronger platform in incentivizing landowners to re-invest in their wildlife resources, ultimately adding to the sustainable likelihood of wildlife habitat on private lands.”

The question de jour is whether this spike in outdoor-related activities will hold up. According to Simons, “In many industries where you have an accelerated growth over a short period of time, you often see a pendulum-effect, with consumers backing off after being over-served. In this case, I’m hopeful that we will see a paradigm and not a pendulum.” Though only time will tell, it’s a healthy sign for our country to see Americans connecting and reconnecting to our natural world. 
COVID - 19 PROTECTION

Through this dreadful pandemic, WSI has been diligent at integrating best-management practices into our routine in our camps and during our hunts. Hand-sanitizing, regular handwashing, masking up in food lines, wiping of surfaces, and scattering out during mealtime, are some of the protocols that we have been encouraging in our camps. For those hunters who have knowingly been exposed to someone with COVID within 15 days prior to your trip, you must find a replacement, as the risk is simply too great of putting others at risk. Hunters who are symptomatic just prior to the trip should be tested prior to their departure. Considering the large number of clients and number of camps that we have been working during the last year, we have maintained a relatively clean track record with few occasions that needed additional attention. A growing percentage of our US population is becoming vaccinated, plus you have the classic “herd immunity” effect of those who have been exposed and have the antibodies in their system, so we are hopeful that we are over the hump regarding our greatest risk period of C-19, but none the less, our WSI team remains committed to trying to ensure a safe and healthy environment for those who are part of our program. 

The Big Book of Wildlife & Nature Photography
By
Russell Graves
Two years in the making, this new eBook is finally out. The Big Book of Wildlife and Nature Photography ranges from technical advice for beginning photographers to practical advice for the more advanced practitioner and draws on the author's years spent in the field and observing wildlife up-close. Readers will learn everything from the best gear package to carry for their outdoor excursions to advanced techniques like using technology to scout animals. In addition, there are case studies on how photos were made, practical advice on gear and equipment, and tips on setting up your own wildlife photography locations.

In all there are:
60,000+ words
300+ photos with technical info
3-1/2+ hours of video

That's why it’s called the Big Book.

There are two versions of the PDF ebook:

  1. The Standard Version (bear cover) covers a range of wildlife and nature photography topics.
  2. The Outdoorsman Edition (elk cover) has all of the info the standard edition but also includes a bonus chapter for those who want to better capture their hunting and fishing adventures.

Both are priced at $14.99 each and you can find them at https://www.russellgraves.com/p/books

As a bonus, those who purchase the book will receive a coupon code for 10% off any Backcountry Journeys Photo Adventures trip (valued up to a $1,900 discount).

Whether you are a hardcore photographer or simply like cool pictures of nature, be sure to pick this up.

Use the discount code WS10 for 10% off your purchase of the eBook.

Greg Simons
(325) 655-0877