It seems that everybody knew of Custodians before we even arrived at SCI. We have certainly caused a stir in the hunting world. Welcomed by almost all.
On the first morning I attended the Guides and Outfitters meeting with SCI where the usual issues relating to the industry on a global scale was discussed. Again the emphasis was on social media and the negative exposure hunting is receiving in the international press.
The second meeting was the OPHAA meeting where the emphasise was on upholding ethics and how the different countries can work together to stop cross border malpractices. To this effect we have agreed that our outfitters will either be part of the recognised PH associations in the countries they operate in, or they will only work through outfitters who are members of their respective country associations. Too often problems arise in a country where the PH doesn`t belong in that country and is not help accountable for the damage caused. This has been a problem for clients who then never receive trophies or bad practices that end up in the press and continue to bring hunting into disrepute.
I attended the AWCF meeting with SCI and government representatives to follow up on the Uganda meeting. The main issues discussed was the upcoming CITES CoP in Sri Lanka and the submissions the different countries were making. There is a proposal by Kenya and a few central Africa countries to uplift giraffe to CITES although the chances of this succeeding is very low at this stage. It is regrettable that Kenya Wildlife Services appears to be run by anti hunting NGO`s and thus working with Kenya government officials does not work for the SADC countries.
I also attended a Krieghoff cocktail party where they poured very strong gins and there were some very attractive ladies wrapped in furs. There wee some guns too but the highlight was the gin.
Immediately following the Krieghoff cocktail party was the IPHA 50th anniversary celebration and dinner where Edwardo de Sanchez, the current president of IPHA managed to bore the attendees by dragging out a 5 minute speech to an hour long. There were many old and distinguished PH`s and characters in the make up and was a very enjoyable evening, especially after the gins.
On the show the booth was very quite as the public don`t have much interest in associations unless they have a problem. More was achieved in networking in the short moments I had walking the floor. I would like to suggest that there be 2 people in the booth next year so that one can cruise the floor and speak to potential sponsors and donors while the other sits in the booth.
In addition, we need to identify ourselves more as South Africa based, maybe a SA flag. I also think we should do an annual magazine which we highlight the years achievements and promote hunting in SA and what clients should be looking for. It will also be a good place to sell advertising to sponsors and members. NAPHA has something similar which was popular. We had very little of interest to hand out. IPHA occupied the 1 adjacent booth and they had some caps and badges which sold quite well. We may look at some merchandising if by then we have more available.
These are just some thoughts thus far.