By Jeff Johnston
Plenty of “nonprofits” claim they do all kinds of stuff for conservation when we all know their primary goal is lining the pockets of its leadership. But there are a few who actually do some good via boots-on-the-ground conservation work, or by having the political clout to influence legislation that affects all sportsmen.
Dallas Safari Club, or DSC, has that influence. Rest assured it’s not a green decoy group more concerned with placing lands in federal control and democratic voter mobilization like Trout Unlimited or BHA. Rather, DSC’s primary concern is sportsmen, because it knows that America’s conservation model is nothing without the sportsmen and women who make game animals valuable and thus actually pay for conservation.
I also know that it puts on the best convention in the business each year in downtown Dallas, Texas. And let me tell you, my Field Ethos brothers and I enjoy our time amid the Krieghoff rifles and dangerous game safaris that tempt us into blowing our life savings. With that, I’m reminded of last year’s show…
“Just pick up a bunch of mixers and stuff; we’ve got a truckload of Chicken Cock and Dixie Vodka,” said FE President Shane Meisel through my cell phone speaker as I rummaged through the aisles of a random Wal-Mart off I-35. There’s nothing worse than running dry on tonic when you have plenty of gin.
Our booth was a Montana canvas tent—about the size of a double dog house—but one that would just fit in the booth space designed for a folding table and two stools. I knew we had a problem when I noticed our tent flaps were mostly flapping onto our neighbors right-of-way. That was rude and we are sorry.
But about that time, Ron Dan, Field Ethos’ Maharajah of Diversity and Inclusion, walked by and Mike Schoby offered him a discreet libation, and I wasn’t about to let him drink alone. Pretty soon there were 30 people congregating like a garage party outside our tent, telling lies from past safaris and carrying on in a manner usually reserved for a darkened barroom, not a well-lit convention center. We didn’t realize at the time that we were blocking foot traffic and, apparently, illegally serving alcohol.
Inevitably, Dallas PD showed up and demanded we cease and desist or else, but by that time it was too late: We were already rolling, and had made a sizable splash at the show. So much so that we have been planning the party—er, booth, improvements ever since. (If DSC will have us back, that is.)
The show is just one element of this DSC phenomenon; it’s the cocktail hours at the adjacent Omni Hotel and the parties with the most interesting people in the world who make the gathering what it is—people who have one thing in common: a passion for worldwide adventure. It’s Field Ethos’ crowd to be sure.
If you haven’t made Dallas Safari Club’s annual Convention and Sporting Expo before, your FOMO should be kicking in about now. Book a room before it’s too late, and become a member of DSC while you’re at it. Then swing by our booth. Trust us, you’ll find it.
January 11-14, 2024.
Editor’s note: lead image created with AI