SCI and SAF File Intent to Sue Department of Education Over Archery/Hunter Education Policies and Other Industry News

SCI and SAF file intent to sue Department of Education over archery/hunter education policies; ATA Show recognized among the top 100 largest trade shows; P&Y Bowhunters Bash heading to Texas; Instructor of the Year named by NBEF; and the B&C “Poach & Pay Project.”

SCI and SAF File Intent to Sue Department of Education Over Archery/Hunter Education Policies and Other Industry News

SCI and SAF File Intent to Sue Department of Education Over Archery/Hunter Education Policies

On Aug. 11, 2023, Safari Club International, along with the Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation, sent a notice of intent to sue the Department of Education over the Department’s misinterpretation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), which would prohibit the use of federal funds for shooting sports, hunter education, and outdoor education programs in schools.

Co-sponsors and authors of the BSCA have repeatedly confirmed that it was not intended to restrict funding for these programs. Rather, these programs are vital to helping students find safe and healthy outlets—and to develop a love of the outdoors.

SCI and SAF’s notice of intent to sue warns the Department that its interpretation of the BSCA is arbitrary and capricious, in violation of federal law. It requests a response within ten days, or the organizations will have no choice but to file suit. These shooting sports and hunter education programs are far too important to allow this funding uncertainty to continue.

“SCI is disheartened by the Administration’s lack of urgency in correcting their misinterpretation of the BSCA,” said Ben Cassidy, SCI EVP of International Government and Public Affairs. “Congress has repeatedly confirmed that this was not the BSCA’s intent. The Department must understand there are consequences for ignoring the crucial role these programs play in helping kids learn new skills, enjoy the outdoors, and understand the importance of conservation.”

“SCI Foundation has been dedicated to providing shooting sports and outdoor education programs since 1976,” said SCI and SCI Foundation CEO W. Laird Hamberlin. “Nearly 7,000 educators have been trained in conservation/outdoor education and shooting sports, reaching over 1 million children nationwide. In addition, the Foundation, as well as SCI chapters, have invested millions of dollars in funding archery, hunter education, and outdoor education in schools. The Department’s incorrect interpretation of the BSCA has put all those programs in jeopardy.”

In addition to a suit, SCI is working with members of Congress to amend the law, to ensure misinterpretations like this cannot happen again. SCI’s Hunter Advocacy Action Center alert provides a direct link to contact Members of Congress, to demand urgent change.

ATA Show Recognized Among The Top 100 Largest Trade Shows

The ATA Show was recently recognized by Trade Show Executive Media Group as one of the 100 largest trade shows in 2022. The ATA Show is the largest and most inclusive trade show in the archery and bowhunting industry. For a complete list of Gold 100 honorees, click here.

“Despite a challenging post-COVID environment for the trade show business, the ATA Show is still among the largest shows in the country,“ said Jeff Poole, ATA’s president and CEO. “We look forward to welcoming ATA members to the 2024 ATA Show in St. Louis next January for another grand celebration of archery.”

The 2022 ATA Show was held in Louisville, Kentucky. The 2023 ATA Show, which took place in Indianapolis, built off the 2022 event with a 21% increase in attendance year-over-year.

“We congratulate you on this amazing achievement – especially after all we went through climbing out of the pandemic in 2022,” TSE Vice President and Editor-in-Chief Gabrielle Weiss said. “We are all excited to see these longstanding, iconic shows continue to make the Gold 100 list and to add some new names to the ranks.”

The 2024 ATA Show will be held at America’s Center in St. Louis for the first time in its history from Jan. 11-13, 2024. Booth selection is already underway as the ATA looks to continue building off the growth in 2023. Companies interested in exhibiting and archery retailers interested in attending can find more information at

Pope and Young Bowhunters Bash Heading to Texas

Pope and Young has announced its first Texas-based Bowhunters Bash, which will be held on Dec. 2, 2023. This time, Pope and Young is partnering with YETI to create an event fitting for the great state of Texas.

The event will take place in Bryan/College Station at the Best Western Premier. Like minded, conservation minded, ethical bowhunters, will gather for an evening packed full of fun for the entire family. Events include: door prizes, raffles, The National Field Judging Championship, Tex-Mex buffet, silent auctions, vendors, outfitters and live auctions.

Join Pope and Young and show your support for bowhunting conservation. While there, win some prizes, swap some hunting stories, and maybe even book your next big hunt! Click here to register for the Bowhunters Bash in Texas.

Instructor of the Year Named by National Bowhunter Education Foundation

The National Bowhunter Education Foundation (NBEF) recently named Sean McKinney of Salmon, Idaho, as the 2023 Bowhunter Education Instructor of the Year. McKinney was honored at the 2023 International Hunter Education Association - USA (IHEA) Conference in Boise, Idaho. 

Sean McKinney
Sean McKinney

NBEF Executive Director Marilyn Bentz recognized McKinney’s efforts working with bowhunter ed students over the past 5 years, including a program within the public schools. As the NBEF Instructor of the Year McKinney received a Mathews bow signed by Matt McPherson.

“Sean’s enthusiasm for bowhunting is very compelling,” Bentz said. “He represents the sport well, and inspires the next generation of bowhunters. We’re so pleased to honor Sean for all he does for bowhunter education. And although the NBEF appreciates the efforts of all our volunteer NBEF instructors, it is indeed a pleasure to recognize someone of Sean’s caliber.”

“This recognition means the world to me! I’m so excited for the upcoming year of classes and hunting,” said McKinney.

McKinney willingly continued the Hunter/Bowhunter Education legacy at the Salmon Public School District. The class began being offered in 1975 and has remained in the curriculum since then. McKinney adapted his curriculum to make a week-long class last over a 3-month semester. Students can complete certification requirements within the normal school day.

NBEF helps bowhunters learn to be safe, successful and stewards of the sport. NBEF offers bowhunting instructional items, books, videos, 3-D models, apparel and more at

Boone and Crockett “Poach & Pay Project”

Over the past 2 years, the Boone and Crockett Club and the Wildlife Management Institute have extensively studied the illegal take of wildlife species.

The Poach & Pay Project aims to determine the “dark figure” of poaching — the amount of wildlife crime that goes undetected by conservation agencies — and extrapolate the economic impact of poaching in states. The first parts of the study included scientific surveys of landowners, conservation law enforcement officers, and hunters in eight states, along with focus groups with judges and prosecutors who see poaching cases in court.

A university researcher is in the final stage of the Poach & Pay study and needs your help. A key part of the data is reaching out broadly to hunters regarding what they see in the field, with the potential of doing follow up interviews with a small group of the respondents. For this to work well, the researcher needs as many hunters as possible to take the survey. It will only take a few minutes of a person’s time, but will help the researcher gather the final pieces of information that is needed.

The Poach & Pay study aims to determine the motivations and frequency of the illegal take of wildlife in the United States. Specifically, the researcher is looking at the illegal take of big game (deer, black bear, brown bear, elk, turkey, moose, caribou, mountain goat, wild sheep, cougar or other big game species).

Important note: All responses to the survey or from any follow-up interviews will be held in strict confidence by the university researcher. Your responses and any identifying information will be retained under sole control of the researcher, will not be released to anyone else, and will be destroyed after the project is completed.

If you agree to participate and are chosen to complete a brief follow-up web or phone interview, you will receive a $25 Bass Pro Shop's Gift Card for your time.

Click here to take the survey.


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