2018 CHAPTER ACCOMPLISHMENTS
SOUTHERN NEW MEXICO CHAPTER
The Southern New Mexico Chapter strives to be involved in all the core principles of National SCI. Our main goals are youth involvement, conservation, humanitarian efforts, community support, and cooperation with other SCI chapters in our area, as well as around the nation. We also are involved with the National SCI, SCIF, and legislative involvement, both local and national. Our chapter attempts to have a representative at every National Board meeting. We also have a member attend National Legislative Day each year in Washington, DC. We also attempt to be involved in any way that will help support National SCI.
Our year got started with a bang. We were contacted by a local police officer stating that he had a young man who had just finished hunter education and was looking to see if we could find him a “Make a Wish” hunt. This young man had terminal brain cancer and had already undergone five surgeries. We originally looked at trying to find an antelope hunt for this young man but were unable to do so. With the efforts of several members, we were able to obtain an American bison/ buffalo for this young man to hunt. The chapter president, vice president, and secretary were able to take this young man on this buffalo hunt within two weeks of the request. This was a challenge as the young man had never hunted before. However, after several failed stocks we were able to get him on the buffalo and he made a perfect shot from approximately 100 yards. The chapter had already determined that we would pay for all the meat processing for this very needy family as well as do a European skull mount for the young man. We were told that would provide meat for the family for a year. It was determined that we would present him with the mount at our annual fundraiser in February. Shortly before the fundraiser we were sadly informed that the young man had contracted the flu and was not doing well. The morning of our fundraiser we were informed that he had passed away the evening before. We made the announcement at the fundraiser of what had happened and the circumstances. The final hunt on our auction was dedicated to this young man and his family. All the proceeds from the sale of this hunt were to go to the family of the young man. The hunt was sold three times as it was donated back each time. We also had many members that gave individually. By the end of the evening the chapter and its members, as well as nonmembers, were able to raise an enough money to completely pay for this young man's funeral, together with money being left for other expenses for the family.
Also, during this time were the devastating hurricanes that occurred in the South Texas area. The Southern New Mexico Chapter partnered with the Texas SCI Chapters and the National SCI Foundation to provide much needed money for the hurricane relief. Our chapter felt very strongly that we should help our neighbors. Whether this money was used for conservation efforts for wildlife, or to help displaced families, as well as conservation officers, it was a very worthy cause.
The City of Roswell, New Mexico, has a very nice zoo for a community of its size. The zoo has been under attack by PETA regarding the zoo’s treatment of their mountain lions and black bears. PETA was attempting to get the zoo to give these two species of animals to PETA for relocation unless the zoo and the City of Roswell were able to get new enclosures for these animals. Our local chapter approached the zoo to see what we could do to help to get new facilities built. After many meetings the City was able to do a new master plan for rebuilding new enclosures for the mountain lion, as well as the bears. Currently the main focus is on the mountain lion. The Southern New Mexico Chapter was able to donate a substantial amount of money to get the fundraising campaign kicked off for this new enclosure. We will be one of the major sponsors and donators for this project. This has brought a lot of very positive public exposure, as well as positive opinions for SNMSCI and National SCI. It has put out the message that SCI is very much involved in the conservation and protection of animals, as well as in hunting.
Our chapter worked very closely with the New Mexico Game and Fish Department on many projects. In the past year we have supported the Game and Fish Department on four different projects, especially designed for youth. The first of these is by providing funds for a youth pheasant hunt that occurs every year in Artesia, New Mexico. This hunt is a draw hunt for youth below the age of 18 years of age. There are normally 40 applicants for the hunt. Our chapter supplied funding for the birds and prizes for each hunter. Our members also helped the Game and Fish Department conduct the hunt and provide supervision. We also provided bird dogs when needed. A new project this year was another youth pheasant hunt. We are the major sponsor for this hunt. This hunt is for ten youth between the ages of 10 and 18 who have just completed their hunter safety. Most of these hunters had never hunted pheasants. The chapter provided the birds, meals, prizes, and manpower to help put this hunt together. The third project this year was the Annual Fishing Derby that occurred at our local zoo and park. This event always attracts well over 300 participants plus parents, grandparents, and other individuals. We are a major sponsor in providing T- shirts for every child and provide funds for prizes for the children. The fourth event was held in Ruidoso, New Mexico, which is a 3-D Archery Shoot. There are over 100 participants in this event. Our chapter provided funding for the T-shirts and any other expenses that might be incurred for this event.
Every year during hunting season our chapter searches to find wounded veterans for a Wounded Warriors hunt. This past year we were fortunate to have two Purple Heart recipients from Vietnam. We had the distinct privilege to take these vets on a pronghorn antelope hunt in southeast New Mexico. Both gentlemen are the true definition of American heroes. Both men were able to harvest very nice pronghorns. I do not think I have ever seen bigger smiles than these two men had once their trophies were down. The chapter had each one of their individual trophies mounted to their specifications with a shoulder mount. The chapter presented the mounts to these individuals at our annual fundraising banquet in February. We also took care of all the warriors’ expenses for the hunt, including transportation, licenses, meals, and rooms. We also provided transportation and lodging expenses when they came to our banquet in February. It was a great honor for our chapter to be able to recognize the extreme patriotism and dedication of their service for each one of us and our country.
The Southern New Mexico Chapter takes great pride in working with the youth in our area. We encourage youth groups to contact us for their needs, and we try to meet and exceed their expectations. In the past year we worked with the Eddy County YHEC program, the Chaves County 4-H program, and the Curry County/ Clovis youth shooting program. These organizations are all youth shooting organizations. The support helps these organizations buy shotguns, targets, range time and transportation costs. We have seen many state and national champions from these groups. We are also involved in helping set up finance and equip archery in the school programs in our area. We do have one of our board members who is a certified instructor and he is involved in helping get the programs started in the individual schools. This has been an ongoing project for our chapter over many years. We also helped an individual student from a local school who had made a state FFA judging team to go to Oklahoma and to participate in a National Shoot at the Whittington NRA center in Raton, New Mexico. She was needing transportation funds and we were able to help her to attend and participate in both events.
Texas Tech University in Lubbock is currently doing a research project on chronic wasting disease. Our chapter has partnered with the West Texas chapters in providing funding to do this research. While this is out of State, it is in our general region and would help New Mexico with the chronic wasting disease problems that we have, if a cure or solution is found for the disease.
Our chapter tries to help other organizations by being major sponsors in different sporting clays competitions. These competitions benefit the youth of southeast New Mexico. They also benefit safety in the rural areas of southeast New Mexico. These groups include, but are not limited to, the Artesia Band Boosters, the Rotary Clubs of Roswell, the Artesia Chamber of Commerce, and the Sun Country Volunteer Fire Department. The money raised by these groups then goes back to support the youth in the Southeast NM area.
We also partner with Sul Ross University and Border Lands Research in Alpine, Texas. We provided funds for continued research on the possible introduction of Big Horn Sheep into the range of Barbary sheep. We also helped sponsor through SCIF a project whereby students of Sul Ross University were able to travel to South Africa to learn about the conservation efforts going on in that country, as well as the issues that they are having with poaching and how this effects the wildlife and conservation. Without our support, many students would not have been able to make this trip due to finical constraints for both the students and the school.
The SNMSCI Chapter is a loyal and annual supporter of the SCI AWLS facility. We donate funds to the camp every year and designate for them to use the money to enhance the facility the way they see fit. We also try to send teachers to the AWLS Leadership camps for educators.