Dennis Campbell of the Grand Slam Club Ovis spoke with Wide Open Spaces about the mission of the club and all the great things it’s doing for hunting and conservation.
I recently had the opportunity to talk to Dennis Campbell, the executive director of the Grand Slam Club Ovis. The Grand Slam Club Ovis is an organization of hunters and conservationists dedicated to improving and perpetuating the populations of wild sheep and goats worldwide, as well as North American big game. Grand Slam Club Ovis is dedicated to informing and educating people all over the world about North American big game animals, as well as wild mountain sheep and goats. Finally, they use their financial resources to benefit (directly or indirectly) wild mountain sheep and goats and other North American big game.
Though the Grand Slam Club Ovis has been around under one name or another since 1956, they are not nearly as well known as other conservation organizations such as the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Safari Club International, or the Boone & Crockett Club. Mr. Campbell was kind enough to take the time to talk to me and provide some interesting information about the Grand Slam Club Ovis and all the great things the club is doing for hunting and conservation.
Can you briefly describe what is involved in a “Grand Slam”?
“The original Grand Slam was the Grand Slam of North American Wild Sheep, which is accomplished when a hunter takes free-ranging specimens of all four species of North American wild sheep (desert bighorn, Rocky Mountain bighorn, Stone’s sheep, & Dall’s sheep).Then the Ovis World Slam is accomplished by taking at least 12 different species of the world’s wild sheep.
The Super Slam of North American big game is the legal taking of all 29 of the traditionally recognized species of big game animals native to North America from 10 different categories: bears, deer, elk, caribou, moose, bison, goat, antelope and sheep.
A hunter who completes any Grand or Super Slam receives a plaque and/or a certificate in recognition of their accomplishment. The point of these award programs is to promote conservation of these animal species by encouraging legal and ethical hunting of them.”
Would it be accurate to say that sheep and goats are the focus of your conservation efforts in the USA and worldwide?
“Not any longer. With the introduction of the Super Slam program, the sheep and goats of the world and the North American big game animals receive approximately equal priority in our conservation efforts. Honestly, I think that the North American big game animals are going to eventually receive more of our attention in the future because there are so many more people who hunt them when compared to the sheep and goats of the world.”
Specifically, what sort of things does the Grand Slam Club do to help conservation?
“We’ve funded disease research with Washington State University several different times. We’ve been the leader with Argali research and conservation in Mongolia. We’ve been extremely involved in desert bighorn sheep conservation and hunting in Mexico, predominantly in southern Baja. We are the second largest contributor to Conservation Force (second only to the Dallas Safari Club). We have been the top donor to Nevada Bighorns Unlimited for the past three years. The list goes on and on, but those are just a few projects that come to mind.”
How does the Grand Slam Club Ovis help hunters who may never have the interest or ability to hunt wild sheep or goats?
“Our conservation efforts lately have been aimed at perpetuating the populations of all North American big game animals through our different projects and through our encouragement of legal hunting by everyone. Another, often overlooked, aspect of how we help hunters is through our education and outreach projects to help raise awareness about the benefits of hunting and conservation.”
Does the Grand Slam Club Ovis have a stance on hunting captive raised sheep, such as a Mouflon ram raised and hunted on an exotic ranch in Texas?
“We do not recognize non-free-range animals for any of our slams. We do not take a negative stance towards or condemn someone who does hunt captive animals, but they do not count towards our slams. We’re not in the business of judging or condemning people, but we do have standards for our slams and only free range animals qualify.”
How do you define free range?
“We say that anything inside a man-made barrier is not free range, no matter how big the enclosure is. For instance, there are a number of outfitters in Mexico that have gigantic enclosures (over 100,000 acres). We do not count sheep taken inside any of these enclosures even though many of them are bigger than Carmen Island (37,000 acres), where the animals are considered free range. We cannot compromise our ethics and we have to draw the line somewhere.”
I really enjoyed talking to Campbell about the Grand Slam Club Ovis and I sincerely appreciate him taking the time to talk to me about what the club is doing for ethical hunting, education, and conservation.
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