SCI's low minimums are encouraging the take of immature animals. SCI's creation of multiple award programs (Pinnacles of Achievement, etc.) has introduced competition into hunting, which has fostered unethical practices such as so-called canned hunting, genetic manipulation of animals, doping of animals to increase horn and antler growth and other abuses. The scoring method SCI uses on some animals has mistakenly focused hunting pressure on animals in their prime breeding years, as witness reports that SCI's system for scoring buffalo is reducing overall trophy size in some hunting countries. The SCI Record Book is largely responsible for a kind of trophy mania that has swept the hunting world, reducing the activity to a numbers game that dishonors the animals we take and blunts the sensitivities of hunters.
Here at The Hunting Report I do not think it is correct or fair to level this kind of criticism at SCI alone. All of the record books are at least partly responsible for the abuses that are occurring in hunting, and all of the scoring systems need to be re-examined in light of new knowledge about game populations. As for the SCI Record Book creating a trophy mania, my view is that the slavish adherence to the book by many hunters is simply a reflection of what is going on in society at large. Previously uncompetitive activities such as fishing and card-room poker, for example, have been transformed........(continued)