News, notes from Day Two of DSC Convention

DALLAS — One of the highlights of any Dallas Safari Club (DSC) convention is the wide array of high-end auction items that are up for bid. From multi-week African safaris to custom rifles; exquisite art to must-have hunting gear, companies exhibiting at this week's annual convention have ponied up some of the world's finest products to benefit the far-reaching efforts of DSC.

Through the second day of the convention's four-day run, DSC officials reported $480,905 has been raised through auctions and raffles. All of the money raised goes to fund DSC's mission of conserving wildlife and wilderness lands, educating youth and the general public and promoting and protecting the interests of hunters worldwide.

Live auctions are held nightly at DSC member functions while convention attendees can be a part of the silent auctions each day inside the Dallas Convention Center. Raffle tickets are also sold to attendees inside the convention hall with multi-ticket packages available for people looking to increase their odds of taking home some very sweet prizes.

Eye of the beholder

In a convention hall brimming with hunting and shooting enthusiasts from around the world, fighting for attention against the thousands of museum-quality taxidermy displays featuring the globe's most exotic and iconic creatures as well as ultra-high-end custom firearms would be an uphill climb for the Swedish Bikini Team.

But surprisingly (or not, once you've seem some of it), the bevy of art on display at the DSC convention more than holds its own.

Subject matter for most of the paintings and sculptures, as expected, centers around African big-game animals. But there's domestic subject matter to be seen, too — all of it is stunning and in no way overshadowed by the outfitters offering African adventures on every aisle.

Art prices range substantially, from brilliant pieces priced for the workingman or woman to original works destined for castles and museums. Admission to the convention is on par with most of the galleries in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, but it would be hard to imagine that any of them could boast a equal collection of imagination- and attention-grabbing art — especially if you love the outdoors.

The name game

Professional Hunters in Africa don't particularly like it when sports shoot game on the Dark Continent only to approach the quarry and say, "Cool. What is it?" In all fairness, Africa is home to 72 different species of antelope (there's only 84 in the entire world).

So see if you can correctly identify the names of these African game animals on display at the 2010 DSC Convention:

Answers are at the bottom. No cheating.

The newest, coolest and most exotic

What's New: Thompson/Center, one of America's finest manufacturers of quality sporting arms, is offering a commemorative model of its popular and proven Encore model to denote the historic 2010 Dallas Safari Club Convention.

Following the theme of this year's convention, "First Light," this Encore features deep-luster bluing on the barrel and receiver; a gold-inlayed depiction of the theme's logo on the right side of the receiver balanced by gold-inlayed "First Light" on the left side; a 24-inch hexagon barrel; and exhibition walnut stock and fore end.

The firearm, produced by the Custom Shop at Thompson/Center is limited to an initial production run of 12 and comes contained in an ultra-stout, padded, two-gun Pelican hard case. Displayed at the DSC Convention with a .45-70 barrel, the interchangeable barrels on this break-open action rifle are available in a variety of calibers suitable for African or North American Game.

The commemorative Encore, an eye-catching blend of form and function, along with case, are available for $1,550, both at the convention or directly though the Custom Shop (800-243-4570).

What's Cool: DiamondBlade Knives (diamondbladeknives.com) has come up with a way to take the hardest work out of skinning and butchering thick- and tough-skinned game: keeping knives sharp.

Through a process called Friction Forging, developed through years of research conducted by DiamondBlade Knives and sister company, Knives of Alaska, scientists, engineers and universities, wherein knife blades are differently hardened (among a host of other changes) resulting in a tool that stays sharp up to 10 times longer than any other knife.

One customer at the DSC Convention reported skinning 14 elk and three wild hogs with his DiamondBlade knife, which has never been sharpened but can still shave hair from his arm. Constructed of super-strong D2 tool steel that is virtually indestructible and won't break even when bent to 90 degrees, knife enthusiasts can choose from fixed-blade knives, skinning knives, survival knives and unbelievably light and easy-to-carry folding knives.

Quality construction and components don't come cheap, though: prices range from $295 for folding knives and run to $835 for their top models.

What's Exotic: For everyone whose bronzed baby shoes still adorn mom and dad's mantel, we present the next big thing in maudlin metallic memorabilia: bronzed turkey heads.

Artistic Metal Concepts of Bolivar, Mo., (www.artisticmetalconcepts.com) has developed a process of bronzing hunting trophies including deer skulls, elk antlers, sheep horns, turtle shells and more. Turkey heads are freeze-dried, then sealed, coated with powdered metal and polished.

The finished product has the look and permanent feel of bronzed baby shoes. The company charges $100 for a turkey head and $180 for a whitetail skull; other prices determined by size of trophy.

The Artistic Metal Concepts booths drew rave response Friday from aisle-walkers at the Dallas Safari Club convention.

Name Game Answers:

(Left to right:) Impala, Bushbuck, Klipspringer, Warthog

So how'd you score?

0 Correct Answers:
It's called a zoo. There's probably one in your area. You should really go check it out.

1 Correct Answer:
You need to spend more time outside of your deer blind.

2 Correct Answers:
You must watch the National Geographic Channel every now and then.

3 Correct Answers:
Why aren't you a Dallas Safari Club member?

4 Correct Answers:
Congrats! You've probably got these animals mounted and hanging in your den already.