SCIF’s Endowed Hunting Heritage Scholarship Program

SCIF is proud to announce one of its partnering universities, West Virginia University, recently awarded the CJ McElroy Hunting Heritage scholarship to Charity Knotts. Charity is a junior in the Wildlife and Fisheries Resources program and currently carries a 4.0 GPA. The scholarship she is receiving is for this academic year and will carry over to her senior year. She had this to say about following her path, who influenced her, and what she hopes to accomplish with her future graduate work.

“I was born in High Point, North Carolina; however, I moved to West Virginia when I was two and have been living in Morgantown since the age of five. Throughout my growing up, my grandfather was the district biologist at the West Virginia State Wildlife Center. Thus, I have been visiting every year, multiple times a year since I was born. I even spent my last two summers working there as well as doing my internship. My grandfather, Ray Knotts, was also a very active hunter and fisherman. Even before I could hunt, I had my own toy gun and stuffed deer that I frequently “hunted” and pretended to feed the family. When I reached the age of eight, I finally got to go hunting and kill my first deer (along with many squirrels). As I got older, my hunting interest continued to expand. I have killed many deer, squirrels, turkeys, and even a raccoon. While hunting, my grandfather taught me a lot about the woods. For instance, I have a very traditional view of hunting. It is all about the fair chase. We do not hunt semi-tame, fenced deer with any type of lure or feeder. And while it is always fun to shoot a nice buck, my intention for hunting is to put food on the table. He also taught me a lot about mast, times of day, and other factors contributing to the hunt. I also grew up with a great knowledge of plants and trees. For my 16th birthday, my grandparents bought me a lifetime hunting and fishing license for the state of West Virginia. Despite my huge interest in hunting, it was not until my senior year of high school that I decided to go into the field of wildlife and fisheries. I have always had a love for animals and wanted to be a veterinarian my entire life; however, I also had such a love of the outdoors that a career in veterinary science did not seem to fit. With the help of my grandfather, I discovered that Wildlife and Fisheries was the field for me. I am still unsure as to what career to pursue in natural resources, but I have a passion for the conservation of wildlife and the environment. Perhaps I will pursue a career in wildlife biology or conservation genetics. As of right now, I hope to gain experience working or volunteering in various parts of the natural resources industry.”

Charity Knotts, West Virginia University Scholar

As a part of our education mission at Safari Club International Foundation (SCIF), it is important for us to ensure the future of wildlife. One way is for SCIF to help young wildlife professionals pursue their dreams of working in the wildlife conservation field. SCIF has been providing scholarships to students in wildlife management at several top university programs for almost 20 years through our SCIF Hunting Heritage Scholarships. These scholarships were established by the Sables to support students majoring in wildlife-related fields.   Scholarships are established in cooperation with SCI members who wish to contribute up to a $100,000 endowment at the university or school of the SCI member’s choice. Annual scholarships are then funded by the endowment in perpetuity, with scholars selected by each university according to guidelines agreed to by SCIF and the donors. Each institution awards an annual scholarship of up to $4,000 to top wildlife students interested in and supportive of hunting as a critical component of conservation. SCIF’s education staff, along with the SCIF Sables are responsible for monitoring these scholarships.

SCIF currently has six endowed scholarships that make up the Sables Hunting Heritage Scholarships:

  • SCI Foundation Sables Hunting Heritage Scholarship at Texas A&M- Kingsville  
  • Elaine & Gus Vogeler Hunting Heritage Scholarship at the University of Idaho
  • Joe Leta Hunting Heritage Scholarship at the University of Maine
  • CJ McElroy Hunting Heritage Scholarship at West Virginia University
  • The Susan and John Monson Hunting Heritage Scholarship at the University of Montana
  • Don MacMillan Hunting Heritage Scholarship at Hamline Law School in Minnesota.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can contribute to establishing an SCIF Endowed Hunting Heritage Scholarship in your name, please contact Todd Roggenkamp, Assistant Director of Education for Safari Club International Foundation at (520) 594-0664 or  A big congratulations to Charity Knotts for receiving our CJ McElroy scholarship as we know she will do great things in the conservation field.