Adam Clements loves the hunting grounds in some of the world’s most distant locations. After all, he was born there. Growing up in East Africa, Adam developed a distinct appreciation for this area, and knew very early on that he would turn his passion into a business. Adam Clements Safari Trackers was born, and allows him to continue his adventure.
Adam begins, “I was born in Tanzania. My parents were missionaries for 42 years. My mom was a doctor, and my dad built hospitals and churches. Mom would train up the nurses and handle their pediatrics. Dad would go hunting every week to feed the hospital staff, so we would go hunting in an effort to support them. Hunting was a huge part of my life growing up.”
As Adam grew up, so did his appreciation for the area. “I absolutely loved growing up in Africa. I was in boarding school as a kid, and it was absolutely in the boonies. I didn’t see another white person until I was 10. I grew up barefoot and in my underwear, which was totally normal. I’m lucky to have grown up that way.” Nearing graduation, Adam began to lay the foundation for his plans. “My plan was to stay over in Africa and be a professional hunter. We had visited the U.S. a few times, but I had no plans on coming back to the States at all. My dad told me I had to go to college, get my degree, and then I could do anything I wanted.” And with that, Adam was off to the University of Tennessee.
“I hated college. I just couldn’t wait to graduate. I enjoyed my job, though. My parents were still in Africa, so I had no support here. To put myself through college, I became a cop and worked narcotics. It was just like hunting! I worked with the DEA, and that’s all I did at night; buy drugs, sell drugs, and arrest people. It was a blast.”
Upon graduation in 1994, Adam immediately returned to Africa and Adam Clements Safari Trackers was born. In Africa, running a business like Adam’s requires the right connections in order to get access to the best hunting grounds. Luckily for Adam, as a lifelong resident, he knew all the right people and was able to get a good start. “Growing up there, I had connections all over the place. I had the connections, but I started off simple. I would get access to one little area, and we would take the clients hunting. From there, we’ve grown, and it has made Safari Trackers like an umbrella. Tanzania is my main country, but we have 9 other countries we work in now.”
While some of the areas that Adam works in are not known for violence, some are. “For the most part, the areas we venture into are very, very safe. Some of the areas nearby are rough, but they’re isolated. It’s a very tribal area. When one leader moves in, and the next tribal group doesn’t like them, they have conflict. It’s been that way for thousands of years, and always will be. Tanzania, our main area, is a very safe area. Clients fly in, and they go to the bush. WWIII could start, and nobody would know. You’re completely isolated, and that’s part of the draw.”
Quickly expanding, Adam Clements Safari Trackers exclusive environment is also part of the draw. “We take one client at a time and focus on them. It’s now 70% repeats and referrals. We’re bigger, but we’re all about quality. They’re exclusive trips – when you book three weeks at our camp, then it’s all yours, and we’ve grown to where we’re now doing about 100 hunts a year.” The growth of the company has also freed Adam up to oversee his operations from essentially anywhere. This freedom is what ultimately led him to Texas. “I do a lot of traveling now to scout out new places and ensure that things are going smooth, and one of my clients from San Antonio suggested I put an office here because hunting is big in this area and I had a lot of clients in Mexico, so I brought myself here in ’01. I actually lived here for a year in Cordillera Ranch with a friend. I’ve learned that there are certain parts of my business that I can’t delegate. Professional hunters are professional hunters. It’s all they want to do. It’s hard to find a hunter that can do the hunting and the marketing and the sales. Only I could do that. So it was finally enough to get me up here.”
Working long hours and with substantial travel, Adam certainly wasn’t focused on his love life. And then he met Sarah. A pharmacist also focused on her career, she explains their chance meeting. “I met him at the gym. We had mutual friends that were going to set us up, but we met first. I thought he was very interesting. He took me to Africa 3 months later, and I just fell in love with it.” And, as you can imagine, this was a key qualifier for Adam. “It was absolutely love at first sight. I wanted to make sure she liked Africa and what I did, so once that was good, then the deal was sealed.” She continues, “We got married in Tanzania in the Serengeti. My folks were skeptical at first, but they warmed up pretty quick. Getting married in Africa was one of the only ways I could get them over there. But I got them there, and they loved it and are ready to come back.”
With their new baby, Fairyn, Adam and Sarah continue to focus on the growth and stability of their business. While they both share an appreciation for hunting in exotic lands, they recognize that some do not. Adam says, “Hunting isn’t going over there and shooting stuff. It’s an adventure. It’s like anything else; the journey to getting to the moment of pulling the trigger is the fun. If there’s no value on an animal or anything else, it won’t be there. All hunting areas have villages surrounding them. The biggest threat to wildlife down there is overpopulation. You’ve got National Parks, surrounded by Preserves. We hunt the preserves. We do our own anti-poaching measures, especially on elephants. You have to educate the people that are in those villages that wildlife is a value; it’s a value because of the hunters. They get free meat from us, and they get money from the hunters. For example, in the old days, a lion would kill a villager’s cow. He would then poison the cow, the entire pride would then eat the cow, and they would all die. We have educated them to understand that we will pay them for a new cow, and they then leave the lions alone. They understand now that the lion has a value, and they see how it benefits them.”
On the other hand, overpopulation can cause problems as well, and hunters like Adam help control this issue as well. “If the population of animals isn’t controlled, it can be disastrous. Most people don’t realize that elephants are actually overpopulated. If left uncontrolled, the elephants knock over trees to get to the leaves, and they will eventually starve to death. Smart population control is vital.”
With their new marriage and growing family, the Clements began to seek a home that would work well for their lives. Naturally, they looked first to Cordillera Ranch. Adam explains, “We decided we wanted to look for a house with a little bit of land. I also wanted an area for me to build my trophy room. We knew we wouldn’t find a specific home with a trophy room that would work for me, so we knew we would have to build it separately, and we’re about to break ground on that now.” Sarah continues, “We just love it here. I grew up on a farm, and so for me, the land is just gorgeous, and I’m so happy to be here. I know that Adam has loved meeting so many people out here and it’s just been a wonderful adventure for our small family.”
However, for a young family, the time spent apart can be a challenge. Sarah explains, “It’s not the easiest thing with his travels. I’m getting used to it. We don’t go for more than 6 weeks without him being gone any more. Four to six weeks is the longest. When we first met, he had already planned his hunts for a summer, and so he left for like 3 months. That was really hard. “ Adam adds, “With Sarah and the baby, my priorities are different now. I make my trips shorter, and we talk on the satellite phone a lot, but even that is hard because it is wildly expensive.”
Adam and Sarah are continuing to expand their business, and seek new areas for growth. They are in talks with production companies for a TV deal that will document some of their hunts, and are partnering with more outfitters to handle the demand.
Adam finishes, “As long as things keep going the same direction then I’m happy. I love what I do. From the desert to the rain forest to the Sahara, no two hunts are the same. I love to show clients where I grew up, and to watch them grow the same appreciation for it that I have.”
Since arriving at Cordillera Ranch nearly three months ago, I’ve been struck by many things. From the natural beauty of the rolling terrain to the genuine kindness of Club members and staff, nothing feels forced.