First, let’s define sport hunters. These are hunters that take game for no conceivable reason except that it makes them feel good. But isn’t that the reason we do most everything we choose to do in our recreational time? When we go the range it makes us feel good on many levels from the guttural sensations of controlling recoil amidst the flash and muzzle blast to being a little better than the guy next to you, to being a bit better prepared to defend ourselves against threats . . .

Yes, I’ve hunted, and I love to eat meat. I understand that it’s fun to track game, shoot it and bring it home. It’s part of the primal hunter gatherer that is programmed in our DNA. It makes us feel good. And it feels good, at least to me, to have a PURPOSE behind my hunt. Pheasants are skinned, cubed and made into stew. Deer are gutted and sent to a butcher to fill the freezer. Overpopulated vermin like hogs and prairie dogs have their numbers reduced.

I’m sure no hunter would disagree that the first time they saw a Lion, Rhino, Elephant or Buffalo they were amazed by the size and magnificence of these beasts. To go their home habitat and witness how they survive and reproduce for the short time they are here in the hot and cold, dry and wet, feast and famine is truly a wondrous event. What my question seeks answered is how does one get from that point, “A” to point “B”. Point “B” being, “I would like to shoot and kill that just to watch it die.”

Does it follow from the primal desire to kill? Do hunters eat the lions and rhinos they kill? I really don’t know. And why the need to travel so far to find the biggest, most magnificent specimens to dispatch. When you reverse the process it sounds ridiculous. Imagine a group of lions organizing a trip across continents to kill Donald Trump or Warren Buffet (Substitute some idea of a big, magnificent specimen of successful humanity) in each of their own homes. And then just leave them lying there dead. I mean doesn’t that sound ludicrous?

As I said, I eat meat. I’ve been to dairy farms to purchase raw milk and visited slaughter houses. They are not humanity’s proudest accomplishments, but they have the purpose of feeding our overpopulated, fat asses.

So my question is, lacking any obvious motivations of food or pestilence, how does one get from, “Wow, that’s a magnificent instance of evolution and survival” to “I want to destroy it”. And what part of that makes one feel good. Some on here might want to ask themselves “why” it makes them feel good, too.

79 Responses to Question of the Day: Why Do “Sport Hunters” Hunt?

  1. Good article, Kevin. I’ve never understood sport hunters or trophy hunters. The trophy to me is the meat I get to put in my family’s bellies. The thrill of the chase is a powerful draw, to be sure. When all is said and done, though, pheasant, elk, bear, deer, hog, goose and duck are just plain delicious.

    • Jeff Cooper likes to say that danger is spice on the dish of life. Hunting dangerous game is no different from playing football or stock car racing.
      Besides, most of the people who hunt in Africa give the meat from their kill to the guides, trackers, their families and the locals. I know quite a few people who had hunted over there, and not one has said that they just leave the carcass laying.
      “Wow, that’s a magnificent instance of evolution and survival” to “I want to destroy it”
      It’s not about destroying the animal, it’s about facing the primal power and might in the animal, and using the brain that God gave you, the brain that mankind used to pull itself out of the mud, to beat something that is almost totally superior to you.
      I guess if you’ve never locked eyes with an animal that is an adversary and not prey, and felt that tingle in your soul, you just don’t understand why.

      • Believe me, I’ve locked eyes, and more, with animals, and people that were capable of killing me in both controlled and uncontrolled situations. I guess that, when I do, I feel something different… but that tingle in my soul is the very reason that I ask why.

        • it’s not enough to be close to something that can kill you, I’m talking about something that has actively made you its enemy. When your wits are the only things standing between you and death, at this animals feet. Cape Buffalo are an excellent example of this, with its sheer power combined with raw, almost unbelievable vindictiveness.
          Above, you talked about hunting “just to watch the animal die”. I have been in hundreds of hunting camps and met thousands of hunters of every conceivable creature, and not one has ever expressed a desire to do anything but make the animals death as quick and painless as possible, and to treat it with all the honor one can muster. The only people who leave an animal laying to rot are poachers, who have no respect for the animal or actual hunters.

        • wade I would ask who has “actively” made an enemy of whom. Is one party simply, aggressively defending itself, it’s family and it’s home from another party that has demonstrated the ability and the willingness to kill it?

        • “When your wits are the only things standing between you and death”

          Your wits and a .338 lapua.

  2. The first mistake when having this discussion is to somehow equate humans and animals. Lots of silly things can happen from there.

    I have a friend who has been to Africa to ‘sport hunt.’ He now has some very nice heads on his wall, some really good pictures and stories, and memories that will last a lifetime. As for the meat from the animals he killed? He ate part of it himself, and the rest of it was consumed by the family of the guide, the guide’s employees and poor people from their area who cannot afford to eat meat on a regular basis. It isn’t as if a sport hunter shoots an elephant, hacks off the tusks and leaves the carcass to rot. The meat gets eaten, both by humans and other animals.

    • I would not categorize your friend as the type of “sport hunter” the author is talking about. I believe Kevin was referring to the type who kills purely for sport and moves on to the next kill, leaving the carcass to rot. Kevin, please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

      • That does not exist. Even if that was the hunters intent, that is not what would occur. In Africa there are lots of poor people who are always on the look out for cheap (or free) protein, and they will eat an elephant (or anything else), one piece at a time.

        • Equating poachers and sport hunters is outside this discussion. Most of the rhinos that get killed in Africa are killed by poachers who take their horn and sell it to the Chinese for an aphrodisiac. That is clearly wrong. That is also completely different than sport hunting. And just because you found a picture of a hornless rhino doesn’t mean he wasn’t on someone’s plate 30 minutes later.

        • I don’t want to equate Trophy/Sport hunters with poachers. Legal or illegal, the poachers have a clear financial motivation for what they do. I don’t feel the need to ask why they do what they do. Trophy hunters are not feeding their families or making money. Quite the contrary. It’s a huge expense to embark on an african big game safari.

      • Actually Gabriel is right. I understand that NOTHING gets wasted in Africa. There are plenty of mouths to feed. The meat cannot be brought out of the country for various reasons, disease being one. But to say that a hunter goes to Africa to feed the hungry people or other animals there, is to me, a cop out.

        So my question is, lacking any obvious motivations of food or pestilence, how does one get from, “Wow, that’s a magnificent instance of evolution and survival” to “I want to destroy it”.

        Aside from defending, for lack of a better term, the actions of his friend, this seems to be Gabriel’s answer to my question:

        “I have a friend who has been to Africa to ‘sport hunt.’ He now has some very nice heads on his wall, some really good pictures and stories, and memories that will last a lifetime.”

        If those are the sole reasons for a Trophy hunt in Africa then that’s fine. That is the type of honest answer I am seeking.

        • The money spent on safaris to sport hunt elephants, for example, is used to maintain the preserves and manage the elephant population, plus money trickles down to the people of the region.

          The reasoning is, if the natives see maintaining sustainable populations of these game animals as beneficial to their economy, they’ll stop poaching.

      • “I would not categorize your friend as the type of “sport hunter” the author is talking about.”

        I would. The consumption of the animal sounds entirely incidental, especially this part “The meat gets eaten, both by humans and other animals.” The fact that a carcass is biodegradable does not make the killing of an animal for giggles right.

        • Ding Ding! You or I may not think that it is right, but it happens, and to many people it does appear to be just for “giggles”. I’m not suggesting a ban on Trophy hunting at all. I’m just interested in the HONEST answer why. Is it just for giggles? When a hunter can answer yes and look at himself in the mirror it illustrates the reason we cannot make the mistake Gabriel referred to as “to somehow equate humans and animals.”

        • By that logic, nobody who can afford to feed their family should hunt any animal at all; clearly they are just hunting for the “giggles”.

          If you mean that somehow hunting predators is wrong, that also eliminates birds and hogs and any non-herbivorous creature you hunt.

          Yes, African hunters are doing it for sport. But that’s no different from most hunters in the US or any developed country. It gives you that “primal” feeling. Whether you eat the meat yourself, or donate the meat to others, it doesn’t add any more “purpose” to your hunt.

          You’re inconsistent here because you think elephants and lions are pretty.

        • I am certainly guilty of being selective about what I kill. I’m not sure I’m inconsistent though. I’m sure we all agree that some killing is wrong, some is ok, and some is right. Every individual needs to make their own decisions pertaining to this. If that “primal” feeling scratches an itch, have at it, but the “tradition” of hunting in this country that keeps getting referred to as a reason involved the MAIN purpose of putting food on the table. Not recreational Trophy hunting.

  3. I don’t think its logical to justify killing endangered or semi-endangered animals for sport by turning around and donating their meat to the poor villagers… For alot cheaper, you could just buy them a greater amount of meat via a few cows, and thats assuming they kill them all immediately and don’t herd and breed them.
    Hunters are people just like anyone else… alot of us who hunt deer will get bored and hunt other things in other seasons… it just so happens these guys have the desire/money to be able to do a big safari hunt in Africa.
    You could argue that if Africa wasn’t so poor, corrupt, and desperate for cash that their governments would drastically limit the number of stuff that could be killed… from what I hear, some of the more enlightened governments there do just that.
    The problem in most of the big game countries (Kenya, Tanzania, etc) is if you have $30-60k incentive to say that your park is overpopulated and could use some culling… people would be understandable in questioning the truth of your claims… and that is the biggest problem. Are the elephants really overpopulated in these parks, or are these guys just hungry for big game hunter dollars?

    • In most parts of Africa, elephants aren’t nearly as endangered as National Geographic would have you believe. And, when they range outside their reserves (sometimes due to overpopulation or just the weather) they cause an enormous amount of destruction to property, livestock and crops.

  4. I would think that sport hunters thrive on the challenge and danger of the big game hunt. The most dangerous game is off limits to hunters due to moral and legal reasons so the next step down is safari game. The thrill is the point. I’m guessing since I have never hunted myself.

  5. If the species is not endangered, is taken legally, and the meat is used to feed the locals after the trophy head is carted off, I say have at it.

  6. Most African safari hunts result in the village which supported the hunter getting the carcass. Hunting is fun. I’d love to take an elephant, lion, etc. And I’d prefer the meat and carcass in general was used by people who need it more than me. When I get a deer, I donate it to a service that donates it to needy families after I pay to have it processed at an approved place.

    • Also, the cash infusions to these places in Africa supporting the safaris are extremely significant.

  7. Kevin:

    You should certainly educate yourself on the macro-economics of hunting in Africa or perhaps just the ethics of hunting in general. Most hunters can can buy beef (or venison for that matter) for a lot less than the all-in cost of hunting deer or elk. So why do they hunt? Meat is one reason but that doesn’t pass the utility test. We hunt for the experience, the test, the tradition, the adventure. We take trophies to memorialize those things. Hunters in Africa (and the States for that matter) do more to preserve habitat and bloodlines than multiples of all the anti-hunting “conservationist” combined. Your presumed quote of hunter that “I would like to shoot and kill that just to watch it die” is either carelessly provocative or willfully ignorant of the heart of the vast majority of hunters.

    • I would rather be thought of as an as$hole than a dumbas$ so I’m going with “carelessly provocative”. I was aware that it would rile a few feathers, and might be going a bit far as a guess at a reason behind the act. I apologize if I offended you personally, but my aim was to get hunters to disagree with the statement, if they do, and provide their own reason. I think opening up this blog to the macro-economics of hunting and the ethics of hunting in general is a good thing. Just like you, many of us come here to think and question what we and others do.

      There is no question that the economy and natural habit of Africa truly benefit from hunting. But that is not the reason the trophy hunters hunt. Your reference to “the experience” goes a lot farther in that direction.

  8. I’d rather legally shoot a home invader, street mugger or rapist than a lion, elephant or rhino.

    • I always enjoy your posts Ralph. If I ever disparage lawyers in my writing be sure to disregard. Why feed the hyenas over there? The worms here need to eat too.

  9. What a question! There’s sure to be a lot of disagreement over this topic, too. There’s no other way for me to answer this question than by being honest and entirely subjective – Entirely subjective.

    When I was a young man (a long time ago) we lived on a farm in a remote and sparsely populated area. There were two, principal, year round, outdoor activities: Fishing and hunting. You name the fish or animal and I have, with only a few exceptions, probably eaten it.

    It’s safe to say that I wasn’t a good hunter; I was a great hunter – A knowing and highly efficient predator, with a variety of different weapons too. Until I was almost 30 years old I seemed to take some sort of fierce delight in preying upon all of nature. I was steeped in blood from the countless creatures I had taken, and repeatedly smeared with the gore of intestinal flush from all of the many field dressings I had made.

    Then, one quiet evening, I met my present wife; and, she turned out to be exactly the opposite of me. (Psychologists say this difference in approach and personality tends to build very strong interpersonal relationships; and, in our case, this is exactly what happened.) I took her pheasant hunting with me several times; and, although she never said a word, I slowly began to realize that, ‘dropping birds’ wasn’t as satisfying for me as it once had been.

    Over a period of years, and by her attitude alone, she slowly turned me completely around. This began a period of intense personal introspection for me. I started to reconsider everything about my (actually violent) past life and behavior. I acquired a new (deeper) understanding of, ‘religion’ too. I studied Judaism and discovered that no devout Jew would ever hunt for sport. I studied Buddhism and learned that all life is considered to, ‘travel’ along the same pathway toward spiritual reunion with, ‘God’. I learned that the very Jewish attitude against sport hunting is shared by numerous Indian peoples of many different faiths who, like Buddhists, also hold that all life is sacred.

    Finally, and with 10’s of 1,000’s of dollars worth of sporting equipment in my den, I gave up all personal interest in hunting. Which is NOT to say that I regard all hunting as wrong; I do not. It’s just that for me, in my life, I’m no longer able to commit acts which I, once, carried out quite freely.

    Is mankind naturally predacious? Yes, mankind is, unquestionably, possessed of an inherent killer instinct. Do most men enjoy killing and taking life in order to sate that deeply seated bloodlust which hides in their souls? Oh, sure! (Many times I’ve seen this in myself.) Are men fond of finding all different ways to rationalize the destruction of, both, their own AND other complimentary life forms? (You, probably, already know the correct answer to that last one; however, it’s only severely threatened or hungry men who may, in my opinion, rightly justify such violent behaviors.)

    I don’t hunt anymore, or for any reason. I no longer eat a lot of meat, either; but, when I do eat meat, I prefer to let someone else do the killing for me. I don’t blame anyone for disagreeing with me over this. When I was a young man I would have disagreed, too. Sport hunting is always wrong. Subsistence meat hunting may, or may not, be. I no longer do either.

    • “I don’t hunt anymore, or for any reason. I no longer eat a lot of meat, either; but, when I do eat meat, I prefer to let someone else do the killing for me.”

      So you prefer to let someone else do your dirty work for you…. interesting.

    • Pistolero, Jewish laws completely prohibit hunting.

      Animals that have not been killed in accordance with religious rituals — like animals that have been shot — cannot be consumed. Likewise, animals cannot be killed except for food or to put them out of their misery when injured or ill.

      The upshot is that hunting — sport and subsistence — are considered wrongful by observant Jews.

    • Me personally, you kill an animal if it is domesticated or wild. Grew up on a farm and I killed and eaten both the wild and the domesticated. Meat does not grow on trees and it is not pre-packaged in the deli as most city slickers think it is.
      Having said that–I usually only hunt animals that are plentiful and are really more of a pest than anything else.
      I probably would have a tough time shooting a rare and magnificient animal, versus a groundhog, squirrel, rabbit, kitty, or some other common critter.

    • Internet connection is its usual wonderful self.
      Me personally, you kill an animal if it is domesticated or wild. Grew up on a farm and I killed and eaten both the wild and the domesticated. Meat does not grow on trees and it is not pre-packaged in the deli as most city slickers think it is.
      Having said that–I usually only hunt animals that are plentiful and are really more of a pest than anything else.
      I probably would have a tough time shooting a rare and magnificient animal, versus a groundhog, squirrel, rabbit, kitty, or some other common critter.

  10. @Pistolero

    WOW! Thanks for making my small contribution here worth it for me.

    As human beings with guns we all need to think very hard EVERY TIME we pull the trigger.

  11. They same reason you buy a Bugatti. Because you have money and want everyone to know it. And it’s a thrill

  12. I’ve never been a hunter, but respect those that hunt for the outdoor experience, pleasure of the pursuit, and for the meat for their tables. But hunting rare or exotic animals somehow doesn’t sit as well for me. I can’t put a finger on it specifically, but the picture heading this post makes me sad. Similar to how Leghorn’s hunting trip post from a few months back felt, because it somehow strikes me as an activity with the purpose to “show off”. A picture of you, taken next to the animal you’ve just taken, must serve some purpose other than the ones I listed above, and that purpose doesn’t really sit well with me for some reason. To me, showing respect for the animal you’ve taken doesn’t include a “woohoo, look at what I did!” posted picture (with gun) for your scrap book.

  13. I loathe hunting in almost all forms. I find it especially disgusting when done for ‘sport.’

    I have hunted many times, but I grew out of it.

    It is cruel and destructive.

    It is mans selfishness at its very worst.

    To kill an animal out of anything but necessity is a shame. When I see an animal in the wild, I see it as a small piece of nature, a treasure.

    I can not imagine why others would like to shoot it.

    Dont speak to me of appreciating nature while hunting: Destroying parts of it with rifle or bow fire when you have no just cause is childish.

    It shows a lack of development as an individual and I believe as a human being in general.

    I understand some hunts can be challenging, and that some can in fact be very dangerous…But if you’re looking for danger, let me remind you we are fighting several wars currently. If you’re out for excitement and blood and glory, join up like I did.

    And for the whole hunter gatherer thing? Really? I think that’s an excuse people like to use to justify their primitive behavior.

    • I assume, “Dr” Dave, that you are a vegetarian, or vegan?
      Otherwise, I’d like you to explain to me why eating animals raised in captivity, often in squalid conditions, for the express purpose of being slaughtered for human consumption is somehow less selfish and cruel than hunting.
      If you eat livestock, with all the dirty work done for you, you haven’t the standing to question hunting. If you don’t, fine. You’re welcome to your opinion.
      I only take exception to your take on hunting as a whole. Sport hunting? Sure, there’s discussion to be had.
      I gues I have just too often heard anti-hunting arguments from folks who are all to glad to enjoy their cheeseburgers in blissful ignorance.

      • I eat a lot of meat. I eat meat for the purpose of continuing my life: Where it comes from isn’t really important. I’ve eaten plenty of meat I’ve taken, cleaned, and cooked for myself, and I’ve eaten a lot that comes from a slaughterhouse.

        People have got to eat. I grew up helping on a farm, so I know all about the “dirty” work there. The thing is, when those cattle are killed, its for a reason. Its to make money.

        Its not for the sheer fun of it.

        And i’m not questioning hunting. You have every right to do what you want, including killing innocent animals for no other reason than your own pleasure. I find it disturbing, but I’m not one to let my own opinions affect some one elses rights.

        • There is fun in the hunt for me. It is, however, in the challenge of the stalk, not in the kill. Actually, I feel remorse every single time I take an animal.

          For me, a great deal of the reason I hunt is so that I can take at least partial responsibilty for the death that is required for my continued existence. If you want to go ahead and keep feeling superior to me somehow, knock yourself out.

        • “I find your actions disturbing” as well as “killing innocent animals for your own pleasure” are pretty clearly statements of moral superiority.

          I find his position perfunctory and superficial, though. And I do think my position to be morally superior to his own. He is shirking his responsibility to gaurd and preserve nature because it makes him feel “icky”. He has that right, but it seems an emotional decision to me.

        • Morals are pretty subjective. And its real difficult to judge something as superior or inferior when everyone looks at things differently.

          I’m not making moral judgments about people, here. I’m stating my opinion.

      • Neither. I eat pretty much what ever tastes good, and you’ll hear no argument from me that venison in particular, and all fresh meat in general, is damn tasty.

        • I’ve been mulling hunting myself. All in all, it seems like a more humane way of getting meat, especially if the kill is quick. Factory farming, which is the way that most meat is produced, is pretty brutal, and not a good life at all.

          But I’m not a vegetarian or vegan either, so I’m not exactly in a good position to criticize right now either. But like I said, I’m mulling.

        • I prefer to kick back, have a couple beers, play some pool, and enjoy living in a civilization where I can trade for meat instead of having to go out and get it myself. But to each his own.

          If you dislike the idea of the animals you eat having a cruel life, there are plenty of cattle and other animals that are raised in conditions that are much better. They also seem to taste better. Quite a few places are hopping on the organic/free range thing.

  14. This is a pretty foolish question.

    Why do football players play football? What about the ones that play even when they don’t get paid? It just puts their health and even life at risk for no benefit whatsoever.

    Why do people play golf? Especially the ones that don’t get paid. All they do is walk around and waste several hours of their time for no benefit.

    Why do people drive sportscars? I can get from point A to point B without needing some sports car that would only be breaking the law to do it any faster than my car.

    Of course I can go on. Your question is a foolish one because you assume there is only one reason people sport hunt.

    Now, why do people hunt? Many people want to keep up the tradition handed down to them by their fathers and grandfathers (and mothers and grandmothers, too.) Many prefer eating wild game to captive.

    Many hunt for the challenge. Tracking, stalking, and preparing for the shot for an animal whose senses are far greater than yours is an amazing challenge. This motivation is similar to the motivation for most sports: it is a challenge to be conquered. Each opponent is a different challenge to your abilities. Taking a massive elephant or a deadly lion is a challenge greater than taking a white-tail. These people seek out the greater challenge. These “sport hunters” have a great deal of respect for the animals they cull. They wish to conquer the challenge of these animals capabilities and keep a momento (trophy) of that challenge. Of course, not every shot ends up being very challenging, but every football game doesn’t end up being a challenge, either. And if every hunt (or football game) stopped being challenging, they would stop hunting (playing).

    Further, man is a part of the environment. To refuse to kill animals because “killing is wrong” is simply foolishness to me. Even if the animal were not to be eaten by humans, culling and hunting are necessary for the health of the environment. We are the top predator and because we have more than simply a drive to eat and conquer we need to use our abilities to manage the environment as well. No “sport hunter” is slaughtering animals wholesale. That is the realm of a poacher. Many sport hunters take our responsibility as part of the environment (and the top of the food chain) seriously.

    Further, these sport hunters create value for animals to the surrounding people. No, it is not the main reason (nor the sole reason) but it is a significant reason. Without sport hunters, elephants, lions, buffalo and the like would be wiped out by the native population because they have no value to them. When you don’t have any free time to “appreciate nature” because you spend all your time trying to get enough food to avoid starvation, large, powerful and dangerous animals are just a nuisance to avoiding starvation. Sport hunters make those nuisance animals have value because of the money spent to hunt them and the meat provided afterwards.

    Human beings are not an automaton where they have but one reason for what they do. Your so-called “sport hunters” will have a mix of these and other reasons for their hunting. To paint their actions as blood-lust is very simple-minded. Do some want to watch the animal die? Maybe so. It sure seems like a lot of money to pay just to watch something die when there are thousands of deer that can be shot legally and far more cheaply.

    I would suggest you are making a far too one-dimensional profile of the “sport hunters”. (I’ve put “sport hunters” in quotes because they are simply hunters to me.)

    • To equate driving a race car or playing golf with shooting and killing anything is reaching at best, unless you’re talking about this:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuffUgkFYBA

      And I’m sure there are many drivers and golfers that would argue the point to the bitter end.

      Yes, there are many dimensions to hunting, but most of your response talks around the one dimension of the hunt that the question pertains to. The one dimension that separates hunting from your examples. And as I’ve said, there is no argument that Trophy hunting benefits the economy and natural habitat of Africa, but to suggest that without Trophy hunters the native population would be wiped out and cease to exist is ethnocentric at best and typical of the attitude that causes so much animosity toward Americans.

      There are a couple people here that have the balls to say, “Sure I like killing stuff.” Or ” I did in my youth, but I don’t anymore.” It’s about owning the truth.

      • Kevin, as I said before you’ve already seem to have made up your mind. So why bother to ask the question at all if all you’re going to do is berate hunters? Differentiating between hunting deer and cape buffalo, suggesting that one is noble and one is evil is ludicrous.

        • I’m not saying that any type of hunting is wrong for you. It’s my opinion that some types of hunting are wrong for me. Nothing about being superior to you or more noble. I don’t know you and I’m not perfect. You may be morally and ethically superior to me. I’m trying to elicit the type of primal response that hunting can provide.

          It’s HIGHLY presumptuous of me to write for either of these greats, but If Hemmingway or Capstick were still alive and posting here I would think they would have the balls to say, “Yea I like killing stuff. It makes me feel good. The bigger and more scary, the more money and time spent, the better. I’m perfectly within my legal rights in doing so and if you don’t like it piss off.” Is that wrong or evil? The answer is subjective, but it is one possible answer that I expected when I wrote. It gets to the gut of the question without a lot of justifications, excuses and fluff. I guess it’s not the truth. Or the truth just isn’t that simple.

        • Is it one possible answer you expected, or the answer you wanted? And yes, it *is* presumptuous of you to suggest that Hemingway would provide you with such a simplistic answer.

          Are you implying that those of us who refuse to give you the answer you want are somehow untruthful or cowardly? I don’t like “killing stuff” per se, but I enjoy getting in touch with the part of my evolutionary heritage that is neglected through the modern lifestyle. But don’t make the mistake that the kill is to the hunt as the orgasm is to sex. There is much more to it than that.

      • I’m not talking around your point. Some people DO enjoy killing things for teh sake of killing things.

        However, you have taken that premise and applied it to every “sport” hunter everywhere at all times. As I said, you asked a foolish question. Effectively you asked: “How can you go out and decide to kill some amazing animal just for the sake of watching it die?”

        My answer to you is MOST HUNTERS DON’T. I don’t know how you cannot accept that.

        Most hunters have the greatest of respect for the animals they kill. Read some Teddy Roosevelt. He is taking animals left and right in his travels, but you hear nothing but respect for most of the trophy animals. (He had a low opinion of some of the stupid and easily taken animals that they killed for food, but even then he didn’t kill them “for the sake of killing something.”)

        Your premise is completely flawed. If it were merely about killing something for the thrill of killing something, there are FAR cheaper alternatives to provide that thrill. It’s not about “killing” though that may be the end result. It is about the challenge. (And I see you didn’t grasp the analogy. Race cars and golf are about the challenge in EXACTLY the same way that hunting is.)

        And you misunderstood my point. Native populations would not starve without sport hunting. Native populations would wipe out the “trophy animals because those trophy animals are a danger and a nuisance to the native populations. They permit these dangerous and nuisance animals to exist near them because of the value these animals have for hunters.

        It seems you have no ability to accept the concept that hunters don’t just kill “for the sake of killing.” I gave you a range of reasons for hunters to “sport hunt” and I will tell you again that every hunter will have his own motivations but few of them hunt just for the “thrill of the kill”.

        Your response, summed up is “Nuh-Uh!”

  15. If sport hunters want a thrill why dont they use a knife or spear instead of a gun? Seems like quite an unfair advantage.

    • If football players want a thrill, why don’t the play without pads? Seems like quite an unfair advantage.

      And, to your point, some hunters DO hunt with a knife or a spear. That is their perogative. Simply because it takes more skill and more risk to hunt with a more primitive weapon does not mean that skill and risk are not involved while hunting with firearms.

  16. Sounds like you’ve already made up your mind about the subject. This article comes across as insulting and contentious. Others have already pointed out that the meat is eaten. There is utility in these hunts just as there is in hunting deer, just with an added element of danger and adventure. I, for one, have a hunt like this on my bucket list. If you don’t see the allure in an adventure then don’t seek one. But please don’t insult those that would.

    You sound eerily like one of those “I’m a gun owner, but…” types. Seriously, suggesting sport hunters kill an animal simply for the enjoyment of watching it die? What is wrong with you?

    • There is too much wrong with me to address that question in this thread. You may attempt to start another one if you are really interested.

      I fully support your right to hunt and hope it is a safe enjoyable experience for you.

    • “Sounds like you’ve already made up your mind about the subject. This article comes across as insulting and contentious. Others have already pointed out that the meat is eaten. There is utility in these hunts just as there is in hunting deer, just with an added element of danger and adventure. I, for one, have a hunt like this on my bucket list. If you don’t see the allure in an adventure then don’t seek one. But please don’t insult those that would.”

      you have no argument. no one was hungry before this meat was given to them, there is no utility as the hunter pays extravagant fees and uses extravagant tools used for no other good reasons making the cost far outweigh the spoils. there is also no danger other than vicious attack by mosquitoes or the exposure of your pale white collared neck to the sun, the only adventure is a walk through gorgeous bush or countryside that would have been better off had the hunter not existed. these are canned hunts, you pay for the chance to pull the trigger on an animal that doesnt even know you exist and would barely care about it to begin with, not to mention that the poor animal’s existence is practically a miracle anyhow given its rarity.

      • Well, there are certainly people on the extreme end of the spectrum that may be poor examples. I’m not talking about hunting endangered species here. I think we all agree that poachers are in another loathsome category. Much like the people who take up a martial art so they can try to beat people to death. Cobra Kai Dojo, I’m looking’ at you.

        Extravagant tools? Well, a reliable rifle is not something I’d consider extravagant. Some people go overboard with exotic woods and whatnot, but where is the excess in a simple, reliable rifle?

        And mosquitos are menacing creatures that carry all kinds of nasty diseases, so that is a legitimate concern. Still, I think a charging buffalo offers a more immediate and tangible threat. If you don’t think a charging bull is dangerous then you must be a pretty tough guy. Canned hunts are one thing, but all hunters can’t be painted with such a broad brush. These are not all necessarily “canned hunts” and having a guide does not equate to a “canned hunt.” If that is what we’re talking about then we are in agreement. Also, there are some animals I’m not interested in hunting, and some I’d only kill if provoked. I would never hunt a rare or endangered species, and I would never hunt any animal I wouldn’t eat.

  17. I am a boxer, i look right at my competitor who is equal to me in almost every way and attempt to beat him to death until i am stopped(by the ref or otherwise), all the while under the duress that he is totally aware of that fact and is returning the favor. i know game, i know competition and i know pressure and danger. trophy hunting is none of those.
    i feel trophy hunters are insecure men who desire to destroy something just to prove they are powerful. this is not and will never be an evenly matched game, if you want to go out with absolutely nothing and kill an elephant with a sharpened stick and a hole in the ground then bravo, you have used your wits and superior cunning to hunt an animal that is physically superior to you, but even in that… your wits and superior cunning have given you the advantage anyway. the rest of the animal kingdom pales in that comparison. we are apex predators, we did not get here by being evenly matched.
    unless your hungry and this elephant is your survival, there is nothing that differentiates you from the pizzafaced kid that burns ants with a magnifying glass or the borderline that tortures and kills the neighbors cat.

    i pray you, trophy hunters of the world, come find me… ill give you game, sirs.

    • Man is truly the most dangerous game. And when you figure that out, shooting animals gets a lot less fun.

  18. I’m a hunter and the amount of overlap where hunting intersects with this blog is up to the moderators to decide. While ducks are rarely the object of trophy hunts, I will admit that I do have several adorning my walls. Does this make me a a trophy hunter? Definitions are the domain of Webster. I don’t consider myself one, but according to those who reply here, I would be categorically defined as one. If so, then I find myself in good company, every bird that Audubon painted was dead many taken with his own fowling piece. The majority of them were stuffed prior to being painted. My own “trophies” are as much to display the animal as to commemorate the hunt. Examples include my first banded duck, a mature mallard drake from my first solo hunt, and a blue-winged teal from my first hunt with my wife. Some may argue that opposed to the trophies (or hunting at all) a photograph would serve the same purpose, but there is something tactile and visceral about being able to touch and feel something that commerates the event (aside from a piece of paper).

    Are there hunters that kill for the thrill, most definately. I will suggest, however, that this behavor typically burns itself out quickly. As many duck hunters are aware coots are annoying and plentiful, with a generous limit and seemingly low intelligence they are ideal for “target practice” during a slow day on the marsh. That said there are no other appealing characteristics of a coot, they’re ugly, they stink, and they taste horrible (or so I’m told). While seemlingly fun to shoot I see no point in killing them as in my opinion it serves no purpose. I can think of many other animals to which this applies all of which are plentiful and common. The

    Trophy animals are by definition rare, if not in number or occurence then in opportunity. No one markets trophy rabbit hunts. Someone looking for a trophy animal will invest the time and effort to find the exactly what they are looking for to the point of going home empty handed. Canned hunts or “race to fill the tag” hunts do not a trophy hunter make. I’ve read some comments suggesting that the “disparity of force” between the hunter and the hunted makes trophy hunting unfair. There is a difference between unfair and unethical, apply the the same logic to armed self-defense and understand the point. I will interject, however, and note that animals aren’t people so the debate for “fairness” is really invalid. The value of a human life far outweighs any animal. (Moving on).

    To open up another can of worms (and a pun begging to be deployed), what about fishing? Whoppers and fish tales aside everyone wants a bigger fish, though the finality of hunting is almost non-existant in the sport fishing world. Are those who partake in sport fishing more ethical and fair than hunters? Obviously so because we don’t see televised deer or turkey tournaments.

    My thesis is that some “sport hunters” are motivated by a need to kill, however, I believe that most are driven by the experience and not the kill.

  19. I would like to get all of in my sights ,seems to me that going on a hunt from a stand, that is in an area that hand feed and you,ve got the most powerful gun you can muster to shoot is giving an animal a chance, that’s beyond me . I’m not trying to be an ass but I don’t get it, maybe because I’ve hunted and been hunted by man in Viet nam, It’s different when your in the sights . I hope all you hunters enjoy your sport.

  20. Justify it all you want,but you sick people like to kill things,whether or not you eat them is of little consequence to me-if you are so poor that you have to live like a pioneer out the 1800’s,for Gods’ sake-GO DOWN TO YOUR LOCAL FOOD STAMP OFFICE TOMORROW AND START ACTING LIKE A HUMAN BEING,INSTEAD OF SOME BLOODTHIRSTY MACHO FREAK.

    Nature lovers?Nope.Nature lovers don’t kill off the nature that they love.

  21. yes it is different when you are the one in the sights-some of you will find this out if you are reincarnated as prey.

    I grew up in the sights-preyed upon by sick parents and kin for sex.I know how it feels to be hunted and I can tell you it is a horrid sick terrible and terrifying feeling that you never forget.It haunts your life..I have also learned that you never do anything in this life that you will not pay for,somewhere down the road.To carelessly take a living beings’ life is murder,plain and simple.Sure hope none of you hunting jerks-big macho goons with tiny penises’- are against ABORTION. I am sure most of you are,however,being the CONTROL FREAKS THAT YOU ARE.Jealous of the freedom and beauty of nature and animals,pissed off at the world because you are mortal,making up excuses re conservation and you are so poor you have to hunt and it tastes better.BFD.I grew up in a 7 ft wide trailer with four people and guess what? We did not hunt.Get a greenhouse,a garden,a few chickens for eggs.Meat is not a good protein compared to nuts,nut butters,or eggs.

    Why don’t any of you cowards just admit that YOU LIKE TO KILL THINGS AND MANY OF YOU ARE FUTURE SERIAL KILLERS,WHO START OFF KILLING ANIMALS?All serial killers,this is a proven fact-start off killing animals-they love to feel the powerSO SICK AND A LOT LIKE SATANISTS- to see innocence die-something that cannot fight back,something helpless and alone and afraid.For once,just face the truth about yourselves and your crappy,selfish,UGLY COWARDLY TINY LIVES,OK???And remember what goes around comes around.I’m glad-also glad over the fact that you are mostly ugly,weak,greasy men with filthy clothes and beards that no woman would even look at.Women need GENTLEMEN.

  22. I’d like to add that I grew up in a 7 foot by 42 ft mobile home,with 3 other people.
    Guess what–we didn’t once hunt for food,except for the hunt at the local grocery store. People do not have to eat meat at every meal–to do so is not even healthy.
    Also, if you compare the digestive tract of humans to carnivores -humans have a very long intestine that was formed to break up fibers in nuts,fruits and vegetables,whereas true meat-eating animals have a short,straight gut so the meat travels right through;eating all that tons and tons of meat every year is why so many people have cancer in America.I once broke a ten day fast with a burger and got a horrible kidney infection and had to go to the hospital–meat IS FULL OF TOXINS–FRESH.CANNED.FROZEN.WHATEVER.

  23. It’s been almost ten years since the day that fucking bastard killed one more elephant, one of the most majestic creatures of our planet. I just got one question: Anyone knows if that fucker is already being eaten by cancer? Tell me that he’s dead already. That would be the best answer.

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