Ms Bachman takes a lion (courtesy guardian.co.uk)

“Science shows that hunting older male lions has no long-term effect on the sustainability of lion populations.” That’s the lead from the Dallas Safari Club’s press release Tanzania, Dallas Safari Club to Host Lion-Aging Seminar. [Full text after the jump.] I’m a little leery of any line of reasoning that relies on “science” that doesn’t link to the scientific study or studies upon which it depends. Especially when the reasoner has skin in the game. Or game to skin. But here’s hoping that shooting “older, non-pride lions” is a win – win: lion populations remain stable and more hunters get to hunt lions (bringing more money into Tanzania). Oh, and the six-year-old thing is not a legal cut-off; there’s a graduated penalty system for shooting younger lions. In other words, if you have the money, it’s chocks away. Good idea? . . .

Dallas, TX -(Ammoland.com)- Tanzanian wildlife officials are partnering with the Dallas Safari Club (DSC) to teach hunting guides how to field-judge and age African lions.

Science shows that hunting older male lions has no long-term effect on the sustainability of lion populations. A special seminar, featuring top lion researchers, outfitters and other stakeholders, will be held in Arusha before the start of the next hunting season.

Through education, the partners hope to encourage a more selective harvest. That, in turn, could bolster both the numbers of lions and lion hunters – as well as the overall economic benefits that legal hunting brings to Tanzania. Lazaro Nyalandu, minister of Tanzania Natural Resources and Tourism, selected DSC to coordinate and host the seminar.

“The express purpose is teaching guides to better recognize age characteristics of lions, which can differ by region and even by habitat type,” said Ben Carter, DSC executive director. “Better-informed guides will translate to better hunter compliance with science-based regulations that promote harvest of older, fully mature, non-pride lions.”

Tanzania was the first country to implement a six-year minimum age for exporting lion trophies. A 2013 amendment to that law allows the export of younger specimens, but creates a graduated penalty system for shooting lions less than six.

In 2013, DSC began broadly promoting the ideal huntable male lion as “at least six years of age and not known to head a pride or be part of a coalition heading a pride with dependent cubs.” More than 70 major safari operators and industry leaders pledged support. So did the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation.

Educational seminars are the logical next step, says Carter.

“Minister Nyalandu is new to his position and we’re impressed by his strong conservation ethic, vision and knowledgeable support of sustainable hunting,” he said.

DSC has long funded and supported scientific research on African lions. Understanding population dynamics is one of many projects supported by DSC grants to advance conservation, education and hunter advocacy worldwide.

About Dallas Safari Club (DSC)

Desert bighorns on an unbroken landscape, stalking Cape buffalo in heavy brush, students discovering conservation. DSC works to guarantee a future for all these and much more. An independent organization since 1982, DSC has become an international leader in conserving wildlife and wilderness lands, educating youth and the general public, and promoting and protecting the rights and interests of hunters worldwide. Get involved at www.biggame.org.

69 Responses to In Search of . . . The Huntable Lion

  1. This is a serious article? With a pic of a gal grinning over a gigantic dead lion? I’m not anti hunting but have a problem with trophy hunting. This won’t help the 2A. No matter if it enriches the local Tanzanian economy…

    • The young lady is Melissa Bachman. She is sponsored by Winchester and has her own TV show.
      She is a supporter of the Second Amendment.

    • Trophy hunting pays for a large percentage of the funds needed for wildlife conservation. Without it, there would be fewer wild animals.

    • I’m not anti-hunting if the hunter is hungry and eats his prey; I AM against hunting for ‘economic benefit,’ or for the sake of just killing something, or in the misbegotten and supremely arrogant idea that Man is a better arbitor of what is right for Nature than Nature.

      The only reason that ‘we’ end up ‘managing’ game is because we screwed it up in the first place, and we never do a very good job at it. Every time we go to fix a ‘problem’ with wildlife, whether it be predator control or endangered-species protection, we tend to do more harm than good. And we always look at the ‘problem’ with our thoughts skewed toward what benefits humans most and not the animals involved.

      The photo, by the way, is unpleasant, inflammatory, and not very conducive to convincing a viewer of the concept that the lion is the ultimate ‘winner’ here, genetically speaking. Nobody should be proud and smiling happily after blasting a high-velocity metal projectile through another living thing’s chest cavity from a distance. I realize that some times it must be done, but there should be just a touch of shame and regret, not jubilation. This reminds me of those brainless bearded ball-capped backwoods yokels who ‘high-five’ and crow in stage whispers each time they kill something on the “All Killing Things All The Time” cable channel.

      Come to think of it, maybe I AM just a bit against hunting. Doesn’t mean that others shouldn’t do it. It’s just not for me.

      • As many people have pointed out, hunting trips bring in money that helps keep these animals alive. But please explain how humans have “messed things up” and that now we have to fix them. I don’t agree with trophy hunting either but you seem to forget that humans are a part of nature and of this world.

        Animals have gone extinct before humans and they will if/when we go extinct. The reality is that survival of the fittest still applies. As one animal population better suited to survival expands, others contract. Possibly to extinction. There are just a lot of humans on earth and we’re the ones who are “fit” which is why many animal populations around us shrink.

        The natural way of things is for many types of animals to disappear, because we exist and grow. In order to prevent that, conservation efforts, including hunting for trophy, exist. We’re actually messing up the natural order by keeping them alive.

      • I agree with hunting for food but hunting for trophy is crap. So is the thought that hunting in it self is an actual “sport”.

        If you hide out on someone’s property, wait until they get home and shoot them. It’s murder. But somehow if you do the same to animals it’s “hunting”.

        I am all for the 2nd but unnecessary killing is just uncalled for. And if you want to call if sport. Go out and take down an animal with your bare hands.

  2. Sounds like an oxymoron, but conservation through hunting works.
    Look up elephant populations in Kenya since they banned hunting in the 70’s.
    And hunting is a part of our 2A, a small part, but it is a part.

    • As you know, it only sounds like an oxymoron to people that don’t truly understanding hunting and hunters.

      Hunters as a group DO far more to conserve habitat and manage for healthy herds than all the groups that post snarky twitter comments and talk about the poor wildlife.

      Hunting clubs, at least those here, have far stricter harvest rules than that allowed by law. I’ve seen them impose fines on members for harvesting outside those rules. The image of the idiot redneck hunter that just blasts away at anything and everything and kills just to say he killed is gross misconception that is far, far less common than popularly believed.

      But, hey, talk is cheap and the twitter crowd gets to pretend they are “doing something” by being critical.

      • Right. If this is all such a wonderful thing, why do you use the word ‘harvest’ and not ‘kill’? Let’s face facts: If you hunt it, you kill it–it’s not ‘harvested,’ or ‘euthanized,’ or ‘terminated with extreme prejudice’. ‘Killed’ is the word. ‘Harvest’ is something done with wheat. Animals, they get ‘killed.’ Bloodily. Killed by poking a hole through their important bits with an arrow, or a bullet, and thus rendering them dead. You don’t do that with wheat.

        If you’re proud of it, don’t use euphemisms.

        • The animal is being harvested if it is being killed for a specific use. For example, when we cut down trees to build log homes, or for paper products, etc…we are harvesting them. But if you just cut it down for no reason at all, then you are just killing it. Same with corn. If you just randomly rip corn stalks out of the ground, you are killing them. If you take them out for food however, you are harvesting them.

  3. I see what you mean. Any article using ‘science’ as their evidence without any actual evidence shouldn’t be taken seriously.

  4. “Graduated penalty system for shooting younger lions”
    So depending on how much money you have you can shoot what you want so why pretend it is about conservation?

    • That tends to be the way it works, doesn’t it? Regular people hunt rabbits and deer, and the rich go to Africa and conserve things by killing them because only they can afford it, and when they come back, they’re just so proud and pleased that they did such a wholesome thing that they have to tell us all about it and encourage us to give our money so that they can conserve more animals so they can go back to Africa and conserve even more of them.

  5. I don’t like the trophy hunting. If you want to put something on the wall, after having taken it for its meat, that’s one thing. Killing for killing’s sake, however, isn’t for me and shouldn’t be for Tanzania, either.

    If that country really wants to become a serious country, then they should make further reforms toward capitalism and quit relying on exploiting their wildlife. Tanzania is a very corrupt place, which hampers investment and economic growth. The society fundamentally does not recognize the worth of the Individual.

    For example, the government of Tanzania owns all land in the country. They will offer 99 year leases of it, but private ownership (don’t even think about foreign ownership) is illegal. A place like that with zero respect for its own people’s rights, cannot be expected to be a good steward of its wildlife, either.

    • Good points Jon. I have no problem with hunting per se but this doesn’t seem to fit that definition. More than likely these are “canned” hunts so the “hunter” gets to have their picture taken and spend 10,000 to get the head mounted.

    • Eh. Trophy hunting is integral to the economy of rural America too, as well as other countries. it pays for much of the wildlife conservation that gets done.

      • “Everybody’s doing it” is not a justification. It is what it is. Let’s not degrade it even further by stripping the sport killers of their responsibility. After all, if they want to play the role of big tough predator and kill trophies for fun, from a safe distance away from the beast, that is, then by all means let’s shine the spotlight on their individual heroism and let’s drench them with attention for their glorious feat.

        • “sport killers of their responsibility. After all, if they want to play the role of big tough predator and kill trophies for fun, from a safe distance away from the beast”

          Sorry, man, but you are WRONG about this. Do you even KNOW anyone that hunts?

          The reality of hunting and keeping trophies from hunting is not at all consistent with your belief about what it is. Let’s not be like the anti’s and be ruled by emotion while ignoring facts.

        • It provides jobs and pays for wildlife conservation. Win-win. That’s it’s for fun or done from a safe distance is irrelevant. If you don’t like it, don’t do it.

          Any savvy conservationist will tell you that hunting = habitat. Hunting pays for the preservation of habitat that wildlife need to survive. Less hunting means less wildlife. Is that what you want?

          Save your ire for the poachers who are driving animals like black rhinos to extinction, and the idiots who pay astronomical prices for rhino horn. Black rhinos are protected in some areas by private military contractors, but the poachers still get to them. The legit hunters are helping save these animals.

        • “Let’s not degrade it even further by stripping the sport killers of their responsibility.”

          Who’s stripping them of responsibility? They are responsible for more conservation then I bet you will ever dream of accomplishing. THEY pay much of the freight for conserving these animals. THEY are keeping these animals from going extinct.

          What are you doing to prevent their extinction?

  6. I’ve been to Africa on photo safaris twice. People think that Africa is still this wild open space where animals roam freely. There are areas where this is true but for the most part the wild animals are confined to hunting reserves that are fenced in with electric game fences. If they weren’t, the land owners would kill the animals off to protect their own self interest. In the reserves and parks where photo type safaris take place, the animals are so acclimated to vehicles that they largely ignore them even if you drive right up to them.
    The majority of the land mass is chopped up into parcels. Once you go there, you get a sense that it isn’t what it’s made out to be on the Discovery Channel.

  7. “…a six-year minimum age for exporting lion trophies. A 2013 amendment to that law allows the export of younger specimens, but creates a graduated penalty system for shooting lions less than six.”
    “In other words, if you have the money, it’s chocks away. Good idea?”

    I’m hardly a bleeding heart liberal, but instinctively I think not. No.

    I won’t address the bribery and greed aspects.

  8. I think that it is great that DSC is working with the local African governments to protect and encourage sustainable-use hunting. A lion hunt is the very top of my bucket list, and when I finally get to go on that hunt, it will be possible because groups like DSC have worked so hard to preserve hunting and the species.

  9. I am sure that in Africa you can find someone happy to eat pretty much everything you can shoot.

    Some of the same issues come up in British Columbia with the Grizzly hunt. While BC is overall quite wealthy, there are lots of small communities, esp. Native ones, which are quite poor. The income from guiding Grizzly hunts is a big deal. My personal view is that so long as the population is properly managed, there’s nothing wrong with the hunt. If the rich Japanese or Texan hunter doesn’t want the meat, some locals will happily take it. We are apex predators. We’re supposed to help manage the population of our prey species.

    • Which population are you talking about? The animal one, that seems to be thriving, or the human one, that is living hand to mouth off the handouts of the hunters who are there to kill off the thriving animal population?

      There you go: ‘Wildlife Management’ at its finest.

  10. Why all the hate for trophy hunters in Africa? The lion doesn’t care whether it gets shot it for self-defense, meat or a trophy. No matter the purpose of the hunt, the lion is just as dead. Fewer lions get shot when they are hunted as trophies, because there is an incentive for the people and government to protect their income by preventing poaching.

    I don’t have a problem with African trophy hunting, the government of Tanzania doesn’t have a problem with trophy hunting, the local population doesn’t have a problem with trophy hunting and the animals are being well-managed.

    But some people have a problem with African trophy hunting — even though it’s tightly controlled, very expensive, brings hard currency into a poor country and impacts the ecosystem much less than meat hunting or poaching, which does none of the foregoing — simply because we find the way of life chosen by others to somehow offend the haters’ tender sensibilities.

  11. Just bc you can kill something and it won’t affect the long term lion population doesn’t mean you should. Killing an elderly person is the same thing. I don’t understand why anyone would want to stalk and kill such a beautiful creature for merely fun. It honestly sounds like a mental illness.

    • Older, non-pride lions do not breed and do not add to the population. Further, lions generally hunt in groups because it is more successful in catching a meal. Non-pride lions hunt alone, and as they age, are less and less successful, eventually dying of disease or starvation. Finally, as noted by others above, the meat is not wasted, the hunt brings in hard currency into impoverished countries, and the incentive when hunts can bring in tens of thousands of dollars is to incentivize conservation and anti-poaching efforts. Poachers will kill anything in their sights, take the economically beneficial parts, and leave the rest to rot, reducing populations without any benefits to the local economy or breadbasket.

      • You conveniently missed the point: We don’t kill our elderly when they get too old to breed and can no longer contribute to a healthy herd. We don’t kill them when the food that they eat could better be used to feed the breeding stock instead of being wasted on the elderly, who are likely to just die anyway.

        What makes the difference?

    • Hunting is a legitimate sport that has been practiced for millennia. It’s normal human behavior, not a mental illness.

      • Warfare for profit is a legitimate human endeavour that has been practiced for millenia. It’s a normal human pastime, not a mental illness.

        I have a few more comparisons. . .

  12. The “I don’t mind hunting, but trophy hunting..” argument sounds a lot like “I support your right to bear arms, but no one needs an assault rifle”.

    • Doesn’t sound the same at all.

      I don’t like trophy hunting either, but I’m not out out to ban it or call people names. It’s my own personal moral belief. Anti-gunners, on the other hand, are a different breed.

      Do not confuse the two.

      • You may not be out to ban it or smear a person’s name, but a quick search on left leaning media will reveal droves of individuals ready to skin hunters alive. The concept is the same. If you ban hunting based on percieved feelings about a species and not evidence you will continually lose species deemed suitable for hunting. Exactly the same way some people want to ban rifles based on looks, eventually all guns would look evil.

      • Nah, man, it’s EXACTLY the same thing.

        Here’s why: it is a hypocritical statement born from the ignorance of the subject being discussed. Those that are making these comments…either one…don’t know what they are talking about.

        There are facts about these issues. “I support x, but …” statements ignore those facts. There is ALWAYS some emotional bleating to follow the but.

        The fact is, trophy hunting as these comments refer generally does not exist. A hunter that chooses his prey based on trophy, or happens to keep a trophy is not necessarily MOTIVATED to hunt by the trophy, and pretty much always the harvested animal is consumed as food.

        But hey, let’s not let facts get in the way of a good crying session fueled by ignorance.

        • Who are you kidding? People who trophy hunt do it for the thrill of it. The fact that the animal is used to help the local economy or whatnot is just a nice side benefit and gives them a convenient excuse to say that they are not just killing for the pure enjoyment of it. If they didn’t do it for enjoyment, then why take pictures in front of the dead animal, smiling proudly?

  13. Trophy hunters are pieces of shit. Literal shit in human form. And shit is only good for fertilising top soil.

    • Wow, what an argument. I totally see your point and have completely changed my views on the subject. It’s like you have the stereotypical idea of a white Brittish male hunter in a khaki outfit with a bushy mustache who sits around in his study all day smoking a pipe and regailing his fellow aristocrats with tales of the beasts and savages that hail from the dark continent. You don’t have to agree with anyone, but you could at least make a coherent argument.

    • They’re the ones paying for much of, of not most, of the wildlife conservation being done.

      If you want fewer of them, then you also want fewer wild animals.

      • Que the explanations how killing species which can regulate their own population very well is “good”, how people that do it are doing it with “good intentions, based on bla bla bla” and ABSOLUTELY NOT for fun of boasting for the rest of their life how they shot something for the fun of it, or to have the skin as a smoking room rug, and of course they will eat the lion meat and use it to full extent.
        And this all will of course be taking place in a country known for its strict, scientific approach to wildlife conservation and management, and of course will open doors to every hunter – not just those with an engraved 10 000 one-off rifles, who wear a rolex watch and only do “hunting” when they have a couple of locals do all the prep work for them.
        Sure, this will go down fine, oh and yes bring both fame and glory to the rest of the hunters, because that’s what the antis need these days – a good example of “real hunting” that “benefits everybody”.

  14. This kind of hunting has nothing to do with conservation. That’s just a convenient excuse they use. Otherwise, why be so proud after having shot and killed the animal? The conservation is just a nice side benefit for them. What if shooting such animals did NOT help with conservation? Would they just give up on trophy hunting happily, or would they wish to keep doing it? These people do it for the enjoyment of it.

  15. As for the thought of killing helps to conserve. That is the dumbest thing I ever heard.

    That’s like saying we are trying to cut down on DUI’s so let’s everyone drink and drive.

    • The only reason to keep these animals alive is profit trophy hunting brings. If hunting stopped for whatever reason today, how long would local people tolerate these predators around?
      So unless you personally paid tens of thousands of dollars for conservation of wildlife in Africa like trophy hunters do, please quit whining.

      • It’s not whining. It has to do with respect for life in general. If someone can not see that. They should not posses a firearm at all.

        • It’s easy to sit home, do nothing but scorn people who actualy spend their money helping wildlife and “respect life”. (All life? Like microbes, fleas and rats? Or just cute animals like pandas and polar bears and sea otters?)
          But I can see it coming from someone trying to decide who should or shouldn’t posses firearms.
          I do not hunt at all. That doesn’t mean other guys and gals can’t enjoy it. Humans are predators and most of us have hunting hard wired in them.

        • I find no problem with hunting if you are going to eat it. But to just shoot something to kill it and then try to call it a sport is rediculous.

          Think about it. If someone hides outside another’s house and waits for an individual to get home then shoots him it is called murder. Not sport or conservation.

          What is even more absurd it the fact that you would consider hunting to be conserving.

          Lesson 101 for the dumb people in the room.

          con·serve
          verb
          kənˈsərv/
          1.
          protect (something, especially an environmentally or culturally important place or thing) from harm or destruction.

          kill·ing
          ˈkiliNG/
          noun
          1.
          an act of causing death, especially deliberately.
          synonyms: murder, assassination, homicide, manslaughter, elimination, putting to death, execution

          As you can see it takes nothing more than common sense to conclude that you can not conserve Lions by killing them.

        • There is your problem – you consider game animals to be the same as people. News flash: they aren’t.
          Second problem with you is not seeing further than first level of things. “Killing is bad, mmmkay. You should not kill anything. Nobody should! Because it’s bad, mmmkay?”

          It might be difficult to grasp for some simpler folks but in order to be able to hunt, there must be game. That is where killing and conservation get together. Hunters have interest in conserving animal populations, so they can hunt some part of it. For locals the game presents nuisance in best case, farming troubles or even danger of death otherwise.
          So once again and more slowly for those calling other people dumb: Dollars flowing in from regulated hunts are the most important thing standing between large animals and extinction by poaching and loss of habitat.

        • Ok Samual. I do think humans are superior to other animals because they are intelligent. Well, some are, but don’t hesitate to count yourself out.
          Then go hug a tree and hang yourself on it so you don’t destroy the planet any more.

      • That is your problem. You think humans are superior to anything else. We are not. If anything the human race is responsible for the destruction of this world. Lions along with several other species would survive longer without the human race. Not by people who kill them and then turn around and say we are conserving them.

        The human race has yet to understand that you can only take so much without giving before there is nothing left. How many species have become extinct because of pollution, deforestation, etc. All caused by us. WE upset the balance. Not them

        I never said ALL killing is bad. But killing for no reason is just uncalled for.

        Like I said before your comparison is the equivalent of trying to prevent DUI’s then turning around and have everyone drink and drive.

        • So because you pay thousands to kill the same animal poachers kill. That somehow makes it different?

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