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Is trophy hunting evil?

We have all heard the argument: ‘I support hunting…IF it is for meat. But trophy hunting is evil.’ Some hunters would even agree. Let me ask you this, do you own leather? It could be a handbag, a couch, your shoes, the seats in your car… What about a pair of Uggs or a goose down pillow? Do you see where I’m going with this?

Trophy hunting fallow deer

We accept these ‘trophies’ as normal, even acceptable, parts of our life. Walk through any non-hunter’s house and you’re likely to find these animal products on display purely for their aesthetic pleasure. Yet I have had people turn down an invitation to my home because I have hunting trophies on display. So, that begs the question – do we value the life of a cow less than that of a deer, or an antelope, or a giraffe?

We have made it honourable to defend the lives of beautiful animals. There is nothing wrong with that itself. However, it does become hypocritical when the principle isn’t granted to the less majestic species. If you eat meat, or own animal products, it’s only logical that you would at least be open to hearing the arguments for trophy hunting.

So, what is trophy hunting…

Instead of issuing blanket statements about trophy hunting, let’s look at some of the specifics.

Trophy hunting does not mean that everything else is wasted. Most hunters are ethical just like most people are decent human beings. Most hunters value the life taken, no matter the species. They respect the sacrifice and take the meat home for food as a sign of this respect. Animals don’t taste different because they look nice on the wall. Hunters know this.

Father and son trophy hunt in AfricaTrophy hunters are dedicated, paying conservationists. No hunter wants to see a species eradicated. Instead, they participate in tag systems and/or they pay trophy fees. This means money. Money that hunters invest every year. This is spent on habitat protection, scientific research, anti-poaching patrols and employment for local people. It is hunters’ money that ensures the survival of big game species for years to come.

Don’t be fooled by the propaganda. So-called animal rights groups do little to support conservation. Instead, they shout loudly and take donations to start shelters where more animals are euthanised than re-homed. Make up your own mind. If you have any thoughts, let us know in the comments below.

You can find facts and figures on the conservation efforts of hunters from these sources:
  • North American Model of Wildlife Conservation
    • “These sport hunters organized and developed the first refuges for wildlife (Carroll’s Island Club 1832, Gunpowder River in Maryland; Trefethen 1975) and laws to protect game (e.g., New York Sportsmen’s Club 1844; Trefethen 1975).”
  • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announces more than $1.1B raised for conservation by sportsmen and women
    • “Every time a firearm, fishing pole, hook, bullet, motor boat or boat fuel is sold, part of that cost goes to fund conservation. The best way to increase funding for conservation and sportsmen access is to increase the number of hunters and anglers in our woods and waters. The American conservation model has been replicated all over the world because it works,”
  • SCI Conservation Highlights
    • “Safari Club International (SCI) Foundation’s conservation achievements would not be possible without hunters. Hunters provide the vision of this organization and they invest countless resources into its programs. Through SCI Foundation, hunter contributions collectively provide science on nearly all the big game mammals of North America and as many game animals as resources allow on other continents.”

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