Shrinking Into Convalescence

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by Kai-Uwe Denker

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By now most hunters have become aware of the fact that due to the unfortunate coincidence of illegal international trafficking in wildlife products and ill-advised anti-hunting campaigns, a serious crisis for trophy hunting as such has arisen. So much so, that it might well be a question of all hunting coming to an end, if – and this seemingly is the important underlying lesson only to be learned the hard way – the so-called hunting industry is not able to shrink into convalescence.

Several opinions were voiced lately, amongst them the accusation that hunters, although having been warned about this, have “done nothing” to create a united front against fanatic anti-hunting activists. This cannot be left standing; the issue is much more complex.

If there is one reproach that can be laid in front of the doorstep of hunters (and I mean those true hunters), then it is that they failed to properly justify their doings emotionally.

Fanatics at all times needed the hotbed of unhealthy circumstances for their campaigns.
The reproach that certainly has to be laid in front of hunters, is that they where unable to dissociate themselves from the amalgamation with the “abusers” of the sustainable use principle.

There is much talk about “winning the hearts and the minds of society”. However, and this is the crux of the matter, clever technocrats totally seem to forget that emotions (the hearts) are an immensely strong factor – ultimately perhaps the strongest force – in human opinion forming.

In the late nineteen eighties there perhaps was an intermediate high stage for our case, after pioneers like Dr. Heribert Kalchreuter (“Die Sache mit der Jagd”) and others had explained sustainable human off-take within the correct context of natural connotations. In their wake followed many dedicated experts, who had made the “principle of sustainable use” widely accepted.

For the open-minded general public and nature-loving hunters alike, at that time it went without saying that this “principle of sustainable use” meant “respectful, moderate, circumspect use”. There thus was this intermediate high, when the hearts and ears of the open-minded public at least where open for our case. But what has become from it?

Unfortunately the well founded and well meant “principle of sustainable use of natural resources”, to a considerable extent has become a matter of “sustainable abuse of natural resources”. “Zauberlehrlinge” who, typical for human nature, for reasons of greed, have run away, not only with generally accepted standards of ethical hunting, but with the very important ecological and nature conservation linkage of the sustainable use principle; financial aspects totally overriding any moral considerations, besmearing the image of trophy hunting and putting a big question mark over the true motives of trophy hunters and totally loosing the hearts of the general public in the process.

“Captive bred lion hunting” or, to even top it, the “artificial breeding of colour variants and outsized trophies for the hunting industry”, being the most unacceptable practices that developed under the guise of “wise use”.

Sadly enough too many people who should have known better, have lend their ears and their voices to these practises.

I cannot agree to the notion that the “only group that counts are the fanatics”.

The group that counts is the open minded general public.

If we for once just would learn that only with a well balanced approach of comprehensible facts and acceptable emotions the hearts and minds of society can be won.

The present ban on the transportation of hunting trophies by various airlines is directly linked to the worldwide concern about the illegal trafficking in wildlife products, most notably rhino horn – a concern that we hunters certainly share wholeheartedly. Unfortunately the disturbing truth is that unscrupulous PH’s have been directly linked to the horrible rhino poaching and rogue outfitters indirectly linked to the illegal trafficking of rhino horn. Fact is also that “Campaign Against Canned Hunting” (CACN) is actively promoting the ban. Whatever the ultimate aim of CACN might be, typically this movement uses the leverage of an unacceptable practice, to support their case and rally up emotions.

Let us be a bit practical. The general public is stricken with dismay about the constant bad news of rhino and elephant poaching becoming totally out of control. Let us rather have some understanding for a momentary overreaction born out of utter powerlessness, instead of polarising and accusing all around us of mysterious conspiracy with the anti-hunting lobby, thereby heaving the fanatics into an importance they do not have.
Still most decision makers, just like the general public, listen to reason if approached in measured way.

Nevertheless we face an imminent crisis, a make it or break it situation. What is at stake is not the financially lucrative side of an industry… it is hunting that is at stake. It is high time that we hunters for once take our fate into our own hands and distance ourselves from unacceptable practices and explain ourselves well, as being the nature lovers and conservationist that indeed we are, instead of having our case tabled by technocrats who too easily motion away valuable human qualities like compassion and consciousness as “just emotions”. For once those breeders and dealers and rogue outfitters, who, for greed alone, have commandeered the honest intentions of the sustainable use principle and ethical hunting standards, should step back.

Stewart Dorrington has explained that well in his deliberations on “hunting and game breeding” in the latest edition of African Indaba.

The art of survival largely depends on adaptability to changing circumstances and environments (changing times and growing awareness in our case). Instead of the ever-the-same “money counts” strategy of the last two decades, which in no way could stop our slow decline, we perhaps should adapt a bit and redefine trophy hunting as to suit such important human traits as growing compassion and circumspection. Perhaps it is time to more adequately speak of “sustainable off-take of natural resources within healthy eco systems” or even of “sustainable human participation in nature”. Because unspoiled nature as such is the one commodity that clearly is hugely desirable for many humans, not human “use” and “abuse” and “manipulation” of nature.

Hunting on the long run can never survive in the loud, money-driven, competitive “Wildlife Industry Form” it has grown into. In its pure, honest, respectful original form, however, it could be a hugely important supplement to a general conservation strategy – very much to the advantage of the protection of last fragments of unspoiled nature. And that, after all, is what mankind wants.

Hunting as such – and unspoiled nature it can help protect – is just too deer to me.

I have a strong feeling that it is time to cut old plaits. The principle of adding “value to wild animals” has not proven itself – it is just too prone to abuse, and with that creating the hotbed for fanatics. We should sit back and open-mindedly consider admitting that wild animals front and foremost have aesthetic value. That their value lies in their unconditional belonging to the nature humanity would like to protect. We should get away from the “killing animals for money” perception. Nature’s laws as such are easily explained.

And this is the most important need of the moment: to explain nature. Not nature manipulated to suit someone’s (financial or emotional) need, but nature as it is. Factual and from out scientific viewpoint only. It has to be pointed out that regularly rhino bulls are killed during fights amongst themselves. The merciless interaction between lion and hyena has to be pointed out. The food chains on which nature rests have to be explained. This is the important campaign that has to be started immediately without connotation to hunting. And then the question has to be asked and answered: Does humanity still want and need nature?

Human off-take – and importantly – if done respectfully and sustainably, will justify itself, once nature is properly understood. Surely we hunters do not kill environments, rather the contrary. The “value of the privilege to hunt” is what explains our case appropriately. To put it in plain, practical terms: the “daily fee” for being able to hunt in natural surroundings is the hugely powerful value (the incentive that adds monetary value to consumptive tourism) that supports our case of contributing towards ecologically sound conservation – not the value of the individual animal to be shot; its value is only indirectly; lies in being part of a bigger, healthy natural concept - a concept which tourist can use in consumptive and in non-consumptive way without doing any harm to it.



Source: Namibia Professional Hunting Association (NAPHA)
 
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Ok..Now what folks? How do we go and bring the message forward? I ve said repeatedly we need a voice, a real voice. IMO SCI is not doing enough. Would a PR firm contracting by NRA and SCI amongst others in the industry be beneficial to us? I don't know...All I know is we CAN NOT sit back any more and let the world dictate thru anti hunting emotions if we will be able to hunt any longer. It may start in Africa ( god forbid) and then surely spread worldwide. All I know is NOW is the time to put forth a pro hunting, pro conservation campaign. I m just a little guy in this world. I sure hope the big boy's in the industry step up to the plate, other wise it's bye bye...
 

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Hunting as such – and unspoiled nature it can help protect – is just too deer to me.

I have a strong feeling that it is time to cut old plaits. The principle of adding “value to wild animals” has not proven itself – it is just too prone to abuse, and with that creating the hotbed for fanatics. We should sit back and open-mindedly consider admitting that wild animals front and foremost have aesthetic value. That their value lies in their unconditional belonging to the nature humanity would like to protect. We should get away from the “killing animals for money” perception. Nature’s laws as such are easily explained.

@johnnyblues I totally agree, where and how do we start????

I have to agree.....the paragraph I quoted, really does ring true, we have opened ourselves up to abuse.
 
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johnnyblues

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Hunting as such – and unspoiled nature it can help protect – is just too deer to me.

I have a strong feeling that it is time to cut old plaits. The principle of adding “value to wild animals” has not proven itself – it is just too prone to abuse, and with that creating the hotbed for fanatics. We should sit back and open-mindedly consider admitting that wild animals front and foremost have aesthetic value. That their value lies in their unconditional belonging to the nature humanity would like to protect. We should get away from the “killing animals for money” perception. Nature’s laws as such are easily explained.

@johnnyblues I totally agree, we and how do we start????

I have to agree.....the paragraph I quoted, really does ring true, we have opened ourselves up to abuse.
Simon, I wish I knew. I m sure you have seen me suggest a PR firm, is that the right approach? Again I don't know. All I know is NO response is worse. And this is precisely what is happening. Where are the hunting advocates? Where is NRA? SCI not saying a word except to local chapters to not say anything??? What the hell.
 

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All I know is that something needs to happen fast....very FAST!! I think a good PR firm is a good start.
 

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Very fast for sure..
 

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I think the problem non-hunters is much deeper than most realize. I think the only way to fix the anti-hunter problem is to fix society. Two things going on here. First off, more and more people are urbanized now. They just don't understand what nature really is. Second, and this may seem strange in regards to hunting, people are much less religious than they used to be. Add these two together and this tends for people to devalue human life down to that of the animals so they see both as equal. They know its wrong to kill people so therefore it must be wrong to kill animals too, never mind the logic that we can't exist without consuming animals.
 

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Pheroze

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I describe the difference is that hunting makes you a participant rather than just a spectator. But, I tend to agree that urbanization makes us more of a spectator to things. We go to the woods to sit around a stare at the view and "relax" - generally it invloves some form of toy to allow us to "enjoy" nature (seadoo, wake board, tubing). The solution has to be reintroducing nature as its own enjoyment, not just a playground.

National parks are great for non-hunter because the put the animals in a defined space for their viewing pleasure. A loose zoo of sorts.

The PR should be directed at making the enjoyment of nature itself, and all it offers, trendy. Part of the back to earth movement. It is natural after all.
 

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Well I think I'll play the contrarian here. From the animals having value perspective, I've had my own twist on this. The usual argument is that having commercial hunting adds value to the wildlife whereas without it the animals have no value. I've disagreed with the latter, although I will concede it's splitting hairs.

Without commercial safari hunting, the wildlife still have value in being alive to me. I will certainly never hunt a wild tiger and with the few that still roam in the wild, I don't think I could support hunting of those cats. But they still have value to me in being alive. The question is for me and anyone else not living with the wildlife in Africa or anywhere else I don't call home, how much should my opinion matter? Particularly in comparison to the people that do live in proximity of these various animals? My answer to that question is my opinion has very little if any weight at all.

So taking into account the realities of the situation in Africa, who am I as an American to tell the citizens of the various African countries what they should or worse yet, must do in regards to the wildife in their countries?

My own personal desires are to know that lions still roam about in wild places in Africa and that I may go there and hear them roar, that the wildebeest will make their yearly migration chasing the water and food that comes with it, etc. It also obviously includes going to Africa to hunt some of these. Obviously though there must be healthy populations of the wildlife for this to be possible.

If I don't take into account the impact that the wildife has on the citizens of Africa, then I'm fooling myself into thinking it will last just because I think it should. If I do respect the people there and want them to conserve the wildlife for my desires, then I think I have to be willing to be part of an economic solution that results in a benefit to the African for being willing to keep the wildlife around and not just in national parks.

For the life of me I can't understand the average anti that could possibly feel proud that hunting has been banned in Kenya unless their real agenda was only to keep me from hunting there and had nothing to do with their self ascribed love for wildlife.

While I certainly subscribe to the idea of presenting arguments in such a way that hopefully does not offend, for me if the truth and facts of the situation offends then so be it. And for me the truth of the situation is that if there's no hunting, there's no economic benefit to the people. Quite the opposite is true, there are both economic and physical consequences for living near both PG and DG.

So in the end the animals will have value in being alive to the Africans if there's commercial hunting or the animals will have value in being slaughtered if there isn't. If this offends the anti / non hunting public, I suggest they get over their hurt feelings, put their arrogance and ignorance aside that makes them think they can control these foreign lands and understand there is a pragmatic solution where some of their goals are met while having to give on others.
 

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I agree there needs to be a unified concerted effort to get the word out about hunting as the only truly effective means of conserving wildlife in the wild. We need to show how the whitetail and elk populations have increased as a result of hunting providing the money to fund conservation and management. Also ducks, pheasants, geese, etc. And we need to show the successes in Africa and the failures in places without hunting.

But we do need an organized and concerted effort and it ought to start in the US and hopefully get something going in Europe... May be a lofty goal, but perhaps the same mechanism can reach into Asia at some point to educate people there and try to stem the demand that drives poaching.

A National PR campaign in the US is needed and justified. There are some high profile people telling a great story, mostly on their TV shows. But who watches them? Hunters. We are very good at telling ourselves our story... But to be successful we need to reach out to the average non hunting public.

Target the soccer moms who have the time on their hands to be concerned about things like the recent lion issues. Forget arguing with the antis, you won't change them, but deliver a sensible honest message and prove our points to the regular citizens who vote. And the message needs to be delivered professionally and that takes funding. Big funding. I don't know to accomplish this but we do it in Agriculture... The livestock industry has been facing many similar challenges. We are way outspend by many of the same folks that oppose hunting... However we have National check-offs that are mandated by congressional referendum that we must pay. These started out voluntary but then the funding gets very lopsided as the few pay for everyone. My businesses pays in a lot of money every month. This has cost me personally millions over the years. I don't know what the payback has been and can only hope it has been positive. The good thing about it is everyone pays based on how much they sell. Small or large, all operators or producers pay per head, per cwt. or per bushel on grains... In fact on fluid milk, the processors also pay an additional check-off.

In dairy we have $.15/cwt deducted from our milk checks. A nickel goes to the National program, a nickel goes to the regional organization, and the middle nickel is discretionary and in my case goes to the regional. These programs have funded getting rid of cardboard cartons of milk in places like Mc Donalds and replacing them with the little bottles. The real seal, in California their regional program funds the Happy Cow campaign. We join forces to do jointly funded ads for Mc Donalds, Wal Mart, Dominos, etc. We fund research to find new ways to use our products. The sour cream and onion Lays potato chips have a dried whey flavoring sprinkled on them that comes from whey that used to be thrown out as waste. In fact the whey portion of milk adds a lot to our bottom line these days... So perhaps the money invested has shown a good return. Beef, turkeys and pork also have checkoffs as does corn, wheat and soybeans. And the corn and soybean promotion people join forces with dairy, pork, turkey, beef as those livestock are still the biggest consumers of their products.

I have no idea how to do this in hunting successfully but it can be done with cooperation and if existing organizations can work toward the common good and not start infighting over the money and control... I think the best way would be to have a certain amount added to every hunting license and a governing board elected to administer it. It needs to be National but that might require an act of congress. Then we need to figure out how to get money from African and other overseas hunting to help fund this. It should be proportional to the money spent. Perhaps a fee added onto imported trophies... That would be an incentive to this organization to work towards keeping our import options open. I would be more than happy to have something like $1000 added to my elephant if I could import it.
 

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I honestly think in the US, we should just start a Super PAC. Wait till Senator XYZ calls Delta and states how unhappy he is with their current policies. We can easily do an add campaign with the Super PAC status.
 

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I honestly think in the US, we should just start a Super PAC. Wait till Senator XYZ calls Delta and states how unhappy he is with their current policies. We can easily do an add campaign with the Super PAC status.
Sounds great. How do we fund it?
 

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I don't think funding would be the hard part, I'm sure we just get donations, probably go to the conferences, etc. I think the legal requirements of standing one up and getting the paperwork approved by the government would be terribly painful. Any lawyers on this site that can help? I will do some research but I am definitely not a lawyer.
 

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The PR should be directed at making the enjoyment of nature itself, and all it offers, trendy. Part of the back to earth movement. It is natural after all.

This is EXACTLY why I got into hunting. Because of the work I do, I spend 12+ hours a day in front of a computer. I needed something to "get me back to nature" for my mental and physical health.

@brushmore , we need solutions....

I am not against PR campaigns but I think the best approach is do win the hearts and minds of of the non-hunters is on an individual basis. The best way to solve a big problem is to break it down to a bunch of small ones. If every hunter had a goal to convert a least one non-hunter into a hunter in their life time and just see the impact that makes.
 

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Sounds great. How do we fund it?

My response might be better served being in Simon's thread regarding hiring a PR firm, but I'll put it here first. Our primary organizations as African hunters is SCI and DSC. But there are lots of other hunting related organizations.... Ducks Unlimited, Quail Unlimited, RMEF, FNAWS and the list goes on and on with organizations that I just know about in the U.S. Many of these organizations got started as a result of direct interest in a particular animal. There are some of these organizations who have had offshoots occur when members became dissatisfied and broke off to start their own in support of the same animal. On a larger scale if I'm not mistaken, DSC was formed as an offshoot from SCI. I don't really want to get into the details of such as much as I want to point out that in the end despite our differences we're all supposed to be playing on the same team.

So how about a portion of membership dollars and other donated funds from these various organizations be put into a giant pot that goes to fund this Super PAC idea but also to promoting the benefits of hunting as a whole?
 

ActionBob

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I don't think funding would be the hard part, I'm sure we just get donations
That would be great but I'm skeptical that will bring in the required funds to make a real difference. I think it takes hundreds of millions... So yes if 20,000 hunters donated $10, you would have a great start. I just don't think you will get it... I hope I'm wrong.

And I'm sure we don't want to spend a lion's share of the funding to raise more funding! Make it mandatory somehow and set up a mechanism so the money keeps flowing in... Well actually only go to this level if you want it to be effective long term....

If the guy buying a deer, black bear, pronghorn, etc. license had to pay $10, it should not kill him. maybe $1 for a small game, $5 for migratory bird or turkey. $20 on elk/moose/goat, maybe $50 or $100 on brown bear/big horn sheep? Charge 5% added to trophy fees on imported trophies?

I don't know what the numbers are, just throwing out thoughts... but I do know it takes big bucks (and I don't mean the ones with antlers) to make any difference on National ad campaigns. And to be effective the funding has to be ongoing, this battle will never end.

And then we will be complaining about spending all this money on expensive PR firms. And that we don't see the ads in places like Turkey TX (sorry for picking on you Gizmo)... But we need to realize the message needs to be delivered to places where it will make a difference... The big population centers. Probably not much need to promote our agenda in much of Alaska but we would expect funding to come from there... Same thing for the deer hunting communities in Central and Northern MN where I live... We need to fund this but should not expect to have billboards up preaching to the choir. Put them up in St Paul or Chicago where they can make a difference.
 

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Many different companies need to get on board, rifle makers, ammo, Cabelas and all involved in the outdoors.
 

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Many different companies need to get on board, rifle makers, ammo, Cabelas and all involved in the outdoors.
Yes they do, but one central organization needs to coordinate and control it and be responsible and accountable for results... Without that it will never work.
 

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The present day "Green Movement" is nothing more than one of the oldest religions of humanity - "Paganism", AKA: "Followers of Baal," AKA: "Worshipers of Mother Earth" / "Earth Worshipers", "Environmentalism" and etc., etc.

Paganism and The followers of Baal is/are very ancient but, they call themselves something else today ("Greenies").

Hollywood with it's staggering wealth is on their team, as is the Main Stream Media, as well as Public Schools around the world, for the most part (The Trilogy of Propaganda).

Millions upon millions of young people are starry eyed True Believers of the earth Worship Religion and enthusiastically enjoy being part of The Green Movement.

Demonizing hunters is a major corner stone of this religion, now sweeping the world, at least throughout the industrialized nations anyway.

If there is a solution to this twisted mess, I do not pretend to have it.

However, hiring a PR Firm sounds like a step in the right direction.

Buying an existing (or, starting one up from scratch) a recognized world wide Television Network makes sense to me but, do we as hunters have that much money ?

People who claim to eat nothing but vegetable matter are absurd, no matter what else they may fuss about.

People who eat meat (including fish because fish are made primarily out of meat), but gripe about hunting are absurd.

It appears that many such people believe what they believe simply because it is absurd.

Believing in absurd ideas appears to be a huge part of their reason to get out of bed ever day.

I other words, they were raised as spoiled brats and now live their lives in a constant simmering absurd temper tantrum.

And if there is a remedy to their actively hating law abiding hunters, I'd like to know it.

One of the best things we as individuals can do is marry the right kind of spouse to begin with and from there, raise our children to be free thinkers like we are, so they will not fall for all this Earth Worship /Green Movement propaganda.
 

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flatwater bill wrote on john stroud's profile.
Leopard Legend....................Hi John.............I see that you have not visited AH in awhile. Hope all is well. I am looking for a hunt in Namibia..............would like to ask a few questions about your hunt.............all the best..............................Bill
Cervus elaphus wrote on Bob Nelson 35Whelen's profile.
Hi Bob, how's things going in Wyong?. Down your way a couple of years back but haven't been in NSW since Ebor for the fishing. just getting over some nasty storms up here in Qld, seeing the sun for the first time in a few days. I'm going to NZ in the spring and hope to clean up a few buns while there and perhaps shake the spiders out of my old .303LE (currently owned by my BIL). Cheers Brian
A couple pictures of the sable i chased for miles in Mozambique, Coutada 9!! We finally caught up to him and I had the trophy of a lifetime. Mokore Safaris, Doug Duckworth PH
sable Coutada 9.JPG
sable 2 - Coutada 9.JPG
 
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