Trophy Hunters ARE Conservationists!

TROPHY DESTINATIONS

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Since 2024
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Nov 16, 2008
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Location
South Africa
Website
www.trophydestinations.com
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68
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3
Member of
SCI, Rowland Ward, Official SCI Measurer, Rowland Ward Official Measurer
Hunted
South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe
Over the years I have received a lot of hate mail and threats because of what I do for a living and what I’m passionate about. I learnt a long time ago that it doesn’t help to argue with these people because they think purely with emotion and any facts you present them will not sway their opinions.

I’m a big supporter of Robbie Kroger and Blood Origins, and what they do for the hunting community and to change the perception of hunting and hunters in the eyes of the normal person. I was fortunate enough to be on his podcast a couple of years back as well to discuss hunting in South Africa. If you don't know about Blood Origins go check them out on https://www.bloodorigins.org

I would like to share this article I wrote with the AH community and get your thoughts on the topic and maybe your experiences with hate towards our passion.


“Trophy” hunting and “subsistence” or “meat” hunting are viewed as 2 completely different forms of hunting, but they are not that different. Here at Trophy Destinations we host a lot of overseas “trophy” hunters that come here with the goal to shoot mature male animals that are past their prime and have done their part for the gene pool. This, however, does not mean that the whole animal isn’t utilized! All the animals that we hunt are utilized to the fullest to feed our staff, their families and communities. Nothing goes to waste as the local people have a use for everything from the organs all the way through to the bones. Every outfitter that is dedicated to conservation and ethical hunting will tell you that everything they hunt gets fully utilized, however people outside the hunting community (and even some within) think that trophy hunting means to shoot the biggest animal you see, cut its head off and leave the rest to rot. This is just not true! To me personally a trophy doesn’t have to be a record book animal with the longest horns or heaviest tusks, a trophy is a mature animal that has lived its life and passed its genes on to the future generations. If the animal happens to be an exceptionally large specimen then that is a bonus. In a world where people seem to get trophies for everything and for just participating I can’t understand the hatred towards keeping a momento from a hunting trip to be able to look at and always remember the camaraderie and good times we experienced during the hunting trip.

Organizations like Rowland Ward are not “awards” for trophy animals, it is the study of horn length or tusk weight etc., in different geographic regions of the world and a records of this. It was started by Mr. Rowland Ward who was a British taxidermist in the late 19th and early 20th century. Other organizations, such as SCI where I am a life member, who do give out awards for certain achievements don’t solely focus on horn length or tusk weight but a combination of different features of the horns and tusks, as well as accomplishments of outstanding trips, such as the “sheep of the world” As one example, to far places where no normal tourist would go and the only form of income for these communities to help with conservation is through the dollars or euros or whatever currency that hunters bring to these areas.

In a country like South Africa, where most hunting is done on large tracts of high fenced properties (where animals have got more than enough opportunity to evade and elude the hunters), it is important to manage the animals properly. As they cannot roam from area to area as the grazing decreases it is in our hands to be custodians of the lands and make sure they they are not leached to a point where they become inhabitable for any living thing. Thus we need to also do cull hunts for female and weaker younger animals. These hunts are normally advertised as “management” or “meat” hunts and are an important part to proper wildlife conservation practices.

With the ever growing human population and expansion of cities our wild areas are shrinking and with it the habitats for our majestic wildlife. It is for this reason that it is so important that we stand together as a hunting community to make sure that we can keep funding our anti-poaching efforts, our habitat conservation efforts and so much more that the anti-hunters are trying to take from us. The sad truth is that if hunting disappears so will our wild places and wildlife. I understand that some people might not agree with hunting a giraffe or elephant, etc., but it is necessary for conservation and the animal does not go to waste as it will feed the local communities and stop them from needing to poach!

If it wasn’t for hunters’ hard earned dollars and funding through “trophy” hunting that gets put back into the conservation of wildlife then all these efforts would not be possible!

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I like the article and perspective. However, I also think there are two classes of trophy hunting. There is the hunting of older males to support the overall self sustaining population. Then there is hunting of farmed trophies raised for hunting. I really find farming trophies contradictory to the conservation image we try to create, but it seems more and more common and seemingly acceptable each year. I really think it holds the potential to cause long term damage to the conservation narrative.
 
I like the article and perspective. However, I also think there are two classes of trophy hunting. There is the hunting of older males to support the overall self sustaining population. Then there is hunting of farmed trophies raised for hunting. I really find farming trophies contradictory to the conservation image we try to create, but it seems more and more common and seemingly acceptable each year. I really think it holds the potential to cause long term damage to the conservation narrative.
I do agree with you. But even the "farmed" trophies can be beneficial to the overall picture if they are hunted ethically and on a large enough property where they can self sustain themselves. And they have been there long enough, not just offloaded for the client to hunt (that is canned hunting). Thus even animals with ear tags in, that may have been bought in for a specific genetic enhancement but has been on the property for half a decade + and is completely wild is still a hard hunt and a good trophy animal, and not a canned hunt in my opinion.

Don't get me wrong, the tag and even "Farmed" animals are not ideal and not my preferred hunting, but there is a scenario where it is not as bad as some people make it out to be.

But each person has their own opinion and that is the beauty of a forum like this, we can discuss our differences and see the other side of conversations and then make an informed decision if we stick to our thoughts or maybe change them.
 
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