In talking about society’s misperception of what Trophy Hunting is around the office, the topic of how many “trophy” big game animals we all have taken came up. Obviously there’s a bunch of them and the number of states, countries and even continents where we’ve done so was surprisingly high. With those miles traveled and adventures lived we also realized just how important the term Trophy Hunting is and how misunderstood it is at the same time. For we would have never adventured across states, countries and continents in pursuit of meat only. We can get that in our big Wyoming “backyard”.
No, we undertook Trophy Hunts for the oldest and most challenging animals and we didn’t simply take the heads and hides, leaving the rest to spoil as today’s media would have people believe. We and others, ate the meat from our Trophy Hunts and we enjoyed the challenge of selectively harvesting a mature, highly sustainable animal, a specimen who required our utmost skill in order to harvest, an animal more than capable of surviving in spite of our best fair chase attempts.
Along the way these Trophy Hunts provided us with more than food to fuel our bodies. Instead the hunts nourished our entire beings. We benefitted physically from the exertion endured, emotionally from the hardships overcome, spiritually from serving in our God given role as stewards of his creation and personally by forging bonds of kinship with fellow hunters and human beings from Tajikistan to Teton County.
You see the point to all of this is that the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation was created to abate the literal wholesale slaughter of our game animals for food, market hunting. However, today’s trend of only valuing hunting as a means of food provision places us dangerously close to reliving a past where the future of North American wild game was bleak.
The term, Trophy Hunting has been held captive by and prostitized for too long and it’s time hunter’s lead the charge of educating the public to the truth of Trophy Hunting. It is selective, controlled, scientifically based game management that fuels an entire human, not just their stomach.
“Trophy Hunting is conservation.”
Excellent article and spot on! That said I prefer the term selective hunting which involves trophy hunting as well as targeting specific animals which may or may not be real trophies. On my private land I selected two whitetail bucks, one with a poorly developed left antler and the other with a very narrow and high set of antlers. I’d like them out if the genetic pool as I am making every effort to improve my deer herd.
Really love your magazines and blogs!
TROPHY/SELECTIVE HUNTING IS TRULY CONSERVATION.
EXACTLY – well stated Mr. Helms
Taxidermy is conservation not just a art, the spirit lives on.