Contemporary British & American newspapers regularly get hold of a photo of a Big Game hunter posing happily with a trophy, and write up him or her as a malevolent monster who sadistically murdered the beautiful, noble, and happy wild critter, who is invariably personalized with a cutsey personal name like “Cecil the Lion.”
Their gullible urban-based readership, who characteristically think that meat grows on supermarket shelves, and that wild animals normally die peaceful deaths in retirement homes, eat up this nonsense and invariably enthusiastically participate in two-minutes of hate. Too many of these people then write checks to phony-baloney Animal Protection Societies (whose officers draw princely salaries and which devote 90% of their budgets to fund-raising) as well as to Anti-Hunting Extremist Organizations.
Hunters are not actually sadists. The hunter appreciates, understands, and cares far more for the hunted animal than the sentimental television watcher or the Animal Rights crackpot. The hunter understands how Nature actually works, and finds powerful emotional and spiritual reward in personal participation in its basic and fundamental process, the contest between the hunter and the game.
“The true trophy hunter is a self-disciplined perfectionist seeking a single animal, the ancient patriarch well past his prime that is often an outcast from his own kind. If successful, he will enshrine the trophy in a place of honor. This is a more noble and fitting end than dying on some lost and lonely edge where the scavengers will pick his bones and his magnificent horns will weather away and be lost forever.”
â€“ Elgin Gates, Trophy Hunter in Asia, 1988.