Trophy

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    A conversation about ethics in any human activity can spark controversy because someone inevitably is going to be offended if they find themselves swimming against a current. Others will be offended by those acting inappropriately, giving anyone a bad rep – Boone and Crockett 


    That been said, we see a lot of hunters turning on each other over the word “Trophy”. More importantly what is been said is, “I am ethically a better hunter than you because I did not bring my trophy back.” Are we not splitting hair here? Every day we see more and more individuals in the hunting industry adding pressure to others to rather leave their trophies and just take a photo or have a replica made. But is that what most hunters want? Why should we be pressured into doing what only a few are pushing for? Is this push back of ethical ground no more than some sort of an apology, guilt trip or cave in to animal rights? Or is this fear because of import bans? Why are hunters behaving in that holier-than-thou- attitude?

    Someone recently told me that bans will have no effect on hunters booking trophy hunts. I disagree and so do others in the Hunting industry. I took the liberty of asking the following:

    Do you think not taking a trophy back would have a negative effect on the hunting industry? As a hunter would you still hunt in Africa knowing you could not take your trophy back.

    Yes, for sure. Most of my clients want their trophies. We will lose 80% plus of our current clients. We have seen this the elephant permits being issued. We went from selling all our quota in the US three years ago to only 4 during the last two years. – Karl Stumfi, Namibian Outfitter

    To answer your question, Yes it will and yes less hunters are booking dangerous hunts such as lion hunts compared to the past. It will also impact prices and devalue animals. – Brian Roodt, Namibian Outfitter

    It would impact us because out competitors can offer exportable trophies. Then we also have to ask ourselves what are we selling? Are we selling a trophy or selling a hunt? And if it's both then what is the proportion if you took one or the other way? I see a distinct difference between pure hunters who buy the adventure or the dream and trophy hunters who want the picture with the biggest. In a reality the records are now only going to be broken by the genetically engineered "agricultural" trophies. In my mind this is not true hunting because the hunt is no the prime motivation, the size is. - Abe Smit, Outfitter, Zimbabwe

    It would defiantly impact us negatively. I recently had a client that hunted a buffalo. He is only one of a few that said he if he couldn’t take his trophy back he would be happy with the experience and photo- Brad Birkholtz, South African Outfitter

    I would rather pay a lower cost if I cannot get my trophy back – John Cannon United States of America Hunter

    Most hunters see no harm in bringing back a memory of the animal to keep and retell the story to their family and friends. Especially if the animal was sustainably harvested and they can explain where the money went. They see it as unfair to have restrictions on this. If an export ban from the United Kingdom was in place as well as import it would affect our hunting tourism. - Kerry Curtis, Director/founder Lady Hunter United Kingdom

    After reading the opinions of others, it is adamantly clear that most do want their trophy and there is nothing wrong with that. It is part of the hunt and it is their right to take the trophy back. Ethics should not be brought into the fact that some hunters like to take back their trophies. Hunters should not attack others because of this.

    It’s a simple fact that most hunting will want their trophy. What sense will it make for anyone to invest large sums of money to go to some country in Africa or anywhere else in the world, shoot something and get back home without any bragging rights?

    Whether the hunter dollars will benefit the locals or not the money spent is for the pleasure of the hunt and securing a trophy and unlimited “bragging rights” like “you know, that damn buffalo nearly took my scalp” Or “have you ever seen a kudu like mine?” Or “that leopard was a confirmed man-eater and I have papers somewhere to prove it!”

    If you do not want to lose your livelihoods post the virus, close ranks and work things out. If you all behave childishly you will all go crying to the bank instead of laughing to the bank.

    It’s like this, if you put jagged stones in a jar and shake it one of two things will happen:

    1. The jagged edges of each stone will get blunted and rounded 

          or

    2. The jar will break and the stones will be as jagged and scattered.

    Think which option is best suited for you.


    In closing I will leave you with these words,

    My elephant tusks are by my front door. I touch them when I come into my house.  It brings back my many safaris that a picture cannot. I smell Africa in my trophy room.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think about “her”, I miss “her.” – Mark Todd, United States of America, hunter


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