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Thread: Are we too critical of trophy hunters?

  1. #1

    Are we too critical of trophy hunters?

    I posted this question on a smaller forum a while back, would be interested in SD members views.

    It got me thinking after reading an article in sporting rifle a while back in which a chap had paid to go and shoot a polar bear. The letters of response in the next issue were very critical re the ethics of shooting an animal like that, etc. It is not something I would choose to do but I wouldnt critiscise someone else for doing it either(as long as it was under the right circumstances-which the article inferred it was).

    With deer sometimes people can also be critical of people shooting trophy heads.This is a little more complex as there are so many different management situations where deer are involved. I currently manage red deer on the hill and we never shoot a good head unless there is a good reason, (i.e old beast going back/injured, etc) trying to leave the best looking beasts with nice heads to breed-which I think for hill deer is the right policy(even although some research would indicate that doing so does not neccessarily guarantee success). A trophy off the hill for me would be a ten year old switch that I had never seen before. However, if I was managing deer in an area that was capable of consistently producing good numbers of quality heads I would quite happily(personally and professionally) take the odd one if it was sustainable. I cannot condone anyone, however who would go out solely with the purpose of shooting the biggest and best they can get regardless of the situation.

    I think, actually there is a little bit of the trophy hunter in us all, which, in my opinion is natural and healthy, and nothing to be ashamed of.

    I also think if we are too judgemental of each other we weaken ourselves as a community. Ultimately it was the prejudiced views of others(and politics) which saw fox hunting banned.

  2. #2
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    The key to the answer is in the question:

    humanely taken from a managed and sustainable population
    Sadly I think one or both of these are sometimes missing.


  3. #3
    i feel it is what you percieve as a trophy hunter?????

  4. #4
    if its humainly taken from a properly managed herd i cant see the problem i but dont understand why people want to pay vast amounts of money to be taken to a massive buck which they have put no time or effort into finding

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by stone
    i feel it is what you percieve as a trophy hunter?????
    That, I suppose depends on what you deem to be a ''trophy''! . Everybody's idea of that is different but I suppose in the context of this post I was really thinking of something like some of the big game animals,a heavy royal stag, a gold medal buck,etc,etc. I also used the example of the polar bear.

  6. #6
    People get bent out of shape over this topic, and its hard to be definitive. We endeavour to improve the quality of managed stags by culling poor classes of heads, or heads with less potential to improve or stags that are going back.
    The hope is that you leave master stags to pass on their traits to the next generation.
    In reality in a large stock of deer this can only have a very limited effect, as a master stag holding 60-100 hinds is likely to leave very few of these hinds with his calves . He spends most of his rut wheeling away young staggies from the edges who invariably cover hinds or steal from the edges.
    People can also confuse no'of points with trophy quality, a 12-14 pointer can be a cull animal where as a young strong 8 or 10 should probably be left to progress.
    The most valuable tool is to reduce the mouths on the available keep and then be ruthless on what you allow to progress up the age groups in your stags. There is no substitute for knowing your deer and that requires alot of hours on the hill and even then you sometimes bring off a stag which on closer examination you should have left. The word Trophy stag unfortunately has a negative association, possibly from canned stalking, I personally rate a classic royal as the pinnacle of scots red deer trophies and then anything strong even and balanced whether it be a switch or bigger. If you know your stock you should be able to gauge how many young good stags are coming up and how many of the bigger fellas you can include in your cull each year. The aim of course is to have everything either trophy quality or potential trophy quality!

  7. #7
    This is a simple one for me. I struggle with the concept that I shoot animals just for the thrill of the kill. To do so just for a trophy would therefore be unaccepatable. I dont have a problem at all with others doing it though.

  8. #8
    i agree that the term "trophy hunter" has very negative conitations.

    I think it is part of our make up to "collect", in some it manifests with stamps or birds.

    The trophy is a momento of the day, I've shot a fair few deer and I have one set ot gold medal red antlers[in the loft!!!!!!] and only one trophy in the house which is a set of Beaver teath from Norway and it's the memories of a fantastic trip that make me want to keep them.

    I must admit that the few medal roe heads I've had were sold , poor wages at the time meant that they paid the car tax etc.

    In some ways taking the venison home and eating it is a form of celebrating the hunt?

  9. #9
    A park animal is managed and sustainable is it not? The trophy beats are chosen the same as a trophy in the wild. The animal will be shot humanely the same as a wild animal by a paying guest, the only difference is there may not be a ‘stalk’ to the same extent as if that client was being take out woodland stalking and the odds of getting the trophy are a lot higher than if he were to be out in the wild.

    These trophy animals would be culled at some point in there lives anyway be it in a slaughter house like cattle costing the estate money or by a paying guest providing rural jobs and the benefit to the wider community the local hotel or bed and breakfast or restaurants.

    The question is about choice and preference and at the end of the day that guest is paying a large sum of money that is going to benefit the estate and employees! Its about jobs and I don’t think we can criticise someone for wanting to pay a lot of money for a trophy if that money guarantees another job in the rural community.

    I hope I don’t get anyone’s back up especially those il be sharing house with in October??

  10. #10
    Everyone has the right to criticise who they wish or indeed what practices.

    If the question was framed like this: Is managed trophy hunting ethical? then it would be a little more accurate.

    Semantics aside and fwiw I am of the opinion that well managed trophy hunting is beneficial both for the population managed and for the local and national economies. You only have to look at a lot of the operations in Africa to realise their value from both conservation and economical (and thus humanitarian) viewpoints.

    However there are always operators and clients who do not operate or manage to the high standards of the best professionals.

    There is no way (other than if they commit criminal acts) that these chaps will change the way they operate or hunt.

    If you can go away from a hunt or the piece of ground you manage with a clear conscience, a good trophy and knowledge of a job well done- plus the knowledge that theres another good animal coming along behind then I think thats the best result you can hope for.



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