Seems like every day every story that becomes popular brings more and more polarization between the left and right. Today, I was reading comments about hunting brought on by the killing of Cecil the lion by a Minnesota dentist in Africa with a crossbow. Some of the commenters’ comments are:
- With hundreds of thousands of children being murdered by abortion and you want to cry about a lion?
- Every hunter should die just like the animals they kill!
- Hunting is cruel. Hunters should buy their meat at the grocery store like normal people.
- He is a sexual predator that paid over 50,000 to kill a lion for nothing other than a trophy. He is disgusting and puts hunters to shame.
- Hanging a murdered animal’s head on the wall is nothing more than an ego boost to a man who killed for a trophy.
From what I have read, the dentist paid $50,000 to a professional hunter to hunt an African lion in Zimbabwe. African lions are on the endangered species list and yet some governments still sell tags to hunt them. The dentist had previously been convicted in 2008 of poaching a black bear in Wisconsin.
Once in Africa, his guides tied an animal carcass to the back bumper of a vehicle and dragged it from within a wildlife refuge near this lion’s domain to outside the park to lure the lion outside its protected area. Once the lion stepped outside the refuge, the dentist shot it with a crossbow and then the group had to track it over 40 hours and then kill it with a rifle.
It turns out that neither the professional hunter, nor the land owner where the lion was finally killed had a permit to harvest a lion. The dentist made a statement that he trusted the guides to act legally and did not know that luring the lion out of his sanctuary was illegal, nor did he know that the proper permits were not on hand.
After reading all I could find on this dentist and his trophy hunting, I will say this:
- He proved he had no regard for the law by poaching a black bear in Wisconsin in 2008.
- The shot he made on Cecil was an unethical shot as 40 hours later the lion had to be put down with a rifle.
- His claim that he did not know what his guides were doing was wrong and thought all the proper permits were in place is, to me, bull hockey. You shoot a lion that is lured out of a wildlife sanctuary with a tracking collar on it and you claim you thought it was permissible? Give me a break.
- This was not the first lion he killed. He had killed another and the photo was posted on his website before the site was taken down.
- Hunting an endangered species is nothing more than greed and stupidity.
As for the comments others made:
- Yes, there are hundreds of thousands of abortions each year, and yes I do concur that it is murder, but that has nothing to do with this incident. Sophistry is all too common in disagreements anymore.
- The person that all hunters should die in the same manner as their prey they harvest has some major issues and needs to seek help.
- I have been to what used to be called a slaughterhouse but is more commonly known now by their euphemistic moniker ‘packing plant’ and what the animals go through there is by far less humane than animals normally harvested by hunting. The vast majority of hunters use fair chase rules of hunting and do not use an assembly line approach to hunting and butchering their prey.
- He did settle a lawsuit for sexual harassment out of court without admitting guilt in 2009. It could be inferred that since he settled, he was guilty; but settling is a common practice when the settlement is less than what it would cost to defend yourself. Either way, sexual harassment has nothing to do with hunting unless a hunter makes unwanted sexual advancements to his/her prey before harvesting it.
- Hanging the antlers or having a shoulder mount of your harvested prey is not necessarily an ego thing. For me, I can look at the antlers of each buck I have harvested and by looking at them I can tell you exactly where I was and where the deer was when I shot him. I can tell you the weather that day, the time of day I harvested it, and everything else about that hunt that I could not tell you without looking at the antlers. The same goes for the turkey beards I have on my wall. I consider it honoring the bounty afforded to me and my family having the ‘trophy’ on my wall.
Finally, I know there are trophy hunters out there, but I was raised with the following rule:
You only shoot what you intend to eat unless it is endangering you or your family.
With that being said, it is up to you to determine what is ethical in your own eyes when it comes to harvesting animals, but be informed and fair in the decision you make.