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What is Big Game Hunting?

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There is a general belief that safeguarding the environment and curtailing the killing of endangered species are both of immense importance to wildlife.

Presently, wildlife is facing serious challenges that include poaching, climate change, and destruction of the habitats. Some people also see big game hunting which is otherwise known as trophy hunting as one of the challenges of wildlife.

What is big game hunting
Photo Credit: Hp.Baumeler, Commons.wikimedia.org

However, there are many contributions of big game hunting to wildlife. Big game hunting improves the survival of wildlife, protects the endangered species from poaching, and stops the destruction of the habitats of wildlife. This article will explain big game hunting and its place in wildlife.

What is Big Game Hunting?  

Big game hunting is the deliberate killing of targeted animals such as rhinos, elephants, lions, pumas and bears with conditions stipulated by the government.

It is also the killing of selected wild animals especially older males due to a given feature like big horns. The trophy in this hunting is the parts of the animals that the hunters hold as gifts.

By keeping the trophy, it makes the hunting experience to be fresh on the mind of the hunters. It is also a way to safeguard the aesthetic value and splendor of the animals.

The trophies are beneficial to many people because they can be seen by many people when they are kept in museums across the world although some hunters use some of the animals as meat.

Under normal circumstances, trophy hunters kill older animals that have gone beyond their reproductive stage. Another reason the older animals are targeted by trophy hunters is that they might die due to adverse weather conditions or as a result of lack of food somewhere along the line.

Trophy hunting is a thriving business in the face of various government regulations. These regulations come in the form of the type of animals to hunt, when and where the hunting can be carried out, and the tools that can be used during hunting.      

Misconceptions about Trophy Hunting

In recent times, there have been a lot of criticisms trailing trophy hunting across the world. This is because of the wrong view of trophy hunting peddled by a section of the general public. Some of these misconceptions about trophy hunting include:

Trophy Hunters Waste Meat

Most people believe that trophy hunters are only interested in the antlers from the games they killed. But this is not the truth because trophy hunters make use of the whole animal. If you have spent some time in different hunting camps across the year, you will understand these hunters and what they do with these animals.

Trophy Hunters do not Care about the Animals or the Environment

If you have spent some time with trophy hunters, you will understand that they care about the games and the habitat. The bulk of the revenue generated in the games are used in the preservation of the habitat as participants of this hunting exercise are usually rich individuals in society.  

They spend a lot of money to be part of hunting. The management of the games’ reserve uses the money raised from the registration of participants to take care of the games reserve. Doing this contributes to the improvement of the environment in a way that will sustain the animals in the forest.

Trophy Hunters are just Rich Elitists

For you to understand this point, there is a need to explain who a trophy hunter is again. A trophy hunter is an individual who has chosen a particular game as the animal they will hunt regardless of the species.

This means that anybody can take part in trophy hunting as far as you are registered and have reached the legal age of hunting, which is 14 years in most states across the country.

As the legal age is not for adults only, there is a high possibility that young individuals can take part in trophy hunting when they fulfill the registration requirements. These people cannot be described as elites or the rich and this automatically makes the claim that trophy hunting is for elites not to be true.

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Trophy Hunters have Superiority Complex

When you become an acquaintance with a trophy hunter, you will discover that they are like everyone in the hunting business unlike claims by some people that they are arrogant and consider themselves better than others. Trophy hunters like to stay back when they are done with hunting for the day and talk about their hunting experiences.  

They also use the opportunity to exchange pictures they took while hunting. You hardly see them talk about their hunting exercise in an arrogant way. They give a detailed explanation about hunting in such a way that you start feeling like you are with them in the forest.

They also use the opportunity to tell the stories of the bond they developed with the animal they were hunting.  They are always ready to tell their stories when they don’t record any kill in the forest in a bid to enlighten those who might wish to embark on the same expedition. This is also done to ensure others do not make the same mistake they have previously made.

Trophy Hunters are Big Spenders

Everyone that takes part in trophy hunting is not necessarily rich. However, one thing that is common among these hunters is their drive to hunt varieties of animals in very good reserves or hunting ranches.  In different situations, trophy hunters have to pay outfitters to take them around the reserve as stipulated by law.  

When you experience something firsthand, it improves your ability to carry out the task without any supervision. This is the same issue with trophy hunters. They become better hunters in the reserves because of the number of times they have engaged in the act. It is also due to the additional hours they use to observe their animals before they kill them.  

Trophy hunters will explain to you that the extra hours they use in tracking down their animals is very important. Because they use the period to have a better understanding of the animals and the environment they live in. This means that trophy hunters gain more knowledge about hunting in the wild due to the additional hours they use in tracking the animals.

Hunting Animals into Extinction

Hunting a particular animal species lawfully means that those animals are not under any form of extinction threat as the law protects them. Also, when you are hunting animals that are going into extinction, it is totally against the law.

There are laws in states protecting these animals. When you hear about the killing of animals that are going into extinction in the press, it means that it is not big game hunting rather it is known as poaching.

Poaching is not hunting. Big game hunters strive to increase the number of animals in the wide, in order to sustain big game hunting in the future. Poachers strive to kill animals because of the money they will make from selling animal parts. Some of these parts include the horns or antlers which are sold in the illegal outlets at a very high price.

However, big game hunters display their horns in museums or other public places to enlighten the public about these animals. Some of these horns are also sold legally and the money is used to improve the reserves and the communities where the game reserves are located. The money is also used to employ security operatives that will help to keep off poachers from the game reserve.

Other misconceptions about big game hunting are put forward by animal rights groups. For them, hunting animals because of their body parts is the most dangerous type of crime against animals. They believe that animals have the right to die naturally without been killed because they are old.

Their point view is that when you kill an animal because of the trophy attached, it is not morally justifiable. According to them, these actions by trophy hunters are more devilish because the animals are in the category of animals going into extinction.

Furthermore, other criticisms of trophy hunting are that the techniques used to gun down the animal are not sportsmanlike. The method which they described as canned hunting refers to the upbringing of animals in a fenced environment before they are shot by hunters. This kind of hunting is also the same as trophy hunting and is seen as defying wildlife rights. 

On the parts of the scientists, they believe that deliberately killing old animals has a negative impact on the gene pool of the animal. They outlined that this will decrease the overall body size of the succeeding animals and endanger the capacity of the animals to survive in their environment.

They also believe that this kind of hunting goes a long way to change the behavior of animals like bears. They become afraid of humans and will no longer engage in their normal salmon move which puts their health at risk.

Another misconception of trophy hunting is that it disorganizes the wildlife population by reducing the number of males of a particular species. When the female animals are killed, it will stop the survival skills that the mother bears teach their children.

These misconceptions have made some people have a negative attitude towards big game hunting. However, this will not stop the practice of big game hunting because those that are well informed know that there are big benefits that are attached to trophy hunting.

Arguments in Favor of Trophy Hunting

There are some people that have positive views about big game hunting even in the face of many criticisms. Some of the arguments in favor of big game hunting are that it improves wildlife conservation and the environment. They also believe that trophy hunting helps to protect rare ­animals and ensure stability in the habitat.

Also, trophy hunting is a source of income for some people and governments. This makes it possible for governments to allocate funds to hunting in a bid to protect and sustain the game reserves. It is worthy to note that, the fees paid by big-game hunters are used to protect the habitat.

Many game reserves in the world are experiencing the depletion of their carrying capacity. That is to say that these game reserves cannot sustain the increasing number of big and deadly animals like lions, African elephants and rhinos.

This is because of human encroachment in the lands. Thereby reducing the lands available for animal reserves and putting animals at a cross line with humans.

With proper management of the reserves, the habitat of these animals is maintained with a huge amount of money paid by trophy hunters. Also, among all the animals in the game reserve, less than one percent of the animals are killed accidentally as the hunters are trained on how to target and kill big games.

Video: What is big game hunting

This video explains trophy hunting in the wild.

Differences between Trophy Hunting and Poaching

Some people think that poaching and big game hunting are the same. But this is not the truth. Poaching is not trophy hunting. Poaching is very dangerous to wildlife and no group of animals has gone extinct because of trophy hunting.

Trophy hunters only kill old male animals in very little numbers while poachers, on the other hand, kill any animal that is in the game reserve. They target the old males, young males, females and babies thereby depleting the population of the species.  

Trophy hunting takes down a little number of old males that have gone past their reproductive stage and have given their genetics to their young ones, thereby posing no danger to their population. But killing female animals is dangerous to the population of the animals especially animals that give birth to a small number of offspring in the reserve.

During trophy hunting season, there are many endangered species that are tracked, targeted and killed by trophy hunters because they pay huge amounts of cash. They showcase their kills as trophies. These hunters assert that the money they pay to the game reserves is a source of revenue to the host communities where the game reserve is located.

The belief that trophy hunting helps in wildlife conversation is not true. Rather, hunters take down the biggest animals in the bush like those with the largest horns. With this strategy, they kill important animals in the bush, which will destroy family settings in the animal world.

This means that trophy hunting is detrimental to wildlife conservation as trophy hunters go for animals that are very scarce in the reserve.

How Trophy Hunting Works

The large horn of deer on the wall of the bar in your neighborhood is known as a trophy by hunters. They basically serve as aesthetic items for the environment. Hunting as a game has been with man since pre-historic times as many kill animals because of the meat or just for recreation.

Trophy hunting as a form of hunting targets mature old males and kill them because of their meats, horns, or antlers. Before you engage in trophy hunting, you have to register in a particular game reserve.

After registration, you have to identify the particular mature male you are targeting and the game reserve will ensure that the animal is not among the endangered species in the forest.

Once they have duly certified you to hunt, you will be guided through the forest by hunt out lifters. Also, some trophy hunters do not shoot to kill the animals rather they only sedate the animals with the shot and take pictures when they are placid.  

We hope this article was helpful. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.

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