This is generally a slow time of year when it comes to hunting. Up until yesterday, when a firestorm of emotional reaction accompanied a story about local dentist Dr. Walter Palmer shooting a collared lion in Zimbabwe that ended up being, not only collared for research, but well-known and adored by locals.
I have never understood the trophy hunting mentality that drives someone to pay $50,000 to shoot an animal so that they can display it in their trophy. I am not necessarily against trophy hunting, but for me, there’s much more to it than just getting a cape or a set of horns.
For the most part, I hunt for the experience and the opportunity to harvest an animal that I can use to feed family and friends. I am not nearly as selective as some. When I am in a deer stand, for example, I am more likely than not to take a shot at a deer that walks by, if it is a legal deer.
Yet, I have no problem with a hunter who passes on a smaller buck in order to try for a bigger one. The key for me is fair chase and following the rules and regulations. That’s what makes hunting both legitimate and noble.
Seems like there may have been some rules violations in the case of the lion. If that ends up being the case, then I support due process in investigating the incident and taking appropriate law enforcement action.
But, that’s all. Going crazy on social media, protesting in front of Palmer’s house, and making threats to him and his legitimate dental practice is going way too far. This is my biggest problem with the animal rights movement. They want to go after and villify people who engage in hunting. This incident is their opportunity.
I’m fine with them writing essays, blog posts and letters to the editor of newspapers and magazines. By all means, make your point. But then, please show respect for others and don’t try to harass and persecute someone.
I can’t help but wonder how these animal rights activists feel about what’s going on at Planned Parenthood. I suspect they have no problem with abortion. For me, that’s a huge disconnect.
Years ago, someone from Greenpeace came to my home to talk about the slaughter of whales. When I asked her how she felt about abortion, she said, “Well, that’s a woman’s choice.”
I can’t imagine such a line would satisfy animal rights activists today: “Well, that’s a hunter’s choice.”
So, what’s the difference between a lion and an unborn child? Why is it considered evil to shoot a collared lion for sport, but perfectly fine to kill an unborn child and sell the body parts for profit?
That is the question I wish I could discuss with any animal rights advocate.
My final thought on the matter is this: As a professional photographer, I would much rather shoot a lion with my camera than my gun or bow. In fact, an African photo safari is something I hope to do in my lifetime.
If I am able to put a lion on my wall, I want it to be a beautiful, framed picture.