Safari Club members defend sport
DAVID B. PARKER /
A huge sculpture of a bass made of stainless steel by
Wayne Pacelle hates the very idea of paying a lot of money to travel to
"We are critical of sport or recreation hunting," Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said by telephone this week from his Washington, D.C., office. "Shooting animals for fun."
Adam Hill holds a far different view.
"One has to look at wildlife as a resource," said Hill, executive officer of the African Professional Hunters Association. "If you're going to hug it like a bunny, it's going to die out."
Pacelle, who often opposes the Safari Club in court and Congress, is highly critical of the organization, claiming it "promotes the trophy hunting of big game animals throughout the world."
But Hill and other club members say their hunting, along with being sport, is good wildlife conservation.
Human population growth has reduced the space for wild animals in
"Animals are surrounded by humans, not hunters," Hill said.
Trophy hunting, according to Hill, helps, not hurts, the herd.
"Your taking off non-breeding males," said Hill, who calls hunting's opponents "antis."
Along with Pacelle's humane society, another U.S.-based group, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is anti-hunting.
On its Web site, PETA says sport hunting "jeopardizes nature's balance" and hunters kill anything they "would like to hang over their fireplace."
But hunters say those and similar arguments are emotional, not logical.
"We have to keep emotion out of it," said Carl Wall, executive director of the Manitoba Lodges & Outfitters Association in
Hunters want to preserve, not destroy, herds, Wall claims. Otherwise, there wouldn't be anything to hunt.
"There's no doubt, hunters and fishers in
Other opinions given
Hunters say they pay for conservation with their license fees, which fund state wildlife agencies.
"The biggest issue is that hunters and fishermen pay the bill for (conservation)," said Kim Toulouse, a hunter from Verdi at the Safari convention. "Where they get the money is from hunters and anglers. The rest of society doesn't foot the bill. If hunting and fishing decline, the (agencies) have less money."
Eugene Decker, a longtime Safari Club adviser and retired wildlife management professor at
"Who pays for conservation in the
But Pacelle says the Safari Club promotes the business of killing animals, not conservation.
"These trophy hunts are done as head-hunting exercises," he said. "They aren't consuming the animal. They are spending tens of thousands of dollars to shoot these animals so they can accumulate more awards in the Safari Club pantheon."
The club's convention is filled with booths where hunting guides offer trips to
"There are people in the 'anti' movement who firmly believe you shouldn't use (wildlife) resources for commercial gain," Wall said.
That includes PETA.
"Today, hunting, which was a crucial part of survival 100,000 years ago, is nothing more than a violent recreation," PETA says on its Web site.
Hunting may be business, but it also serves a useful purpose, according to Hill.
"It's no good saying 'with no hunting everything will be great.' " he said. "For a hunter to hunt, he has to conserve the resource."
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