why speak out??
Why speak out now … I had to. Somebody had to. Without meaning to, I have put myself in a position of leadership and act as a representative for all hunters. After my giraffe hunt, and the positive and negative publicity that it achieved, it was important that I stand up for what I believed in. Sure, I could have kept the pictures to myself, but why? This concept of hunting as a means of conservation, should not be a foreign idea. It should be accepted and acknowledged. People may not like it – and that’s okay, but its working. I repeat, the practices are working all over South Africa, and even right here in the states – look at Texas. The exotic hunting industry in Texas is booming – economically, and flourishing populations of exotics that were once close to extinct. Again, people may not like what I do – what we do – but once they look at the facts, they cannot deny that its keeping herds healthy, economies in check, and bonus, people fed. I have been faced with more controversy, misunderstandings, and hate in the past year that I have ever dreamed was possible, but I will persist. Why you love it … There are lots of amazing reasons to love hunting. • Community & Camaraderie – I rarely ever hunt without making a new friend and hearing a new story. • Feed my family – forget the organic section, this is as real as it gets. • The Thrill – let’s be honest, we all have our hobbies, I was born and raised into this one. • Conservation – the facts are it’s very expensive to protect animals around the world from them selves, over population, diseases and poachers. Hunters give animals the financial support and time to make those conservation efforts more successful than any other singular group. Ever heard of DU? SCI? RMEF? All of these are dedicated groups of hunters pouring their time, money, and resources into the conservation of species and habitations around the globe. What it costs you (overseas and US-based trophy hunts + taxidermy – is it similar or more expensive than non-hunting safaris?) … As with any hobby – this can get as expensive as I make it. With each hunt abroad, generally you will have accommodation and travel fees, as well as trophy fees and transport fees. Meat is often donated to the local community and can feed anywhere from dozens to hundreds of meals. Here in the states, it’s the same thing, except the meat goes to feed my family and friends. Like in any industry, the bigger you make the excursion, the more expensive it can be. What a great opportunity for a small economy though – to have thousand of tourism dollars poured in and benefit the community.
Why it helps wildlife overall … Conservation. Overpopulation. Destroying Habitations. Reproduction. Let me clarify something – poaching is bad. Taking advantage is bad. But well planned and executed hunting to benefit a herd or entire species is good. So good. Just look at my giraffe adventure – that herd had not produced new life in years. The bull I hunted was preventing other giraffe bulls from mating, so the herd was dying off. After my harvest, A BABY WAS BORN, y’all. And more will continue. We saved a herd. We helped to create life.
Biggest misunderstanding … I don’t do it for the blood. I don’t do it because I hate life. I also didn’t invent the game. People have been hunting – harvesting – since the beginning of time. You would rather get your meat come from the grocery store? Bravo. You would prefer a cauliflower over red meat steak? Great for you. I prefer this method. My “hobby”, my passion, helps feed myself, my family, my friends, and strangers across the globe. I don’t take advantage of defenseless creatures, and every hunt I take is planned and researched, not aimlessly executed.
What’s changed for you since last summer – you still hunt and post photos even with the backlash you’ve received? Everything. And nothing. I still am who I always have been – but I have become a little tougher, and a little more stubborn – if that was even possible (haha). I will always hunt – and be proud of what I do, so yes, I will post photos and share my stories. Hunting or not – we live in a society where people are quick to spew hate and judgement on easy platforms, hidden behind keyboards. I won’t give into the hate – especially when we are making such a difference. I just hope that people will slow down before they react, before they threaten, before they jump to conclusions about my intentions or heart. The facts are there – conservation and responsible hunting go hand in hand. I will continue to spread that.