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How Hunting Trophies Work

Collecting Hunting Trophies

­So you want to trophy hunt? You ju­st need to head out into the wilderness, find a large animal, shoot it and send it to the taxidermist, right? Unfortunately, it's not that simple -- or cheap. This elite sport requires planning, special equipment, permits and a lot of cash. Prices can range up to $20,000 in Alaska to collect big game such as the Kodiak bear [source: Nilsson].

Organizations throughout the world offer memberships to trophy hunters. Participants are usually wealthy businesspeople with upper class salaries. They travel around the U.S. and to remote areas in foreign countries to find the big game.

In the U.S., there are multiple nationwide and state-run organizations that support trophy hunting. These groups fund competitions, maintain vast records and offer multiple services to their members. If you don't want to join a group, licenses and information about trophy hunting in your state can be found at your regional Department of Natural Resources.

Exotic trophy hunting is a popular global pastime, but U.S. citizens make up a healthy chunk of those who fly to Southern Africa and other remote locations for professionally-run safaris.

The trophies are then imported back to the U.S. Animals protected under the Endangered Species Act cannot be brought into the country as trophies except for special purposes, such as scientific research [source: Humane Society of the United States]. Collectors can also purchase trophies on the open market -- sometimes by the same outfits that plan the safari packages.

Trophy hunting is a hot topic for animal lovers and hunters alike. It tends to be a polarizing --either you love it or you hate it. Read on for a better understanding of those who support hunting for trophies.