How Hunting Trophies Work

Arguments in Favor of Hunting Trophies

­Hunting has many supporters, but some consider t­rophy hunting a more controversial part of the sport. Dieter Schramm, the president of the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation, sees trophies as a way to commemorate the satisfaction of the quest. In "Africa Indaba," a newsletter dedicated to African wildlife conservation, Schramm says, "When the hunter looks at the trophies on the wall, she or he is engaging in one of humanity's primary privileges: self-assertion and the experience of joy and happiness." Schramm supports trophy hunting, but is quick to point out that it's the hunt itself, not the trophy, that deserves to be celebrated [source: Schramm].

Schramm is not alone in his support. Sporting writer Don Meredith defends hunting white-tailed and mule deer in Alberta, Canada, for the following reasons:

  • There are large populations of these deer in the area
  • Big game deer are difficult to hunt -- which is why they grow so large
  • Most hunters are using the deer for food, negating the need to hunt only for record sizes
  • A trophy-sized deer has already passed its genes to the next generation through mating [source: Meredith]

The most sophisticated arguments in favor of trophy hunting stress its contribution to wildlife conservation and environmental stewardship. Hunting advocates note that selective hunting can sometimes be an effective means to defend endangered species or restore balance to an ecosystem. Additionally, commercial trophy hunting brings significant revenue to cash-poor, nature-rich regions like sub-Saharan Africa. Governments, in turn, can use some of that revenue to promote conservation and sustainability efforts [source: Gunn].

Needless to say, there are many who strictly oppose trophy hunting. Read on to learn about the other side of the story.