Heads On Walls

The Greatest Living Englishman has an opinion on big-game trophy hunting:

People who hunt big game are evil…

That’s why Boris Johnson (remember him) received universal support in 2019 for pledging to end the practice of big-game hunters bringing back the severed heads of animals they’d shot in Africa.

I was so supportive, in fact, that I went outside and banged my frying pans together, like we used to do for the nurses.

Because I just cannot understand why anyone could go to Botswana to shoot a lion or a giraffe.

It simply doesn’t compute in my head.

Fear not, however, because:

…but here’s why they are necessary

Because as the House of Lords debated the ban on severed heads this week, six African governments wrote to The Times newspaper begging them to let the hunting continue.

And they have a point.

They argue the big, wild animals in Africa often attack villagers and trample crops.

They are seen as a nuisance and are often shot by farmers.

But if a rich white hunter arrives on the scene and is prepared to pay upwards of £20,000 to shoot an animal, it’s suddenly worth the farmer’s while to make sure he has something to shoot at.

So instead of killing the wildlife, he starts to protect it.

Because he’s going to get a LOT more money from Hank the Texan dentist than he is from half an acre of maize.

The fact is that the rich white hunters who do this kind of thing are actually paying for the animals to be protected and looked after beforehand by the locals.

They’re even reintroducing rhinos to areas they haven’t been seen in for decades.  I know this. I’ve been to a park and witnessed it happening.  And I’ve met the locals who patrol the area at night, hunting the poachers.

If hunting was banned, all that would stop.

So it’s a weird conclusion but if a halfwit with way more money than sense and no moral fibre at all wants to fly to Africa to shoot an elephant, the kindest thing we can do as a nation of animal lovers is . . . let him.

Here’s my take on all of this.  Firstly, as Clarkson notes, without hunting the game will just disappear.  Farmers will either shoot, shovel and shut up or else they’ll set out poisoned bait.  To a farmer, a predator isn’t just a dangerous pest:  it’s something that takes away his property — and as I’ve said before, a leopard will kill an entire flock of sheep, just because it can, before taking one away to eat.  Lions are not any better.  A large herd of springbok will eat all the farmer’s grazing for his sheep or cattle, and the farmer will end up with starving herds.  Don’t get me started on elephants, which are more destructive than governments.

So spare me the maudlin “O the pore wee beasties”  PETA nonsense.

All that said, however, I should also point out that I’ve never been a trophy hunter.  I’ve hunted either as part of a (very unofficial) game management system — helping a farmer protect his herds from lion and springbok, for example — or on very infrequent occasions for the sheer joy of the stalk, in terrain and climate so inhospitable it would make your nuts retract into your body.  On the latter occasions, I’ve been close to death so many times that my ultimate survival was a matter of pure luck.  That’s why I did it — and that’s why I don’t hunt anymore.

All that said, however, I understand the point of trophy collecting. When you have hunted something and taken its life, it is the ultimate form of possession, and there is a profound intimacy between hunter and prey — an intimacy that demands that one keeps a part of that animal, not as proof, but as a form of gratitude.  Even on those stupid “wilderness survival” TV shows, you’ll see someone who has just killed an animal for food say, “Thank you giving me your life so I can survive.”  It’s not hokum:  it’s about as primal a ritual as one can find, and it’s embedded deep within our hunter-gather gene code.

People like Jeremy Clarkson, who’ve never experienced that emotion, will say that they don’t understand that need to keep a bond with one’s conquest.  The key lies within the phrase “who’ve never experienced that emotion”.  You can’t explain it to them, and they’ll never understand it because, of course, food comes from the supermarket and not from the barrel of your gun.  (You’d think that Clarkson would understand this, seeing as he keeps cattle and — at one time — sheep.  But there ya go.  He may be the Greatest Living Englishman, but he’s not perfect.)

Of course, trophy hunting isn’t about getting food.  But the emotion it brings out is no different — “moral fibre” has nothing to do with it — and if we weren’t so coddled and anesthetized by our oh-so civilized society, we’d all know that.

That aside, we’ll just have to justify big game hunting as “game management” to assuage the hurt feewings of the Weepy Animal Lovers Set.  Like Jeremy Clarkson.


  1. Not just Africa, but everywhere. It’s long been established fact that people who hunt and fish are generally the best and most concerned with wildlife management and open range management. A fact that 99.9% of liberals simply cannot understand. Ever.

    1. Might this be proof that Leftists really aren’t interested in conservation and protecting animals and habitat, but see anti-hunting as yet another means of control over people who otherwise might be free?

      1. Windy,
        That’s a good point. Take away people’s self sufficiency is definitely in their agenda. Make people dependent on government so the bureaucrats decide who gets to eat and who doesn’t. Hunger is a powerful tool for controlling people


  2. No problem with hunting, especially the 2 legged kind, but hanging dead animals on the wall is just retarded. There’s a LOT of that stuff here in Brown County, IN. I just don’t get it. Creepy.

  3. Something else you might consider: how are big game hunters going to practice for when they are really needed? Who is most skilled to hunt that man-eating lion? Who is going to answer the call?

  4. Back when I was a poor almost-starving college student, the only meat I could afford was wild game. I grew up (partly) in rural Minnesnowta with a bunch of redneck friends with whom I’d deer hunt. A lot of them were not interested in venison, only in killing deer, so I used to get a lot of the meat that they’d harvest. I also hunted ducks and geese, and did a lot of fishing; my folks were kind enough to let me store it in their big freezer in their garage (my mom would occasionally slip me a loaf of home-made bread when I’d make a withdrawal from the meat bank).

    When I finally ended my prostrations to the gods of Higher Edumacation (BSME) I was able to afford to buy meat from a grocery store, and promptly gave up hunting. I’ve never enjoyed killing critters, and even today do catch-and-release on the trout here in northwestern WY when they’re cleanly hooked (I flatten the barbs and lose some because of it). I did some deer hunting in the late ’90’s just to remember what it was like to harvest my own meat and found that there was no thrill in the hunt anymore, just hard work in the cold and snow, and the smelly mess of processing a carcass. I’m fully aware of the fact that the rib-eye on the plastic tray, neatly packaged in shrink wrap didn’t magically emerge from the meat counter of the grocery store, but I’m content to pay somebody else to do the literal dirty work.

    I’ve never understood trophy hunting since I was purely and simply a meat hunter, and I look somewhat askance at the mounts on some people’s walls, but I’d never dream of stopping ’em from doing it, since it’s been amply pointed out that selling a tag for exotic big game goes a long ways towards preserving them..

  5. Trophy hunting isn’t my glass of whisky, but I could give a shit about those who do. If I see a head mounted on somebody’s wall – whatevs, as the kids are wont to say. We all have our own enthusiasms. KDT may loathe Bird & Trane, but I trust my playlist won’t generate more than an eyeroll from that quarter, to which is he’s perfectly entitled & about which I won’t lose any sleep.

    I hadn’t even considered the economic windfall for the locals; sounds like a win-win to me.

    Remember Cecil the lion and the outrageously outrageous outrage when the American posted his trophy on social media? Color me surprised when the following riposte appeared – in the NYT, of all places: In Zimbabwe, We Don’t Cry for Lions

    “… Did all those Americans signing petitions understand that lions actually kill people? That all the talk about Cecil being “beloved” or a “local favorite” was media hype? Did Jimmy Kimmel choke up because Cecil was murdered or because he confused him with Simba from “The Lion King”?

    In my village in Zimbabwe, surrounded by wildlife conservation areas, no lion has ever been beloved, or granted an affectionate nickname. They are objects of terror…”


    1. Cecil the lion. In Zimbabwe. He was named after someone, who might that have been? Zimbabwe. Cecil. It’s coming to me. Zimbabwe used to be known as Rhodesia when it was a vibrant and productive country/colony.

      Cecil Rhodes! The freaking lion was named after Cecil Rhodes! No wonder the local hired as a guide pointed him out to the hapless Texan Dentist.

      A dead lion named Cecil in Rhodesia. One less reminder of colonialism when the colonizers showed the locals how things should be organized to feed people and keep strange superstitions at bay.

  6. Kim,
    Would you be terribly upset if I changed a few words before moving this to NYC (or any of the large urban Democratic-controlled latrines)?
    editing Clarkson’s comment just slightly:
    To a commuter, a predator isn’t just a dangerous pest: it’s something that takes away his property…
    Just a thought: “A New Campaign to Keep NYC Safer”
    $25K a pop (for a license) to “Hunt and Elimate” NYC Subway Pests (any time, any caliber).

    1. $25k seems a lot to pay just for pest eradication. but compared to other NYC prices I guess it’s not too far out of line. I’m thinking $25k, bag limit 10 — I’d sign up for that, and I don’t even hunt animals anymore.

    2. If someone paid $25K for a license to kill a human-adjacent predator, I’m sure he would not be willing to spend days riding the subways until he saw a clear act of predation (or even much longer, since few of these hunters could sufficiently camouflage themselves.) If the license allowed shooting under any other circumstances, I would not trust such people to take the trouble to distinguish between the predator and his visually similar prey.

  7. This comes as a surprise? I’m old enough to remember Peter Capstick making this point in the 1980s. An African safari is BIG money. Money in hunting licenses, money in the professional hunter and his team, money to a taxidermist if you bring anything back.

    And a lot of the licenses for the Big 5 (or Big 6) involve a minimum hunt length. So you’re paying for a three or four-week safari to get your shot at ONE lion.

    That money gives the game and its habitat a value. Not some hand-waving “cultural value”, but dollars and cents…lots of dollars.

    It’s the only thing keeping some of these animals from extermination.

  8. I hunted in the past and have a Russian Boar mounted above my fireplace. That hog was absolutely delicious and you’re right, there is a bond between the prey and the predator. Yes, it was sad that the boar gave its life to sustain mine. That’s what happens in nature. I enjoyed that hunt and several others. I don’t care if people mount their animals and hang them on their wall.

    As far as African game goes, I’m well aware that these animals are a nuisance to local farmers and such. You’re right, many will just shoot, shovel and shut up about taking resolving the problem of predators. The outside hunters who come in spend a lot of money on these hunts including tags, gear, accommodations, travel not to mention guides, porters and more. This economic activity is good for prosperity of these countries. They also protect the game from poachers and fund many ranger programs.

    In the US, we have the Pitman-Robertson act which helps restore and protect animal habitats through an excise tax on fishing tackle, firearms, ammunition and other gear. The duck stamp program helped raise significant funds to protect various species of duck for future generations to hunt. this is true conservation. The animal populations are kept in the right size so that they don’t cause excessive destruction and they do not starve to death in the winter or spread disease.

    It’s a shame these bambi huggers deny the facts and truth about hunting. Perhaps it’s time to have a season on them too.


  9. In my youth, I aspired to hunt in Africa, perhaps one of the dangerous game, but more likely Eland or Impala. Now that I am older, fatter, and can actually kind of shoot straight, the idea of actually bagging an Eland seems needlessly strenuous. Perhaps a visit to a butcher shop would be more my speed.

    I always thought the African megafauna should be compared, not to Lion Country Safari, with villages, but to the coyote who developed a taste for your chickens and knows better than you how to get in your coop and get out with a chicken dinner without alerting your dog.
    For the Villager scratching out a living, the elephant is a gigantic coyote, stealing the food right out of your children’s mouths. A paying hunter might make up in store bought food what the elephant eats or tramples to inedibility.

  10. I dont give a shit whether someone wants to hang an animal head on their wall or not. People get vaginal piercings for the same inexplicable reason.

    I have a friend who’s an avid hunter, and has a variety of stuffed critters on his walls. Other than the “it looks cool factor” it never moved the needle in my life. But he went on Safari in Seffrica, and said, “when things were “protected” they were endangered, when there was a monetary value on them, all of a sudden there’s more than you can imagine”. Quite true. The reason the world is flooded with Cattle/Sheep/Hogs is theres a monetary value to keep them around. Remove that and they will disappear, usually in a manner that is unsavory for the citified intelligentsia to contemplate, because they are now pests.

    The late lamented PJ O’Rourke wrote about this as well. Its easy for us to regard an Elephant as a majestic creature, if it came in our house and started trampling our computer/garden/whatever our sentimentality would die rather quickly.

    Overall I think this is just more resentment over the people who “can” vs the people who wish they “could’. E.g. They were against bear baiting not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.” kind of thing.

    As such, go straight to the lowest level of hell.

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