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Trophies, Indicators of Successful Conservation
Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Boone and Crockett Club, the oldest hunter-conservationist organization in North America, reinforces their position statement on big game trophies and hunting to help clarify and educate the public on the misconceptions being circulated on the conservation benefits of hunting and what a mature, trophy animal represents. The position statement expresses the Club's belief that the term "trophy hunting" is ambiguous, subjective, and is not something that can be singled out as if there are good and bad forms of hunting. 

The Club has encouraged the selective hunting of mature male animals for over a century for a variety of reasons, which are further delineated in its position statement. Early wildlife management efforts in North America were aimed at recovering decimated game populations. These efforts were aided by laws designed to protect the young and females of a breeding population by allowing sportsmen to only harvest male animals and birds. By accepting responsibility for the game they hunted and what they hunted, sportsmen established a conservation ethic that resulted in the remarkable recovery of game animal and bird populations from near extinction to the abundance we have today.

"The taking of a mature, male animal, a 'trophy,' provided not only a sense of accomplishment for the hunter, but was also a sign he or she was doing their part for the conservation of the game they hunted," said Club President Ben Hollingsworth Jr. "This is what our tradition of hunting in this country is built upon, both personal achievement and a commitment to something greater than personal accomplishment. Unfortunately this fact is being lost over all the rhetoric these days about trophy hunting."

Groups who oppose all hunting are intentionally misrepresenting the term "trophy hunting" and creating an incorrect negative stigmatism of hunters who choose to selectively hunt for a mature, male animal. Hunting is an integral part of wildlife conservation. The fact that some hunters accept the challenge to hunt a more experienced, wary, elusive animal does not detract from the historical linkage between hunting, wildlife recovery, conservation and the future welfare of game species.

"This selectivity is actually conservation at its core, but you won't hear this from anti-hunting groups," said Hollingsworth Jr. "What you will also not hear is that the existence of mature male animals is actually a sign that hunter-supported conservation and wildlife management programs are working."

Individual animals that have lived long enough to have grown to a trophy status are clear signs that sound wildlife management practices are creating favorable conditions for the population as a whole. This includes suitable habitat, nutritious diet, low environmental and predator stresses, a balanced herd population within their range, and low hunting pressure. This is the type of wildlife health game managers strive for. Trophy-sized animals are another positive result of these efforts.

"There is not another group that does more for ensuring a positive future for wildlife than hunters," Hollingsworth Jr. concluded. "The calls to end trophy hunting are transparent calls to end all hunting. Trophy animals are a byproduct of sound wildlife management and are intrinsically intertwined with all hunting."

The Club believes that if people have a clear understanding of big game trophies and hunting--and their judgments are based on facts--they will continue to advance the most successful system of wildlife conservation ever devised. Groups calling for bans on trophy hunting, stopping the importation and transportation of legally taken animals, and other ill-fated polices threaten a significant and irreplaceable mechanism for wildlife conservation.

The full position statement can be read at this link: Big Game Trophies and Trophy Hunting
 




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