All Creatures Great…
LC Van Savage
Back in my tree hugging days, I well remember being slapped down after I made a big, loud
Bambi speech about deer hunters. A friend sat listening to me and then advised that I was
pretty stupid for saying what I had, that didn’t I realize people had to eat, that many
hunters fed their families thanks to hunting. He went on, I listened, I sputtered, but of
course he was right and I paid attention. So now way much older and way, way much wiser, I
no longer have the arrogance to protest dinner hunting.
But I can with clear conscience protest trophy hunting. I ought not bite the hand that
feeds, but it was in this paper where I read about a young woman who goes off to distant
lands to kill beautiful, wild animals because she can. I doubt she skins and guts the great
beasts she destroys and fries them up for her hungry children. Does she give the corpses to
the locals? I don’t know.
But what bothered me was her completely non-apologetic attitude about this kind of
hunting fun; get the biggest and best before they’re extinct. She, and I think her family
too, murders beautiful beasts and then stand proudly beside their dead bodies for a
photo-op, as if they’ve accomplished the most heroic of deeds, forgetting there really isn’t
much "sport" involved in the killing of an animal when the human gets to have the gun and
the animal doesn’t. All the animals get to have are legs with which to run; they can be
brought down from nearly anywhere. We just have to stand still in one spot. They do all the
work and they do all the dying.
Recently, (I think it was the same young lady) she and some colleagues sat proudly on the
ground around the dead body of what appeared to be a magnificent, healthy, strong Zebra.
Why? Was it ill? Do Zebra have to be harvested because they’re a menace? Destroying farmer’s
crops? Multiplying too rapidly? Danger on highways? What? I don’t get it. A Zebra was
slaughtered, its life stopped. For what? What am I missing?
I knew a man who trophy hunted. He once brought down a moose in Alaska with a rack so
huge it took 2 men to lift it. He was so proud. Imagine, that animal took so many years to
become what he did, and bam! died as punishment for having a rack of antlers huger than any
other’s. This man also murdered tiger, buffalo, elephant, a mother bear and her cub
("He’d’ve starved. I had to do it,") wolf and polar bear. Their hides served as carpeting in
his home. A huge Kodiak bear had to die to lie spread-eagled on this man’s barroom floor for
eternity, huge head and fake mouth opened hideously wide for people to trip over or to stick
obscene things onto the tips of the enormous teeth. That bear died so that mice might dine
on its claws and paw pads there in that dark, unused barroom. What a waste of a beautiful
Gigantic, magnificent fish had to be brutally hooked and gaffed to death simply that they
might hang on his walls. Dazzling white Dall Sheep, Mule deer and Curly Horns stared from
every wall. A mountain goat too, his hoofs cut off so they could turn into grotesque
upside-down gun racks. All these fabulous creatures were marked for death merely because
they’d had the temerity to become huge and majestic. In other words, they were asking for
I don’t understand this. Why do fabulous animals have to die at the hands of uncaring
people who crave a little wall art? Because they are there? Because it’s fun? That’s how it
looks in the two newspaper stories about that proud, smiling and apparently conscience-free
young woman with a big gun and great aim.
Click on author's byline for bio.
Hear LC on "Senior Moment" with Dave Wilkinson,
WBOR, 91.1 FM
or on http://www.sturdorgs.bowdoin.edu/wbor/index.html.