This particular blog posting is not so much about cryptozoology as it is an expression of a view point and I hope that you will at least read with an open mind and respect my expression of this view.

I am a hunter and for right or wrong, I have had a gun in my hand from the time I was 12 and I have been trying my best to live the American dream but I have been out in the forest from as far back as I can remember. I am a conservationist but those who have read my past writings will know by now that I am an avid hunter.

I feel no shame at all in saying that I do hunt for sport, among other reasons to hunt, but yes I hunt for sport and I see no problem with it when it is ethically done. Though my hunting for sport may be distasteful to some I am not going to discuss it because I do not force others to take my view. Right now I would just like to bring forth a common sense view point that might clear up some hostilities.

The first, conservationists were hunters, sport hunters. It would be a total copout for me to say, they only cared about conservation, because they didnt: they wanted something left to shoot.

But hunting does promote conservation.

In the late 1970s Kenya outlawed all hunting, making all hunting in Kenya after that point Poaching. When the animals had no monetary value and the natives had no choice but to poach for food, the game of Kenya was utterly slaughtered senselessly. The great hunting writer and conservationist Robert Ruark once wrote “that when you take away the way a man makes his living you had better give him something of value to replace it with.” Which means that you cannot take away the lifestyle of the hunting and gathering tribes and give them a plow and expect all to go smoothly.

I am not saying that they do not have the potential to be successful I hold great respect for the wonders of Tribal Africa. What I am saying is when the people no longer had a reason to protect and conserve their native wildlife it opened the door almost totally to mass black market poaching and senseless Killing of African game.

The idea that Hunting, or harvesting an animal from a population can somehow protect the others of that population may sound to some totally ludicrous. It is not so. Please allow me to explain.

  • Allowing a legally and strictly controlled harvest of a small quota of animals of a population at a designated fee provides revenue for the purchase of more land for the population to grow on.

  • The Jobs created by the controlled harvest of an animal provides jobs to those who might otherwise poach for a living or turn to other perhaps similarly sinister crimes against the world.

  • When a sport hunter harvests an animal that he has not only paid to hunt with no guarantee of achieving his trophy, he also provides a ready source of meat for the locals, and nothing is wasted.

  • The hunter him or herself might not use what is taken, but the locals do! The bone is ground into fertilizer, the meat is eaten and as I said already the other parts of the Safari provide paying work for the locals.

  • A Hunter should and most due attempt to take their animal in the most humane and fair chase way that they can, and equally importantly they strive to only take animals past their breeding maturity when they are no longer contributing to the gene pool. I know personally several professional Hunters currently working in Africa and some of them are also based in America.

Sport hunting however distasteful it may appear to some, is actually not the enemy of the natural world. The Enemy of the Natural world is actually militant poachers and corporate Deforestation! Which are two things that NO hunter agrees with!

I have already mentioned Kenya, however I would also like to put forth a case study of South Africa where sport hunting, and hunting in general is legal but strictly controlled. In the country of South Africa the large and small animals are thriving because of hunter’s dollars and proper management. The White Rhino can be legally harvested at an extremely high fee with no actual guarantee of a harvest , and the white Rhino Population is not only stable but is growing because the money generated by the extremely controlled - and please let me stress again and again the harvest is extremely strictly - harvest, that provides habitat for not only the rhino but other animals who would also share that habitat.

The controlled harvest of game by sport hunters helps contribute to conservation in South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In Namibia there has been an extremely controlled harvest of the lately endangered black rhino in very recent years, with a drawing, which means a hunter buys a chance and there is not only no guarantee that the animal would be harvested but there is also no guarantee that the sportsman will even be chosen for the hunt, and the revenue generated has been used to buy more habitat and contribute to more conservation efforts.

By extremely controlled in this usage I mean no more than 3 black rhino per year or less as determined by conservation officials.

Sport hunting when done correctly and ethically under legal sanction contributes to the conservation of the natural world because it provides not only a primal experience of human past as well as the knowledge that you are contributing to the active conservation of renewable natural recourses.

Now! Do not take away from this that I think sport hunting is the end all answer, I do not think this. I do not believe that we should delist critically endangered species such as the tiger. There is a difference between Conservation and Preservation, and a species must be preserved before it can be conserved.

The purpose of this article has been to explain my view which I have done to my best ability, and in truth SCI (Safari Club International), is one of the largest conservation organizations in the world. So before you totally condemn the sport hunter, understand that in their own way, they are making a contribution to the same cause.

I have written on this topic because it is one that I have had to constantly explain, and I find that very few people outside of the sporting community understand how hunting contributes to conservation. I wanted to express my view in an area that might not be friendly to the idea, but the more people can be helped to understand the more people can work together. So I hope you have read this article with an open mind, and that I will not be ostracized by the CFZ, but I do not try and force my way of life on anyone and I ask that they also respect my view in turn.

I am currently low on sightings and reports of unknown animals in Illinois and that is why this writing finds its way onto the page. But I will continue on the track of mystery animals in Illinois and around the world with the mindset of not only a Naturalist but a conservationist and a hunter. So thank you for reading and I hope the next time I write I will have something more cryptozoologically oriented.