Trophy Hunting, Legalized Animal Cruelty….

Trophy hunting is nothing more than animal cruelty couched as a “sport”. There is nothing sporting about it.

Wolves are being subjected to trophy hunts in the Northern Rockies as I type this. The death toll continues to climb in Idaho, a state that’s declared war on its wolves, along with Montana  and Wyoming.

To understand the brutality of trophy hunting just peruse YouTube to see video after video of trophy hunters displaying their sad corpses, while they “lord over them”, grinning  like Cheshire cats. It’s bone chilling.

Trophy hunting  exists because it’s a billion dollar world wide industry, blood money generated off animal deaths.  A macabre killing game, costing millions of  innocent animals their lives. Game farms in South Africa raise tame lions to be killed in “canned hunts”, the most disgusting form of trophy hunting.

In his famous 1999 article, African lion advocate and wildlife researcher, Gareth Patterson,  examines the  connection between trophy hunting and serial killing.


Is Trophy Hunting a Form of Serial Killing?

By Gareth Patterson

For me – and the many people who contact me to offer their support – killing innocent animals for self-gratification is no different from killing innocent people for self-gratification. By extension, then, trophy hunting – the repeated killing of wild animals – should surely be viewed as serial killing. And in the same moral light humanity’s thinking is, I feel, beginning to approach such a level of morality.

What are the comparisons between trophy hunting and serial killing?

To attempt to answer this question, I did some research into the gruesome subject of serial killing. I learnt firstly that serial murder is a grotesque habit which analysts regard as addictive. Serial murder, I learnt, is about power and control – both linked to the killers’ longing to “be important”.

It appears when the serial killer commits the first act of murder, he experiences feelings such as revulsion and remorse, but the killing – like a dose of highly addictive drug – leads to more and more murders until the person is stopped. Researchers have discovered that serial murderers experience a cooling-off period after a killing, but as with a drug craving, the compulsion – the need to kill – keeps building up until the killer heads out again in search of another victim.

Trophy hunters are mostly “repeat” killers. This is further fuelled by elite trophy hunting competitions. It has been calculated that in order for a hunter to win these competitions in all categories at the highest level, he would have to kill at least 322 animals.

Pornography is perceived by analysts as a factor that contributes toward serial killers’ violent fantasies – particularly “bondage-type” pornography portraying domination and control over a victim.

Hunting magazines contain page after page of (a) pictures of hunters, weapon in hand, posing in dominating positions over their lifeless victims, (b) advertisements offering a huge range of trophy hunts, and (c) stories of hunters’ “exciting” experience of “near misses” and danger.

These pages no doubt titillate the hunter, fuelling his own fantasies and encouraging him to plan more and more trophy hunts.

Trophy hunters often hire a cameraperson to film their entire hunt in the bush, including the actual moments when animals are shot and when they die. These films are made to be viewed later, presumably for self-gratification and to show to other people – again the need to feel “important”?

This could also be seen as a form of trophy which mirrors in some respect pornographic “snuff” videos known to be made by some serial killers. Other serial killers have tape-recorded the screams of their victims, which were kept for later self-gratification.

There is a strong urge to achieve perceived “heroism” in serial murderers. This is linked to the individual’s craving for “self-esteem”. Student Robert Smith, for example, who in November 1996 walked into a beauty parlour in Mesa, Arizona, and shot five women and two children in the back of the heads, said of his motivation to kill: “I wanted to become known, to get myself a name”.

Multiple killer Cari Panzram (among whose victims were six Africans he shot in the back “for fun” while working for an oil company in Africa) once stated of his actions: “I reform people”. When asked how, he replied: “By killing them”. Panzram also liked to describe himself as “the man who goes around doing good”.

The “Stockwell Strangler” of South London in the mid-1980s who told police he wanted to be famous is another example of how the serial killer clearly confuses notoriety for fame.

Are the trophy hunter’s killings linked to the serial killer’s addiction to murder, to achieve what is perceived to be heroism, to deep-rooted low self-esteem, to wanting to be famous – the “name in the trophy book”?

Certainly one could state that, like the serial killer, the trophy hunter plans his killing with considerable care and deliberation. Like the serial killer he decides well in advance the “type” of victim – i.e. which species he intends to target. Also, like the serial killer, the trophy hunter plans with great care where and how the killing will take place – in what area, with what weapon.

What the serial killer and trophy hunter also share is a compulsion to collect “trophies” or “souvenirs” of their killings. The serial killer retains certain body parts or other “trophies … for much the same reason as the big game hunter mounts the head and antlers taken from his prey … as trophies of the chase,” according to Colin Wilson and Donald Seaman in The Serial Killers, a book on the psychology of violence.

In The Serial Killers, the authors wrote about Robert Hansen, an Alaska businessman and big-game enthusiast who hunted naked prostitutes through the snow as though they were wild animals, then shot them dead. Hansen would point a gun at his victim, order her to take off all her clothes, and then order her to run. He would give his victims a “start” before stalking them. The actual act of killing his victims, Hansen once said, was an “anti-climax” and that “the excitement was in the stalking”.

How many times have I heard trophy hunters describing their actions in similar terms? “No, hunting isn’t just about killing,” they say. “It’s also about the stalk, the build-up to the kill”.

Hansen was a trophy hunter, who, according to Wilson and Seaman, had achieved “celebrity by killing a Dall sheep with a crossbow”. He also trophy hunted women but, as a married man with a family, he couldn’t put his human trophies next to those elk antlers and bear skins in his den.

As an alternative, Hansen, it was revealed, took items of jewellery from his victims as “trophies” and hid these in his loft so that, as with his animal trophies, he, the hunter, could relive his fantasy-inspired killings whenever he wished to.

According to Wilson and Seaman, Jack the Ripper cut off one victim’s nose and breasts and “as if they were trophies, displayed them on a bedside table, together with strips of flesh carved from her thighs”.

Jewellery, body parts, clothing such as underwear and so on, are all known “trophies” of the serial killer. One serial killer flayed his victim and made a waistcoat from the skin as a “souvenir” or “trophy”.

What could the non-hunting wives, girlfriends, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and children reveal of the nature and behaviour of a hunter in the family? Could they reveal that the hunter had a very disturbed childhood?

Almost half the serial killers analysed during behavioural research were found to have been sexually abused in childhood. Environmental problems early in life manifest in many cases in violence such as cruelty to animals. Maybe they have a frustrated craving for “self-esteem”, a deep desire to be recognized, a resentment against society? All these factors are some of the known links to the profile of the serial killer.

Lastly, serial killing has been described as a “20th-Century phenomenon”. The same could be said of Western trophy hunting in Africa.

From The Authors Website:

“My name is Gareth Patterson, known to some as ‘ The Lion Man of Africa.’ I have dedicated the past 25 years of my life to the preservation of the African lion. Shockingly, in those past 25 years, Africa has lost 90% of its lion population. Today it is estimated that only 20,000 lions grace the entire African continent. The lion is now very endangered. Despite this, international trophy hunters come to Africa to kill lions for so-called “sport.” In South Africa lions are bred in captivity to be shot in enclosed spaces by these trophy hunters. This sordid practice is known as “canned lion hunting.” This song is about the story of one lioness, the Dark Lioness, who was killed under these horrible circumstances. We must act now to save the African lion. Anouschka and I have collaborated to produce this song in an attempted to created new awareness to a new audience about the plight of the lion. Thank you very much for your support.”


The Horrible Life and Death of Lions Raised For Canned Hunts

Warning, graphic video


Photo: Courtesy Jamie Kripke / Getty Images

Posted in: Trophy Hunting

Tags: ban trophy hunting, killing for sport, wolves suffering, mercy for animals, Gareth Patterson, decimation of African lions

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25 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This is for women in men’s skins. These are the whimps of the world. Somebody should put them in there. Isn’t there a law about this? I thought it was illegal or was going to be made illegal. If not, how do we go about making this “ILLEGAL”?


    • Anne….This is the face of “canned hunts” one of the most cowardly, disgusting practices devised by man.

      “A sweltering summer day forces a large lion under the shade of a drooping tree amidst a bucolic landscape. She pants from the heat unconcerned at the sight of an approaching man wearing a pristine white shirt and clean, khaki pants. He stops about 100 feet from the tree and animal. As the feline lies in the relaxing shade, the man raises a rifle pointed toward the drowsy animal. An unseen voice directs the lone gunman. He shoots once and the lion, wounded and disoriented, races from the shade of the tree. Only her cries of pain can be heard and her flailing limbs seen over the grass. The voice again directs the man to shoot again after seconds have elapsed as the creature struggles for life. The second shot finishes the job. The man nervously approaches the feline and butts her with his gun. He then gives thumbs-up to the camera, bends down and feels her coat…. The camera pans out to show a tall, chain-link fence.1

      Although canned hunts are advertised as rugged, outdoor adventures, in reality they are conducted in an atmosphere of comfort and convenience. You can fly into a hunting preserve here in the United States, and after a gourmet dinner, you can spend the night in a luxurious hunting lodge. The next day, you’ll be given a high-powered rifle with a brief orientation to its use and driven to the “shooting area.” The area is usually a fenced enclosure from which there is no escape, ranging from a few square yards to several hundred acres, depending on how strenuous you want your hunt to be. The outcome is never really in doubt. In many cases, the hunting preserve will give a guarantee: “No kill, no pay.” Whether the area is large or small, the animals are either fenced in — so that they cannot escape and have no hiding place that is secret from the guide — or they have been habituated to eating at a feeding station at the same time every day for food. At many ranches, the same truck that brings dinner to the feeding stations also brings the hunters. Exotic animals bought from breeders are often accustomed to people feeding them and cleaning their cages, so they have no fear of humans. They are often surplus zoo animals or retired circus performers who are too habituated to humans or too old and arthritic to run away. The essentials are always the same regardless of the cost of the trip: an animal who is either fenced in, lured to feeding stations, or habituated to humans, and odds so heavily in the hunter’s favor that there is little risk of leaving without a trophy. Most canned hunts have taxidermists on site or on call to mount your trophy, whose fate was sealed the moment you made your reservation. ”

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


      • How do we stop this? Seems like calling or emailing or writing state senators, governors is futile. Somehow we have to find a way to outlaw this. Killing an animal, unless you have no other choice for your own survival, should be against the law and these people should be heavily fined and punished. Sometimes (most times) I find it hard to even breathe when I hear of another animal being abused or killed.


  2. Dear GOD, please step in and help YOUR Wolves. Please YOU did not give give the wolves free will like YOU did humans.
    In JESUS’ NAME I pray. AMEN.
    Wolves are a very important part of our ecosystem. We need them and they are beautiful animals.


  3. Trophy hunters ARE serial killers and the scum of the earth! I used to go trophy hunting, only I used my camera.


    • If only every “trophy hunter” was like you gitte10911.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  4. This has got to stop.What is wrong with people?Don’t theu\y have a heart at all?These are living,breathing creatures that Creator made.Something has to be done to stop this hideous crime on wolves.More people need to write and call these numbers that are available to call,as I did and fight to stop this horrible,sick crime.


    • Nancy…unfortunately these people don’t have hearts and are cruel, narcissists that think animals are put on this earth to be used and abused by them. The non-hunting public out numbers the hunters, who are only 12% of the population. If we would all speak with one voice, we could work towards outlawing trophy hunting…but make no mistake there is plenty of cruelty to go around in consumptive hunting, all you have to do is look on YouTube at the horrific suffering of ungulates.
      Unfortunately these hunters have big organizations that back them, like the NRA. BTW the NRA and the Safari Club, among others are part of the wolf delisting lawsuit. They want to keep wolves delisted.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  5. I met trophy hunters when I was in Alaska and they are the lowest of the low. They have no morals or values and would “sell-out” their best friend for a dime. They do not see their prey as alive with feelings. They are alcoholics and wife-beaters and we need to remove them from the Pacific Northwest. It would help if Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming would stop selling so many out-of-state hunting permits.


    • Toni Stark, I say Amen to everything you said. I wished I had said it.


    • You are right on target Toni. It’s the “thrill of the kill” crowd and they show no mercy to these animals. Trophy hunting is a sick enterprise and needs to be outlawed. I can’t stand hunting period but trophy hunts and canned hunts are the lowest of the low.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  6. everyone please take a few mins out of your time and go here and send an email to these people.

    As I;’m sure you know, the wolf hating hunters don’t want this science based plan to go into effect.


    • Jon, this is something that is unjust to the wolves. Trophy hunters are not just out there for the wolves, but also for the Elk, and other wildlife.
      Wolves are the most beautiful animals in the world. They are very wonderful and caring to their packs.
      Wolves are very misunderstood. I am sick and tired of these so called hunters who are out there to get their trophies any way they can.
      If this keeps on going, the only wolves we will see will be in Zoos or pictures.
      I will send an email to the address above.


    • Thanks for the heads up Jon, I’ll post this on Wolf Warriors.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


      • thank you nabeki. Washington wolves need every wildlife advocate’s support. The hunters don’t want this science based management plan to pass. They want less wolves.


  7. This is a most excellent and accurate article. Thank you. It is my prayer that one day everyone would learn to live in harmony and coexist with one another in peace.


    • Gareth Patterson is a true hero Susan. What they are doing to lions in South Africa is such a crime. But we have to shine the light of day on this and all trophy hunting, which is decimating our wolves at this very moment.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


  8. danich. jeg er en dansk dyreven fra top til tå, myrderier på dyr- dyrelig – trofæ på væggen, alle betalings-turist-mord, i verden, disse slagter-organitationer skal bøde med kæmpe fængsels-ophold, med lyde fra dyrs skrig , nu må vores dyr i hele verden få fred for grusomhed. fra hjerte-løse mennesker. retfærdighed nu, for vores dyr.


  9. […] a full report on the link between serial killing and trophy hunting please see this post from Howling for Justice. The story contains a well-researched article from famed ‘Lion Man’ and wildlife […]


  10. anyone with some common sense can see that trophy hunters don’t care about wildlife, they only care about killing it. Wildlife to hunters are nothing more than trophies to be shot for sport and shooting targets.


  11. You would think that from someone already “in the know” this wouldn’t affect me so profoundly. Nevertheless reading & viewing the aforementioned has nauseated me, yet again. I’m a motorcycle rider & considered a fairly rough & tumble kinda guy however when it comes to issues such as social injustice, standing up for the voiceless & defenseless particularly animals, I posses copious amounts of compassion & little tolerance for the offenders.

    Anyways, I signed the petitions, called all the appropriate contacts, written personal letters, fanned out the info to social networking friends, joined & donated $$$ to various wildlife & conservation organizations. Disheartening as it is, it has helped minutely from what I can see. Like everything else in life it seems more & more these days that it matters little what the numbers are ie; 90% non-hunting population vs 10% hunting. It’s where the “power & money” lie. Unfortunately both those elements are in the 10% camp & they dominate politics in the regions of this planet where our beloved wildlife is shamelessly slaughtered.

    So with that said I am deeply disillusioned by & with the human race. Yet I still have faith. One day God will make all things right & these evil incarnates (10%) will suffer long & hard…


    • I have been praying tt GOD would step up and stop these evil people. But HE gave mankind free will, the animals do not have free will.
      Hopefully onme of these days the Wolves and Elephants will be protected.
      Along with other animals.


      • Yes, Barbara you are right on. People have to make the decision to cherish what God has created, give respect and honor, not all this senseless killing


      • Brigid, you and I feel the same way. But there are alot of those evil people and their evil against the wolves. We cannot let this evil keep going on.


  12. Not satisfied with destroying the native wildlife, the European settlers of Australia introduced the red fox, rabbit and deer so the hunters could have their fun regardless of the damage they were doing to everything around them.
    Don’t tell me its any different now from when it was then, because the smug grins and stuck up attitudes are exactly the same – the belief that everything on this planet exists for humanity to use as we see fit regardless of the impact we have on the world. Only HUMANS matter, everything else is lower than us. If an animal can be used to make money, then its worth something to us and should be conserved for our own ends, if it is no longer of or was never any value to us or if we can profit from its death, then it needs to be destroyed.
    Advanced race? The rest of the animal kingdom can run circles around us. We have the mental capacity to do so many wonderful things, but widely lack the intelligence to use it constructively because we are too arrogant of a species.


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