Trophy Hunter – Serial Killer?

Portrait of Cecil by Ed Hetherington

Cecil by Ed Hetherington

There is no doubt in my mind that trophy hunting is a form of serial killing. Gareth Patterson, lion expert, puts it all into perspective, in his 2007 post. His words are even more timely with the brutal murder of Cecil the lion.


Is Trophy Hunting a Form of Serial Killing?

Lion expert and conservationist Gareth Patterson takes aim

09 Sep 07

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 camera person 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.


Warning Graphic Video

Canned Lion Hunts, The Most Disturbing of All 

“This is a video of a sick canned lion hunt in South Africa, where the killers drive a pick-up truck inside a tame lioness’ enclosure and kills her with a high-powered bow and arrow.”


Published on Apr 3, 2013

Hunter kills tame lioness in her enclosure in South Africa


YouTube video draws focus to trophy hunting in SA

The YouTube video shows a playful lioness walking around a vehicle, where a hunter with a bow keeps trying to get a good shot at her.

22 APR 2013 10:26 SIPHO KINGS


Top Photo: Cecil the lion by Ed Hetherington

Video: YouTube Courtesy stopmadnessable

Posted in: African Lions, Animal Cruelty

Tags: African Lions, sick trophy hunting, serial killers of animals, blood lust, destruction of innocent wildlife, ban trophy hunting, ban canned hunts, Cecil the lion, save the world’s wildlife

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15 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The very thought of a human being finding pleasure in killing another human being, or an animal, be it domestic or wild, absolutely leaves me cold inside and full of hate. I pray that these people die in the same fashion as those/what they killed during their lifetime. Somehow I believe they will.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Worse than being killed in the same way here on earth will be the Judgement when all the beings these murderers killed for thrills will be in the embrace of God while they try to give their pitiful excuses. May God have mercy on their souls.


  2. It’s grotesque – how can anybody rationalize themselves as a ‘skilled hunter’ (whatever that means in today’s world) by killing a tame lioness? It’s the worst kind of betrayal, and for something that absolutely meaningless, an inanimate trophy. We’ve lowered the standards for just about everything so that it can be accessible to the masses, and we just don’t have the population of animals that we once did. Producing targets on an assembly line, turning a living, breathing beautiful animal into an inanimate product, is how we do things in the modern world. We’ve worked up (or down) to it over the decades and we think it is our crowning achievement.

    And have you noticed that even today the majority of these killers are white? So am I so I feel I have the right to complain and criticize. It shames and embarrasses me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Trophy Hunter should be punished hard!


  4. Reblogged this on Mind Chatter and commented:
    I have been making this comparison recently as well. I am glad I am not the only one who is thinking this.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great analogies. My thoughts exactly–the same callousness, egotism, sadism, and psycho thrill seeking seem to characterize serial killers of both people and animals. What I find particularly disturbing and illogical is that while people have no problem expressing their disgust with a Ted Bundy or a John Wayne Gacy for their killing sprees and their evil character, most people don’t seem bothered by the same character deficiencies in Dr. Palmer or Dr. Seski. They just figure hunting is their “sport” and their right.

    We need to overturn the philosophy and theology that postulates a huge chasm in worth between human beings and all the other animals of this earth, a chasm that denies moral consideration to animals. One would think decency and compassion alone would condemn our treatment of animals, whether in hunting, agriculture, science, and entertainment, but we accept all of it because, well, we are human and they are not. Even the science, for those who will see it, reveals that we all evolved together, and that we share 99% of our genetic material with chimpanzees. The old hierarchy of people on the top and animals at the bottom as mere resources needs to go. Until then we will continue to view serial killers and hunters as different.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ahimsaforever, Very well said.

      The biggest problem with trophy hunters is they don’t value animal life. They believe if they throw enough money around any animal is fair game, whether it’s endangered or not. No empathy, no self reflection, no compassion because in their minds animals hold no intrinsic value other than to provide them with an opportunity to kill.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on Exposing the Big Game.


  7. I was thinking the same thing last week: the similarity between serial killers and trophy hunters. The main difference, I suppose, is that the competitive trophy hunters tend to be wealthy,or so I would think.


  8. Law enforcement officials, sociologists and psychologists have all recognized that children who harm animals often go on to hurt humans. It’s imperative that we cultivate compassion for all living things in all people.


  9. What the terrible, senseless murder of Cecil has now glaringly revealed is that wild animal slaughter around the world (including this country), is much more serious, much worse than anyone thought. At this rate, these many species are doomed. Let’s not be fooled by the mantra of the Hunting Industry & Game Depts., that there is any such thing as “ethical, necessary or legal hunting. Hunting, in general, is trophy hunting, and serial killing, and it is destroying species that are crucial for Biodiversity, and wildness. Humans are actively destroying the process of evolution.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I saw all the video just a little man did not want to see the lioness just wants to kill her because? she just plays
    I wonder what happens if another man throws with a bow will feel to it as the hunting trophies will say is just an animal
    for me are beings who deserve our respect


  11. I throughly detest trophy hunting…


  12. If you feel sufficiently concerned about the serial killing known as “sport” hunting, please use all the information that Nabeki posts here to keep the issue and its most famous perpetrators (and the organizations supporting the practice) in the public eye – WITH your personal and as much professional support as you can find.

    In your state it is almost certain that these psychopaths are supported as “game management” tools. This model of wildlife control is NOT supported by the most recent science
    See Wielgus et al. December 2014 PLOS 1 (I’m in a rush, and won’t seek the URL here)

    Your effort can be important, as relatively few people really focus on one issue in one state or locale.

    The publicity generated by cheerleaders and dentists must be used ASAP for maximum effectiveness.
    There is heavy resistance and concerted attempt to prevent Mexican Wolf reintroduction from continuing, although the genetic issues involved in continuing releases are vital to their long-term survival.
    Visit to discover what you can do immediately. Letters to editors of AZ and NM newspapers are desperately needed, and that org will fill you in on their site.

    Should you live in other areas of the USA or Canada, wolves and grizzly bears desperately need your help in this fashion. There is upcoming things to do for North Cascades Griz,

    OR Wolves (see OR Wild look for Florence Wildlife commission meeting, sign up for speaking there)

    In Minnesota Wisconsin, and UP Michigan, there is much wolf defense necessary. The Ho-Chunk and Ojibwe/Chippewa who seek to protect wolf are not getting sufficient publicity for their opposition to killing. Howling for Wolves, Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf and others need your advocacy.

    In Idaho, wolf-killing season has just started – it is 10 months long, dooming large numbers of wolves to short lives and early death. Check Living With Wolves, for material to use in grade school learning about wolves. If they don’t know wolves, no one will care about them.

    Please act, add your support, your words to media and tourists and those you know – use the public outrage at the facet of your society legally pursuing the life of serial killers.



  13. Thank you Nabeki for exposing and sharing this atrocity on your blog. It is time for the world to step up and stop the cruelty and barbaric hunting of all magnificent creatures like this. Thank you for all you do


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