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Trophy Hunters = Serial Killers?

By January 6, 2010

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Hunting Trophies

Gareth Patterson's article titled, "Is Trophy Hunting A Form of Serial Killing?" is over ten years old, but I just stumbled onto it recently.

The article draws a number of interesting parallels between serial killers and trophy hunters. Like serial killers, trophy hunters are compelled to keep a "trophy" from their victims; the killing is addictive and leads to more killings; and they seek fame.

Serial killers and trophy hunters seek fame in different ways, but it is still fame. Or notoriety. Patterson looks at several serial killers who stated that their motivation was wanting to be known or to be important. Simiarly, trophy hunters display their trophies proudly in their homes to advertise their hunting prowess and attempt to get into record books by killing the biggest animals with the largest horns or antlers.

Robert Hansen, a serial killer in Alaska who confessed to killing at least 15 women, was an accomplished hunter. For Hansen, chasing down his human victims was like "going after a trophy Dall sheep or a grizzly bear." After his conviction, Hansen's name was removed from the Pope and Young records - a sort of hall of fame for bowhunters who kill the largest animals. Incredibly, the Pope and Young Club claims that the purpose of their record books is "first and foremost honoring the animal." No, the purpose is to honor the hunters, and that's why Hansen's name was removed from their records. They didn't want to be known for honoring a serial killer. If the animals are the ones being honored, why would it matter who the hunter was?

Although trophy hunting is literally a series of killings, I wouldn't go so far as to say that trophy hunters are serial killers. Trophy hunters are usually within the law, and usually grow up in a family where hunting is an acceptable activity, handed down from generation to generation. Unlike murdering humans, trophy hunting is culturally ingrained like so many other forms of animal exploitation. But the similarities pointed out by Patterson are striking, and I have no doubt that the feelings of power, dominance and fame-seeking in trophy hunters and serial killers are very similar.

Jamie Kripke / Getty Images

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Comments

January 7, 2010 at 10:00 am
(1) TK says:

What a load of crap….

“power, dominance and fame-seeking in trophy hunters and serial killers are very similar.”

You could draw the same comparison (and it has been done) to any number of types of people – actors/actresses, politicians, CEO’s…. by your criteria, even some blog authors fit in.

Nice try… if you loved animals as much as you pretend you would educate yourself on the conservation aspects of hunting.

January 7, 2010 at 10:47 am
(2) Tracy Habenicht says:

Contrary to the previous commenter, I think this post is fantastic and very interesting.

I’d actually say that trophy hunters ARE serial killers, though. But because their victims are nonhuman animals, their murders are legal.

January 7, 2010 at 3:47 pm
(3) T. Michael Riddle says:

Well Tracy,
It could also be said that in times of war that murdering another human being is also perfectly legal as well.
Now I am not comparing the killing of an animal to war by any stretch of the imagination, but you see where I am going with this don’t you?

It just depends upon your own personal philosophies and what you believe and have committed yourself to.
Quite contrary to what is described by Garreth Patterson there are very few (if any) hunters who are solely Trophy Hunters.
Most all hunters consume their harvests and of course will display their trophy mount to reminisce upon their hunt.
Humans have been doing this since the dawn of man as he first walked upright, and was able to throw a spear.

Of course there is the occasional anomaly within the hunting community whom will only hunt for the Trophy as a form of self aggrandizement, but thankfully these type are few and far between.

There are also the individuals whom will kill another human being because of their firm belief in a Right To Life, such as the individual who shot and killed a doctor at a family planning clinic a few years back.
But do we point fingers at everyone who does not believe in abortion, and profile them all as potential murderers just because of the occasional mentally deranged individual who crops up within the Right To Life community?

Of course not, and that is why I have a problem with the extrapolations formed by: Gareth Patterson

January 7, 2010 at 9:03 pm
(4) Alex says:

@ TK
(Real) conservation work has nothing to do with hunting.

Hunters’ support of conservation efforts is motivated solely by selfish reasons. Hunters want to make sure that wildlife doesn’t go extinct – there would be nothing left for them to hunt if it would. They just want to preserve their destructive hobby.

@Michael Riddle

You can’t talk about harvesting sentient creatures (e.g. a lion is not a vegetable, and please don’t bother to bring on the vegetable vs. animals argument).

The fact that hunting existed since the dawn of human life doesn’t mean that it has to keep on going. Just because something was practiced two thousand years ago, doesn’t mean it should be practiced today. Or maybe we should all go and live in caves again. That would make sense. As far as I know these hunters use high-tech technology to track the animals down, they go into the depth of the forest with 4x4s, enough said…

January 7, 2010 at 11:58 pm
(5) Pamela Harp Gentry says:

Trophy killing is no less horrendous in nature than serial killing. It is a depraved and sociopathic mind that becomes a trophy killer. My own family is now very divided because their 19 year old son dresses up in camouflage and kills deer for sport. Along with some friends he propped a dead deer up for the camera (with blood on their hands and smiles on their faces) and posted this on Facebook!! We reported them, told them in no uncertain terms what we thought of their behavior and subsequentyly none of them are speaking to us. Sorry to say, but I really don’t care. They have absolutely no moral compass and I can only hope that they will see the cruelty and sickness of their ways.

September 27, 2010 at 5:04 pm
(6) Jim C. says:

Many hunters rattle on about “animal overpopulation” but rarely discuss the far greater human overpopulation that led to the loss of habitat in the first place. There are about 77 MILLION more people on Earth each year, and nearly 7 BILLION total. It’s the biggest imbalance affecting nature on this planet.

There’s only a “need” for culling the animals because they outgrew their shrinking home. Nature has been permanently knocked out of equilibrium. The whole concept of “managing wilderness” is unnatural to begin with. Lakes wouldn’t need to be stocked with fish and game permits wouldn’t be needed if Man was intrinsically playing by nature’s rules. Many places that still appear wild have become like giant zoos and must be constantly monitored for species declines.

This readily applies to the famous example of deer, which are overpopulated because their natural large predators are gone where people created farms and towns. Deer need far less territory to thrive than carnivores. You can only take thinning-the-herd arguments so far before you run into a root-cause loop. If more hunters would be honest about that, they’d get better PR.

November 9, 2010 at 11:15 pm
(7) ben dover says:

as a serial killer i find it offensive to be labeled as a trophy hunter…as in animals meeting a certain criteria regarding size, weight,skull/antler/horn dimensions.the hundreds of humans ive killed were just taking up good air,they had absolutely no value,will never be missed by a civilized society,and will never draw any type of gov.assistance to futher their parasitic agenda

October 4, 2011 at 6:45 pm
(8) Goober Pyle says:

No kidding Jim C. every dumb redneck hunter rattles off the same crap about culling the heard, the heard wouldn’t need culling if the balance wasn’t a mess to begin with, wolves, nature”s natural predators cull the weak and slow, leaving a healthier environment for all animals…. but hunters have killed all of them, but areas that have re introduced wolves have a better ecosystem, and you don’t need any sadist hunter, and wolves don’t kill because they are mean and wicked, only humans do. Indians would give thanks and apologize to the animals they killed. That was a time of necessity to feed a whole tribe, but it wasn’t for sport or the joy or killing, it wasn’t to hang a head on their wall. Ben I think it would be insulting to a serial killer to be called a hunter.

July 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm
(9) Chris says:

Hunters are very representative of Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist. They’re always self-aggrandizing, even masking their blood lust as altruism—”we control populations.”

The most overpopulated mammal on earth can control populations? Hunters are addicted to killing and dominating. Humans thrive without meat. Mac Danzig and many other world class athletes are vegan, so any normal person an thrive.

June 5, 2013 at 3:18 am
(10) Jude Price says:

Conservation by killing the wildlife you are trying to conserve is an oxymoron.

This is brilliant quote from the world renowned film maker, photographer and Conservationist Dereck Joubert “”Hunting happens because you are selfish and want to kill something for yourself. We have to stop kidding ourselves that hunters do it for conservation. Conservation is the justification for what is basically a selfish act, and even then once you pick at it you realize that hunting is not conservation at all. If it was, once hunters knew that lions were in danger of extinction then of course they would stop. Of course everyone would support a CITES listing to ban all trade in lions ”

It is that simple – how a human being could take a high powered weapon and kill a beautiful living being with it – and display the stuffed body or a body part on the wall and take pride in that is a form of sickness, that they continue to be supported by governments across Africa to do so may be “legal’ but it certainly is immoral and unethical. Just as slavery was once legal it was still immoral and unethical. Just as denying women the vote was once legal it was still immoral and unethical – the only thing trophy hunting does is appease the hunters ego, and why would a grown man feel the need to dominate a large animal except if he was at heart totally insecure about himself as a man.

When will they stop killing? When the “last” rhino has fallen, the last elephant has died? WIll some big white hunter say “I shot the last elephant!” Bloody Hero. The bottom line is this – you cannot kill something and conserve it – it is morally reprehensible and a grand delusion to think so.

June 5, 2013 at 3:20 am
(11) Jude Price says:

Conservation by killing the wildlife you are trying to conserve is an oxymoron.

This is brilliant quote about the trophy hunting of lions from the world renowned film maker, photographer and Conservationist Dereck Joubert, it could apply to the trophy hunting of any endangered animal. “Hunting happens because you are selfish and want to kill something for yourself. We have to stop kidding ourselves that hunters do it for conservation. Conservation is the justification for what is basically a selfish act, and even then once you pick at it you realize that hunting is not conservation at all. If it was, once hunters knew that lions were in danger of extinction then of course they would stop. Of course everyone would support a CITES listing to ban all trade in lions ”

It is that simple – how a human being could take a high powered weapon and kill a beautiful living being with it – and display the stuffed body or a body part on the wall and take pride in that is a form of sickness, that they continue to be supported by governments across Africa to do so may be “legal’ but it certainly is immoral and unethical. Just as slavery was once legal it was still immoral and unethical. Just as denying women the vote was once legal it was still immoral and unethical – the only thing trophy hunting does is appease the hunters ego, and why would a grown man feel the need to dominate a large animal except if he was at heart totally insecure about himself as a man.

When will they stop killing? When the “last” rhino has fallen, the last elephant has died? WIll some big white hunter say “I shot the last elephant!” Bloody Hero. The bottom line is this – you cannot kill something and conserve it – it is morally reprehensible and a grand delusion to think so.

November 22, 2013 at 8:53 pm
(12) Ted Teodoro says:

If hunters were truly interested in conservation, they would be so obvious at replanting projects, river clean ups, or trail maintenance . But, I haven’t met one out there. Depraved and destructive, hunters need to evolve. We’re no longer in 10,000 BC.

November 22, 2013 at 11:24 pm
(13) W2 says:

Hey there Ted Teodoro, I am a hunter and I have a degree in natural resources management. I have made my career about forest management and protection of woodland and wildland habitat. I have planted more trees than you ever will – guaranteed. I have worked on building fish habitat in streams, and I have spent many an hour on fire crews on the big western fires. You need to evolve beyond your stereotyping because you obviously have NO IDEA what kind of conservationists hunters are. You have NO IDEA what motivates people to not only utilize and consume products from nature but also protect and conserve the system that produces them. Broaden your horizons a little bit and crawl out of the small place you live in and take your blinders off.

January 20, 2014 at 2:11 am
(14) herromerr says:

I 100% believe this article to be true!

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