Why (Mostly) Men Trophy Hunt: A Biocultural Explanation

Why (Mostly) Men Trophy Hunt: A Biocultural Explanation
By Maximilian Werner

Wolves do not stay anywhere for long.  This is partly a function of their prey’s movement, but it’s also a function of being hunted for seven months of the year, at least in Montana, where residents can “harvest” up to five wolves for a paltry $19 dollars.  A quick online search reveals dozens of images and videos of (mostly) men posing with wolves they had killed.  The majority of the hunters are wearing what researchers K. R. Child and C. T. Darimont call “pleasure” or “killing” smiles.  In their essay “Hunting for Trophies: Online Hunting Photographs Reveal Achievement Satisfaction with Large and Dangerous Prey,” the authors note that hunters’ smiles tend to be more pronounced when the prey is large and/or dangerous, that is, as opposed to when they pose with smaller and presumably less dangerous animals of the same species.

Similarly, a cursory glance of online images of wolf hunts (which is all I can stomach) supports this finding by showing all the creative ways that hunters display and accentuate the size of their trophies.  Some men carry the wolf across their shoulders.  Others string up, lay out, or hold up the wolf to show its length, height, or mass.  Another pose motif shows the hunter, often with gun in hand, kneeling behind and standing up the wolf so that it appears to be alive.  One hunter—I will call him “the artist”—went so far as to prop up the wolf on a moss-covered rock.  But the wolf’s size is not the only cause for celebration; so too is the fearsome appearance of the wolf’s teeth, which hunters often display, apparently, to show how much danger they were in as they hid in their blinds and shot the wolf from 150 yards away.  The hunter’s killing smile tells only one part of the story, however.

Referring to images of hunters with their quarry, Edward Abbey observed how dead animals have a more powerful presence than do the humans who killed them.  Dead animals that remain intact are also more beautiful.  Although 99% of the time I don’t agree with killing wolves, I understand (which is not the same as agreeing with) a rancher or herder’s decision to kill a wolf in defense of his livestock.  But I will never understand why anyone would kill a wolf (or any other predator/carnivore) otherwise.  And I’m not alone in my efforts to fathom this bizarre, perverse, and baffling behavior.  In their article The Dark Triad and animal cruelty: Dark personalities, dark attitudes, and dark behaviors, Samantha James and her colleagues document a correlation between some sport or trophy hunters and a trio of undesirable behaviors that they call the “dark triad.”  Narcissism (ego-driven admiration of oneself and no compassion), Machiavellianism, and, most notably perhaps, psychopathy, which is characterized by a profound lack of empathy, among other socially undesirable behaviors.

I have never trophy or sport hunted, nor personally observed a trophy hunt, but I have unwittingly caught the last few minutes of a hunting show that featured a hunter who could have been the poster child for the dark triad.  He had travelled from his home state of Missouri to hunt coyotes in southeastern Arizona, though his methods required one to have an extremely loose definition of hunting as well as a strong stomach.  Although I am not a hunter, I am familiar with the tools and techniques hunters use to kill the animals I study.  One tool is the call or caller, which calls in the target by mimicking survival relevant vocalizations in its environment, including the cries of distressed fawns and rabbits.  Calls can be made manually (usually with the hands and mouth) or with technology that ranges from a whistle-like tool made of wood, to electronic devices that broadcast recordings of attractive sounds.

Apparently lacking the ability to manually call in his quarry, the hunter set up an electronic caller on the side of a ridge, where he broadcasted the cries of a distressed rabbit and waited for his prey to appear.  After unceremoniously dispatching two coyotes with a rifle powerful enough to kill an animal three times the coyote’s size, the hunter set his sights on a bobcat that had come to investigate.  The feline, which was about half the size of the coyote, couldn’t have been more than 50 yards away, a distance that was reduced to mere feet with the aid of a high-powered scope mounted on the rifle.  The hunter made the shot and then, with a spring in his step, walked down and retrieved the bobcat, or rather, what was left of it.  As he neared the bloody and mangled jumble of fur and bone, he slowed down, as if he were beholding something magical.  Then he lifted up the cat by the scruff of the neck.

“I gut-shot it,” he said excitedly, which was both odd and unnecessary because anyone with eyes could see that the cat’s entire midsection was gone and the only thing holding it together was its spine.

Then something strange and unexpected happened: The hunter began to cry-talk, or talk and cry at the same time.  Cry-talking invites a mixed reaction (plus it’s hard on the ears), but I was glad he did because otherwise I wouldn’t have really known why he was crying.  “This is an emotional experience for me,” he said as he dropped the ruined bobcat on the ground.  His face was coated with dust so I could see the paths his tears had taken.  Then he wiped them away, looked right at the camera, and explained how he had always wanted to shoot a bobcat, and now he could finally say that he had.  Then he looked down at the bobcat and said again that it was an emotional experience.  I’ve never been one to yell at the TV, but for this guy I made an exception.  Here he had just exploded this beautiful animal and the only thing he could think about was himself.

While these findings and this anecdote may illuminate the personalities or mindsets of trophy hunters, they don’t address why this mindset may exist in the first place.  For that we can look at Why men trophy hunt, a paper by Evolutionary Anthropologists Brian Codding and Kristen Hawkes, and Chris Darimont, a Conservation Scientist at the University of Victoria.  After finding the current hypotheses for why men trophy hunt (for meat, recreation, population control, among other apparent benefits) incomplete or implausible, Darimont, Hawkes, and Codding offer an evolutionary explanation for what they describe as this “perplexing activity.”

This “seemingly irrational behavior is resolved by costly signaling theory . . . [which] considers the social status and prestige that accrue to successful hunters.”  This explanation suggests that recreational hunters accrue status from the costs that they appear to absorb (economically and otherwise), despite the high risk of failure.  According to this view, from the audience’s perspective (particularly that of rivals and prospective mates), only the fittest of the fit can afford to hunt big-game or trophy animals, especially when the hunt is for large, and/or dangerous animals and has no guarantee of success.

While the signaling of non-human animal species tends to be more genuine, for humans what appears to be the case may be more important than what is actually case.  As the authors point out (and as the images of wolf hunters posing with dead wolves illustrate), regardless of their actual ability, “men generally target species that are not only large-bodied but also—and, importantly—impose high cost.”   The carcasses of large (and often inedible) animals aren’t just valued as food, but also serve as “a signal of the costs associated with the hunter’s accomplishment.”  Ultimately, then, the bigger the animal of any species, the greater the accomplishment.  The rewards of this signaling don’t end with killing the animal; rather, they begin with it. For in addition to the images of hunters with their prey, which are often posted on social media and can reach thousands of viewers, a common and well-documented practice among hunters is to have the whole or parts of the animal prepared for display.  (Perhaps the bobcat hunter cut off one of the animal’s paws or mounted its head with teeth exposed for this purpose).

Darimont, Hawkes, and Codding discuss how, in today’s global context, costly signaling theory of trophy hunting doesn’t just extend to the small social groups that were characteristic of our recent and evolutionary past, but to a world-wide audience.  Because of social media and the internet, today’s trophy hunters have signaling opportunities that would have been unthinkable to hunters of the past, as well as to hunters from extant hunter-gather societies.  Prior to the 2015 killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, one of the consequences of this increased visibility was an uptick in trophy hunting and, in the case of some species, a hastening toward extinction.  Despite claims that trophy hunting plays an important role in the conservation of threatened species, the anthropogenic Allee effect, which describes how “the demand and associated costs increase when otherwise unprofitable rare resources become attractive, thereby speeding up their decline,” suggest that these hunts, while contributing to local economies, may in fact be contrary to conservation.

For those of us who are interested in the practical applications of this paper’s findings, and how they might be used to discourage this destructive behavior, the authors recommend developing policies that diminish the perceived cost of trophy hunting so that it will no longer function as a costly signaling opportunity.  Given the international media coverage of Cecil’s death and the outrage that followed, the authors also suggest that public shaming may have a dampening effect on signaling by eroding the apparent status of the trophy hunter.  Walter J. Palmer, the American dentist who killed Cecil and received hundreds of hateful messages, probably knows this as well as anyone.

Far from being perceived as a superior male and/or desirable mate, Palmer became the international persona non grata within days of killing Cecil.  If the years before Cecil’s death saw an increase in trophy hunting, the years after it saw a decrease that was so dramatic it became known as the Cecil Effect.  This result not only validates the authors’ call for more research into “the conditions that influence trophy hunting motivation,” it also provides proof of their prediction “that social media boasting about lion hunting declined following the widespread shaming after Cecil’s death.”  Together, these studies offer interesting insights into the biological basis of human behavior and, more importantly, the biologically responsive strategies for changing it.




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  1. Nancy Avatar

    All excellent points! Thanks, Max!

  2. Rich Avatar

    Thank you for sharing a very interesting and enlightening study.

    What caught my attention was the description of “a trio of undesirable behaviors that they call the ‘dark triad.’ Narcissism (ego-driven admiration of oneself and no compassion), Machiavellianism, and, most notably perhaps, psychopathy, which is characterized by a profound lack of empathy, among other socially undesirable behaviors.”

    The dark triad seems to perfectly describe the characteristics of a certain individual living in the White House. The trophy in this case was control of the U.S. Government and now followed by the constant boasting of his accomplishments. Perhaps a study of that individual would also be enlightening if anyone had the stomach to read it.

    1. Nancy Avatar

      “Perhaps a study of that individual would also be enlightening if anyone had the stomach to read it”

      Some attempt to do just that Rich and nightly 🙂 and with a sense of humor, Colbert comes to mind.

      Hilarious take on “human nature” but 12 minutes in….. nails it!

    2. krystal Avatar

      Spot on!! Yes, Person 1 is a clinical narcissist as far as I’m concerned. Wish SOMEONE had the YKW’s to speak to that on the “lying media”.

  3. Bruce Bowen Avatar
    Bruce Bowen

    The humans that commit atrocities against nature do not consider themselves as part of nature. They must be above it. In my experience they want to convey the image of hierarchical power and display it symbolically. The larger the animal on display the more power.

    I have known business men who claimed they liked to hunt but seemed to have a bottomless pit of inferiority to fill. Thus, they cared nothing about habitat, ecology, the animals habits or the smells and sounds of nature- they pretty much just wanted to rack up a higher score to fill some lack in themselves.

    I have in the past talked to officials from the NRA when they were working on their “Hunt for Truth” project and they were unwilling to seriously discuss the habitat issues we have today. I think to them and unfortunately to some game departments, hunting can only be seen in the context of a business model and an adjunct to capitalism. Why else would states permit the hunting of sandhill cranes and swans?

    Trophy hunting is certainly taking the easy road. Killing something is far easier than understanding what it really was, or why it was killed.

  4. Ida Lupine Avatar
    Ida Lupine

    All I can say is that is must be some vestige or holdover from ancient man, when hunting was for food, self-preservation, and perhaps ‘signaling’ a desirable mate.

    In today’s world none of that is necessary, and the only response to what is being signaled is revulsion.

    Good post!

  5. Yvette Avatar

    “Why Men (mostly) trophy hunt” is a question I’ve asked and searched to answer for a long time. There is a gap in research to adequately answer this question.

    It’s good that you have addressed it.

  6. Ida Lupine Avatar
    Ida Lupine

    And knowing all this, what would be the valid reasoning for the smaller (but growing, according to the gun shops and ‘recreational shooting’ stores) percentage of women taking this up? Unless we mean ‘man’ to mean ‘mankind’?
    Surely we wouldn’t want to let women off the hook for the same kind of behavior?

    But maybe killing, cruelty, narcissism, and ‘signaling’ behaviors are the great equalizers.

  7. Ida Lupine Avatar
    Ida Lupine

    And before I am accused of any ‘-ism’ or ‘-ist’, I’m more of a misanthropist.

  8. Greg McMillan Avatar
    Greg McMillan

    although I have been known to hike for upland game I am not a trophy hunter…..but I know one. When I asked him why he did it he replied, “I just never feel as close to an animal as when I can hug the dead body in my arms”. This same person, in a video he showed me of a trophy Brown Bear hunt in Alaska is seen as mock raping the bear when it was down. My guess is that he did not have the balls to do it when the bear was alive. Go figure….it is all beyond me

    1. Nancy Avatar

      A few of us here probably recall a YouTube video that surfaced a year or two ago where “hunters” actually video taped themselves, kicking an ungulate (one of them had shot) down a hillside so it was closer to where they had to pack it out.

      I seem to recall the animal wasn’t even dead yet but they laughed, kicked and “assisted” the dying animal down the hillside.

      Not a link to that video (looked around but I would imagine it got pulled from the website due to disgust) but here are some interesting comments (not to mention, lively discussion) a few years back on TWN, along the same venue….


      “Trophy hunting is certainly taking the easy road. Killing something is far easier than understanding what it really was, or why it was killed”

      Totally agree, Bruce.

  9. fjrouse Avatar

    Thank you ever so much for posting another insightful article. Knowledge is a powerful tool.

  10. Ida Lupine Avatar
    Ida Lupine

    It sounds like legal perversion. I’ve always thought that because the victims are animals, the majority of the public does not see it for the perversion it it, or has a ‘better the animals than other people’ mindset.

    Only the boundaries are not that clear. 🙁

    1. Larry Keeney Avatar
      Larry Keeney

      Ida you are right. It’s this perversion that animals cannot be victims mindset. Sometimes I think it takes a genetic predisposition for empathy to overcome that perversion. That said though people can change with experiencing up close and personal with animals. (Some can’t or will not ever). I’ve never understood the hunter that enjoys his lap dog and then kills other canines for fun. One of the things I enjoy is getting up close and personal with my dogs, nose to nose and talking softly, touching softly and seeing the understanding and seeing the sentient qualities of them exhibited through their eyes. The same is true of all animals of course if given the chance. It’s that eye to eye contact that only the hardened heart people will deny or not allow it to penetrate their soul. Marc Bekoff or Jane Goodall have authored great books on the sentient qualities of animals. Jennifer Ackerman on The Genius of Birds is a great overview of reasons to elevate the status of birds. My seemingly forever project is watching the mole family tunnel pattern in my yard. I have no desire to kill them, I just watch in amazement them scratching out a pleasurable living underground. Something we humans are not capable of. A great piece from Mr. Werner.

  11. rork Avatar

    In MI deer hunters I see similar behavior that I’ve always thought of as “it’s the challenge” or “I need to prove I’m good at this” – deer hunting is a game you are trying to be better than the other people at. It is a past-time. It may be half the hunters. Some might want to shoot coyotes or bob-cats, which I find almost inconceivable. PS: If there were tons of cranes or swans I might want one, but I’d be kicked out of the house, so I’ll have to get one donated. I’ll oppose crane seasons in MI for perhaps 5 more years.
    I have two pictures of dead deer on my office door – about average for this time of year. There has never been a hunter in these pictures – that’s a rule. The image is about a deer. I went in the bullet season again with in-laws and got to gut every deer (I’m the fastest) and got to say the words in front of each nephew and niece at least twice: We are sorry, we are grateful, you were magnificent, we promise to take care of the green world.
    I think young women are joining us more lately because it is honest local food. People really like it if you bring them good things to eat. I see some men blame the decline in males as due to their being sissies. They want it to be a manly thing. But I can wear the sissiest panties in the world and scout, shoot, track, gut, and butcher deer just fine. And swing a fly rod as well as anyone. So can girls.

    1. Ida Lupine Avatar
      Ida Lupine

      Only it isn’t the forest primeval anymore (maybe the forest prime-evil now), because there is a lot of contamination, polluted water, disease, parasites. You don’t know where or what that poor deer has been exposed to. I think that is a myth.

      And proving yourself is an utterly ridiculous reason to take the life of or objectify another living thing IMO. When we had to hunt to eat, that would have been a different story – but now it is a choice.

      Expensive gear, hunting licences and tags, guns, ammunition do not suggest poverty or saving money either, but an expensive ‘hobby’.

      1. Immer Treue Avatar
        Immer Treue

        I’ll let rork have fun with your first couple thoughts. You’ve posted here a long time, and you continue to show a lack of understanding except in the “Oh Rob” category.

        One doesn’t have to break the bank for a more than adequate deer rifle. That’s a one time expense, for many,it’s less expensive as thy purchased used, or it was handed down from friends, neighbors, family members. Clothing, if one wants to nascarize themselves, they can do it, but it’s not necessary. Base layers for cold weather, if one loves in the North, they get worn everyday for about 6 months. Mukluks for when it’s really cold, are also used for winter camping, and everyday use in deep cold.

        Ammunition ~ have enough on hand for practice, so you know what your rifle will do, otherwise, one bullet does the job.
        Licenses etc, inexpensive.

        Take all those things as a one time expense, and spread them over time vs the meat one receives and it’s much less than the butcher or grocery store. If one lives in an area where there’s more than a one deer limit, the break even point is achieved much sooner.

        Don’t want to hang a head with antlers, great chew toys for dogs, as well as the scrap bucket for dog treats. Rib cage, great for observation of many avians up close one would be unlikely to see, and it is a part of what they would naturally ingest rather than sunflower seeds in the winter. If you’re really lucky, you might see a pine marten on the rib cage, or if you hang it strategically, entertainment for hours observing Ravens trying to get to the rib cage.

        When one adds everything up, it’s food, entertainment, exercise, dog treats, another excuse to be outside, camaraderie…spread over time, all the expenses are recouped, and the only new expense is and inexpensive tag, and the labor to do the butchering.

        One more thing, yes, this is a wildlife site, not a hunting site, but there are many who post and who have posted here who hunt. The two are not mutually exclusive.

        Parasites. I would feel fairly confident in submitting there exist very few Wild fauna without parasites, endo or exo.

        1. Ida Lupine Avatar
          Ida Lupine

          If you know that I have been posting for a long time, then you know that I do not care what Rork, or anyone else, thinks or says. I have my beliefs and they have theirs.

          With all of that – you still haven’t challenged the fact that hunting today is a choice, not a necessity.

          Isn’t food in the grocery store, good, honest food for the most part?


          1. Immer Treue Avatar
            Immer Treue

            Perhaps if you would stop making blanket generalizations, especially in regard to what you don’t know, you might be taken more seriously. When your “beliefs” are wrong, they are wrong.

            From your own article:

            “Let me repeat: None of the parasites I am about to describe can infect or harm people. In most cases, they don’t even harm the deer. All deer carry parasites like these, and some of them are even vital, like the micro-organisms that live in a deer’s gut and help it digest food. However, deer living in unhealthy conditions where there are too many deer for the habitat to support usually host more parasites, because their weakened state of health makes them less able to fight off invasion. Deer hunters can help keep parasite problems to a minimum simply by maintaining balance between deer numbers and available nutrition.”


            All animals that live in the wild have endo and ecto parasites, given time in the wild, so would you.

            1. Ida Lupine Avatar
              Ida Lupine

              Yes, I did read that. I also read the part about deer and elk living in unhealthy conditions.

              I’m not sure I agree that none of these parasites could harm people if precautions are not taken, and we all know about the uptick in CWD and diseases like it. Tapeworms, trichinosis, and carelessness with spinal tissue.

              I’ve never heard that liver flukes are healthy. Deer hunters keeping ungulate numbers in line? So do wolves and other predators. People just do not want to share.

              Something that makes no sense is that elk in the West are definite carriers of brucellosis – but the animal that people bully and kill is the bison. Go figure.

              I think it is for long-standing reasons that have nothing to do with disease.

              1. Immer Treue Avatar
                Immer Treue

                Neither your article or I suggested liver flukes were healthy, in this particular case they are species/genus specific.

                Our food processing/distribution system is quite good, save the occasional problems such as the Romaine lettuce foul-up. Add to that this recent snafu


                Thoroughly cooking venison is not a problem, over cooking is.

          2. rork Avatar

            I don’t need deer meat, but it is worth allot to me, and unlike most hunters I get it very cheaply. Deer are overabundant near me, and eating them is better for the environment than eating any domestic animal I could name. It is better than the grocery store. My potatoes, squash, onions, leeks, spinach, carrots, and mushrooms (3 species) on Thanksgiving were all better than I could have bought, both in quality and environmental impact. I killed the turkey personally.
            PS: I was ridiculing “personal challenge” attitudes. I detest man vs nature.

            1. Ida Lupine Avatar
              Ida Lupine

              I understand. I’m sure your own food is vastly superior.

      2. Yvette Avatar

        I’m not going to address your fist paragraph because it is too absurd at this particular time. It may need to be something addressed in the future or in certain regions where CWD is active. Plus, Immer addressed it. I will add that I was taught as a teenager that wild meat had to be cooked well done because of potential parasites. If these things concern you, have you ever been to or exposed to large scale CAFOs for beer or pork?

        “Expensive gear, hunting licences and tags, guns, ammunition do not suggest poverty or saving money either, but an expensive ‘hobby’.”

        Before my nephews auto accident that left him paralyzed he hunted elk. He hunted for his food. He hunted at the request of his tribe when there was a funeral. (this tribe has tribal hunters who harvest an elk to serve at the funeral meal).

        He hunted on tribal lands and, at that time he only had to walk out his back door. He lived in the mountains on tribal land. He did not need expensive gear, nor did his father who fed the family back in the 70’s. There were no high powered scopes on their rifles, either.

        The reason the tribe will ask some tribal members to hunt for certain ceremonial meals is because they are good at it. Being asked by tribal leadership is probably enough of an honor so they do not have to prove themselves to their peers. (by posing for pictures with the dead animal or something similar).

        Only thing I suggest is keep in mind not everyone needs or uses expensive gear.

        1. Ida Lupine Avatar
          Ida Lupine

          I don’t eat beef or pork – but I am truly surprised that with the sheer numbers of domesticated animals killed for food, that there is not more trouble with contamination.

          America’s food supply is pretty good overall.

          I had to laugh, I was at the grocery store recently to pick up something I had forgotten – carrots for soup.

          The man ahead of me in line turned to me and said ‘what’re you feeding, rabbits?’ and we both had a good laugh in the checkout line. I forgot parsley too. 🙂

        2. Ida Lupine Avatar
          Ida Lupine

          What you have mentioned sounds very beautiful and restrained.

          What I meant was that not all of those who call themselves hunters have good attitudes about wildlife. Rork may be one who does have a good attitude, also.

          1. Yvette Avatar

            This is true, Ida. I think quite a few of today’s hunters pine for a way of life that has passed, for the most part. There was a time when if people didn’t hunt they went hungry. In some parts of the world it’s still this way. An example is an indigenous person that lives in the Arctic. It’s not like they can farm or drive to Walmart to buy their clothes and food. And there are still people who buy a cow or pig to be raised and butchered. With the population shift from rural to city most of us no longer need to hunt to eat. We consumers have externalized the emotional cost of raising, slaughtering and butchering the meat we eat. We walk into a store and boom! There is our meat. Already slaughtered, butchered and packaged. We didn’t see the look in their eyes before the hammer hit their head; We didn’t feel the chicken whose throat was slit on a fast moving line; we don’t have to hear the distress calls as a live animal moves down the kill line; we don’t have to feel what it’s like to stand ankle deep blood. No, not us. We have paid the poorest of the poor and/or the undocumented immigrant to do all of that for us. That is the truth of eating meat in this era unless we raise, slaughter or butcher it ourselves. Or hunt.

            I’m not lecturing. I’m not vegan or vegetarian. Like you, I eat fish and poultry. And that isn’t much better than eating beef and pork. I have still externalized the emotional cost of killing and butchering an animal.

            I do believe many of today’s hunters do it as a way to connect to being part of the process. It’s all those people posing for pictures with their victim propped up and bloody, or with cigarettes stuck in their mouth, or young women wearing their too-tight’real tree’ garb and full make-up with their legs wrapped around the dead animal that truly turn us off from hunters.

            Killing should never become enjoyable.

            1. Ida Lupine Avatar
              Ida Lupine

              Well said. I know you are not lecturing. And I agree; killing should never become enjoyable or taken for granted.

  12. Ida Lupine Avatar
    Ida Lupine

    Where I live (and I’m sure it’s not the only place) there’s a sign that warns against eating any fish you catch because even to this very day, it is contaminated with PCB’s from GE dumping waste chemicals into the ocean and probably other water supplies back in the late 40s to the 70s!

  13. Ida Lupine Avatar
    Ida Lupine

    I want to add that we environmentalists and animal advocates catch a lot of flak for ‘romanticizing’ wildlife – but I think hunting and the rugged individualist lifestyle is overly glamorized and romanticized too.

    As you can see from the link I posted, field dressing an animal isn’t very glamorous. And I tend to doubt that all parasites are not harmful; especially tapeworms and egg transmission. (I think Laura would tell Rob she isn’t eating venison unless it is very thoroughly cooked). There’s a big article in the NYT about a woman hunter, who is butchering an elk with a photo of her bloody hands, and isn’t even wearing disposable gloves.

    My husband used to live in Idaho where the hunting culture is very strong as we know – he had friends and acquaintances who hunted. He’s told me some even made their own bullets. And sitting down to a nice dinner of sage hen and being warned to be careful about bird shot. 🙂 He loved it there and so do I.

    I just think today hunting isn’t the same as in years past.

  14. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Maximilian Werner is Assistant Professor (Lecturer) of Rhetoric


  15. krystal Avatar

    How approriate & meaningful to read this article a day or two after the “legal” (more accurately, heartbreaking) killing of 926f of the Lamar Canyon Pack, near Cooke City MT.

    1. Ida Lupine Avatar
      Ida Lupine

      Well this is an example of dishonorable killers, who do not respect the Park or wildlife collared for scientific study, or the Park visitors who love to view the Park’s wildlife. It’s all about them.

      This is the kind of behavior people should not be trying to accept, work with, or compromise with, because they won’t. I just wish that F&W would have the ‘gumption’ to fine or penalize them for shooting collared wolves.

      1. krystal Avatar

        Absolutely. Unfortunately, I know for a fact (personal experience) that gov’t agencies (state OR fed) have their own agendas. In many cases it’s a “CYA” thing for fear of getting sued. Short of that, there’s so much politics involved, it’s unlikely we’ll ever get honest, objective planning on this issue. Too many stakeholders with clout!!People who care (like us) must stay engaged. I hope Center fr Bio. Diversity weighs in on this. I intend to ask.

  16. Ida Lupine Avatar
    Ida Lupine

    I don’t eat beef, lamb or pork, and I always am glad when I read about this kind of stupid predator extermination.

  17. Ida Lupine Avatar
    Ida Lupine

    I tried not to have the discussion degrade into silly argument (I try very hard) – but since we are on the subject of addressing things,

    ‘Immer’ is not the moderator here as far as I know, and it is not his place to say whether or not he feels I contribute to any discussion here or not. He’s tried to do that before here, I wish he’d be a little less accommodating of wolf killers.

    1. Nancy Avatar

      Ida – I’m not a moderator either but I totally agree with Immer’s assessment on your too often “Oh, Rob” moments on this blog.

      Do spend a little time and go back through the TWN archives if you want to really understand and relate to the folks who’ve taken the time to post here over the years and why many of them can relate to (far better than you are able to in your “armchair” atmosphere) the many directions human/wildlife conflicts go in, especially out here in the west and other places where predators are now recognized as a benefit to ecosystems.

      1. Ida Lupine Avatar
        Ida Lupine

        I have no idea what you are talking about, nor what an “Oh, Robism” is.

        I have been here for many years, and I do not need to go back and refer to anything.

        You sound like no one else can have as say in what goes on in the West, when it is those attitudes that deprive the rest of us from having wildlife!

        Wildlife protection spans the entire country, and those of us who want to protect what’s left of our wildlands and wildlife. If people have their way, many people might never see a grizzly or a wolf in the wild.

        What I mean is that Immer many times is much too sympathetic to those who are ‘inconvenienced’ by having wolves and other predators – and that concern isn’t returned by them.

        So no.

        1. Ida Lupine Avatar
          Ida Lupine

          For example, he seems to have the idea that wolves are recovered, and that the inevitable hunting and continued persecution is the problem.

          Well, he’s only half right. Wolves have not recovered enough to be delisted in the opinion of many.

          I think I can remember just about every post we’ve had here, since about 2010-2011.

          I don’t appreciate being belittled.

          1. Immer Treue Avatar
            Immer Treue

            You belittle yourself. And the fact that “you don’t care” is more than obvious in spite of the fact that many who have posted here in the past, JB and WM in particular have bent over backwards in trying to help you, but you didn’t care then, and you still don’t care.

            Are wolves recovered? In some areas, yes they are. They are recovered where I live. My entire premise is to leave them alone, but if someone is having trouble on their own land with their stock or their pets, and they are responsible in regard to their ownership and stewardship, they should be able to protect what is their’s.

            It’s absolutely ridiculous to postulate that wolves and grizzly bear should extend into all their former ranges. It’s people like you who feed the wrath of the rabid anti wolf folks, and the bitter irony is you have been more than accommodating to one of the truly anti-wolf folks who post here.

            1. Ida Lupine Avatar
              Ida Lupine

              It’s amazing how people differ in how they interpret posts here.

              Yes, JB I would say has a lot of patience. I remember that he called me ‘strident’ in one of my first posts here. 🙂 But since then, he’s been nothing but encouraging, and I’ve toned it down quite a bit. He understands why people become strident in these matters.

              WM, however, is hit or miss. Usually, I think he posts to provoke.

              When you said, ‘wolves make things hard for people’, that is what I mean by being to accommodating. If it worked, I’d agree, but it does not.

            2. Ida Lupine Avatar
              Ida Lupine

              I don’t think you are being realistic. They may or may not have recovered in your area in the eyes of many – but in others they have not even been given a chance to recover. Certainly not enough to delist them across the entire country and not even have a chance. I think that will end up in court.

              And of course, hunting will always follow a delisting, so we really must base our ideas in reality.

              And as you well know – what I meant by ‘I do not care’ is that I will not be shouted down by those who disagree with me.

              And remind me never to bring up political opinions of Supreme Court picks and other issues in the Trump era. It has a tendency to rile both side up so they turn on each other.

        2. Mat-ters Avatar


          Ida , What they are doing to you is bullying…. My post was not a cut on you ….hence the “wink”, it was returning their fiery…. as a TWN unwelcomed poster would say (making them look in the mirror). IMHO their fiery matches yours…some in a more sinister passive aggressive way. Enthralling to see the fangs exposed.

          With you…. the bottom line is you never admit to limits for predators, always the locals or ranchers fault for the eventuality and inevitable need to manage….kill! You can say difference to that statement BUT your posts expose you.

          1. Ida Lupine Avatar
            Ida Lupine

            I know – I figured it out. 😉 But I still did like your post.

    2. Immer Treue Avatar
      Immer Treue

      I didn’t write you don’t contribute to any discussion…I did say folks would take you more seriously if not for the “oh Robisms”.

      You “wish I’d be a little less accommodating of wolf killers”. There’s no other way to phase it, you are absolutely full of shit!

      And one other thing, learn how to use the reply function.

      The real moderators, if too poignant of a point made, let me know and I’ll modify it, otherwise, it stands.

      1. Ida Lupine Avatar
        Ida Lupine

        I really don’t care. I think people take me seriously enough for my liking. If they don’t it really isn’t my problem.

      2. Mat-ters Avatar

        Ahh yes, The pinnacle of irony. Where on an article about “Why men trophy hunt” the literary huntsman goes in for the kill with his “full of shit” comment……on little ms oh rob. Entertaining to say the least!!

        Opps, hope I didn’t cross the line of being to happy at a kill site. Sorry Ida…. wink!

        1. Hiker Avatar

          One of your best posts. Made me smile.

        2. Ida Lupine Avatar
          Ida Lupine

          I think he missed by a mile.

  18. Ida Lupine Avatar
    Ida Lupine

    And one more thing:

    I come here to read the articles and commentary. I will not continue with discussions that descend in to useless argument, that other readers do not want to read, and get off track. That’s all I have to say, and I’m not going to disturb readers further.

    If the moderators have a problem with anything I post, and I try not to go overboard, I’m sure they will let me know in a respectful manner.

  19. Carter Niemeyer Avatar
    Carter Niemeyer

    Max, this is a great read and should make every person engaged in the killing of wild creatures for any reason to reflect on their behavior and purpose.

  20. Dorothy Inks Avatar
    Dorothy Inks

    Out of curiosity, what is the percentage of men that are white versus black, Asian, etc that commit these atrocities?

    1. Maximillian Werner Avatar
      Maximillian Werner

      Hi Dorothy,

      Interesting question. I don’t know that anyone has looked at this. I will check.

      1. Yvette Avatar

        This won’t provide a direct answer to Dorthy’s question but it does provide a bit of history of The British Shikar Club and, it’s link to ‘fair play’ and masculinity. This paper provides a glimpse into the history of sport/trophy hunting. It was the European elites who sport hunted, especially the British, and they are intricately connected to colonialism.

        “For such men, ‘real sport’ was a release for ‘blood-lust’, which contributed in some way to their innate sense of masculine identity.”

        These well to do British men had little respect for traditional African subsistence hunters.

        “Non-white shots inexcusably preferred to shoot game-birds sitting, because they were easier to kill…’African field sports were described as savage, uncivilised and ignorant, lacking in both refinement and ‘enlightenment.”

        I believe trophy hunting, as we know it today, is a holdover from the age of Europeans colonizing the Americas, but especially, Africa.

        I use to find this paper with open access but did not today.

        For those interested in searching and reading the paper:

        “The British Big-Game Hunting Tradition, Masculinity and Fraternalism with Particular Reference to “The Shikar Club. (2000, McKenzie, Callum)


        1. Ida Lupine Avatar
          Ida Lupine


  21. sunguard.nz Avatar

    Would have loved to have observed it in sunlight.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan