Take a couple minutes to watch this video.
Nick Pinizzotto, CEO of the US Sportsmen’s Alliance, has been making the rounds. Once again thrust into the spotlight following a period of white-hot internet outrage, Nick is a thoughtful leader in a time when the lines between social media sensationalism and what we used to call journalism seem blurry. Please watch and share his interview on CBS This Morning. Powderhook commends CBS for seeking answers, rather than simply clicks.
The fact is, only the people involved know what happened in Zimbabwe. If things played out the way they have been reported, no one will be harder on the alleged perpetrators than the hunting community. But, if we find out they didn’t, who will help the dentist, his family, his employees and their families pick up the mess our outrage culture has created?
Not one person we’ve met during our time in the hunting industry believes in killing wild animals for “sport.” Hunting lions in Africa is not something most hunters would do, but it’s also not something most people are qualified to judge. The way the system of wildlife conservation – and the conservation of a lot of things we collectively value – works requires the animal to have a value. Not value given by God, but a value driven by human consumption. Such is the hand of the apex omnivore. Without that economic value, wild places must be plowed up in favor of crop fields or strip malls in order to support the people who inhabit them. Or, they must be left alone and supported by some other means, such as hunting license sales, taxes or easements. As the middle class expands throughout the world, and our consumerism-driven population grows, this problem will only get worse.
Our solution: offer to take someone hunting or fishing with you. When they buy their license, teach them how that money is used for conservation – to buy and preserve the land that doesn’t grow the food they eat, but rather the land and water where our precious wild things live.
Cecil, Jericho and all other wild animals, even those without names, need wild places to survive. Until there is another viable model of conservation and management, Cecil would want you to hunt.
About the author:
Eric Dinger is the co-founder and CEO of Powderhook.com, a website built to help people find access to hunting and fishing spots, trips, groups and events. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.