Why men trophy hunt

protect the wolves, trophy hunters

We simply associate it with TPS 😉

Chris T. DarimontBrian F. CoddingKristen Hawkes

1. Introduction

The killing of Cecil the lion (Panthera leo) ignited enduring and increasingly global discussion about trophy hunting [1]. Yet, policy debate about its benefits and costs (e.g. [2,3]) focuses only on the hunted species and biodiversity, not the unique behaviour of hunters. Some contemporary recreational hunters from the developed world behave curiously, commonly targeting ‘trophies’: individuals within populations with large body or ornament size, as well as rare and/or inedible species, like carnivores [4]. Although contemporary hunters have been classified according to implied motivation (i.e. for meat, recreation, trophy or population control, [5,6]) as well the ‘multiple satisfactions’ they seek while hunting (affiliation, appreciation, achievement; [7], an evolutionary explanation of the motivation underlying trophy hunting (and big-game fishing) has never been pursued. Too costly (difficult, dangerous) a behaviour to be common among other vertebrate predators, we postulate that trophy hunting is in fact motivated by the costs hunters accept. We build on empirical and theoretical contributions from evolutionary anthropology to hypothesize that signalling these costs to others is key to understanding, and perhaps influencing, this otherwise perplexing activity.

2. Man the show off?

Subsistence hunting among traditional ‘hunter–gatherers’, which also targets larger-bodied prey, provides a starting point for understanding trophy hunters from the developed world. Owing to disagreement over the relative importance of potential benefits men receive from hunting, however, evolutionary explanations as to why subsistence hunters target large prey attract competing theories and significant controversy. Some assert that energetic and nutritional returns to hunters and individuals they provision best explain why men accept the costs of big-game hunting (e.g. [8,9]). Others invoke the pressure to share large prey as an explanation for wide distribution of meat (e.g. [10]). But why target prey that will be mostly consumed by others? An alternative hypothesis, consistent with data across hunter–gatherer systems, starts by noting that men generally target species that are not only large-bodied but also—and, importantly—impose high cost (i.e. high failure risk; [11,12]). The hypothesis considers the carcass not only as food but also a signal of the costs associated with the hunter’s accomplishment.

The Meriam peoples of Australia provide a flagship illustration of this association. There, men, women and children collect green turtles (Chelonia mydas) when they come ashore to lay eggs. In contrast, only men hunt them at sea. Pursuing turtles in boats, hunters accept significant economic and personal cost, including a dive into dangerous waters [13], despite the fact that most of what they acquire will be consumed by other community members [14,15].

Such seemingly irrational behaviour is resolved by costly signalling theory [16] from which the hypothesis draws. The theory considers the social status and prestige that accrue to successful hunters. The Maasai peoples of eastern Africa themselves describe lion killing as a manhood ritual that awards prestige to the hunter who first spears the animal [17]. Why is status awarded? Simply put, killing large, dangerous, and/or rare prey is difficult with high failure risks that impose costs on the hunter. Accordingly, successful hunts signal underlying qualities to rivals and potential allies. This holds true for successful Meriam turtle hunters, who gain social recognition, get married earlier to higher-quality mates, and have more surviving children [14]. For such behaviour to be maintained, even the attempted hunt must signal that the hunter can sustain the handicap of high-cost, low-consumption activity, providing honest evidence of underlying phenotypic quality [14,15,16].

We propose that an assessment of contemporary trophy hunting behaviour offers fresh additional evidence for a costly signalling model to explain any big-game hunting. First, inedible species, like carnivores commonly targeted by trophy hunters, make nutritional and sharing hypotheses implausible. Second, evidence for show-off behaviour appears clear. Trophy hunters commonly pose for photographs with their prey, with the heads, hides and ornamentation prepared for display [18]. Interestingly, similar costly display occurs in other taxa. For example, chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) likewise pay a cost in time and effort spent hunting without commensurate food consumption gains; interpretations of related display behaviour support a social status model (reviewed in [19]). Similarly, some seabirds like the pigeon guillemot (Cepphus columba) show off ‘display fish’, sometimes for hours. Often discarding them, the behaviour is likewise thought to be social, related to site-ownership display [20]. Third, whereas some might argue that caloric returns for edible trophy hunted species are high and associated costs of failure low (owing to advanced killing technology and foods easily purchased by participants), the behaviour still imposes costs that guarantee the honesty of the signal; while rarely costly in terms of danger or difficulty, hunts for endangered species can be extraordinarily expensive. Moreover, even the everyday hunter who targets larger individuals within populations pays the opportunity costs of forgoing income-generating activities as well as sustenance lost by passing up smaller, abundant prey. We note that the signal can honestly reflect a hunter’s socio-economic standing (and qualities that underlie it) but not necessarily any remarkable physical abilities ([21]; figure 1), given the efficient technology contemporary trophy hunters employ [4].

A signalling model assumes benefits to both signaller and audience, the latter benefiting from the information they can then use in their own ways. It is unclear what specific benefits—other than increased status—might accrue to trophy hunters. Trophy hunting systems do not lend themselves to testing for patterns associated with reproductive success, as in the Meriam example above. Hunting associations (e.g. Boone and Crockett Club, Safari Club International), however, have elaborate scoring systems that award status. We predict that greater status is bestowed upon those killing larger and/or rarer (i.e. costly) animals. Similarly, no detailed data exist on the potential audience, but we suspect hunters would broadcast the signal to friends and family, colleagues and members of hunting associations or social media groups (see below). Survey and/or interview data, commonly collected in the context of wildlife management or research, may be able to clarify audience composition. If we accept that trophy hunting simply provides a vehicle for status-accumulation, such an interpretation is consistent with those related to the purchase and display of luxury objects (e.g. expensive automobiles, clothes and jewellery), long proposed to serve as forms of competitive signalling [22]. Finally, given that women in hunter–gatherer societies overwhelmingly target small, predictable prey compared with men [12], there are now seemingly puzzling examples of female trophy hunters, often prominent media figures and/or professional hunters sponsored by outdoor companies. We speculate that such behaviour, counter to expected gender norms (and their evolution), might allow for increased attention in an increasingly competitive social media and marketing world (below).

3. Costly signalling in a global, commercialized world

Worldwide social media creates for trophy hunters a vast audience to which to boast. Signalling the costs of hunting are no longer restricted to carcass displays in small social groups. Men can now communicate an ability to absorb trophy hunting costs not only to their immediate social group but also—with the help of the Internet—to a global audience. Media abound with costly signals. For example, although probably not a representative sample, many hunters post hunting stories and pictures on online discussion forums, commonly emphasizing the size of kills [21]. Advertisements for hunting equipment likewise frequently emphasize a product’s efficacy in securing large specimens. In these ways and more, contemporary culture reinforces trophy-seeking behaviour that probably evolved long ago.

4. Policy-relevant research

Although some argue that trophy hunting provides a route to conservation, others contend that trophy hunting can pose significant threats to hunted populations. Interacting with our signalling hypothesis, and of acute conservation concern, is how trophy hunting of rare species can propagate a feedback loop toward extinction. Known as the ‘anthropogenic Allee effect’, demand and associated costs increase when otherwise unprofitable rare resources become attractive, thereby speeding up their decline [23].

We call for more research to evaluate quantitatively the conditions that influence trophy hunting motivation. If the signalling hypothesis explains this behaviour, then policies designed to limit the perceived cost of the activity, dampen signal efficacy or both should reduce trophy hunting. Indeed, recent bans by several governments on the importation of lion remains have probably curtailed demand, despite the hunts themselves remaining legal. And how might shame [24] influence motivation? We predict that social media boasting about lion hunting declined following the widespread shaming after Cecil’s death during perhaps the largest media coverage ever associated with wildlife [25]. After all, any perceived benefits of signalling are also probably contingent on associated threats to status, something shaming would erode.

Authors’ contributions

All authors conceived of, wrote and edited the manuscript.

Competing interests

We have no competing interests


C.T.D. acknowledges the Tula and Wilburforce Foundations, as well as NSERC Discovery Grant 435683.

  • Received November 22, 2016.
  • Accepted March 8, 2017.

Source: Trophy hunting | Biology Letters

Wyoming Fish and Game plans to collar more wolves

When we here of a “Judas wolf” it would imply that a wolf has betrayed one of their own. Nothing could be further from the truth! Several states have been capturing wolves for some time and putting radio collars on certain wolves that transmit a GPS signal to the government to notify his/her location. We have seen that the collars are often used to find the pack’s state agencies seek to cull. Some have labeled certain wolves as a “Judas wolf” since they are being used find his or her family/pack .  They may see them killed as they are gunned down by choppers. They are left crying out for their pack members with haunting and mournful howls, as they are sentient beings and mourn just as we do. The collard wolf continues to be tracked as they search for other wolves. Unaware of what could possibly happen next.

There is much more to this and it can be a very controversial issue. Tracking collars, particularly in the early years, proved invaluable to scientists studying to observe provided an otherwise impossible glimpse into the movements of animals that simply couldn’t be observed otherwise. Some collars have allowed the tracking of wolves across large expanses of wilderness, a feat not possible otherwise, given the elusiveness of wild wolves. Sometimes, these wanderings lead to incredible journeys, all chronicled by little blips on a map as we have seen before.

Another concern is that a collar broadcasting a signal can give hunters an advantage. In states like Idaho and Montana, sportsmen are provided with the general locations of known wolves to “assist” them finding their quarry. Idaho wants their wolves gone. Period. Any efforts to collar and track wolves in that state are a means to this end.

Wyoming is another state that wants wolves gone. Wolves were delisted there in March of last year and the state took over wolf management in April of 2017. Wyoming’s all-Republican Congressional delegation, Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso and Rep. Liz Cheney, were among those working toward delisting the wolf by legislation and they applauded the appellate court’s decision.

We know what has happened to wolves in Wyoming since then.  They have a proven record of their hostile management policies and now that they are delisted Game and Fish is hoping to collar 20 to 25 more wolves this year; more than 50 wolves have already been collared.  Fish and Game says that monitoring the wolves provides better insight on how the population interacts in Wyoming. There is great cause for concern.

Wyoming has no business managing the public’s resources period. The way they manage our public resources, we will have virtually no wildlife left for our children, grandchildren or future generations to enjoy.  We have got to fight this! ~L.G




Conflict between wolves and ranchers touches issues of conservationism and Native American rights- ABC News

protect yellowstone wolves, protect the wolves, sacred resource protection zone

Yellowstone and Teton Wolves need a Miracle in 2018, Join Us to make it Happen!

A series of legislation and proposed legislation in Western states has advocates of wolf conservation concerned for the future of the animal as well as the country’s respect for Native American rights, according to an advocate who spoke to ABC News.

“Wolves are our sacred animals,” said Roger Dobson, founder of the non-profit religious organization Protect the Wolves, and a member of Washington state’s Cowlitz Tribe. “Our creators put wolves on the planet to perform a sacred task. [These laws] encourage people to treat them like vermin.”

The laws and proposed laws to which Dobson is referring include a ruling by a federal appeals court last Friday that wolves in Wyoming should be stripped of Endangered Species Act federal protections.

Gray wolves were once hunted to the brink of extinction in the lower 48 states, but they recovered under Endangered Species Act protections and reintroduction programs, according to The Associated Press.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says gray wolves now number around 5,500, including about 400 in Wyoming. Officials in Wyoming determined in 2012 that gray wolves were no longer a threatened species.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson sided with environmental groups in 2014, ruling that a promise made by Wyoming to maintain a population above the minimum 100 wolves, including 10 breeding pairs, outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation was unenforceable, which led to the appeal.

Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming welcomed Friday’s ruling, saying that the state should decide how best to handle its wolf population.

“This ruling will again put the process of managing the gray wolf back where it belongs — in Wyoming’s capable hands,” Cheney said.

Cheney, a Republican, has fought against the federal regulation of wolves, and has cited the rights of ranchers to protect their livestock as a reason for backing the appeal.

“It’s a bipartisan issue. We see what’s happened with the wolf population [and] we see the damage that’s being done, particularly for our ranchers,” she told KGAB radio in Wyoming earlier this year.

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, who is also a Republican, released a statement praising the ruling on Friday.

“I am pleased with today’s ruling. The court recognized Wyoming’s Wolf Management Plan was appropriate. We look forward to state management once the 2012 delisting rule is formally reinstated. I thank everyone who has worked so hard for the recovery and delisting of wolves. This is the right decision for wolves and Wyoming,” Mead said.

Dobson and other activists see the ruling as favoring the ranchers. According to Dobson, the legislation will allow ranchers to shoot the animals, who are still in danger of disappearing, on sight.

Rebecca Riley, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the plaintiffs, told the AP the court’s decision was “a step backwards for wolf recovery in the West.”


Source: Conflict between wolves and ranchers touches issues of conservationism and Native American rights – ABC News

Wisconsin Fails to Consult Tribes


protect the wolves, protect Wisconsin wolves. native american religious rights,

Wisconsin Law Makers need to get a huge Wake Up Call. They need to learn that 1 they can not ignore Federal Law, 2 they can not choose not to prosecute those that Poach. 3 they need to get called out for discriminating against Native American Religious Rights!


“The Wisconsin legislators who sponsored this bill have embarrassed the citizens of Wisconsin to the world.” ~ Bob Boucher, citizen who testified against bill

Rep. Joel Kleefisch, chair of the state Assembly’s Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage, held a hearing Jan. 10 on AB712, a bill sponsored by Rep. Adam Jarchow in the state Assembly, which has a companion bill sponsored by Tom Tiffany in the state Senate (SB602). The text says: “This bill prohibits a law enforcement officer from enforcing a federal or state law that relates to the management of the wolf population in this state or that prohibits the killing of wolf in this state.” It also prohibits the expenditure of funds to enforce protection of wolves, undermining the Endangered Species Act, while retaining payments for livestock damage and bear hounders’ dogs injured by wolves.

Many believe the purpose of this bill is to force the hand of the federal government to delist Wisconsin’s gray wolves from the federal Endangered Species List so the state can OK the resumption of wolf hunting, which has been blocked by the federal government since 2014. The law would be moot if wolves were removed from the Endangered Species List, but kick in again if the wolves were re-listed, even if there was just one wolf left in Wisconsin.

The hearing was well attended. The bear hunters, bow hunters, NRA, and Conservation Congress each sent representatives supporting AB712, including Wisconsin Bear Hunters’ Association and U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance lobbyist Bob Welch.

The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, which represents 205 hunting, trapping and hounding groups, strongly supports federal delisting, but questioned whether this bill would expose them to the public as willing to do anything to kill wolves. Their focus was on rallying hunters and trappers to call Paul Ryan and push him to forward delisting our wolves.

One citizen speaking against the bills said, “I am against Senator Tiffany in general. Every time you speak about ‘management’ you mean ‘kill.’ Table the bill.”

There were equally as many attending who sought to educate the committee that wolf populations are self-limiting and there is no “need” to hunt wolves. There is no CWD where wolves live.

Many who testified were simmering with outrage.

Bob Boucher (UW-Madison, MS in water resource management) has had a hunting and fishing license in Wisconsin for 50 years: “This bill proves to the entire world that the Wisconsin Legislature is populated with individuals who have violated their oath of office, the code of ethics for government service and the public trust. It also shows the world that the Legislature is populated with unprincipled law breakers who encourage poaching in direct defiance of upholding the laws of this country and the Endangered Species Act. Wolves play a critical role in maintaining biological land health. As a keystone species, wolves create a trophic cascade that supports healthy forests in Wisconsin.”

The state Department of Natural Resources claims that there are over 900 wolves in the state now, a miraculous four-year recovery after 1,100 were killed in three years of hunts. (It took 38 years of protection to get to 850 wolves prior to the hunts that began in 2012.)

Other bill opponents pointed out that the much-referenced “goal” of 350 wolves in the Wisconsin wolf management plan was never a “goal” but a minimum number of wolves for the state — and that it was a number picked out of the rifle butts of hunters and trappers with zero scientific backing. It was floated in 1999, and is outdated by 20 years. Management plans are supposed to reflect new science and be updated every five years.

AB712 even prohibits law enforcement and wardens from communicating incidents of poaching to USFWS federal law enforcement. It would enable free-for-all poaching, poisoning, trapping and killing — and not only of wolves. Those who poach wolves will likely poach other species.

Jodi Habush Sinykin, an attorney who represents Midwest Environmental Advocates, spoke against the bills. She testified: “AB712 takes us back 100 years to a time when fear and ignorance determined our approach to wildlife.” She predicted it would “open a Pandora’s box of widespread poaching, public safety concerns, and costly litigation.”

The bills’ authors want wolves back under state control to enable annual killing sprees. It is just a matter of how to get there. One argument that might be persuasive to wolf-haters is Sinykin’s legal assessment that this bill will actually delay delisting by the federal government: “It will cost untold dollars in litigation that will go on for years,” she said.

Mary Anderson of Spooner raises horses in wolf country. She sees wolves, but has had no problem. She called it a foolish bill with no sense.

Stephen Anderson of Hartford said, “This is one step short of returning to bounty years. … Illegal killing is the second highest cause of wolf deaths.” He added that the question should be whether to kill wolves at all.

Wisconsin’s Indian tribes, who have important cultural attachment to the wolves as their brothers, were not consulted in the development of the bill. Law enforcement was not consulted either.

One citizen joked: “How do we know if there are any wolves in Wisconsin? Wait to see if three little pigs are threatened with home eviction? Or ask a little girl in a red cape (if she has encountered the ‘big bad wolf’)?”

AB712 proves that returning the stewardship of wolves to the state of Wisconsin would be irresponsible, since the wolf-haters in the state Legislature and beyond appear to be in power and looking for a way to destroy the wolf population. This bill also demonstrates that our wildlife, even the most endangered, which weave the world together and protect our health, are not granted the appropriate respect and treatment they deserve as a public trust. 

Protect The Wolves

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