Below is an email i just sent to Safari Outfitters, one of the oldest, most respected outfits around. Some of you, im sure recieve there "Bullet" advertisements in your inbox. I tried to find a link for it but they havent updated there Archive for yrs so i couldnt, sorry. I hope this will bring on some discussion as its not something talked about often in our circle.
I really hope GSCO will have something to say on this and forward the cause for international game management even further. For i cant help but feel that their Slams play a large role in all this.
To Safari Management,
I just received your Bullet and was very surprised and disappointed to see the two VERY young Tur your clients shot.
I have to say, i would think as a large and respected outfitter you should be responsible in upholding good and proper Trophy hunting ethics and values, not aiding in diminishing a valuable resource just so some hunters that might not be able to walk over "that next mtn" can achieve their Capra Slam or not go home empty handed.
A mature Western Tur is already hard to find, and if you allow and then advertise that its acceptable to shoot 3 yr old Rams, things are only going to go bad faster.
I think it would be a good idea to create, install, advertise, (or however we can do it) an age limit of at least 7 or 8 yrs on all Rams and Ibex all over the world that respectful hunters could try and uphold. I know its hard to judge age on some trophies but any experienced hunter or guide will have a good idea.
I know some will say, "well if i dont shoot it, someone else will" or "the locals will poach it for meat anyway" this might be so, but i would rather not have a young ram in my collection (and the guilt) just so i can say i have completed a certain Slam etc.
Those who have hunted in Europe may have seen a difference in attitude towards what is considered a "Trophy". Usually it is an older animal, one that has even passed his prime, with thicker shorter antlers and less points etc. Their game management is true game management based on leaving some of the best animals alive to bread and pass on their genes. Were outside of Europe, our culture is to shoot the nicest, heaviest heads, the ones with the most even points, and not be happy if it doesn't score well. Then we wonder were all the good heads are and why nobody sees them anymore.
I know its different in the East, where there are many hungry people with AK's and Kalashnikovs, that's something we cant easily stop. But we can at least do our part and try and help and educate other cultures in good game management. I try every time i go there and its the most i can do with my limited resources. I wish i could do more, and thats probably why im writing this.
Just to let you know, im am posting this on the wildsheep.org forum for further discussion.
Thanks and regards,
I agree that shooting an immature animal should not be something that a person struts around bragging about, unless the meat is needed to feed one's family. If anything is to change, the hunters and organizations involved in wild sheep and goat hunting need to lobby the various governments to get them to impose restrictions, such as horn length, age, etc. if it furthers and benefits the game. In this case it would probably be Azerbaijan. But shooting immature animals, as long as the government involved sets a sustainable annual harvest, does not by itself necessarily lessen the number of trophy animals. I think Wyoming eliminated a minimum horn length for Rocky Mt. bighorn with the result that the average age harvested is now as good as if not better than before.
For the various organizations, as long as local game management allows the harvest of sub-prime animals, the organizations need to respect the decisions of their members as to what animal to take as long as the game laws were followed. Organizations such as GSC-Ovis do not have the money or resources to get involved in local game management throughout the world. There are only so many 'battles' that can be fought.
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