S ince the beginning of creation, man has been fascinated by the sport of hunting. Some would say that men are hunters by nature and need the outdoor experience to fulfill their yearnings. Perhaps it is the excitement of being a child again – dressing up for the adventure and preparing yourself for the challenge that produces a youthful response among lovers of the outdoors.
Or perhaps we seek lasting values, moral integrity and special memories that are rarely experienced in our high-pressure lives in the modern world.
Whatever it is that drives us outdoors, we look for the joy and the thrill of hunting in its purest form. To be able to do this in Africa is the epitome of many hunting careers. Africa is the ultimate hunting destination – the variety of game, the tough conditions, the presence of danger. The final fulfilment of these dreams, often sparked by the words of Hemingway, Ruark and the like. Every keen hunter has a story to tell. But along with the experience, every hunter has a responsibility to secure trophy hunting and the wild places where it can be undertaken for future generations. The greatest threat to hunting is not anti-hunters. It is the negative image created by unethical hunting in the field. Our choices and decisions in the field affect the future of hunting and the laws pertaining to our sector.
This is why we at NAPHA encourage the hunting professional and hunter to act responsibly towards nature, wildlife, and Namibians in conservancies and on private land who are custodians of both the environment and its wildlife. We cannot minimise the responsibility of the hunter. Through the education of hunting professionals locally, and the commitment to the rules and the ethical hunting practices of visiting hunters before they don their camouflage and take tot he field, hunting will be an endeavor to be enjoyed for generations to come. It has become necessary to protect the image of our sector across the world and to preserve our right to enjoy trophy hunting. Through ignorance and the lack of respect this endeavor might be foiled. Hunting ethics should be the norm, not the exception.
“If you’re not working to protect hunting, you’re working to destroy it.” – Fred Bear, legendary US bow hunter and TV host
So make your decision today – be part of the solution of enhancing and safeguarding our hunting culture and this important sector. Choose to be an ethical hunter.
This article was first published in the HuntiNamibia 2013 issue.