BY RICHARD CHEATHAM, DSC FOUNDATION PRESIDENT
This article is featured in the May Edition of Camp Talk, our monthly newsletter for our members.
On the online hunting forums, discussions about big game or trophy hunting often devolve into a battle between the “I only kill what I eat” crowd and the trophy hunting crowd. The only kill what I eat proponents frequently claim that they would never hunt big game, especially not lion (because nobody eats predators) or elephant (how can one person eat an elephant?).
The argument is often intended to disparage trophy hunters. The underlying assumption that the meat from predators and other big game animals is not consumed is false. The person who asserts that they use every ounce of a harvested animal is usually false too.
The bottom line is this: in the U.S., thousands of pounds of game meat has been donated to programs like Hunters for the Hungry, often ending up on the plates of people who need that protein far more than you or I do. In Africa, where game meat cannot be imported by most foreign hunters, much of that meat is distributed to villagers and employees of the parks, reserves and ranches where the hunt took place. Many of these people lack both the means to get to a local market and the funds to buy meat there.
Those who claim that they only kill what they eat would probably be embarrassed to compare their game meat consumption with the meat harvested from African animals.
The whole harvest typically includes the heart, the liver, the kidneys, the esophagus, the lower vertebrae, the face muscles, the tongue, the leg bones for marrow, the lower intestine, one or more stomach chambers from the ungulates, etc. When is the last time anyone told you how much he enjoyed a meal of the upper stomach chamber? When have you ever asked your processor for the leg bones or lower vertebrae? Has your freezer ever held a whitetail esophagus?
What does this have to do with DSC Foundation?
The large amount of misinformed hunters and non-hunters is evidence of a failure to educate. That’s where the Foundation comes in. We are going to lead them to a website where they can find the facts about Hunters for the Hungry, about game meat laws and about meat distribution programs around the world. We are going to report on the results of the DSC-funded Wild Harvest Initiative to prove how many North Americans benefit from wild game meat. We also are going to empower you with the facts to counter those absurd arguments. CT
For just the facts—member news, hunting reports, the latest legislation that affects you—turn to Camp Talk. This monthly bulletin is distributed to all U.S. members and advertisers. For an online version of the latest edition, visit the online page here.