Are Hunters Psychopaths?

Hey hunters, here’s a question for you: On a scale of 0-3, how strongly do you agree with this statement “Seeing an animal injured or in pain doesn’t bother me in the slightest.” If your answer was 3, do society a favor and get yourself fitted for a straightjacket and a Hannibal Lector hockey mask, because that was one of the top questions from the “How-to-tell-if-you-are-a-psychopath” quiz.

On a similar note, I just came across a September 3rd 2009 article by George Wuerthner with the no-brainer question for a title: “Are Hunters Stupid?” The article’s subheading, “The Unintended Consequences of Wolf Hunting,” was more in keeping with his point, since Wuerthner is a hunter and former hunting guide who probably doesn’t really consider himself stupid.

He starts his article out by telling about Daryl, a co-worker of his at the Bureau of Land Management in Boise, Idaho. At a party, Daryl was trying to put the moves on a couple of women, asking them if they wanted to go gopher shooting with him…  “’Gopher shooting?’ they asked incredulously. ‘Yeah,’ he said, ‘gopher hunting—you know blowing away gophers.’ They looked stunned and remained silent. So Daryl tried to recover and said, ‘The fun part is seeing the red mist rise in the air when you hit one. It’s an incredible rush,’ he said with obvious enthusiasm. Those women just looked at each other like they couldn’t believe what they were hearing.  He might as well ask them if they wanted to go to the park and molest children. The women fled. Daryl was left baffled and standing alone. He just couldn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to go blow away gophers, especially when he offered to bring a spare rifle so they could join in the fun…”

Since I don’t personally know this guy Daryl, I can’t say for sure if he’d qualify as stupid, by today’s standards, but I can tell you one thing—he’s definitely a psychopath. A lack of empathy is a sign of psychopathy and Daryl clearly had no empathy for either the gophers he enjoys “blowing away,” or for the women he thought would be impressed by his offer. Other symptoms of psychopathy, according to the “Psychopathy Checklist” spelled out by Robert Hare, PhD, include a lack of remorse or guilt—neither of which hunters seem to be capable of when it comes to their animal victims.

Anyone who thinks, “The fun part [of gopher hunting] is seeing the red mist rise in the air when you hit one. It’s an incredible rush,” would surely score high on any psychopathy quiz. But the point of Wuerthner’s article (which, to be fair, does include some good lines in defense of wolves) is that wolf hunters who cluelessly boast about their exploits in public are a lot like his friend Daryl in terms of hunter PR. If he might hesitate to admit that all hunters are psychopaths, Wuerthner would have to agree the diagnosis when it comes to trophy wolf hunters.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2012. All Rights Reserved


18 thoughts on “Are Hunters Psychopaths?

  1. They enjoy killing. That’s so wrong. And bow hunters particularly love to see an animal writhe on agony, and so do trappers with steel traps. Sick people, sick human race. Even SICKER they get away with it with the government’s blessing but whoever said they were “safe”.

      • No offense.

        I do not need a “quiz.”

        I have seen Death and Destruction.

        In Iowa, waiting for the school bus, a man with a rifle thought a Husky was a Wolf.The Playful Dog was shot and Killed in front of LITTLE Children.

        Poor Husky.

        An image which still Haunts me to this Day.

        Imagine, holding hands and RUNNING after such a BRUTAL ATTACK.

        All for the sake of GRAZING.

      • I also don’t need a quiz. My heart bleeds everytime hunting season arrives and all the jolly hunters and trappers are in our face with the beautiful animal they just killed. I hope they all rot in hell but better yet, I hope they come back as one of these animals and come across a hunter, like them. Poetic justice.

  2. Hunting is absolutely wrong and so unnecessary. How can anyone enjoy killing another species? I personally would love all hunters go straight to hell when they die. I hate them.

  3. That part about the red most was admittedly grimly amusing. I’ll Stick to headshotting fellow players in Call of Duty. At least they get to shoot back. Sadly the gophers don’t have the luxury of respawning and ragequitting 😦

  4. Pingback: Yes, Hunters are Psychopaths—and Sport Hunting is Serial Killing | Exposing the Big Game

  5. Very honest post. I re–shared it since it is of such importance to raise collective awareness. I particularly despise traps and bow hunting for the unnecessary pain they cause.

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