Yes, Hunters are Psychopaths—and Sport Hunting is Serial Killing

Based on your response to yesterday’s post, “Are Hunters Psychopaths?” the answer is clear: Yes, hunters are psychopaths. Therefore, by extrapolation, we can conclude that sport hunting is serial killing. There’s no way of getting around it. Not unless you consider non-human animals to be mere objects, possessions or “things,” but then you would be viewing them the way a psychopath views his victims. The fact that society still considers nonhumans as objects or possessions can only mean human society shares some of the traits of a psychopath.

Objectification is one of the benchmark behaviors of psychopathy.

Consider the words of Aaron Thomas, the accused East Coast serial rapist who says he doesn’t know why he couldn’t stop attacking women for nearly two decades. “They were objects,” Thomas recently told The Washington Post during a phone interview from his Virginia jail cell. “Whoever came down the street, an object,” he said.

Struggling to understand himself, Thomas admitted, “I don’t think I’m crazy, but something is wrong with me.” Yes, something is definitely wrong—it’s called psychopathy. Though not considered a defensible form of insanity that blurs the line between right and wrong, psychopathy is a disorder characterized by an inability to empathize with others, often accompanied by a compulsion to exploit, harm or kill in order to gain a sense of self-worth. Sound a lot like trophy hunting? It’s the same deal. Thomas said he carried out his attacks without regard for his victims. The same can surely be said about sport hunters in regards to their victims.

Predictably, Thomas’s early behavior involved cruelty to animals. As a youth, he dropped the family’s Lhasa apso into a post hole that had filled with water, nearly drowning it. Showing more insight than most animal abusers, Thomas told the Post, “I used to think to myself I could have turned out a serial killer.”

It’s eerie, yet enlightening, how much the obsession described by Thomas mirrors the preoccupation of an avid sport hunter. The following confession by a “lifelong sportsman” was printed in Montana Outdoors magazine, under the title, “Why I Hunt”:

“Why do I hunt? Well, I hunt because…. Yeah, right. As if there’s an acceptable answer to that question, one I can regurgitate to nonhunters at Christmas parties and still offer with a straight face to my fellow sportsmen, people who already know in their hearts and guts and bones that we hunt for the same reasons we breathe. Because we don’t have a choice. Just as some human beings are born with the gift of artistic talent and others have an innate facility with numbers, we hunters seem blessed with a genetic predisposition toward the chase.”

It is a “predisposition,” and it’s shared by stalkers, sexual psychopaths and serial killers. Sorry to burst their bubbles, but it’s not a blessing to be proud of, and it’s certainly not something to brag about.


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






41 thoughts on “Yes, Hunters are Psychopaths—and Sport Hunting is Serial Killing

  1. I share this “.. predisposition toward the chase.” However, it does not involve killing the quarry. It involves studying animals and photographing them. Since I was a boy I’ve felt a compulsion to stalk, chase, observe and even capture wild animals, yet I LIKE wild animals and feel no need to harm them. I just want to understand them.

  2. I appreciate darwinsdog’s perspective and input. Gives a little more insight.
    I can’t recall that I *always* felt this way….maybe age really does bring *some* wisdon!….but I think causing panic or fear is unacceptable. Although the “chaser” may know they mean no harm other than to “understand” the animal, the animal does not know until it is released.
    On the other hand, the hunters we discuss above seem to have no concern or empathy whatsoever, and, in fact, a certain segment of them (maybe more than we’d wish to know) seem to take particular delight in not only the pursuit, but also the catch and subsequently inflicting psychological and physical torment. This is what I do not understand, but firmly believe there is definitely a mental “disturbance”. From some of the hunter responses to the people opposing the coyote contest in Los Lunas, New Mexico (also on some wolf blogs) they describe what they would like to do to the animals and it is despicable. Too, we’ve seen photos and videos of what they ACTUALLY HAVE DONE. I have a gut sense their hostility is sometimes directed more at those who oppose them rather than at the coyotes. This is why I say: These animals are often taking a bullet for us.

  3. That sport hunters are “serial killers” and psychopaths is beyond question, at least to most of us who follow this blog. The real question of interest is not the precise nature of their mental illness and moral depravity but how do you go about realistically dealing with a psychopathic serial killer? Handwringing and faint hopes that these cretins will eventually “see the light” isn’t much of a strategy.

    • No, they’ll never change. I mentioned straight jackets and those Hannibal Lector hockey masks–that might control some of them. One thing we can all do today is call our senators by 5:30 TODAY and ask them to OPPOSE SPORTSMEN ACT BILL S# 3525 ! It’s URGENT!!!!

      • Good advice! I’ve just called both my Senators’ offices and registered my opinion (even though both are idiots and in thrall to the NRA). Thanks.

      • yes please oppose this deceptive act, its really important to defeat it. I’ve placed al letter I wrote to my Congressmen below, anyone here please feel free to use all or part of it for talking points. Its vitally important to get the word out

        Dear Senator Kerry,

        There are some things we don’t get a second chance at. Preserving ecological integrity in places that we have set aside for wildlife and humans to be free from killing, to remain wild and unmolested falls into that category. The threats our wildlife face come from many directions, loss of habitat, trophy hunters and poaching, conflicts with humans and or human-based activities as well as the hardships of living in the wild as predator or prey. The last thing we need right now is to open our national parks or wilderness areas, that do not allow hunting, to more killing. Our public lands are already minefields for wildlife and people, as well as our pets. Trappers boast online about littering public lands with traps and snares, hunters poach wild animals( like wolves out of bias and cultural attitudes based in ignorance and promote the sss shoot shovel and shut up code of ethics or they brag about gut shooting an animal to make it suffer and avoid having to claim it as a kill) and most wildlife spend 6-9 months a year dodging bullets, arrows, snares, traps, cable restraints and or poisons. Our national wilderness and public areas should provide some refuge for wildlife, and for the majority of Americans who do not agree with a culture of killing that is far out of step with the fair-chase ethics that used to predominate hunting. There is a new hunting ethos that does not embrace anything fair or humane but celebrates killing. In addition to opening up our wilderness to more pressure from hunting, the sportsman heritage act would also prevent NEPA review of the effects of hunting on non-target species and their habitats and prevent EPA regulations on lead ammunition, a problem that is causing great damage to ecosystems and the wildlife that rely on healthy habitats. Its unconscionable to allow one sneaky bill to bypass regulatory oversight from other legislation, that has withstood the rigor of public approval and scrutiny, and that was designed to protect all of us from abuses related to excessive and rampant consumptive uses that degrade our environment, wildlife and wilderness. We are squandering our natural resources with lightning speed and with little regard for the future and what we leave for our children and grandchildren. This bill is being pushed by lobbyists like the NRA, Safari Club International and other special interest groups that, if left to their own, will turn our public lands into hunting zoos. I am vehemently opposed to this legislation and urge you to vote against it and to spread the word in Congress. Many Americans do not support hunting and do not want to have our public lands and wilderness turned into killing fields for a sport to satisfy people who want to kill for fun, and when you get right down to it thats what trophy hunting is. This bill is not designed for hunters who hunt for food, its designed to promote and enhance trophy hunting. Trophy hunting is an unsustainable pastime that should be limited and measured not expanded. I believe as do many many Americans that this type of killing should be a relic of the past given the issues and threats our wildlife and wilderness face.

  4. Geoff, preaching to the choir has it’s benefits at times. After the calls are made, petitions signed etc there isn’t much left, is there? A true lesson in frustration. However we must CONSTANTLY remain the thorn in their sides and hopefully it will fester enough to influence change. This is more accurately directed at the gov’t agencies who make the rules and extract their paychecks from the hunters’ fees. Re the psycho’s themselves, well, I see no hope for them for a while. Evolution is a timely process!

  5. I just love this blog, the humor is a bit dry but damn it sure is funny. Of course I doubt any psychologist wanting to keep their license would agree with a single word you said but it is very very entertaining to say the least.

  6. To All,
    I just posted the following to HOWLING FOR JUSTICE and am re-posting here. Self-explanatory if we are to stay ACTIVE.

    On Sept.29 I posted a contact link for Senator Kevin Ranker, the Washington legislator who publicly criticized the killing of the Wedge Pack. Now that elections are over, it is TIME FOR US TO REMIND HIM that WE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN THE WEDGE PACK and that we want to know what he has initiated regarding who is responsible and what will be done about it. The entire pack of 7 GONE! Personally I will tell him I am sick and tired of the catering to ranchers, esp those who take no responsibility for providing predator-safe practices for their livestock. (Last I read, ranchers were going to be compensated for “skinny livestock” who were supposedly being “worried” by wolves HAHAHA! But they are serious!)
    Now is the time to express that we won’t have livestock, unattended, being “dumped” on public lands (and lately being allowed in National Forests) if it means the demise of OUR WOLVES.
    I’m sure you can be imaginative in your correspondence. Please: Just do it! And attempt to get 2 or 3 like-minded friends to do the same. Let’s be the perpetual thorn in their side – for the wolves.
    Senator Ranker’s contact:

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

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