Donald Trump Jr. Is His Own Kind of Trump

Donald Trump Jr. is the Trump who has not always seemed at ease with being a Trump. He grew up in the penthouse of Trump Tower but was happy to escape the gilded trappings of his Manhattan childhood to spend parts of the summers hunting and fishing with his maternal grandfather in the woods of what was then Czechoslovakia.

After graduating from his father’s alma mater, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, he tended bar in Aspen, Colo., rather than immediately join the family business. Several months later, on Feb. 25, 2001, during a Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans, he was arrested on charges of public drunkenness and spent 11 hours in jail.

“I think, like anyone else, I made my mistakes,” Mr. Trump said of his arrest. “We have to be honest with ourselves. I’m not good at it, moderation. You have to have the conversation, be a realist, and say, ‘I guess I’m not doing myself any favors.’”

In 2001, Mr. Trump, the eldest of the five children from Donald J. Trump’s three marriages, went to work for the Trump Organization in the same building where he had grown up. He rose to executive vice president, and his status as a family member in good standing was on display when he appeared as a boardroom adviser on “The Apprentice,” the NBC reality show that re-established his father as a celebrity mogul nearly two decades after he had captured the public’s attention with his first best seller, “The Art of the Deal.”

Now Donald Jr., 39, has completed his own apprenticeship.

Since his father was sworn in as president, he and his brother Eric, 33, have taken over management of the Trump Organization, with Donald Jr. overseeing commercial licensing and much of the international business and Eric managing the golf courses, among other duties. Donald Jr. is also a rising figure in Republican politics and a robust defender of the family name. As a public speaker who brings in an estimated $50,000 per speech, he has impressed conservatives with a rough, straightforward manner that belies his cushy upbringing.

Like his father, he uses Twitter to thrash liberals and lend support to those who are friendly to the president’s populist agenda. Given that he is a skilled outdoorsman and a member of the National Rifle Association who owns dozens of firearms, among them a Benelli Super Black Eagle II (for hunting waterfowl) and an AR-platform semiautomatic rifle (for marksmanship competitions), Mr. Trump also connects with heartland voters in a way that his more refined sister Ivanka may not.

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Donald Trump Jr. with his father and his mother, Ivana, and her father, Milos Zelnicek.CreditRon Galella, Ltd./WireImage

While Ms. Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, have lately elevated their social profile in Washington and Palm Beach, Fla., while keeping close contact with the president, her oldest brother has largely avoided the balls and benefits, preferring to hunker down in Midtown during the workweek and spend weekends in the Catskills with his wife, Vanessa, and their five children.

“Don is the more chill version of any of the kids,” said Dee Dee Sides, who has known him since the early 2000s.

He came into his own as a public figure during the presidential campaign. On the stump he was equally at ease before crowds in both Mississippi and Michigan, and television pundits gushed about his political future after his bluntly effective speech at the Republican National Convention, with some mentioning him as a potential mayoral candidate in New York City.

“I don’t know if I could go all-in at that,” Mr. Trump said of a political career. “There is a part that is incredibly enticing. But it’s not human most of the time.”

Even as he embraces his new status in business and politics, Mr. Trump sounds, at times, as if it is some kind of anomaly.

“If I could miracle myself away,” he said, “I would live out West.”

Into the Woods

Mr. Trump’s friendships are rooted, for the most part, in hunting and fishing, sports that do not appeal to the golf-loving patriarch of the Trump family. He said he decided early on not to measure himself against his father.

“I think people are often surprised, but I never defined myself as, ‘I’m the business guy who has to supersede what my father has done,’” he said. “He’s a totally unique individual. Somehow having to top his accomplishments is never the way I perceived things.”

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Donald Trump Jr., Donald J. Trump and Ivanka Trump on an episode of “The Celebrity Apprentice” in 2009. CreditAli Goldstein/NBC

He developed a distaste for living in public at an early age. In 1990, his father separated from his mother, Ivana Zelnickova, a Czech model and skier, after having an affair with the model and sometime actress Marla Maples. Donald Jr. was 12 at a time when gossip columnists, some encouraged by his father, chronicled the family soap opera. During this time, Donald Jr. did not speak to his father for a year, New York magazine reported in 2004 in an article about the Trump children.

Before the divorce, Mr. Trump found a role model in someone quite different from his father: his maternal grandfather, Milos Zelnicek, an electrician who was an avid outdoorsman. In the summers, he stayed at the Zelniceks’ home in a town near Prague for six to eight weeks at a time, and his grandfather schooled him in camping, fishing, hunting and the Czech language.

“He needed a father figure,” his mother said in a telephone interview. “Donald was not around that much. They would have to go to his office to say hello to him before going to school.”

Mr. Zelnicek, who died in 1990, allowed his grandson a freedom not readily available to a child of Fifth Avenue. As Mr. Trump put it: “He said: ‘There is the woods. See you at dark.’ I think I felt a little trapped in New York City.”

Despite the advantages of wealth, Mr. Trump said his life at home was not always easy. “In our family, if you weren’t competitive you didn’t eat,” he said. “You had to fight for what you wanted.”

His mother recalled walking into the breakfast room one morning and noticing that the chandelier was broken: “Ivanka said it was Don Jr. So I put him over my knee and spanked him. He said, ‘Mom, it wasn’t me!’”

It turned out that Ivanka lied, the former Mrs. Trump said.

The divorce was made final in 1992, and Mr. Trump’s father married Ms. Maples the next year. Donald Jr. went to boarding school, the Hill School in Pottstown, Pa., where he practiced skeet shooting, and then it was on to Wharton, where he rowed crew and joined the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. People who knew him then saw him as distinct from his parents.

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Donald Trump Jr. addressed the Republican convention last summer. CreditJosh Haner/The New York Times

“He wasn’t into the gold,” said Jennifer Ireland Kubis, a New York real estate agent who dated one of Mr. Trump’s college friends. “He was trying to escape it.”

The young Mr. Trump also earned a reputation for hard partying, which seems to have continued until the Mardi Gras arrest. He no longer drinks, and he has suggested that the discipline of the sporting life kept him from going over the edge: “I know that the benefits I got from being in the woods, from being in a duck blind, from being in a tree stand at 5 o’clock in the morning, kept me out of so much other trouble I would have gotten into in my life,” he said in a speech at a fund-raising banquet for the 2016 Western Hunting and Conservation Expo in Salt Lake City.

During his first year in the family business, he spent weekends at the Mashomack Preserve Club in Pine Plains, N.Y., where he ran into Gentry Beach, an acquaintance from college who was working at a Manhattan investment firm.

“We loved being outdoors,” said Mr. Beach, who grew up in Dallas.

Mr. Beach, 41, introduced Mr. Trump to Thomas Hicks Jr., 39, a Dallas friend whose father, an equity investor, once owned the Texas Rangers. Through the years, the three have hunted white-tailed deer in Texas, birds in Scotland and pheasant in Hungary.

“For some people — you see that in New York a lot — they go hunting once every other year and they talk about it at a cocktail party for the next two years until they do it again,” Mr. Trump said in an interview. “For me, it is the way I choose to live my life.”

Being friends with Donny, as his closest friends call him, can be tricky, given the divisiveness of his father’s politics. Ms. Sides, for one, said she did not discuss politics with her friend. “Our views are different,” she said. “Don has never asked me, and he would not ask.”

It was his father who introduced Mr. Trump to Vanessa Haydon, the woman who would become his wife, at a fashion show in 2003. A onetime model with the Wilhelmina agency who once dated Leonardo DiCaprio, she had grown up on the Upper East Side. At the time of their engagement, Mr. Trump accepted a ring from the Bailey Banks & Biddle jewelry store in Short Hills, N.J., in exchange for publicity, recreating his proposal at its Short Hills Mall location in New Jersey. Soon afterward came an unflattering headline in The New York Post: “Trump Jr. Is the Cheapest Gazillionaire: Heirhead Proposes With Free 100G Ring.” Even his father joined in the criticism, saying on the CNN talk show “Larry King Live,” “You have a name that is hot as a pistol, you have to be very careful with things like this.”

Donald Jr. and Vanessa were married at the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach on Nov. 12, 2005, 10 months after his father married the former model Melania Knauss. These days Vanessa Trump’s Twitter account, with the handle @MrsVanessaTrump, frequently retweets her husband’s posts pertaining to family life, many of which include photographs of their weekends in the Catskills, where they fish and shoot, and ride A.T.V.s and snowmobiles.

Business and Politics

Although Mr. Trump has been charged with holding down the family business without input from his father — who resigned his position in the company without relinquishing his financial stake — he took advantage of his new standing within the Republican Party to dine last Saturday with a group of political heavyweights that included Senator Ted Cruz of Texas at the annual Reagan Day fund-raising dinner, where he delivered a speech.

He told the crowd that he had had virtually “zero contact” with the president since the election, but added that he had found it difficult to resist the pull of politics. “I thought I was out of politics after Election Day,” he said, adding that he had thought he would “get back to my regular life and my family.

“But I couldn’t,” he said.

Two weeks before the Dallas speech, Mr. Trump found himself in the role of real estate tycoon during a stop in Vancouver, British Columbia, for the opening of a Trump International Hotel and Tower. Although the building unveiled that day was, at 63 stories, the city’s second highest, the city’s mayor, Gregor Robertson, skipped the event after demanding for two years that the Trump name be stripped from the building’s facade.

The president’s son began his talk with a poke at the news media: “I’d like to thank the press,” he said. “Just kidding.” Outside, about 100 protesters waved signs and shouted “Love Trumps Hate.”

To a large degree, his public image has been shaped by photographs that surfaced online in 2012 and re-emerged last year. They were taken during a hunting trip in 2010 arranged by Hunting Legends International, a safari company based in Pretoria, South Africa. A licensed guide accompanied Donald Jr. and Eric, along with a ranger from the Zimbabwe national parks department, who monitored the hunt.

One photograph shows the Trump brothers taking a helicopter to the Matetsi, a region of Zimbabwe abundant with elephants and endangered leopards. Another shows Eric with his arms wrapped around the limp body of a dead leopard. Perhaps most disturbing to nonhunters and to those who do not hunt endangered or vulnerable species was the picture of Donald Jr., knife in one hand, the bloody tail of an elephant in the other.

He argues that the economic benefit of such safaris to African communities is often overlooked. Further, he said, the controversy allowed him to connect with other sportsmen. “There were people who I didn’t know who were hunters,” he said. “And, from that perspective, I get invited a lot.”

What is lost on nonhunters, he said, is the sense of community that is part of hunting trips. “Too much of hunting has turned into the notion of the kill,” he said. “It’s a component, the meat. But so much is experiential, so much is relationships. It is sitting in a duck blind with seven people, cooking breakfast. For me, it’s been a great way to see the world. The least interesting part is the three seconds it takes to pull the trigger.”

More: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/18/style/donald-trump-jr-business-politics-hunting-twitter-vanessa-haydon.html?_r=0

‘That’s karma’: Infamous lion hunter’s death celebrated online

https://www.rt.com/viral/370432-ponzetto-lion-hunter-death-online-reaction/

© Max Rossi
 
Controversial Italian hunter Luciano Ponzetto has died after falling 30 meters (100ft) down a ravine. His death occurred while he was hunting, prompting many to describe it as “karma”.

Ponzetto, who became a figure of controversy after posting images of his trophy kills online, slipped on ice and fell down a ravine according to Corriere Della Sera. The 55 year old had been hunting birds in Colle delle Oche near Turin in Italy when the accident happened.

It seems the photos Ponzetto posted previously hadn’t left a good impression, with social media users rejoicing in Ponzetto’s death, or “divine intervention,” as it was described by some.

More: https://www.rt.com/viral/370432-ponzetto-lion-hunter-death-online-reaction/

Hunting’s Newest Controversy: Snipers

http://www.wsj.com/articles/huntings-newest-controversy-snipers-1481316596

The sport is divided on the ethics of using long-range shooting systems to take down game

Experts from Gunwerks train customers for high-angle long-distance shots at the company’s Long Range University Course in Wyoming.
Experts from Gunwerks train customers for high-angle long-distance shots at the company’s Long Range University Course in Wyoming.PHOTO: NATE ROBERTSON

During his first 25 years hunting big game, Robert Phillips never killed from farther than 250 yards. He wasn’t certain how to calculate the pull of gravity on a bullet traveling farther than that, not to mention the harder-to-calculate effect of wind.

But four years ago, Phillips invested in a rifle and sighting system that does all that calculating for him. On a hunt in New Mexico this fall, Phillips downed an elk with one shot from 683 yards. His longest kill with this new gear came at 1,180 yards, four times beyond any conventional range.

“From that distance, the animal isn’t frightened. It’s not jittery. And you’re not jittery either,” says Phillips, a home builder in Columbus, Ind.

In this ancient American sport, the newest thing is a long-range-shooting system that measures distance, determines wind effect and fires high-powered ammunition. These systems turn hunters into snipers by taking the guesswork out of calculating the effects of gravity and wind on a bullet traveling as far as a mile. Applying technical expertise to firearm sighting systems, new players such as Gunwerks and TrackingPoint are winning shares of a market long dominated by venerable brands like Remington and Winchester. “A TrackingPoint Precision-Guided Firearm ensures never-before-seen precision at extreme distances,” says the website of TrackingPoint, based in Pflugerville, Texas.

Of about 14 million rifle hunters in America, about 5% are using new long-range systems, estimates Gunwerks founder Aaron Davidson. “And I would expect that 5% to turn into 50%,” says Davidson, a mechanical engineer who started his company in 2006. In the hopes of spurring such growth, Davidson’s company produces a cable hunting show called “Long Range Pursuit,” which he says gains about 300,000 viewers a week.

But as if big-game hunting weren’t controversial enough, many of the sport’s own practitioners disapprove of long-range hunting, calling it a violation of a tradition known as fair chase. Getting close to a deer or elk requires stealth and patience. Within 300 yards, the snap of a twig or sudden shift in wind can alert a wild animal that danger is near, sending it under cover. For the hunter, evading a wild animal’s exquisite senses can be one of the greatest thrills of the sport.

The animal should have a chance. If you shoot at an animal from 500 yards or farther, you’re depriving him of his tools. You negate his eyesight and his hearing and his sense of smell.

—David E. Petzal, Field & Stream editor and a hunter since 1960

“The animal should have a chance,” says David E. Petzal, Field & Stream magazine’s field editor and a hunter since 1960. “If you shoot at an animal from 500 yards or farther, you’re depriving him of his tools. You negate his eyesight and his hearing and his sense of smell.”

Long-range shooting is the latest new technology to come to the attention of state wildlife officials, who in various places have limited or banned hunters from using drones, trail cameras and night-vision equipment. This year in Nevada, the state wildlife commission proposed outlawing electronically controlled firing systems on big-game rifles, a measure that could effectively ban some long-range shooting systems. “To their credit, our wildlife commission is taking a stand on technologies they feel are going beyond the fair-chase ethic,” says Tyler Turnipseed, Nevada’s chief game warden.

In a 2014 statement, the Boone and Crockett Club, a 129-year-old conservation and record-keeping group, said the club “finds that long-range shooting takes unfair advantage of the game animal, effectively eliminates the natural capacity of an animal to use its senses and instincts to detect danger, and demeans the hunter/prey relationship in a way that diminishes the importance and relevance of the animal and the hunt.”

Hunting big game ought to be as difficult as hitting a fastball, says Field & Stream’s Petzal. “If you practice it ethically, most of the time you won’t succeed,” says Petzal, who once went 17 seasons without taking an elk despite hunting for one every year. “I’m talking about 2-3 weeks up and down mountains year after year with nothing to show for it,” he says.

Mike Jernigan, a disabled veteran, uses his TrackingPoint 300 Winchester Magnum.ENLARGE
Mike Jernigan, a disabled veteran, uses his TrackingPoint 300 Winchester Magnum. PHOTO: MIKE JERNIGAN

Proponents of long-range hunting acknowledge that it can improve a hunter’s chances of making a kill. But what’s wrong with that, they ask, given that hunters often spend tens of thousands of dollars on equipment, travel and licenses in pursuit of animals whose numbers are abundant—sometimes overly abundant? They also say that long-range systems don’t eliminate the element of chase or the grind of hauling heavy equipment up mountains. “It’s no cakewalk,” says Phillips, a 65-year-old Gunwerks customer.

As for ethics, proponents say that super-accurate sighting systems make hunting more humane at any range, by killing animals instantly, thereby reducing the risk of wounded prey escaping. “Without TrackingPoint 14% of animals shot suffer and require two or more shots to be killed. Many are never found,” says a TrackingPoint document. “With TrackingPoint 99.5% of animals are cleanly harvested.”

South Carolina home builder William Sinnett bought a TrackingPoint system not only for himself but for his business partner, who had a habit of jerking when he fired upon a big-game animal.

“He had a tick, so he’d just wound an animal, and sometimes we’d find the animal and sometimes we wouldn’t,” says Sinnett, a former military sharpshooter. Since using the TrackingPoint system, however, “my business partner hasn’t missed a shot,” says Sinnett.

Proponents of long-range shooting also argue that the virtues of creeping close to a big-game animal are overblown. They note that bow hunting—which requires extraordinary stealth—often wounds rather than kills. “Bow hunters wound animals that get away—and that’s unethical,” says Phillips.

One factor likely to limit growth is cost. While a conventional deer rifle can be bought for a few hundred dollars, these ultra-sophisticated rifles and shooting systems can cost a few thousand dollars up to nearly $25,000.

Romania bans trophy hunting of brown bears, wolves, lynx and wild cats

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Unexpected move reverses a trend that has seen increasing numbers of large carnivores shot by hunters each year since Romania’s accession to the European Union

In 2016, the largest hunting quotas yet gave hunters the mandate to shoot 550 bears, 600 wolves and 500 big cats over 12 months. Photograph: Radu Sigheti/Reuters

Romania has banned all trophy hunting of brown bears, wolves, lynx and wild cats in a surprise decision that gives Europe’s largest population of large carnivores a reprieve from its most severe and immediate threat.

The move on Tuesday reverses a trend which has seen the number of large carnivores being shot by hunters grow year on year since Romania’s accession into the European Union in 2007. In 2016, the largest hunting quotas yet gave hunters the mandate to shoot 550 bears, 600 wolves and 500 big cats over 12 months.

Over the last decade, hunting has grown into a multimillion-euro industry in Romania, with hunters from all over the world paying up to €10,000 (£8,800) to claim a ‘trophy’ – hunting parlance for the carcass of a hunted animal – from the Carpathian mountains.

The government has claimed that in order to exist, the industry relies on a loophole in European law which allows for the culling of wild animals that have been proven to be a danger to humans. Under the habitats directive, all large carnivores are protected in European Union member states, yet the state can order the killing of specific animals if shown to have attacked a person or damaged private property.

“Hunting for money was already illegal, but it was given a green light anyway,” environment minster, Cristiana Pasca-Palmer, told the Guardian. ‘The damages [clause in the habitats directive] acted as a cover for trophy hunting.”

Each year, hundreds of hunting associations across the country would submit two numbers; the total population of each large carnivore species, and the total number which they believed to be likely to cause damages. The second number would then act as a basis for a government-issued hunting quota for each species. These quotas were then carved up between hunting companies and sold as hunting rights to the public.

“This method raised some questions,” says Pasca-Palmer. “How can hunting associations count how many animals are causing damages a priori – before the damages have happened? By introducing the ban, what we are doing is simply putting things back on the right track, as the habitats directive originally intended.”

Wildlife NGOs claim that the methodology also tended to dramatically overestimate the populations of large carnivores. The official figure for the number of bears in Romania is over 6,000, and for wolves is 4,000. Yet with hundreds of hunting associations each responsible for monitoring a small area of land, and animals prone to wandering, it is understood that individual animals were often counted multiple times, potentially pushing the total population statistics up by thousands.

Announced late on Tuesday evening, the ban is expected to divide Romania’s population, pitching rural and urban dwellers against each other. The government’s decision has strong support in the larger cities, which have seen a growing movement against hunting in recent months. But in much of Romania’s remote countryside large carnivores are a daily threat to villagers and a persistent nuisance to livestock farmers, and many see hunting as the only solution.

Csaba Domokos, a bear specialist with wildlife protection NGO Milvus group, is convinced that the success or failure of the hunting ban rides on the government’s ability to address the rural population’s fears.

“Damages caused by large carnivores are a very real concern in the countryside,” he said. “The system up until now did not work; hunting does not reduce conflicts between carnivores and humans; in fact many studies show that with wolves and large cats, it can actually increase the problem.

“But the rural population believe that hunting is the answer, and unless they can be convinced otherwise, people may well start to take the problem into their own hands. The ban is a great step, but we don’t want hunting to be replaced by poaching.”

Domokos points out that hunters also have a vested interested in the protection of their quarry. “To some extent, hunting acts as a financial incentive for wildlife management, from preventing poaching to conserving habitats. There is some concern that once you take that away, the government will not invest enough to replace it.”

Hunters pay up to €10,000 to trophy hunt in the Carpathian mountains
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Hunters pay up to €10,000 to trophy hunt in the Carpathian mountains. Photograph: Nick Turner/AlamyThe government’s response is to take management into its own hands. A special unit is to be set up within the paramilitary police force that will assess any reports of damages by large carnivores and deal with the culprit animal directly. The ministry of environment have discussed the possibility of relocating the target animals abroad to countries interested in ‘rewilding’.

The ban comes amid a growing push for the protection of Romania’s wild mountains that has seen anti-corruption officers convict dozens of foresters, hunters and local officials in recent years.

Gabriel Paun, an activist and conservationist behind a petition that collected 11,000 signatures in the weeks before the hunting ban, sees the government’s decision as a step towards a safer future for Europe’s wild spaces: “The Carpathian mountains are home to more biodiversity than anywhere else in Europe, but for too long they have been ruthlessly exploited for forestry and hunting. Let’s hope the government’s decision is a sign of things to come.”

Typical pr bs: Trophy hunting of lions can conserve the species, report suggests

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160922124408.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fplants_animals%2Fanimals+%28Animals+News+–+ScienceDaily%29

Sure.
Date:
September 22, 2016
Source:
University of Kent
Summary:
Trophy hunters can play an important role in lion conservation, researchers have shown. These findings may surprise the public, but most lion conservationists think trophy hunting could play a key role in conserving this species because lions need large areas to thrive, and managing this land is expensive. The new work shows land under long-term management for trophy hunting can help fill this shortfall.
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The findings of this report may surprise the public, but most lion conservationists think trophy hunting could play a key role in conserving this species because lions need large areas to thrive, and managing this land is expensive. Their work shows land under long-term management for trophy hunting can help fill this shortfall.
Credit: © Vasilev Evgenii / Fotolia

One year after the worldwide controversy when an American dentist killed Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, the DICE team says hunting works but only when hunting companies are given long-term land management rights.

Dr Henry Brink and Dr Bob Smith from DICE (the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology), and Professor Nigel Leader-Williams from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Geography, studied lion population trends in Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve.

This protected area is divided into blocks in which hunting rights are allocated to different companies. Their study showed that blocks under short-term allocation were over-hunted. In contrast, lion trophy hunting levels were sustainable in blocks owned by the same company for 10 years or more, thereby also maintaining important habitat for this threatened species.

Dr Brink said DICE’s research shows that those who have secured long-term use rights to natural resources are more likely to manage them sustainably. This is an important lesson for lion conservation, as loss of habitat means this species is increasingly restricted to protected areas.

Dr Smith added that their findings may surprise the public, but most lion conservationists think trophy hunting could play a key role in conserving this species because lions need large areas to thrive, and managing this land is expensive. Their work shows land under long-term management for trophy hunting can help fill this shortfall.

This research also supports calls to change the hunting fee system in Tanzania. Nigel Leader-Williams explained that at present, the government sells hunting block fees cheaply, and raises more by setting high quotas and high fees for each trophy animal shot, which encourages those who are only allocated blocks over the short-term to shoot more lions, at the expense of long-term sustainability and profits. Increasing block fees, reducing trophy fees and reducing the hunting quota could bring in the same tax revenue, while reducing the temptation of hunters to over-use lions.

David Attenborough hits out at big game hunters after 12-year-old admits to trophy hunting

Wildebeest

It was the picture which disgusted the world, the grinning face of a 12-year-old girl cuddling the giraffe she had just shot and killed for fun.

While most her age would be only too pleased to see these creatures running wild, sweet-faced Aryanna Gourdin guns them down for her trophy-hunting album.

Our exclusive story sickened animal lovers around the globe, none more so than Sir David Attenborough, who has devoted decades to conservation.

The TV legend today calls trophy hunting “incomprehensible”.

He says: “It’s what people did in the 19th century. One would’ve thought people would’ve gotten over that.”

More: http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/david-attenborough-hits-out-big-8802878

Young Tumps Go a-hunting Again

Trump brothers’ hunting trip a cautionary tale on animal rights

Trump brothers’ hunting trip a cautionary tale on animal rights

Donald Trump’s sons are going hunting again.

Evidence of their previous exploits have made the rounds on the internet.

One of the most disturbing images was that of Donald Jr. posing for a photo with an elephant tail in one hand and a knife in the other. Most Americans are against big game trophy hunting (86 percent disapprove, with nearly 60% claiming it should illegal), but this photo provoked particular outrage.

And how could it not? Elephants are some of the most sophisticated and interesting creatures God has made. Everyone knows about their amazing memories and intelligence, but did you know they recognize themselves in a mirror, thus proving self-awareness? That they develop deep friendships, not only with each other, but sometimeswith other animals?

Did you know they even mourn their dead, returning to the grave-sites of deceased relatives and friends to handle their bones?

For the last couple generations, animal activists have blamed religious traditions as bearing particular responsibility for ideas and practices which could lead to treating these animals as mere things to do with as we please. But this couldn’t be further from the truth, and even animal activists like Peter Singer now see religious traditions as allies in the fight for animal protection.

This is not surprising when we consider that gross mistreatment of animals took place long before religion was on the scene in the development of Homo sapiens, and it is driven today mostly by what Pope Francis calls the secular “use and throw-away culture.”

There is no sense in which our secular culture formed the Trump boys to understand that these creatures are gifts from God, and that God limits our use of them to such that it fits within a divine plan.

No, instead animals are understood to be mere things or products bought and sold in a marketplace. If you’ve got the money-as the Trumps surely do-then you can even use elephants and throw them away.

I’ve tried to raise awareness about how the Roman Catholic moral tradition critiques contemporary practices when it comes to how we treat animals, but I’ve focused mostly on how we eat. The one good thing to come of the Trump bros killing these animals is that it has raised cultural awareness with regard to a different set of practices.

It is interesting to note that the Church has, over the centuries, fairly consistently condemned sport hunting of animals as against God’s plan for creation. Recall that in the first pages of the Bible, all animals (human and non-human) in Eden were vegetarian, and animals were brought to Adam “because it was not good man should be alone.”

After sin enters the world, God gives limited permission to eat animals in Genesis 9, but early Christians understood that this permission did not extend to other practices. Recall, for instance, that Christians were forbidden from attending the Roman games when animals were slaughtered merely for the blood-thirsty entertainment of the crowd.

In Jerome’s commentary on Psalm 90, he equated Esau’s sinfulness with his being a hunter, and claimed that in “the Holy Scriptures we do not find any saints who are hunters.” St. Cyril of Jerusalem specifically called sport hunting “the pomp of the devil,” and urged fellow Christians to avoid even watching it, much less participating in it.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that Catholics may use animals for things like food and clothing, but with two important restrictions. First, we must treat animals with kindness. Second, we must never “needlessly” cause them to suffer or die.

Whatever one thinks about the broader discussion of how we treat animal protection, and more complex questions about the morality of our eating habits, the morality of sport hunting is cut and dried. Because it is done for entertainment, and not anything remotely resembling need, it is immoral. Period. End of story.

The Catholic Church is a powerful witness to the protection of vulnerable and voiceless life in other moral and legal contexts. We should also honor the parts of our tradition and teaching, which call us to be a voice for the vulnerable and voiceless animals killed by the likes of the Trump brothers.

Response to Hunting Article in AARP Magazine

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As members of AARP, we are shocked to see that your magazine editor felt it was necessary to feature an article on hunting entitled “Where the Heart Is,” in the April/May issue, Volume 59, Number 3B.
Surely you are  aware that the majority of people do Not Hunt, and that shooting with a camera is one of the most popular ways to visit wildlife, not killing them? The the idea (stated in this article) that “as you hunt, you bond with animals” is nonsense. True “bonding” with an animal is simply respecting them, observing them, and letting them live.
The hunting/NRA lobby certainly has enough media venues already, without AARP enabling them to encourage shooting and maiming animals. Why promote such an activity, which clearly is tied to the overall gun violence in our society?
Perhaps you should have an counter-article featuring the blood trail left by the thousands of wounded wild animals who crawl off to die after being shot, or trapped.
Rosemary Lowe, M.A., RN
Marc Bedner

“The Shit Has Hit the Fan” in the form of HR2406

by Stephen Capra

For more than thirty years, I have worked in Conservation. In fights as ranging as efforts to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to our more recent battles to create two new National Monuments in New Mexico, sportsmen were on the front lines in defense of wilderness and wildlife. So what has happened and why are they now so determined to pass legislation that will kill so much wildlife and wilderness?

The answer is not entirely clear, but there seems to be some ominous clues: it began with the brutal years of the Bush Presidency, a time when conservation legislation was automatically dead on arrival. It was a time when pressure to drill in wild places was heavy in the air, and common sense was a memory. During this difficult time, Foundations that supported conservation decided that Sportsmen were the key to protection and the money flowed to their organizations. The results produced during this time were small; Bush was not much of a hunter, and their voice did little to protect wild places, but they garnered respect and lots of media attention.

The result has been that funding to sportsmen has continued, at the expense of many small conservation-focused organizations. At the same time, the NRA has mushroomed into a super-power in Washington, using the second amendment to threaten and cajole elected officials into permitting weapons in grocery stores and churches.

Shortly after his election to congress, then-congressman Martin Heinrich set about to solve a problem that bothered him and other hunters, locked gates on roads that led to wilderness and other public lands; thus began the road to what we now know as SB-2406.

So how did opening gates for sportsmen lead to a bill so destructive? The answer has a lot to do with Washington, and even more about the zealous nature of sportsmen and their desire to rule our public lands.

Since the passage of the Pittman-Robertson Act, (legislation that taxed the sales of guns and ammo and earmarked its revenue for state’s wildlife management programs,) sportsmen have found ways to use their power to influence policy. During the sixties, the rise of environmental awareness pushed sportsmen out of the mainstream, allowing the growth of mainstream conservation groups that focused on wildlife- without killing, which supported wilderness, clean air and water. Sportsmen were relegated more to state issues and maintained complete control over Game and Fish Departments. The NRA at this point was not on the radar.

With the Reagan and Bush years the NRA was allowed in the front door and became an important component of the Republican Party as they began a strategy of reclaiming the South and the West. The second amendment was the bullet they used to counter common sense.

With more concern about wildlife and Endangered Species programs becoming effective, Republicans and some rural blue dog Democrats began complaining about restrictions on private property. In many tight races in the West and with the rise of the Sage Brush Rebellion, such programs became a target for those who wanted access to kill all wildlife and hated government intervention.

With the election of our first African-American President, all of this came to maturation. By now sportsmen had regained momentum; the NRA would find their zenith of power attacking the President and those rural counties in the south and west, would be the soldiers of a new sagebrush blow-back. The President for his part seemed to use wildlife as a currency that he would yield on for critical votes, or reelection support for failing blue dogs and the US Fish and Wildlife Service of his administration has made clear that their efforts have been focused on removing species from endangered status.

This brings us to today. Legislation designed to open a few remote roads for access, has evolved into a plan that will permit aerial killing of bears, wolves and coyotes. The import of ivory is now acceptable, despite worldwide efforts to stop the killing of elephants; the National Wildlife Refuge System would now be redesigned to make killing of species, not protection, a priority. Gun ranges will become the mandate of National Forests and Monuments and all public land, with funds that should go to wildlife management reallocated to build them. The Wilderness Act would be undermined to allow construction of building, roads, and access by ATV’s. Bears their cubs and wolves could be killed in their dens and polar bears killed in Canada could be brought into America for the trophy-needy slobs that killed them.

This is not legislation; it’s madness.

It reflects the manner in which common sense and sound science are being destroyed in a power grab by sportsmen who frankly should be ashamed of supporting legislation that reflects not sportsmanship, but 19th century ignorance. The NRA wants to take complete control of our public lands as they have our places of worship, bars, schools and grocery stores. They want our world to be fear based and now the place we go to for solace and to restore our spirit, could become a place filled with the sounds of guns.

This legislation changed the day Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski became a co-sponsor of SB-405 the original bill, of H.R. 2406’s latest House derivative. Her record on the environment is a disgrace, her motives are to kill, conquer and destroy all that is wild.

If passed, this legislation will also set up a “Sportsman’s Committee,” which will directly advise the Interior Secretary and the Secretary of Agriculture, who manages our National Forests. They will be there representing the NRA, Gun manufacturer’s, outfitters and ammo dealers, ranchers and the usual groups designed to undermine our public land, with power to dictate policy and kill precious species, such as wolves and grizzly bears.

Sportsmen are feeling their power and showing no restraint: From the slaughter that is occurring with bison in Yellowstone, to plans to start killing grizzlies around the borders of the park, to now this legislation, common sense is not being reflected in their push for power.

This legislation has been a generation or more in the making; it started with a simply concept that has exploded into a very dangerous piece of legislation that we cannot allow to pass.

Sportsmen must also begin to question their motivations? When you blur the lines between sport and destroying a sacred trust, you lose your credibility. Sportsmen should ask for this legislation to be tabled. They should join the fight to defeat legislation that went from simple access, to transforming our most sacred trust.

Bold Visions Conservation stands with wildlife, against turning our wildlands into gun ranges, and we’ll fight every day until this legislation is killed. We understand how it happened; if this legislation does not die, and then it will be the weapon that destroys the animals and lands we all so dearly love. Such bloodletting has no place in modern America.

Such deception should not be tolerated.

Visit our new page dedicated to defeating H.R. 2406, the most dangerous anti-nature, anti-wildlife, anti-people legislation in modern history!

On this page you can read H.R.2406 and Sign a Petition to Fight H.R.2406, Watch videos on the implications of H.R. 2406 and Read and/or Contribute to our informational Blog.