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Get Outdoors: The dentist vs. the Cecil the lion — get a grip!

I will begin by stating that as an avid outdoorsman, poaching is the most vile practice in this industry. There is no excuse, period.

Which happens to be subject of the latest slactivist rage pulsing through the Internet. The story of an American dentist who coughed up $50,000, traveled to Africa, and hunted a lion.

The lion was baited, shot and processed. The big problem here is that lion was the now famous Cecil the Lion.

Cecil’s resume includes living to 13, being a prized lion in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, staring in a far from viral video , and participating in an Oxford study in which he was outfitted with some GPS bling.

Now, if it is concluded that Walter James Palmer is, in fact, guilty of intentionally hunting a protected animal and baiting him from private land, I say string him up.

But as it stands, Palmer is ready and willing to cooperate with authorities and maintains his story that he paid for a legal hunt with proper permits.

He claims that the guides were the ones to blame. He has shown nothing but remorse.

If this is the case, he is only guilty of one thing: killing a FAMOUS lion.

You see, if Palmer killed ANY OTHER LION, we wouldn’t be talking about this. His now crashed website would still be up, his Yelp rating would still be intact, and his reputation would be one of the local dentist who likes to hunt.

But the damage continues to pour in from people who have no clue what actually happened or the fact that this practice happens all year.

Let me help the slactivists out there to understand how the real world works.

First, please understand the trophy tourism fuels conservation. Here in Arizona, your Game and Fish Department relies solely on revenue from tags, licenses and fines.

Our economy can support that. It’s not the same in Africa. The economy there can barely keep up with infrastructure demands, no less animal conservation. So the people rely on the wealthy tourists who will pay top dollar to hunt one of the African Big Five.

This happens hundreds of times per year. Where has the rage been?

Remember the guy who bid $300,000 for a black rhino tag? He was crucified by the slactivists. Those who actually read the story learned that the hunt was for a specific bull in the herd. A bull that could no longer breed and was killing younger males.

The animal had to be removed so local authorities auctioned the tag, took care of the problem and funded their future conservation efforts with this guy’s money.

Next, slactivists are aghast by the thought that this group baited the lion to its location. Animal attractants are a part of hunting almost every game animal. There’s a shelf in my garage just full of them.

Some states have banned the practice of baiting (which I don’t agree with) but hunters and the hunting industry is always staying ahead of the game. Can’t throw a bag of apples on the ground to bring a deer in…just plant an apple tree or plant a food plot. The fact is that very few African predators have been taken without bait.

Finally, Walter James Palmer killed Cecil with a bow and arrow. I would like to address an ugly fact about bowhunting. Sometimes, us bowhunters don’t get off the perfect shot. We will have to track the animal and ultimately finish the job. By the way, the first zap or cut doesn’t always finish the job on the cow for your burger or the chicken for your nuggets. This was the case with Cecil the Lion. Once again, this happens all of the time. There is outrage in this instance because this was a “famous” lion.

We have all heard the saying, “There are two things you don’t want to see being made—sausage and legislation.” I think that it would be safe to add conservation and most of our food to that list.

The simple truth is that animals need to be harvested to conserve populations and actual animals need to be killed for your burgers and nuggets. Most of these slactivists just choose to turn a blind eye to the facts and freak out when one of those eyes catches a glimpse of the truth.
I will reserve judgment of Walter James Palmer, DDS until the facts are presented and a verdict is handed down.

Until then, I encourage all of you to do a little homework before you choose to destroy a man’s name and reputation without first seeking ALL of the facts.
I will wrap up with this thought. I will bet good money that in 90 days from now we could ask these online trolls that have been slamming ol’ Walter, what happened to “The guy who shot Cecil” and more than half would respond with, “Who’s Cecil?”

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