To me, hunting is an activity which animals (including humans) engage in purely in order to eat and survive. To me, a person who carries the label of 'hunter' is someone who eats and otherwise uses for survival, what he or she kills. There are a lot of people out there who will do exactly that, and I have no problem with that. I do however, think it's a little excessive to attach one's manliness or other perceived superiority to shooting an animal (whether you're going to eat it or not) from fifty yards or more away, whether by using a high velocity rifle with telescopic sights, a big shotgun, or a compound bow. In such circumstances, it strikes me that the odds are somewhat skewed in the human's favour. It seems to me to be exactly the same principle as taking a gun to a fist fight. I mean; come on.
Leaving that minor point aside, however, the issue that seems to cause the most outrage with regard to hunting is the kind of thing we see pictured above. Elephants are, of course, for many people, evocative creatures, and I count myself among that group. I have a funny feeling that these enormous, noble beasts may have a lot more going on upstairs than we have yet realized (and definitely more going on upstairs than those assholes who go out to shoot them for fun). Taking the species out of the argument, I also have a great deal of difficulty with images such as this:
For me, it's all utter crap. Complete horse shit. If you hunt to eat, go ahead, I support that 100%, but if you 'hunt' to put trophies on your wall or have your photograph taken with a large hairy corpse in order to show how brave you are with a high powered weapon in your hands, get out of my face. Just because something has been common practice for hundreds of years doesn't make it morally correct, and when the question "Why?" is not answerable other than with a lame or overly-aggressive 'Because.", that practice is an anachronism. there is no morally justifiable answer to the question when it comes to trophy hunting. There is no morally acceptable reason for killing an animal for fun - that statement is absolute and irrefutable.
The animals in what's left of our wilderness areas were indeed (yes I know it's become a cliche but it also happens to be true) there before we were. The animals in our towns and cities are there because our towns and cities, for the most part, have spread into their range and territory, and because we are the most careless and destructive species on the planet and we provide easy sources of really bad food for them to be attracted to. We engineer the problem and then demand that the animals are eradicated because we have become scared of everything.
We are destroying our environment from so many different angles, I fail to see how killing yet more animals for fun or for some warped sense of the species 'needing' to be helps to redress the balance that we have so blatantly upset. Trophy hunting is not, and has never been a 'way of life'. Trophy hunting (and of course our delightful species now breeds lions expressly for the purpose of being hunted) is nothing less than the gratification of a sickening blood lust we really should have grown out of by now. I just hope that the mysterious force known as 'karma' doesn't exist, because if it does, we as a species are totally screwed.