Hunting & Conservation: The Orchard Analogy

The completely ridiculous and misguided media frenzy over Melissa Bachman’s lion hunt inspired me to put this together. I’m involved with various social media efforts and one in particular was attacked by a ton of the craziest of the crazy animal rights and anti-hunting slacktivists. If you’ve ever watched something like Law & Order SVU or some other crime drama and wondered who came up with that crazy twisted stuff, I’m almost certain they’re all animal rights activists that value animal life over humans. I figured I’d put together a quick post that may help some folks understand how hunting and conservation go hand in hand. I’m even doing it in familiar terms! It’s likely a futile attempt but I’m going for it anyway.


I REALLY like apples. They’re good for you, they taste great, they’re even pretty colors. As someone who loves apples I have a small orchard. I don’t make money off my harvest but I’m very proud of it. I’ll even pose for a picture with a smile and a freshly picked Macintosh once in a while. I spend all year watching my orchard, keeping it safe, protecting the ground it grows on and just making sure all goes well so that when it comes time I can harvest a good crop but without harming the overall orchard. Recently a news story came up with my wife smiling next to a freshly picked apple and the world lost it’s mind! We got death threats, attacks via social media even had petitions started banning us from apple picking! The news reporter insinuated that our goal was to completely wipe out all apples in North America when that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s like people think we want to run through the orchard with a chainsaw and destroy everything we’ve worked for. We not only have to work on our orchard but we have to pay license fees and taxes to have the orchard and on top of that we belong to various apple picking groups that raise money to preserve the tradition for the public to view and for generations of future apple growers. We even donate any extra apples to the needy and homeless in our area . . .


I don’t really like apple’s that much, I mean they’re good but you get the point. People have such a disconnect. For some reason if it can blink and has made an appearance in a Disney movie then it’s sacred. But that cow over there, if you slaughter it behind closed doors and deliver it in cellophane well that’s just fine and dandy. Hunters whether it’s in South Africa or the USA spend a lot of time and money to enjoy the animals they kill. I have an aversion to saying we harvest animals because in my mind we don’t, we kill them and I’m not going to sugar coat that. I don’t like analogies that show hunting as harvesting but in this instance I’m only trying to illustrate the fact that saying modern hunters are pushing animals to extinction is about as logical as saying that your local apple farmer wants to rid the world of apples. I wrote this post not too long ago to shed a little light on why some people view hunters as the reason for wildlife endangerment but that fear is very outdated. Perhaps the more glaring issue here is there are 100′s of pictures online of men with dead lions, some smeared with blood and rather distasteful but a well done picture with no visible blood or gore that includes a young woman is globally inflammatory.


Whether it’s a lion or a deer as a hunter the goal is to kill it. If the result breaks any law or the animal goes to waste then that person is either a poacher, a criminal or both – not a hunter. If we want to continue hunting we need to preserve and grow that resource. No it’s not as glamorous or as easy as simply plucking an apple from a branch it’s a little more in depth. None the less, we are enjoying nature. We are enjoying what we’ve fought to preserve and ultimately what we’ve paid to preserve.


If you want a look at some more in depth info on the impact of hunting in South Africa please take the time to read THIS ARTICLE by Ivo Vegter. If you are concerned with the specifics around legal lion hunting read THIS POST by Olivia Nalos Opre that sheds some light on all the restrictions on legal lion hunting to ensure it’s the right way.

  • Steve Hoffman

    Somehow the “trophies”, though unphotographed, of abortion are more acceptable, protectable, and valued to world than a soul-less animals of creation. I don’t like my own comment, but that’s what just hit me.

    • TheWilltoHunt

      The tragedy is in it’s accuracy . . .
      Thanks for stopping by Steve.

  • Kevin

    Beautifully said. Well done, Will.

    • TheWilltoHunt

      Much appreciated Kevin and thanks for stopping by!

  • 365Whitetail

    Great analogy, Will! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • TheWilltoHunt

      Thanks Randy!

  • Aaron Farley

    Great analogy! Thanks.

    • TheWilltoHunt

      Thanks Aaron!

  • Sean C

    It’s simple disassociation from responsibility. The people clamoring for Ms. Bachmann’s head are the same ones who will blame everyone and anyone else when a species goes extinct (rhinos, for example), professing their love for the species but without being able to show any actual effort or monetary support for conservation. These are the same people that will gleefully sit down in a restaurant to enjoy the freshest cut of beef but never soil their hands in butchering the animal. They’ll snap up Chilean sea bass in the grocery store, but never connect themselves to the overfishing of a resource – it’ll be the fault of the fisherman. They’ll pontificate over a plate of fresh tropical fruits and tofu salads in the depths of a North American winter, but not once put themselves to blame for the destruction of tropical forests, tilling of prairie soils, or the deaths of myriad species to import out-of-season crops to the far flung tables.

    Of course, it’s simply the hunters, the farmers, the gatherers that do get their hands dirty, that plant, harvest, and consume their own food, that spend their time and money on conservation efforts for species that they hunt, butcher and eat (and lots of non game species conservation as well), that must be to blame. Why? Because their unclean hands can be seen and are acknowledged. As one of that lot, I’ll take my unclean hands and clean conscience over those self-blinded folks from who’s fingers drip a lot of blood and who’s conscience will never be clean until they accept their own responsibility of being alive on this planet.

    • TheWilltoHunt

      Well Sean once again very well put. I might as well just delete what I wrote and put your comment up there :-)

      • Sean C

        Not at all. It’s a conversation that hunters, anglers, sportsmen/women need to have, openly, about what we do, why we do it, and why it matters.

        • TheWilltoHunt

          It definitely is and it’s frustrating that no group or organization like SCI has stepped up with an rebuttal in the national media. Then again it’s hard to have that conversation when the other side simply resorts to profanity and threats of violence at least in social media.

          • Sean C

            Don’t get me started on SCI. As for the other side, they will act the way they will. Let them. Put the rationale up, discuss what and why, and show the numbers.

  • Kawartha

    You just said it yourself. “Whether it’s a lion or a deer as a hunter the goal is to kill it. If the result breaks any law or the animal goes to waste then that person is either a poacher, a criminal or both – not a hunter. ” The animal was killed to mount its head on her wall. The meat was not given to the locals. I have come to learn that it was either buried or fed to dogs. The issue for the majority of animal welfare groups which includes responsible hunters (not animal rights groups) there is a big difference. Is that this animal was killed for the Trophy which is a senseless killing. This is what has the majority of us upset but our voices can’t be heard of the animal rights idiots that are making threats and doing the majority of the name calling.

    • TheWilltoHunt

      Hi, Thanks for taking the time to read my post and comment! I appreciate your concern for the potential waste in killing the animal without a clear use for it and I share that concern. In discussions with various people directly involved with the situation mentioned I can assure you that at least in this instance the animals meat did not go to waste.