Most hunters know this, but hunting and conservation go hand in hand. This is a list of eight famous hunters who were also staunch conservationists. Many of these individuals’ work influenced modern hunting ethics and conservation policies that are still in place today.

1. John James Audubon

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The American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter was famous for his detailed studies of American birds and his beautiful illustrations of birds in their natural habitats. He also shot, killed, and taxidermied every bird he painted.

2. Theodore Roosevelt

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The 26th President of the United States was famous for his outdoor pursuits. Roosevelt was a prolific North American big game hunter, and he also traveled to Africa several times to hunt.

3. Charles Darwin

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Similar to Audubon, Darwin also hunted for his specimens. From his childhood on, he had an interest in sport shooting and bird hunting.

4. Lewis and Clark

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These two explorers hunted for sustenance on their journey across the American wilderness.

5. Jimmy Carter

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The 39th President of the United States was know for his championing of environmental issues. He’s also an avid hunter and fisherman. In fact, he has written a book on the subject.

6. Ernest Hemingway

EH 7018P  Ernest Hemingway on safari, Africa. January, 1934. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

Ernest Hemingway was famous for his literary works his outdoor pursuits. The author was active in marine wildlife conservation, specifically the conservation of gulf marlin.

7. Aldo Leopold

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Leopold was one of the founders of the modern environmental ethics and the movement for wilderness conservation. He was also a hunter who advocated for the scientific management of wildlife habitats by both public and private landholders. His work and advocacy is responsible for the modern wildlife management techniques used by government agencies today.

8. Daniel Boone

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This American pioneer’s exploits are the stuff of legend.  He also regretted the encroachment of human settlements on wildlife and wilderness. Boone was an advocate for keeping wilderness “wild” to preserve the game animals living on it.

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4 thoughts on “8 Famous Conservationists Who Were Also Hunters

  1. Great article! As a former park ranger and ornithologist, I can attest that conservation work involves the killing of animals, native and introduced – for pest management, for population management, and yes, even for scientific study.

  2. Great choices, Hemingway was instrumental in starting the IGFA, Roosevelt, really started the conservation movement in the United States and he was a founding member of the Boone and Crocket club. There are so many others that are not mentioned, but this is a really good list.

  3. Most of these “Great White Hunters” hunted mainly for sport for the thrill of killing an innocent creature that couldn’t shoot back. I just don’t get it. What is so much FUN about shooting and killing an innocent creature just for sport — and then stuffing it to keep as a souvenir or chopping its head off to hang on the wall? Do they really think it’s a brave or courageous act to shoot and kill one of these creatures when the hunter is using a high-powered rifle with a scope so could probably shoot and kill the beast from 300+ yards away without the creature even knowing he’s there. Where’s the “sport” in that? It’s more like using these living beasts just as target practice because it’s more of a “challenge” to kill a moving, living creature than to just shoot at a target. It’s inhumane to kill any living thing just for sport and for the thrill of the kill. It’s not as if they need to hunt and kill to put meat on the table. I don’t know if anyone who would find fault with a hunter who shot and killed wild animals as a way of feeding his family because it was the only way he could put meat on the table. But that’s rarely the case for these “Great White Hunters”. For them it’s their sport and they just love to go on hunting trips in scenic wild areas in the US or on wild game safaris to Africa where the wild creatures are bigger and some are more fierce. It make me physically sick to see the photo of Teddy Roosevelt posing with the wild elephant he “bagged”. About 600 elephants a year are slaughtered in Africa each year by sports hunters, some for the ivory. In fact, some hunters call it “hunting for ivory” as if the ivory could be dug up from the ground without having to murder an innocent beast just to cut off its tusks. Sports hunters are a callous lot and insensitive to human feelings and are bewildered why anyone would or could find fault with this wholesale slaughter of wild animals. Why would anyone mind? It’s not as if these wild and exotic animals belonged to someone — and if they don’t belong to anyone, how could they have any value anyway? I’m so glad the dentist who shot and killed Cecil the tame lion is getting so much media scrutiny because it’s shedding light on this blood sport and showcasing it for what it is — a ruthless, inhumane, cruel sport. If these guys like to shoot living things so much, why don’t they join the military and spend some time in Iraq so they can hunt down and shoot living things that can defend themselves and shoot back? Of course they’d never do that because they’re chicken sh** cowards and want nothing to do with that kind of sport hunting. So if shooting and killing wild animals is such a great sport, what are the odds between the hunter and the hunted? The hunter has this high-powered rifle with a scope and the hunted has a high-powered sense of smell, incredible physical strength, long sharp teeth and claws with which to fight back. Would this be sporting? I guess not. The odds are too even for these Great White Hunters. They want nothing to do with such close odds. I hate hate hate this blood sport!

  4. Janna;I think you are way off track. What the media forgets to mention is that as soon as an animal is killed by a hunter in Africa, the locals move in and reduce the carcass to edible portions to take home to their families and villages. I don’t if they do that with big cats but cat is the other white meat and is very good. Of the $50,000 the hunter spent most of that went to the government to provide funds for rangers to fight poachers who destroy game without paying anything to the government. Hunters in Africa have to depend on their White Hunters (who may be black) to know where they have permits and permission to hunt. Evidently his guides and outfitter were greedy and wanted him to kill an animal whether they knew it was legal or not. THEY SHOULD BE PROSECUTED.
    If deer and elk hunting were abolished they would in a few years eat themselves out of available food and there would be a die off of millions. With the help of hunters and conservationists there are now more deer and turkeys than in the history of North America. Any animal/bird that has been SPORT hunted (not slaughtered for sale to markets) has increased in numbers if not flourished. Time spent walking in the woods is very uplifting. I spent time in Viet Nam and find your one remark very demeaning. I know what it is like to be shot at so go suck a tofu.

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