Legal hunting comes under fire yet again with Trump sons in crosshairs
By Alan Clemons, Managing Editor
When the hubbub began about Donald Trump’s sons going on safari in Africa, it sounded merely like the saber-rattling commonly heard from animal rights groups.
But now it’s gaining traction among hunters who are supporting The Donald’s two sons and their legal safari.
Trump’s two adult sons went to Zimbabwe for a safari in August 2010 through Hunting Legends, an outfitter service. According to Hunting Legends, the safari was conducted legally, Donald Jr. and Eric Trump took an elephant, buffalo, crocodile and other game species.
As is the norm, photos of the two surfaced with their animals and the blogosphere is going bananas. Because the Young Trumps are on their father’s popular and successful television show, The Apprentice, the Hollywood crowd and animal rights organizations are losing their minds with spasms of criticisms.
A quick online search reveals stories with slanted headlines or descriptions including “gruesome photos … mutilated animal corpses … brutal … animal butchery” and others. Donald Jr. is shown posing with his buffalo and holding the severed tail of his elephant. The removal of the tail by the hunter is part of the tradition of the safari. The animals were donated to the local people for consumption and use.
Over the weekend news emerged that Camping World has withdrawn its advertising support on The Apprentice. The monstrous, and successful, recreational vehicle sales and service company has retail stores nationwide along with the popular Good Sam Club for campers. Company CEO Marcus Lemonis said he was “totally disgusted” and would not spend any more money with them.
Camping World attempted to clarify its position with this statement posted on Facebook:
“To clarify our position, Camping World as America’s Largest Outdoor company, believes in personal freedom. In this country, people are free to choose. This issue at hand is not about whether people should be able to hunt or not. Our company is neither for nor against hunting. We are for personal choice and having people enjoy the outdoors in whatever fashion they choose. However, if and when the hunting of endangered species occurs, whether in the United States or abroad, it is not acceptable to even the most avid of hunters. We remain strong in our conviction of preserving the outdoors, protecting our great country’s lands and the freedom to choose.”
Point noted, however, is none of the species hunted by the Trumps on their safari are or were endangered. Camping World’s Facebook page has at least 170 comments – almost all thrashing the company for its stance – along with others posted elsewhere on Facebook and Twitter. Likewise, the Trumps are being harshly criticized on both social media sites.
The Trump sons issued this statement: “We are both avid outdoorsmen and were brought up hunting and fishing with our grandfather, who taught us that nothing should ever be taken for granted or wasted. We have the utmost respect for nature and have always hunted in accordance with local laws and regulations. In addition, all meat was donated to local villagers who were incredibly grateful. We love traveling and being in the woods. At the end of the day, we are outdoorsmen at heart.”
Donald Trump Sr. does not hunt and said he believes what his sons did “was 100 percent OK in terms of the hunting community.” In another report, he added that he would be talking with them about the issue.
Donald Junior fired back via Twitter: “I am also not going to apologize because some eco nuts want me 2. I AM A HUNTER I don’t hide from that … Just love to be outdoors w a gun or bow.”
The Trump sons also received support from Ted Nugent.
We haven’t been able to ascertain whether the Young Trumps are deer hunters. They have land and connections in Pennsylvania, so it’s likely they’ve chased a whitetail or two during the Keystone State’s deer seasons or elsewhere.
The bigger issue is the continued vitriol being cast from the animal rights crowd against legal hunters. The same thing occurred in California when its game commission chairman, Dan Richards, went on a legal mountain lion hunt in Idaho and has come under fire from the AR crowd. They claim he should not be hunting an animal that is protected in California and still are clamoring for his resignation. Richards isn’t backing down.
Whatever you think about the Trumps, and they’ve been in the bright spotlight for decades, the bottom line is a continued assault on legal hunting and legal hunters. Deer hunters have seen it in states where seasons, bag limits, weapons and other issues are regularly attacked.
Support for legal hunting for deer, and other species, at home and abroad should never be taken for granted.
How do you believe hunters should show support for legal opportunities? Joining an organization? Writing letters to let your voice be heard? Let us know with your comments below.
March 22, UPDATE: Camping World CEO Ted Leomis apologized Wednesday, March 21, to hunters for the way he and his company characterized the situation.
During a conference call with outdoors media, Leomis said he expressed a reaction to the Trump sons’ photos based on emotion instead of knowledge about hunting, hunters and the hunting community.
“This is an apology,” he said. “I wasn’t making anti-hunting statements, but I was misquoted. I am 100 percent okay and in favor of legal hunting and fishing.”
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