It’s counterintuitive, but sport hunting as it’s practiced in the US is the most significant conservator of animals in the country. And some of that applies even if you’re murdering lions in Africa. Yesterday, I made that point on Dr. Drew, amid much shouting.

Yesterday around lunchtime, my buddy Scott called up and asked if I was free to go on TV. He and I hunt together and he’s gone on Dr. Drew a couple times in the past to discuss this sport. He was shooting something else last night, so suggested me to the show’s producers. I said “yes,” went and got a quick haircut, showered, then walked down the street to the CNN tower not really knowing what to expect.

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Shook Dr. Drew’s hand, got mic’d up, had my face airbrushed to mask my hideous features, then walked out on stage, was introduced as a big game hunter and got booed. A skinny blonde chick shouted at me that she was a vegan, a woman from the audience shouted at me that she was South African and didn’t know anything about hunting, but wanted to shout anyways, then another guy shouted that hunting is too easy because we use tools.

The fun part came in the green room after the show when I got to invite Dr. Drew to come hunting and he declined, explaining he was simply too good a person. Then I got to tell some Young Republican that he was a sinner for wearing polyester pants and called Kim Davis “a bigot.”

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I guess the TL;DR on the whole issue is that it’s a fact that hunting funds conservation more significantly than goodwill does. That’s a shame, but it’s also a real thing and it’s why populations of lions, white rhinos, whitetail deer and other species still exist in this human age; hunting attaches an economic value to the success of their populations. Is that cold? Yeah. Does shouting on national TV do anything for animals? Not any more than being a vegan helps lions. Would I hunt a lion? Probably not, but Corey Knowlton didn’t think he’d ever hunt a black rhino either.

My point about African villagers not being huge fans of living next to big animals? Read this piece in the NY Times.

You can either be emotional about hunting and ignore the facts or you can treat it rationally and acknowledge its factual role in the real world. Personally, I don’t really care for trophy hunting, but wanted to at least be a voice of reason in this time of manufactured (and ultimately pointless) outrage. You may scream and shout, but hunting will keep on keeping animal populations viable while you do.

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