Shot during a big game hunt in Zimbabwe, Cecil the lion has been the subject of intense, emotional debate over the past several days. Buck Sexton spoke with several radio callers Wednesday to discuss the highly controversial killing. Here's what they had to say.
"You don't go to a nursing home in nature" - Jeff in New Hampshire
"My father taught me to hunt. I'm 46 years old. He taught me probably a good 35 years ago. He taught me that in nature, there's no such thing as an easy peaceful death for animals. When you hunt them, legally hunt them, kill them quickly. It's a better death. It's better than starving to death. It's better than being ripped apart alive by predators. You name it. So that's the way I look at it. When I see the deer, I'm giving it an ethical death. You don't grow old in nature. You don't go to a nursing home in nature. You die a horrific death. That's the only way you die in nature."
"It's a good rite of passage for boys" - Carrie in South Carolina
"As I woman, I'd like to draw people's attention to the Ducks Unlimited Phenomenon, where hunters got together and they did fundraisers and they bought wetlands along migratory duck patterns. So the ducks are, you know, making a comeback so that the hunters can still hunt them and keep the tradition alive for their sons. And I -- I think that it's very valuable for sons as masculinity is marginalized in our culture. And as we're getting more and more feminite HEP, it's a good rite of passage for boys to know that they have what it takes to go out and provide for their families. There's something that's eternal about men going out into the earth and, you know, killing something and bringing it home. And providing food. And I've seen my son get confidence that way, and I just think it's very valuable."
"What if it had been a warthog?" - Dan in Michigan
"As a hunter and also a member of the State's Department of National Resources, what I find often is when a state or a game commission declares that this animal needs to be harvested, if somebody harvests that animal or kills it or whatever, I don't care why they did it, whether it's for trophy or meat. That's like asking somebody, what did you do with the money you inherited from grandpa? I see a slippery slope there. And also we tend to manage animals by how pretty or handsome we think they are. This was a beautiful male lion. What if it had been a warthog? I don't see the same guttural reaction if this had happened."
"Assign a monetary value to them" - Will in Colorado
"I'm just trying to explain a little bit better about how exactly hunting is conservation. The best way to preserve and protect these animals, especially in third world African countries is to assign a monetary value to them. Otherwise it gives the people, the governments who are just worried about where the next meal will come from the next time and surviving warlords something else -- to help protect these animals. A lion hunt like this will cost anywhere from minimum probably $20,000 upwards to 100 grand. Now, I don't know what the per capita income is in most of these countries, but I'm telling you that something like that right there can probably take care of ten, 15 families for a year. That doesn't include all your license fees, all your flights, all your drivers, and airplanes that you're tipping. All the things you're doing there is a massive boost to the economy. What that does is that gives the local people and the government reasons to preserve and protect these animals so that they can continue to make an income off of this. It would just be like, fishermen don't want to overfish the feed. People don't want to overdo -- you know, log cutters don't want to devastate every forest. This is their lifeblood. This is what they rely on. You assign a monetary value on the animal. It gives them a reason to preserve and protect it."
Watch Buck's conversation with Joe in Ohio or read the transcript below.
Below is a rush transcription of this segment, it may contain errors:
We have Joe in Ohio. Joe, welcome to the Glenn Beck Program. You're speaking to Buck.
CALLER: Hi, how are you doing, Buck?
BUCK: Good. Thank you for calling.
CALLER: I've been to Zimbabwe three times. Did some big game. I did get an opportunity to do a lion. It was a problem animal. You know, you don't bait the animal in. Usually --
BUCK: Can I just ask you really quickly? I'm asking you honestly because I read this. That either it tried to or eat somebody because that's one of the reasons they'll go after the lion.
CALLER: That can be. But in this case it was cattle. They had gone and killed a bunch of cattle. You set up on one of the previous kills. They'll come back. And then you take the animal. But over there, it is certainly strictly regulated. It kind of depends on if you're on public land or private land. I've been on both. Most private ranches will have their own anti-poaching units. And on public land, you actually get what's called a game scout sort of. A guy with an AK-47 that the government provides to make sure that you're following the laws into -- you know, if there are poachers.
BUCK: And to protect you. Right? Because poachers have been known to try to kill people too because it's such a serious crime in some of these countries. I actually spoke to a hunter once who told me, that poachers, they see you coming. They don't run away. They shoot at you.
CALLER: And I'll tell you why. I actually came across that. What happens is the game scouts, their orders are to shoot on-site, more or less.
BUCK: To shoot poachers on-site?
CALLER: Pretty much, yeah.
BUCK: I had heard that. But you're verifying that. Wow. Continue.
CALLER: Yeah, it happens over there. So with a game scout, when you set up with him, he kind of goes over what y'all are doing, what you're there for. But he says because the poachers know that's happening, they do want to shoot first. They won't run away because, you know, if they run away, they'll just get shot in the back. So they say, I don't necessarily want you to shoot them. But if you see them first, shoot them, and then I'll come back and put some AK rounds in it so it looks like I did it.
CALLER: So -- and these guides, specifically, if they're in jail in Zimbabwe, it would be interesting to check back in at about six months to see if they're still around. Because Zimbabwean prison, especially for poachers, is more or less a death sentence. And a lot of times on the private ranchers, if they catch poachers and they don't kill them right away, they'll beat the living crap out of them. And if they don't survive, they'll just survive them down a hole.
BUCK: Wow, Joe. Fascinating to hear about your perspective on this. Having been in Zimbabwe on a hunt three times. Thanks for calling in, buddy.