Big Green Hunter

The tragic death of Cecil the lion has shined a whole new light on the sport of big-game hunting. As the hunting community seeks to repair its image, Yahoo News contributor Gideon Yago spoke with one hunter who is hoping for a different kind of hunting to catch on. It’s called “green hunting.” So what exactly does that mean?

Brian White is an experienced hunter and the director of development at Bisbee’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fund. His group went on a first-of-its-kind “green hunt” earlier this year at an exotic game park in Texas hill country: a“catch-and-release” hunt of an African mammal called a bongo, a relative to the antelope. A donor funded the initial hunt, which had the feel of a big-game hunt, but instead of hunting to kill, the hunt was to sedate and then check the captured bongo’s health. The bongo was then released back into the park.

White explained that green hunting is “a method of enjoying the sport of hunting, but also the main purpose of green hunting is to sedate an animal so that the animal can be checked for its overall health.”

It’s a way to replicate the experience of big-game hunting without taking home a physical trophy. He went on, it’s a “win-win for everybody and everything. … The money that’s derived from the green hunt is 100 percent dedicated to the proliferation of endangered and threatened animals.”

White added that green hunting is nothing new: “Sportsmen have been doing this in the rivers and the lakes and the oceans for many, many years, so why not have it in the hunting community as well.”

When asked about regulating this new type of hunting, White said, “In any industry that’s just starting out, there’s not a lot of regulation, so you try to figure out best practices as you go.”

But can green hunting really satisfy big-game hunters? White told Yago that based on his group’s first hunt, the answer to that question is yes. According to White, “Our donor who did the first bongo hunt … he’s hunted all over the world and he enjoyed it so much. He told me after the hunt: ‘I had no idea that this would be this exciting. This is the most exciting hunt I’ve ever gone on in my lifetime.’”