“The joy of killing! the joy of seeing killing done – these are traits of the human race at large.” ― Mark Twain, Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World

The killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe by an American trophy hunter has fanned the flames of the controversy surrounding sport hunting. A familiar claim made by people opposed to sport hunting is that sport hunters “like killing things,” that is to say they enjoy killing for the sake of killing. This claim typically leaves me at a loss for words as it is so egregiously wrong. Yes, I enjoy hunting, but no, as hard as it may be for you to believe, I do not like killing things. While most of my hunting expeditions are in pursuit of game birds I enjoy big game hunting too. To date the extent of my big game hunting is in the pursuit of the whitetail deer. I was introduced to the sport of whitetail deer hunting by Jason, one of my hunting buddies and a seasoned deer hunter, in 2011. It was not until my second season in November 2012 that I shot my first whitetail deer. It was a happy and exciting moment for me; the successful conclusion of the hunt with a whitetail deer harvested and secure in the knowledge it was a fair chase as the deer we hunt are wild, not the least bit habituated to humans.