The Hoofs, Horns, Antlers and Claws exhibit at the Hefner Zoology Museum is an elaborate
collection of mammals from around the world. Many of these specimens were donated by
Richard and Dorothy Francis. Hunting enthusiasts, Mr. and Mrs. Francis acquired trophies from
various countries, including Iran, Botswana, and the United States. This document discusses
some of the reasons people hunt.
Humans and their ancestors have hunted for over 400,000 years. Historically, hunting has played
an important role in leadership, community formation, language development, and tool use.
While primitive humans relied largely upon hunting for food, the agricultural revolution
(approximately 10,000 years ago) reduced the need for survival hunting in most parts of the
world. Hunting has continued, however, for several reasons.
Survival Hunting—People hunt wild animals to obtain meat to feed themselves and their
families. Some people living in developing countries (for example, Zaire, Northeastern Gabon,
and Botswana) still hunt animals such as the brush-tailed porcupine and other rodents; ungulates
including the blue duiker; and some primates as a means of acquiring meat, a necessary part of
their diets. Other people enjoy the flavor of wild meat. In Ohio, for example, hunting for whitetailed
deer feeds thousands of people each year.
Sport Hunting—Although people of developed nations generally do not need to hunt for
survival, many enjoy hunting as a sport. Much like other predators, humans have natural instincts
associated with hunting. Even if we do not practice them directly through hunting, most of us
participate in games and sports that are based on hunting activities, such as running, aiming,
throwing, jumping, and pursuing. Can you think of some examples?
Many sport hunters collect and prepare animals as trophies. While trophy hunting practices in the
past have caused many animals to become extinct or endangered, both sport hunting and survival