Professional hunter

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Paul Childerley, a British professional stalker and gamekeeper

A professional hunter, less frequently referred to as market or commercial hunter and regionally, especially in Britain and Ireland, as professional stalker or gamekeeper, is a person who hunts and/or manages game by profession. Some professional hunters work in the private sector or for government agencies and manage species that are considered overabundant,[1][2] others are self-employed and make a living by selling hides and meat,[3] while still others are guiding big-game hunters.[4]


In Australia several million kangaroos are shot each year by licensed professional hunters in population control programmes, with both their meat and hides getting sold.[5][6][7][8][9]


German professional hunters (″Berufsjäger″) mostly work for large private forest estates and for state-owned forest administrations, where they control browsing by reducing the numbers of roe deer, chamois, etc. or manage populations of sought after trophy species like red deer and act as hunting guides for paying clients.[10][11][12]

United Kingdom[edit]

British professional stalkers and gamekeepers primarily work on large estates, especially in Scotland, where they manage red deer, common pheasant, red grouse and French partridge.[13] In their heyday at the outset of the 20th century an estimated 25,000 professional stalkers and gamekeepers were employed in the UK,[14] while today there are some three thousand.[13]

United States[edit]

Unregulated hunting in the 19th and early 20th century[edit]

American bison were hunted almost to extinction in the late 19th century primarily by market hunters and were reduced to a few hundred by the mid-1880s.[15]

In a North American context the terms market, professional and commercial hunter are used to refer the hunters of the 19th and early 20th century, who sold or traded the flesh, bones, and/or skins and feathers of slain animals as a source of income; these hunters focused on species which gathered in large numbers for breeding, feeding, or migration and was organized into factory-like groups that would systematically depopulate an area of any valuable wildlife over a short period of time. The animals which were hunted included bison, deer, ducks and other waterfowl, geese, pigeons and many other birds, seals and walruses, fish, river mussels, and clams.[16]

Effects on North American birds[edit]

Populations of large birds were severely depleted through the 19th and early 20th century. At the time of European discovery, migratory flocks a mile wide and hundreds of miles long contained billions of passenger pigeons flying so closely together that they darkened the sky for hours as they passed overhead; the weight of roosting pigeons would break trees up to 2 feet (61 cm) in diameter. In Michigan 25,000 pigeons were killed daily for a month in 1874 before the flocks disappeared at the end of the century. Migratory flocks of millions of Eskimo curlews were harvested up to 7,000 birds per day. Market hunters used punt guns in Long Island Sound, Delaware Bay, and Chesapeake Bay to harvest Atlantic Flyway waterfowl; the last known breeding colony of great auks on Funk Island was destroyed for feathers sold to stuff pillows and mattresses. Herons and egrets were hunted for their long, filamentous nuptial plumage used in the millinery trade from 1840 until prices rose to $32 per ounce in 1903. Heath hens were exterminated from the mainland by 1835, and were extinct within a century.

Legislative response[edit]

The extermination of several species and the threatened loss of others caused popular legislation effectively prohibiting this form of commercial hunting in the United States. Hunting seasons were eventually established to conserve surviving wildlife and allow a certain amount of recovery and re-population to occur; the Migratory Bird Treaty Act signed in 1918 regulated hunting and prohibited all hunting of wood ducks until 1941 and swans until 1962.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fraser, Kenneth Wayne (2000). Status and conservation role of recreational hunting on conservation land (PDF). Science for conservation. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Department of Conservation. p. 29. ISBN 978-0478219418. OCLC 54101985.
  2. ^ "2. – Hunting". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Manatu. Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  3. ^ Ford, James D.; Macdonald, Joanna Petrasek; Huet, Catherine; Statham, Sara; MacRury, Allison (2016-03-01). "Food policy in the Canadian North: Is there a role for country food markets?". Social Science & Medicine. 152: 35–40. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.01.034. ISSN 0277-9536. PMID 26829007.
  4. ^ Tourist hunting in Tanzania: proceedings of a workshop held in July 1993 (PDF). Leader-Williams, N., Kayera, J. A., Overton, G. L., International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Species Survival Commission. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. 1996. ISBN 978-2831703152. OCLC 36838397.CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. ^ "Eat kangaroo to 'save the planet'". BBC News. 9 August 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2008.
  6. ^ Dow, Steve (26 September 2007). "An industry that's under the gun". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 August 2008.
  7. ^ York, Catherine; Bale, Rachael (2017-11-21). "Australians Hunt Kangaroos Commercially. Does It Make Sense?". Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  8. ^ Tippet, Gary (2008-11-08). "The roo shooter". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  9. ^ Johnson, Christopher; Woinarski, John; Cooney, Rosie (2015-10-05). "Comment: Bans on kangaroo products are a case of emotion trumping science". SBS News. Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  10. ^ "Revierjäger / Revierjägerin". (in German). Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  11. ^ Fuhr, Eckhard (2010-08-19). "Die Schule der Jäger". WELT (in German). Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  12. ^ "Bundesverbandes Deutscher Berufsjäger - Berufsbild". (in German). Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  13. ^ a b "About Gamekeeping". Retrieved 2019-02-07.
  14. ^ Edward, Bujak (2018-10-18). English Landed Society in the Great War: Defending the Realm. Bloomsbury Studies in Military History. London. p. 71. ISBN 9781472592163. OCLC 1049577685.
  15. ^ Records, Laban (March 1995). Cherokee Outlet Cowboy: Recollections of Laban S. Records. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-2694-4.
  16. ^ Browne, Ray Broadus (1982), Objects of special devotion: fetishism in popular culture, Popular Press, p. 154, ISBN 978-0-87972-191-6
  17. ^ Terres, John K. (1980). The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds. New York: Alfred Knopf. pp. 176, 181, 264–265, 283, 453, 495, 588–589, 598–59, 733–735, and 769–770. ISBN 978-0-394-46651-4.


  • Dickson, Barney., Hutton, Jonathan., Adams, W. M. (2009). Recreational Hunting, Conservation and Rural Livelihoods. (= Conservation Science and Practice). Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN 9781444303179.
  • Gissibl, B. (2016). The conservation of luxury: Safari hunting and the consumption of wildlife in twentieth-century East Africa. In K. Hofmeester & B. Grewe (Eds.), Luxury in Global Perspective: Objects and Practices, 1600–2000 (Studies in Comparative World History, pp. 263-300). Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781316257913.011.
  • Jacoby, Karl (2001). Crimes against Nature: Squatters, Poachers, Thieves, and the Hidden History of American Conservation. Berkeley: University of California Press, ISBN 9780520282292.
  • Lovelock, Brent (2007). Tourism and the consumption of wildlife: hunting, shooting and sport fishing. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-203-93432-6.
  • van der Merwe, Peet; du Plessis, Lindie (2014). Game farming and hunting tourism. African Sun Media. ISBN 978-0-9922359-1-8.