In the United States, it's easy to bring up hunting and have your mind automatically go to deer and other similar species. Quite simply, our the North American hunting season is largely based on the same kinds of animals, and while some states throw curveballs into the equation - as with gator hunting in Florida - there's an unspoken agreement for most American hunters that big game means deer or elk.
In foreign lands, however, all bets are off. Once you leave North America and head to foreign areas - particularly if your destination is Africa - the list of "fair game" animals that you can hunt opens up dramatically. Of course, some of us are probably so conditioned to hunting deer that we would think it cruel to go after elephants or regal African cats. After all, the argument many of us use to support our hunting against animal right's activists is that it keeps species populations from getting out of hand and threatening American safety or economy. In hunting on another continent, you'd probably have to do a bit of research to form another line of reasoning.
Check out our piece on the ethics of an endangered black rhino hunt.
However, if you are interested in hunting exotic species in exotic locales around the world, there are options available for you. Just be prepared to pay a fair chunk of change for your opportunity to hunt some of the more impressive creatures on the list.
Elephant: Perhaps the ultimate big game trophy animal, elephant hunting has been rightfully restricted over the course of history, thanks in part to poachers who only want to kill the animals for their ivory tusks. If you are interested in taking on a giant of a challenge, though, then elephant hunting may well be the name of the game for you.
At the NRA convention earlier this year, a company called Ndumo Hunting Safaris was offering a 14 day elephant hunt in the Caprevi region of Namibia. At the time, the outfitter was selling the trip for a hefty $31,450 sum (marked down from the regular price of $37,000!). In other words, it's a splurge, but if you're really dedicated to landing an elephant trophy, it might be worth it to you. Of course, you can also go on a one-day hunt for about $1,500, but that probably amplifies your chances of going home empty-handed.
Giraffe: Considering that fact that this quirky, long-necked creature is one of the top draws for crowds at pretty much every zoo in America, we think we'd have a bit of trouble hunting it down and killing it in the African savannah. If that's your thing though, giraffe hunts are available in the $3,000 to $4,000 range.
African Cats: You have to admit: there's a rush of adrenaline from just thinking about hunting the King of the Jungle or the many other regal and dangerous wildcats that call Africa home. From lions to leopards and beyond, Africa is an attractive destination for cat hunters. Just be prepared to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000 or $25,000 for a multi-day guided hunt.