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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, others are self-employed and make a living by selling hides and meat, while still others guide clients on big-game hunts.
German professional hunters (?Berufsjäger?) mostly work for large private forest estates and for state-owned forest enterprises, where they control browsing by reducing the numbers of ungulates like roe deer or chamois, manage populations of sought-after trophy species like red deer and act as hunting guides for paying clients.
Southern and Eastern Africa
Professional hunter (left) with a guest hunter (right) stalking African big-game in the Kalahari Desert, Namibia
The countries of Southern and Eastern Africa, especially Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, are major destinations for big-game hunting tourism in Africa. Local professional hunters, often simply referred to as PH, act as hunting guides for paying guest hunters and manage safari hunting businesses.
British professional stalkers and gamekeepers primarily work on large estates, especially in the Scottish Highlands, where they most commonly manage red deer, common pheasant, red grouse and French partridge. In their heyday at the outset of the 20th century an estimated 25,000 professional stalkers and gamekeepers were employed in the UK, while today there are some three thousand.
Unregulated hunting in the 19th and early 20th century
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
In a North American context the terms market hunter and commercial hunter are predominantly used to refer to hunters of the 19th and early 20th century who sold or traded the flesh, bones, 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 were 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.
Populations of large birds were severely depleted through the 19th and early 20th century. 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.
Federal and States agencies
Aerial shooting of feral pigs from a helicopter by the Texas Wildlife Services
Dickson, Barney., Hutton, Jonathan., Adams, W. M. (2009). Recreational Hunting, Conservation and Rural Livelihoods. (= Conservation Science and Practice). Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN9781444303179.
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, ISBN9780520282292.
Lovelock, Brent (2007). Tourism and the consumption of wildlife: hunting, shooting and sport fishing. London: Routledge. ISBN978-0-203-93432-6.
van der Merwe, Peet; du Plessis, Lindie (2014). Game farming and hunting tourism. African Sun Media. ISBN978-0-9922359-1-8.