It would sure seem that way, for a diversity of reasons.
First, trophy hunters are declining in numbers. The existing rich hunters already have their trophy rooms stuffed with dead wildlife, they have already been awarded all their rings and inner circle awards by the likes of the Safari Club International, they are now old and tired.
Second, despite many efforts from the likes of the Safari Club International, the Dallas Safari Club and the European CIC, recruitment of a “new” generation of trophy hunters is just not happening. Perhaps trophy rooms stuffed with glass-eyed animals does not appeal so much anymore to the post-boomer generations. Sure, there are die-hards among the “millennials” born close to 1980 and 2000 like Donald Trump jr, Prince William, etc who have more money and time on their hands than sense. Then there are the promoted women who trophy hunt, like Larysa Switlyk, Tess Thompson Talley, Jacine Jadresko, Rebecca Francis, Olivia Opre etc. Many hunt because they are on contract to “hunting shows” especially in the USA. https://www.outdoorlife.com/why-we-are-losing-hunters-and-…/
Third, despite falling numbers, the Safari Club International keeps handing out awards. Every year. To encourage and sustain, but fewer and fewer are in the running. https://www.safariclub.org/world-hunting-awards
Fourth, when reading comments on hunter forums, it would appear that many past, present and aspiring trophy hunters are being put off by the prices they would need to pay for their African “safaris”. And they complain about all sorts of additional costs like taxidermy, flights, paying “handlers” to get their trophies home, “hidden costs”, tips, the quality of their professional hunter guides, etc, etc.
Fifth, and along those lines, SCI and DSC and CIC “conventions” offer many auctions and “deals”. Pay for a hunt at a cut price. Also, trophy hunters are more and more attracted these days to cut-price South African hunts on game ranches, of canned lions, of canned rhinos. The cheaper the trophy the more the interest it would seem. Meaning that trophy hunting operators are scraping the barrel of clients – and that any notion of “conservation” benefits are going out the window because at cut prices there is little left over to pay communities or whatever.
Sixth, many US trophy hunters, the mainstay of the trophy hunting industry, hardly bother to travel to Africa anymore. They can shoot African species on Texas game farms for example – much cheaper, no import and export hassles, no gun permits and fees. Also, Africa these days seems a bit “dicey” to them – malaria, tsetse flies, rough conditions, corruption, dangerous people in the bush like poachers, shady hunting operators – and of course the problems with getting import permits for the trophies and having to wait sometimes years before the trophy finally gets delivered. Not worth the hassle.
Seventh, trophy hunting has been shown time and again to have failed in the most basic of conservation requirements. There are far too many examples of weak governance, corruption, lack of transparency, excessive quotas, illegal hunting, poor monitoring and other problems in a number of countries. https://www.iucn.org/…/iucn_sept_briefing_paper_-_informing…
So why are there so many organizations, individuals, NGOs still pushing the trophy hunting = conservation mantra? Perhaps they know nothing else, perhaps the operators hope to score some recent billionaire to come hunting, some remaining septuagenarian or octogenarian to heave his carcass into a hunting vehicle? Perhaps they live in the echo chambers of their own social media sites that tell them that trophy hunting is here to stay and that hunting is a “white right”?
Well, it is not. Trophy hunters always say that if changes are going to be made, then photographic tourism needs to provide alternatives and anti-hunting NGOs need to tender for hunting concessions. This is just plain silly. If your business is failing, make changes yourself. See the writing on the wall or just go under like so many trophy hunting businesses have already done. https://www.facebook.com/…/important-ple…/10155373451018310/