Principal Removes Hunting Trophies Amid Controversy

Chances are your office pales in comparison to Petersen's Hunting editor-in-chief Mike Schoby's. An accomplished globetrotter, Schoby's office is covered with trophies from his hunts around the globe. A couple whitetails (normal enough) plus a red stag (getting better), a caribou (now we're talking), various species of antelope, a javelina caught mid-stride, and to top it all off, a baboon holding a stack of business cards.

He's also a master angler; a mounted goliath tigerfish -- the holy grail of freshwater fishers -- is mounted above his doorway. It is without a doubt the coolest office in our building, one that would surely make some animal rights activist's head spin before keeling over.

Of course, this is a hunting magazine; that sort of thing is pretty much expected, if not required. The point is, hunters, no matter where they work, love to show off the trophies of their kills, whether it's at home or at their place of work.


But does that include teachers, principals and other school officials? Take South Carolina principal Buddy Chapel, who before this past weekend, had an office that would rival Schoby's in terms of the sheer volume of his trophies. From antelopes to hogs, and even a stuffed lioness, Chapel, a former Marine Corps drill sergeant, adorned his high school office with the variety of mounts.


But, early last month, the collection became a public matter after the photo above appeared in a local newspaper.


Two bothered individuals wrote letters to the editor and generated enough controversy to force Chapel to remove the display from his office. Apparently, these folks felt hunting had no place in a public school.

Chapel told local reporters previously that he offered to meet elsewhere if students were uncomfortable in his office but most students seemed to like the collection.

We understand not everyone is as into hunting as we are, and being that this is America, they're free and welcome to make that choice, but that doesn't mean just because an overly sensitive non-hunter is offended, hunters should have to disguise their hobby -- or hide it completely.


Be that as it may, principals are in fact public officials whose freedom of expression is limited; you could make both arguments for and against Chapel's trophies.

What's truly remarkable is the offense taken to a legal activity. Hunting is a licensed, heavily promoted activity in Africa, and a huge part of African economies that may otherwise struggle. The money generated from African safaris not only stimulates countries financially, but it also goes back into wildlife conservation.

Rather than analyze the facts of the situation, however, the offended parties seemed to have simply seen heads hanging on a wall and assumed something evil had happened. One of the letter writers, a South Carolina teacher named Marian Martin, posed the question, "What message is he sending those kids?"


Well that's a good question, and one that never had a resolution. The message is, Chapel enjoys hunting. That's it. What's more reprehensible to us is the fact that these people took it upon themselves to speak for students who Chapel said had never gotten the willies from the display. To that, we pose the same question: What message is that sending the kids, letting someone else speak on your behalf? Even if the students did have a problem with it, shouldn't they be allowed to address it themselves? This is a high school after all.

The offense taken to a legal activity without full understanding of the situation, along with the audacity to speak for an entire student body, is much more harmful than being stared down by a mounted gemsbok.

What do you think? Let's hear it in the comments section.

Recommended for You

Having just the right amount of lightweight gear can make or break a hunt. Find out the best way to pack for a backcountry trek! Camping

What's In Your Backcountry Pack?

Tracy Breen

Sponsored By
Outdoor Sportsman Group
Companies in the outdoor industry know how to get our attention. We know, it might seem cheap, but SHOT Show

Booth Babes from the 2012 SHOT Show

PH Online Editors - January 18, 2012

Companies in the outdoor industry know how to get our attention. We know, it might seem cheap,...

Here are our top choices for hunting this fall! Guns

Top Precision Rifles for Hunting in 2019

Joseph Von Benedikt - April 22, 2019

Here are our top choices for hunting this fall!

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 7: Beginner's Luck

Host Kali Parmley takes first-time hunter Danae Hale of CZ-USA to Wyoming for a mule deer hunt. After covering all the basics with Danae, the girls head into the field and what happens next goes way beyond either of their expectations!

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 10: Snowbound Chamois

Host Brittany Boddington gets more than she bargained for on what turned out to be a grueling, snowbound and extremely physical hunt for chamois in Romania's Carpathian mountains.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 12: High Plains Elk

David Draper teams up with Fred Eichler to hunt elk on the high plains of southern Colorado.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these guns. Survival

Which Firearm Is Best for Bear Defense?

Larry Case - July 11, 2018

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these...

We evaluate the four factors in determining whether a cartridge is viable for long-range hunting: trajectory, wind drift, impact velocity, and accuracy. Ammo

Is the .308 a Viable Long Range Cartridge?

Keith Wood

We evaluate the four factors in determining whether a cartridge is viable for long-range...

Perfection takes practice, a little skill and the understanding that not all steaks are created equal. Recipes

How to Properly Grill Venison Steak

Hank Shaw

Perfection takes practice, a little skill and the understanding that not all steaks are...

See More Stories

More News

A magnificent male specimen of charismatic megafauna is shot and killed and the public erupts in News

Hunting Without Apology

Thomas McIntyre - October 03, 2016

A magnificent male specimen of charismatic megafauna is shot and killed and the public erupts...

You look at the photo of him grinning pensively, as if just a touch of worry is in the corners of News

Poachers Pay More with Boone and Crockett's New Plan

Frank Miniter - October 03, 2016

You look at the photo of him grinning pensively, as if just a touch of worry is in the corners...

In this News

A Boy's First Buck

Hunting Online Staff - July 25, 2018

In this "Petersen's Hunting" clip, Mike Schoby initiates his young nephew into the world of...

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.