To secure a place on the list of individuals who've attained the African Big Five Grand Slam, hunters must kill an elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, and Cape buffalo. Over 3,100 of these animals were killed and imported into the US by trophy hunters in 2014 alone, including 741 lions, 311 leopards, 1,412 Cape buffalo, 671 elephants, and 32 rhinos. Think about these numbers over a 10-year period, or over a 50-year period, and it's a staggering body count. The top SCI recognition is the World Hunting Award, which requires the hunter to have achieved awards in 30 lower award categories - requiring a dedicated focus to kill animals of particular types across vast portions of the globe.
"Trophy Madness" takes a look at some of SCI's most obsessed and driven hunters, the "one percent" of its members who have earned the most heralded prize - the World Hunting Award, commemorated with a ring that looks like a Super Bowl ring, featuring gold, diamond, and onyx. These prolific killers have spent decades and often millions of dollars acquiring their "collections" of body parts. One filed a federal lawsuit against his African hunting safari guide when that individual failed to get "adequate" video footage of his kills. Another ring-wearer has personally killed at least 18 lions. Examining just some of the World Hunting Award winners - and their hunting exploits - offers a telling glimpse into the depths of the "trophy madness" fostered by SCI.