Botswana, Africa, 1986:
The jungle was filled with trees and brush. It wasn’t wet or majestic. There was no way they could go through it with a vehicle.
The four men — Glenn Rasmussen, son Erik, and two trackers — had to go on foot through the jungle, or they couldn’t get what they had come for.
They came to an opening about 50 yards across.
Glenn Rasmussen had a huge rush of adrenaline and there was no time for fear.
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“We saw him and he saw us,” he recalls. “The lion charged and crossed 50 yards in about three seconds.
“When that lion charged, I didn’t run. I stayed and just kept shooting. Until you don’t get into that kind of situation you don’t know if you’ll run or stay put.
“And I am glad I didn’t run. Erik got a shot and hit him under the eye. So the lion finally fell and we got a hold of it.”
Glenn Rasmussen lives with his wife, Cherry, in Yakima. They have three adult children, Erik, Shelly and Tracy. Semi-retired at age 77, Glenn Rasmussen has been a CPA for 55 years.
But he has been a trophy hunter for much longer. His first outing was a pheasant hunt at age 9 with his father, a farmer who hunted his whole life.
“It just kind of grew on me,” says Rasmussen. “It got to be a passion. I didn’t sleep all night the opening season of the pheasant hunt.”
In 1964, Rasmussen and his father went on a hunt for moose and deer in Canada. That was his first big game hunt, and it was the beginning of a new-found passion. Over the years, Rasmussen has really enjoyed hunting.
His pursuits have taken him to Europe, Africa, Mexico, the Arctic and all of the Western states (as far east as South Dakota). There are many trophy hunters all over the world, each one hunting for a cause.
“To me, I enjoy being out in the bush with the critters,” he says. “Even when I get a good shot at the animal and he’s wounded, the satisfaction isn’t complete until he’s butchered, and the meat has gone to some place where it can be utilized.”
Nothing, he adds, is wasted.
To Rasmussen, hunting isn’t just a game of satisfaction. He calls it “a basic instinct to man. Man has been hunting forever. Different men or women hunt for different reasons.”
Rasmussen has killed several hundred animals and displays the better-quality animals throughout his home. About 100 animals are mounted around the house, each one posed in its natural position. A crocodile ready to snap its jaws lays on the floor, next to the lion from Botswana, which is mounted on a rock. Rasmussen has mounted some of the animals on the wall, including a leopard from Zimbabwe that is set on a branch in his living room.
The one goal he set out to accomplish was to get all the North American big-game animals, also known as the “North American 29.” After hunting in all of the Western states, Glenn got his name recorded for accomplishing this feat.
His passion for hunting has created many memories and stories. Out of all the hunts Rasmussen has done, the most difficult was an elephant hunt in 1994. Glenn never thought he would hunt an elephant, and the thought of it seemed almost impossible to him. He had made his way to Zimbabwe, a landlocked country in southern Africa.
On the second day, he and his fellow hunters spotted some elephants. After sneaking up on one, Rasmussen went for the kill. After the elephant went down, Rasmussen and the other hunters took pictures and cut off the elephant’s tail as a sign of ownership to show that the large animal had been taken by them.
“No one’s supposed to bother it,” he explains.
The next day there were a couple hundred people waiting for the meat in the field where it was to be butchered and distributed. Many were also walking alongside the road, and Rasmussen picked up as many as he could while making his way to share the prize.
“The people in Zimbabwe don’t get much meat. It was like a big picnic and we felt like heroes. They were so happy because we had gotten meat for them, and it was quite an experience. The meat from these critters is never wasted. If we don’t use it ourselves it’s given to someone else to use.”
The two front feet of the elephant are now used as stools, while the back two feet are made into waste baskets because of their shape. The rest of the elephant’s skin was made into belts, purses, boots, gun cases, billfolds and briefcases.
Rasmussen has hunted in many tropical places around the world, but that trip is still the one where he had his biggest kill. For many trophy hunters, hunting is just adding more and more animals to their collection. But one of the key things, says Rasmussen, is that “it’s not a game, it’s an avocation.”
Hunting isn’t a game of killing, but a way to get out into the wilderness and get the meat that can be consumed.
It’s also a way of giving to those who can’t get for themselves, like the people in Zimbabwe.
“I don’t kill things that I don’t use,” Rasmussen says. “It does get donated, or used for personal things.”
• Jasmine Randhawa is a junior at East Valley High School and a member of the Yakima Herald-Republic’s Unleashed journalism program for high school students.
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