LEARY, Times Staff Writer
St. Petersburg Times
published June 10, 2003
The story of Port Richey City Manager Vince Lupo's African hunting
exploits, featured in Monday's Pasco Times, was met with harsh criticism
They were unhappy with Lupo for shooting
the animals, and they were unhappy with the newspaper for writing
The man is an out-and-out killer; you don't have to lionize him," Hudson
resident Carl Manzo said. "I'm not objecting to hunting. But
he's like an alphabet hunter. He wants to get one of everything."
Fainer of Zephyrhills said the article would have been "much
better off in a sport magazine that the public would not have to
The front-page story described Lupo's
quest to shoot the African "big
six" - elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, lion, leopard and
Cape buffalo - with a lever-action rifle.
Lupo, 61, a hunter since
his early 20s, claims to be the first man to accomplish that feat,
and his story is featured on the Web site
of a bullet manufacturer.
Several readers directed their disappointment
directly to Lupo at City Hall. Lupo said he explained to them that
meat from the animals
is given away and that he obtained proper permits from the South
I take exception to some of the statements," he said in an interview. "Sport
hunting is in the mind of the beholder. My ethics make hunting truly
a sport. I pride myself in one shot, one kill whenever possible."
the dozen or so phone calls and several e-mails to the Times, readers
seemed most irritated with the photograph of a grinning Lupo
holding a 220-pound leopard, which he said he killed during a November
Like most trophy hunters, Lupo documents
his conquests. Pictures line his office walls while the taxidermic
heads of animals
in his Tampa home.
Does killing animals & going after the "big six" make
Vince Lupo some type of "big man?" Maria Boucher asked
in an e-mail to the Times. "How about going one-on-one with
one of those animals sans the gun? Come on Vince, let's see how you
fare without that gun in your hands."
Roberta Koontz of Hudson,
also in an e-mail, suggested the article's headline - Staying on
top of the game - would more accurately read "Vince
Lupo Killer - killer of many animals that live on this earth."
Outraged is probably an understatement," said Sharon Ellingwood
of New Port Richey. "This isn't even a sport; they use Land
Monday, Lupo insisted anew that the
animals were free-ranging and in some cases were a threat to people
or livestock. The leopard,
he said, was killing livestock and was scheduled to be exterminated;
the elephant, he said, had escaped from a refuge.
He said he understands
that some people find his passion objectionable but defended sport
hunting as acceptable, even altruistic.
They have to experience it for themselves, or do a little more reading.
It's a mainstay of the African economy. It keeps people employed.
It keeps people fed."
Hunting is a nearly $82-million a year
business in South Africa, according to African Eye News Service.
Still, that argument is unlikely
to resonate with Lupo's critics. "So
what if he gave food to the people," said Julie O'Steen of New
Port Richey. "What about the money he spent for this? That could
have gone to the people."
- Times researcher Cathy Wos contributed
to this report. Alex Leary covers the city of Port Richey. He can
be reached in west Pasco at
869-6247, or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6247. His e-mail
address is firstname.lastname@example.org