Hunting elephants with an AK-47 from a helicopter: unsporting.
Hunting cape buffalo on foot with any weapon less powerful than a bazooka: sporting.
But, the most crazily sporting thing I've heard of recently is what a young hunter named David Mayer did last year. He scuba dove 85 feet down in Puget Sound, but without a spear gun. He found a 9-foot-wide, 80-pound Great Pacific Octopus. From Marnie Hanel's NYT Magazine article:
The giant Pacific octopus was curled inside a rock piling, both its color and texture altered by camouflage. Mayer judged it to be his size, about six feet, and wondered if he could take it on alone. He lunged at the octopus, grabbing one of its eight arms. It slipped slimily between his fingers, its suckers feeling and tasting his hand. He reached for it again, and again it retreated. Able to squeeze its body through a space as small as a lemon, the octopus was unlikely to succumb to his grip. He poked it with his finger and watched it turn brighter shades of red, until finally, it sprang forward and revealed itself to be a nine-foot wheel charging through the water.
The octopus grabbed Mayer where it could, encircling his thigh, spiraling his torso, its some 1,600 suckers — varying in size from a peppercorn to a pepper mill — latching onto his wet suit and face. It pulled Mayer’s regulator out of his mouth. His adrenaline rising, he punched the creature, and began a wrestling match that would last 25 minutes.
Eventually, he emerged alive and cooked the octopus for dinner.
That's about the fairest fight imaginable. I mean, a Homo erectus would have at least taken a rock with him.
This made Mayer a hero with Seattle's locavore community for harvesting a local, legally huntable and highly abundant foodstuff using the absolute minimum of technology. After all, as Hanel notes, octopus salad is one of the celebrated dishes served at the foodiest restaurants in Seattle.
Nah, I'm kidding. Mayer instantly became demonized in Seattle.
Well, much of it has to do with the culture war between coastal and inland white people. Mayer is from an inland exurb of Seattle, and exhibits all the class markers of Stuff White People Don't Like:
According to the permit he had just purchased at Walmart, Mayer was allowed to catch this sea life and cook it, which is exactly what he set out to do. He wasn’t much of a chef, but he had experience foraging for his dinner. Mayer had attended a high school known for its Future Farmers of America program; he also knew how to slaughter cows and castrate bulls. Now he was going to community college ...
By the way, this doesn't particularly represent a money divide -- scuba divers are seldom poor and Mayer, like Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate, practiced his scuba diving in his parents' swimming pool. Unlike The Graduate, however, he had his friends attack him in the pool so he could improve his underwater octopus wrestling skills.
Instead, this represents a cultural difference related, in large measure, to population density.