On a personal level I cannot understand hunting for sport. I find the idea of going out with the sole purpose of killing an animal just to kill it bizarre. Watching an animal in the wild fills me with such joy and I can do it for hours, most of my PhD involved just watching birds. However, I have been on hunts but these were all for food. The meat that we ate on the reserve that I worked on was shot on the reserve. Some people may feel that even this is too far, but in my eyes shooting for food is the same as buying meat from the supermarket.
But is hunting for sport intrinsically bad? This is a far more complicated question than it first seems. Lots of money goes directly into conservation from big game hunting. Without this money there are some conservation projects that might not be possible. Hunting can generate large amounts of income and some species are specifically bred for hunting, such as sable. This money can be used to create jobs and incentives for local people to conserve wildlife, preventing areas being converted to agricultural land (which would have a large impact on the wildlife that can be supported). The rarity of the species drives up the prices for those wanting to hunt the animal, for example a man recently paid $350,000 to shoot a black rhino. But this is where it gets difficult, some of these species are becoming so rare that the death of one individual will have a considerable impact on the population as a whole. There is a large difference between shooting a rhino and shooting a springbok.
I'm not a conservation biologist but I know that the answer to this question is not set in stone. From what I have seen, the recent news coverage has been very one sided, in a similar vein to the social media storm. This is a very complicated issue, which doesn't just have moral arguments but many commercial and conservation elements too. In my view, if there are people who want to spend money to shoot animals then lets find a sensible and sustainable way of doing so that can enhance conservation. This may involve completely banning the hunting of species like lions and rhino, only allowing antelope to be shot. But again I stress that I'm not a conservation biologist. All I know is that I definitely would never be one of those people who would pay solely to kill an animal.
Here are some links to articles that try to deal with the question: