Why Hunting is Good vs. Anti-hunting

pros of hunting

Is Hunting Necessary?

This is the question that started it all.

I thought I just wanted to publish my own opinions – it’s my blog after all. Well I ended up scratching my original plan to publish an article that reflects only my personal ideals…

Because the original plan is self-serving. If I make this one-sided, I wouldn’t be any different from the authors of self-serving articles from the opposing side, those who I consider ignorant extremists.

I realised I want nothing more than to put an end to this old-age debate because I’m getting sick of it – I’m sure both hunters and anti-hunters feel the same way.

What started as an intention to simply share my opinions became a bigger pursuit of understanding the argument from both sides – pro-hunting and anti-hunting.

Let’s explore the different arguments from both sides, shall we?

One last thing…

To fully benefit from this article, you need to have an open mind. That means if you’re a hunter, make an effort to understand the arguments against hunting, and vice-versa. If you do, this article will give you something to think about, like it did to me.

Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time reading this article. If you’re a close-minded individual who’s not willing to listen to scientific facts, research, and and other legitimate causes presented from both sides, then I STRONGLY DISCOURAGE you from reading on. I repeat – you’ll just be wasting your time.

Did the narrow-minded people hit the back button already? Good. All the rest, let’s get started…

Why Do People Hunt (And Some Arguments for Hunting)

In order to conclude whether hunting is good or not – we first have to understand the reason behind this activity.

Why do people hunt animals?

There are actually different reasons why, and the reason varies from hunter to hunter. Let’s take a moment to learn all of them:

1. It’s Ethical

You read that right – some people hunt because they believe it’s the right thing to do for the animal.

Wait, what?

That sounds counter-intuitive. Do hunters really think that when the animal gets shot, it will say “thanks”?

I can already foresee the amount of arguments that will come from both sides regarding this point. To eliminate bias, let’s consult science.

Who am I kidding, this is the part where we really need help from science.

The Study that Shed Light on Top Causes of Deer Mortality

Here’s a fact: the instances of deer dying of old age is little to none. If deer rarely die from old age, then what’s killing them?

In Wisconsin (where deer is the official animal of the state) a study has been conducted to get to the bottom of this. The Department of Natural Resources partnered with the University of Winconsin to lead the research.

Their findings? Human hunting is the top cause of deer deaths. The second leading cause is starvation, followed by predators such as coyotes and wolves. The fourth leading cause is vehicle collision.

So what? Why am I quoting this research? What’s the implication?

Let’s take a step back – well it turns out that deer die one of these four major ways:

  1. Starve to death.
  2. Be eaten alive by coyotes or wolves.
  3. Get struck by a car and die on the road.
  4. Be killed by a hunter.

Because of this, hunters justify their activity, saying that getting shot by a hunter is the best way to go.

That way, the deer dies a quick death. If a deer evades a hunter, it ends up dying one of the other three ways, which is slow and painful.

In other words, hunters are providing a way better, humane death than the other things that are going to kill them.

Here’s an excerpt from a hunter:

Instead of giving a deer a quick death with a bullet, you can either leave them to starve to death, freeze to death, get gored to death by some predator, get smashed to pieces by a car, etc. Did you think that if people didn’t hunt them anymore, the deer would live a long, happy life and die from old age? Well, if the above scenario didn’t convince otherwise, then let me tell you, Mother Nature is hardcore.

For example, the term “winter kill” has been coined to refer to deer dying in the winter. Winter kill costs many deer their lives through starvation when their population rises too high.

But I’m not convinced.

Why do some people kill animals then take them home and eat them, instead of just going to the grocery store to buy their meat?

Well, hunters will answer that venison is more lean and healthier than beef. If you prepare it properly, it’s even more delicious. They actually enjoy the taste of fresh game meat.

But why do you need to hunt them when you could buy them on stores?

To answer this question, first you should ask yourself which among the two scenarios is better:

Scenario 1:

You’re forced to live in a prison all your life. You can only mate with someone if those who imprisoned you have decided that you’re “good enough” to reproduce among your species.

Then your children will also grow up in the same scenario. And your grandchildren will follow the same fate, as well as their children – it never ends.

Every inmate in the prison is also on a death row. Once you you reach the set size or age, you’ll be executed. Every single prisoner is on queue.

That means you’re going to live the rest of your life in the cell, reproducing, then getting killed when the jail officers decide that it’s your time.

commercial cow farm

That’s the life of animals that are mass-bred in farms.

Now let’s consider the wild animals – those that are suspect to being hunted. What’s their life like? Let’s put ourselves in their shoes…

Scenario 2:

You live the rest of your life as a free man. You can mate with whoever you want, nobody will force you, nor will anyone pick your partner for you. You can roam the land wherever you want, whenever you want.

You also get to eat what’s naturally your food.

Basically you’ll grow up free while your offspring awaits the same fate.

free deer in the woods

And how do you die? One way is getting shot by a hunter instead of spending your life standing on the line to the execution chamber.

Scenario 1 vs. 2

Hunters will ask you this: would you rather eat meat (1) from an animal that lived healthy, happy, and independent life? Or (2) from a tortured animal?

My turkey lived free, it moved, it wasn’t pumped full of steroids to bulk it up in 3 months to 20 pounds. I hunt them because they are free range not in a cage. They are healthy to eat, not pumped full of antibiotics and nothing that nature didn’t intend for turkeys to eat like bugs and such that poultry needs to survive, making him much healthier and much more flavorful.

Hunters see themselves as people who take the courage to shoot the animal themselves rather than participate in a system that treats animals as mere mass-product-producing objects.

These type of hunters think our North American profit-based food production practices are way more questionable than ethical hunting.

If you think this way, then obviously if you choose to consume meat then hunting is a more righteous way to do so.

These hunters will also argue that you’ll never appreciate every bite of food as much as when you hunted, for all the time, preparation, and effort that brought the food to your table.

Why do I still hunt? For many reasons and none are about cruelty or cheap thrills. I see most people as hunters. People hunt when they wander down the fresh meat aisle of their supermarket or when ordering at a restaurant. I have made the choice that I will take responsibility for some of the meat on my plate.

We too easily and willingly hide things behind a curtain and neatly place a sign in front saying ‘Civilized Society. Do not open!’. Behind those curtains are many things that underpin modern life. They may not be pleasant. They can be uncomfortable and distressing. Modern life is very easily watered down and sweetened for easy consumption.

I choose to accept responsibility that when I eat meat, an animal had died to provide that.

Not all my meat is meat I have hunted. Most comes from a fresh meat aisle but in my life I keep the curtain open and accept responsibility for it.

So for these hunters, what they’re doing to acquire food is not cruelty?

Ahh cruelty. This precise argument against hunting is from people who, like most of Western society, forget or choose to ignore that the meat they eat used to be an animal that was killed in unethical conditions far worse than being hunted.

Western society has this illness in being afraid of death, so it must be hidden from the eyes of its sheltered children, which grow up to seeing hunting as barbaric while they eat a burger from a slaughterhouse.

The irony barely escapes me. What makes hunting worse than eating animals who live their entire lives huddled around with each other like cows or chickens, or being a calf that never runs and so his meat is tender when it’s slaughtered for veal?

Now we know that some people hunt because they believe it’s an ethical way to acquire food.

I was surprised to also learn that these type of hunters acknowledge that hunting can be avoided if people let the wolves help with deer population control. But these hunters would rather eat an animal that they themselves killed cleanly than let another predator gore it to death and eat it for themselves.

But I’m still not convinced. Hunting is sadistic – I could never kill an animal no matter what the reason.

There is a system in place in humanity of using animals for food and other products and goods. Anyone who consumes animal products is in the system, whether they like to kill or not.

Some people acknowledge it and they’re okay with the kill and so when they hunt they understand it’s a part of the system. Others are desensitized from the killing system and thus only consume the animal products if disconnected from the killing itself.

You’d be surprised to hear this but even some hunters claim that they cried after killing an animal.

bullshit detected meme

BS detected?

Here’s a story a friend told me:

He knew a hunter that saw a deer every year until the buck reached its ten years. He basically saw the deer grow and that’s how they bonded.

One day during a hunting season the hunter finally shot the deer, proceeded to cry and said good bye to this animal he had a connection to.

Why did he shoot it? He said it’s because the deer was already old and its health has declined the way old stags do. Since there were many new young bucks in the herd that time, the old stag would most likely suffer a slow death from the coming winter due to starvation.

My million dollar question is… Are all hunters like those mentioned or quoted above? The sad truth is – NO. And this brings us to the second reason why people hunt.

2. Trophy or Sport Hunting

If it was easy to justify the first reason because it promotes humane deer deaths and ethical food acquisition from animals in general, this next reason is quite the opposite. Trophy hunting has very passionate supporters as well as very strong oppositions.

Is it legal?

Trophy hunting is legal in many countries. In these places, their law places restrictions on the type of animal that can be hunted as well as the type of weapon that can be used.

Specific laws vary per country and even per state, and it also depends on the type of trophy hunting.

trophy hunting wall

Meanwhile some places ban trophy hunting no matter what kind it is.

So what’s up with trophy hunting?

This activity is recreational and it’s a more selective type of hunting. Either the whole animal is kept as trophies or only parts of it – the most common ones being horns, antlers, and skin.

In cases like these where only some parts are kept as trophies, the meat is eaten by the hunters themselves or donated to the local community.

Why People Trophy Hunt

What’s the psychology behind this kind of reasoning? Why do some people find pleasure in hunting for the sake of sport or trophies?

In its shallowest context, it is simply an exhibitionist effort to display prowess and status. In a deeper context, it goes beyond that…

Aldo Leopold once observed that poets sing and hunters scale the mountains primarily for one and the same reason — the thrill to beauty. Critics write and hunters outwit their game for one and the same reason — to reduce that beauty to possession.

Effects of Trophy Hunting

I have good news and bad news – trophy hunting has benefited some economies both financially and conservation-wise, but it has also done the opposite in other places.

Let’s take a look at real-life examples of the effects of trophy hunting:

Tanzania Conservation

According to various research studies, trophy hunting has been an essential activity in providing incentives to finance animal conservation efforts in Africa.

More specifically, American trophy hunters spend millions of dollars on safaris and this finances wildlife management areas such as game reserves and other conservation efforts in Africa.

For example, New York Times reported that the wildlife authorities of Tanzania defend trophy hunting because it funds their conservation efforts.

White Rhinos Population Increase

A 2005 paper was published in the Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy, asserting that the legalization of hunting white rhinoceros in South Africa motivated private land owners to reintroduce the species back on their lands.

This resulted to the increase of white rhino population from less than one thousand to more than eleven thousand.

Increased Wildlife Areas in Zimbabwe

The study also showed that implementing controlled and legalized trophy hunting in Zimbabwe doubled the area of land available to wildlife such as elephants.

This reversed the problem of habitat loss and continues to help maintain wildlife population increase in Zimbabwe.

Another scientific study, this time from the Biological Conservation journal, echoes the same points regarding trophy hunting and incentives for conservation.

Increased Population in Namibia

An Amercian writer and journalist stated that Namibia is home to 1,750 of the 5,000 black rhinos in the wild because it allows trophy hunting. However he failed to prove the correlation.

It is however fact that Namibia’s elephants increased from 15,000 to 20,000 in 1995, while mountain zebra population increased from 1,000 to 27,000 in 2014.

Most importantly, the lions that were almost extinct from Senegal to Kenya are increasing in Namibia.

Botswana Banned Trophy Hunting

A trophy hunting ban in Botswana was implemented in 2014. According to The New York Times, the villagers now claim they no longer receive income from trophy hunters, their crop fields suffer from damage by elephants and buffaloes, and lions are killing their livestock.

This is why some conservationalists believe that managed trophy hunting is a much more effective way to manage wildlife than a total hunting ban.

Geographer Brian Child of the University of Florida agrees that completely eliminating hunting could be more dangerous. He said, “If you make hunting too difficult, then people are going to switch back to cattle, and then you’ll have no wildlife.”

IUCN Speaks Out

The International Union for Conservation of Nature recognizes that trophy hunting, PROVIDED THAT THE ACTIVITY IS WELL-MANAGED, can generate significant economic returns for the conservation of wildlife and their habitats.

So far I’ve only given examples where trophy hunting is managed well, but we have a lot to talk about. Obviously, trophy hunting can produce the opposite effect if it’s managed poorly.

For instance, in our Tanzania example above, the country has managed hunting for many decades – it has completely protected female and young lions, and male lion hunting is limited by quotas that are set for each location in the country.

No wonder they got the results that were previously mentioned.

Tanzania is also progressing further by penalizing hunting companies that don’t follow their hunting laws while rewarding those that did.

What about in areas where trophy hunting is out of control?

Corruption in Zimbabwe

People against trophy hunting can argue using the report from National Geographic that says government corruption in Zimbabwe keeps hunting fees from proceeding towards conservation efforts because the authorities keep the fees for themselves.

Other Reports Speak Out

Another similar report by Australian Economists was published on The Washinton Post and it says trophy hunting is actually less than one percent of tourism revenue in eight countries in Africa.

IUCN also reported in 2009 that West African communities benefit little from the safari-hunting business.

Genetic Health and Social Behaviors Consequences

Trophy hunting is a bit different from the first reason in this article on why people hunt, even though there are similarities.

The biggest difference is that most of the time, if not always, trophy hunting targets the biggest male from a species.

Removing these superior male animals from their species leaves behind lower quality males that don’t posses large sexual traits that allow them to father offspring as many as the bigger males can.

As a result, the good genes of the larger males can’t spread fast enough. That’s why unregulated trophy hunting can lead to extinction.

The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources even mentioned that trophy hunting may be contributing to extinctions of certain species.

The Money Goes Both Ways

A game reserve, also known as a wildlife reserve, is an area of land where wild animals live safely or are hunted in a controlled way.

The League Against Current Sports published a study by the University of Port Elizabeth that says private game reserves and eco-tourism generated an income that’s estimated to be 15 times more than that of overseas hunting.

And when you take overseas hunting out of the equation, it seems that private groups are having success in contributing large sum of money for conservation.

For example, the National Shooting Sports Foundation contributed more than $400,000 in 2005, while smaller private groups like the Grand Slam Club Ovis raised more than $6.3 million for sheep conservation.

3. Poaching: The Real Threat

Poaching IS illegal hunting.

Remember the first reason we learned in this article on why people hunt? It’s so noble, right? Well the reality is there are illegal hunters as well, who ruin it for their fellow hunters and wildlife as a whole.

These are the type of hunters who give anti-hunters a lot of good reason to oppose hunting. Even hunters who hunt because of the first reason in this article don’t consider poachers as real hunters because of the wrong motives.

poaching

Confiscated tusks being burnt in an effort to fight poaching.

What’s more is that while ethical hunters wait until they have a clean shot that gives utmost confidence of instantly killing the animal (which can take up a whole day)… some “hunters” don’t care for such things.

I think we all know about Cecil the lion who was a major attraction in the Hwange National Park. Cecil was one of the most studied lions by the University of Oxford as part of a larger study.

An American dentist lured Cecil from the park to kill him. This is strike number in terms of unethical hunting – had Cecil been in the park, it would have been illegal to kill him.

Then the dentist shot Cecil with an arrow. This is strike number two because the shot only wounded Cecil and Cecil was stalked for 40 hours. That is a very cruel thing an animal could go through. Make you suffer for 40 hours? Check.

Moving on…

While ethical hunters only take enough to feed their family (why kill two deer when your freezer can only accommodate one), some “hunters” kill as much as they can. This is mostly due to the fact the poachers hunt for the animal parts, instead of sustinence.

There are a lot more things that separate ethical hunters from poachers. One is respect – for the animal, nature, and the law.

Some people now hunt for money. The wild buffalo almost went extinct due to this unmanaged slaughter of animals. This is not to say all hunters are like this. It took only a relatively small group of people with enough disrespect and lack of common sense to cause such wide spread damage.

Poaching is very selfish. Even locals of the area also suffer especially when hunting is banned completely due to poaching.

How? The tribal people in India, Africa, and Brazil who depend on hunting for food now have to bear with anti-hunting measures. They are being falsely accused when in fact it wasn’t them who contributed to the decline of wildlife in their area.

Stephen Corry, director of the human-rights group Survival International, argues that indigenous people “have shaped landscapes and managed animal populations for millennia”.

He asserts that conservation organizations like the World Wildlife Fund apply the term “poaching” unfairly to local people of the area who only hunt in subsistence.

So you see, the consequences of poaching or illegal hunting is not limited to the wildlife but also to the people that live in that area.

Stop this selfishness.

Help Combat Poaching

Many groups offer rewards for any information that can lead to a poaching conviction in their area. Here are some of them:

And what about the other reasons why people hunt? Surely there are more than three? Yes.

4. Conservation

We talked a lot about how trophy hunting helped (and didn’t help) with conservation under the Trophy Hunting section of this article – those are all real-life examples.

But conservation deserves its own section because we have more to talk about when it comes to hunting towards conservation itself, not just on trophy hunting.

Outside of trophy hunting (where the activity finances conservation efforts and encourages reintroduction of wildlife), there are also two more problems that hunting claims to solve – overpopulation and pest control.

Population Control

In fact, hunting is encouraged in some places as a means of animal population control. And depending on the species, the meat may be harvested or not.

Why would we need to control their population? Keep reading.

One applicable scenario would be an environment where natural predators are absent, rare, or not enough to control their prey’s population. In places where this is the case, the prey population explodes and the area gets overrun with foxes, deer, rabbits, and raccoons.

That’s not to say that these animals are the problem – it’s actually their population. With plentiful number of these animals, predators such as wolves and coyotes get closer and closer to civilization, especially in North America where coyote has become the apex predator.

Now you know why coyotes are getting seen in major cities more often these days.

Imagine a town in the middle of a forest full of deer. The residents killed or chased away all predators like wolves or mountain lions. Now the town banned hunting and life is perfect… for the first few months.

Because of the absence of natural predators to keep the deer population in check, the forest has been completely emptied of food. The residents can only watch in horror as all the hungry deer become aggressive and desperate and come into town.

Hunting helps maintain population at correct levels.

Otherwise, population would explode and there are many consequences. Some of these are more human and deer deaths in vehicle collisions and damaged ecosystem from too many herbivores competing for the same foliage.
I remember talking to a police officer in Town & Country, MO where hunting is not allowed and they actually had to hire sharp shooters to take out deer because of the overpopulation. The good news is they give the meat to food banks.

Hunters serve a purpose for the management of prey species population. Without hunting, in the modern world, these animals would suffer a lot more than a clean kill.

But remember, we learned from poaching that excessive hunting contributes to extinction of certain animals.

Pest or Vermin Control

Now what about pest control?

Since varmint species are often responsible for destructive effects on crops, livestock, pets, and infrastructure, some areas encourage the hunting of certain varmint species.

For example, Louisiana initiated a bounty program on coypu (a non-native rodent) because the species has become so destructive to the local ecosystem.

Aside from crops, some animals also cause problems to other animals, like crows who often kill newborn lambs.

Sometimes the problem is caused indirectly, like when rabbits dig warrens in fields which pose danger to horses and cattle as they may fall through the ground and break their legs – which results to the injured animal being put down.

Another example is when chickens attract foxes and rats that carry diseases, so all of these scenarios need controlling.

And the consequences do not stop at agriculture and other animals.

Deer overpopulation spread diseases to humans. Many parts in New York are considered high-risk for human infection with Lyme disease, and reducing deer population to low levels can reduce infection rates.

Furthermore, the claim that it’s actually hunters who created the surplus of deer is false. Deer are browsing animals. When old growth forests are removed for logging or development, second-growth vegetation (deer’s preferred food) takes root which makes suburban (and even semi-urban) areas full of deer.

This is why there are more deer in North America today than when the Europeans first arrived hundreds of years ago. This explosion of deer populations has forced many local and state governments to implement special hunting seasons, as well as hire professional hunters to control deer herds.

But wait, there’s more – some anti-hunters suggest to reintroduce natural predators or adopt non-lethal methods of controlling deer population. The intention is noble but sadly not feasible.

Natural predators like mountain lions and wolves are unable to survive in large numbers near civilization, while deer can.

Others have also suggested that deer be sterilized, but there aren’t any practical means of doing it – at least not yet. Even the method of mixing birth control drugs with deer food is still very expensive to do at a large scale.

The good news is that live-trapping and surgical sterilization is possible. The bad news is it isn’t economically feasible yet.

5. Love for Challenge

I’ve met hunters who claim they love hunting because it’s hard, and they enjoy overcoming the challenges involved. They say there is thrill but it’s not from the kill. It’s from accomplishing a difficult task.

What I observed is some hunters who hunt because of reason #1 in this article also appreciate the challenge.

I like it because I get to provide for my family. I enjoy the whole process, from scouting to cleaning to preparing the food to eating. I even enjoy the days where nothing happens with the animal I was going after, only to watch squirrels run, fish jump and owls call.

So aside from taking a more ethical approach to providing meat for their family, they also feel complished in doing so.

These type of hunters want non-hunters to know that hunting is far from easy.

Despite our superior human intellects and advanced gear and accessories, these hunters claim that game animals have every other advantage such as keener senses, natural camouflage, better physical abilities like agility and strength, etc.

Is hunting really that hard?

Let’s put ourselves in the (ethical) hunter’s shoes.

Starting from the very beginning, you would need to acquire a hunting license, and the process depends on where you live. You’ll most likely need to get through a hunting course, and it’s where you’ll learn things like how to shoot properly so the animal feels the least pain as possible and die quickly.

After finally getting a license, you need to plan the hunt. Hunters suggest that it’s best to approach it like a military operation – study all the different maps of the area and plot where the animal is likely to be.

From there you’ll need to plan even more, considering things like how close you can get to the roads, is the operation viable in the current weather, can you hike before light and return after dark, what are the hazards, should you camp, are there going to be other hunters, etc.

You also need to go to the area a few weeks before the hunt. Things to do are ground truthing the maps (they say maps and Google Earth don’t show everyhting), look for signs that the animal has been there in the past, look for the dominant wind direction (which influences your approach), look for a hunting position, look for other animals in the area like bear and mountain lion, and finally, look for where you might retrieve the animal and how hard it’s going to be.

Next is assembling and testing the equipment which includes sighting the scope, practicing shooting (can take longer with a bow), and choosing the proper camping gear, clothing, and food to bring.

Hunters also stress the importance of planning ahead on how you’re going to take care of the animal that you kill.

On the day of the hunt, you need to look for animal tracks while being as noiseless as possible. Hunters claim you’ll rarely see the animal immediately that’s why they set an outpost where they can observe the area with binoculars.

You’ll look for a small thing that’s out of place, a color that’s wrong, animal tracks in the snow that are hundreds of yards away, a broken branch, etc. Hunters warn that at this point, you’ll be freezing from the snow and inactivity but you shouldn’t move until you’re sure that there’s no animal in the area.

Once you see something of interest, you’ll calculate how far it is and if it’s in range. Consider if it’s a good shot and if it’s the correct animal in the first place. Decide if you need to move to a better location. If you already are, you’ll look for the animal through your scope and decide if you need to correct for wind or movement.

Do you have a clear shot? If you do, is everything else taken into account? If yes, only then should you pull the trigger. The best scenario is if the animal falls immediately. If they run, you should mark where you shot (usually with GPS or mentally) then wait for 30 minutes.

After waiting, you’ll walk up to the animal cautiously because a downed animal may not be dead and will try to kill you. If it’s dead, then you should proceed to slit the neck arteries to allow the animal to bleed out.

Some hunters prefer to say a prayer at this point just to thank God for the provision.

But you don’t have to. What you have to do is gut the animal which can take fifteen to twenty minutes. You also have to allow the carcass to cool if the weather is warm. If the animal is big and you’re alone, you also need to butcher in quarters for the hike back which can take several trips, so it’s always better if your vehicle is close.

Otherwise, the process can take place until late at night and you’ll be too tired. This is where some hunters camp for the night and head home in the morning.

Arriving home is not the end. You need to hang your game and let it age, unless the weather is not right. Some prefer to let it age for ten to 32 days to allow the meat to get tender.

Then you proceed to butcher or let a professional do it for you. If you choose to do it yourself, prepare to spend another day to make the proper cuts for each parts. Then vacuum seal the cuts and mark them with what they are, along with the current date. You must also turn the hides into leather so they won’t go into waste.

That’s the simplest way I could relay it.

The good times begin with the eating of protein that you know exactly where it came from and how it was handled. One feeling is similar to that of gardening – the feeling of eating food you gathered for yourself is great.

6. Nature and Man’s Old-age Instinct

On the other hand, some hunters who choose to take responsibility for the meat on the table don’t care much about the callenge but more on feeling primal and having a deeper connection to nature.

These type of hunters enjoy being alone in the woods on a frosty morning while trying to be as silent and hidden as possible. They claim that this is a deeply moving, even spiritual experience.

I guess we can’t really relate to what these hunters are saying if we never experienced it ourselves.

They say it’s a return to a much simpler way of life, where you spend a very pleasant, quiet time deep in the woods without any pressure or worries from society.

They enjoy going into the wilderness where there is absolutely nothing…

No communications, electricity, fridges, lodges…

Just the outdoors and listening to the wild animals, insects, and other sounds of nature.

It’s about the thrill of relying only on the equipment and vehicles you have to survive in the bush, while the closest village is hundreds of kilometers away..

It’s about stalking the animal you want to hunt and choose the right one. Taking the shot the perfect way. Then go back to camp and make food out of what you harvested from the buss…

This is true hunting.

7. Tradition

Another reason could be tradition which is more common in less developed places where hunting is necessary to sustain life. In these cases, the following excerpt makes sense:

“Hunting is something that has been done for generations and in many cultures is a right of passage to adulthood, passed down from one generation to another.”

There are plenty more reasons why people hunt animals but these seven are the most common. Most of the time, the reasons why people hunt are a mixure of some of these seven.

Pros of Hunting

Why is hunting good? Based on the even reasons above, below are the key take-aways or summary on the practical benefits of hunting:

  1. Ethical and healther meat acquisition
  2. Wildlife conservation
  3. Population control
  4. Pest control

Anti-hunting: Arguments Against Hunting

I looked for arguments that directly challenged the major reasons why people hunt.

Arguments Against Hunting in General:

  • While hunting is one of few remaining means of controlling wildlife populations, people have turned it into sport and are no longer using it as a way of life.
  • Since hunting is practiced by people of varying skill levels, many animals are hit and not die immediately, causing suffering due to shock from acute blood loss.
  • Animals become extinct when hunters do not follow the laws in place.

Below are five examples of animals that became extinct because of hunting:

1. West African black rhinoceros (a subspecies of the black rhino)

black rhino

Photo from StreamAfrica.com

An extensive survey in 2006 failed to find any signs of living West African black rhinos, and the subspecies was declared extinct in 2011. IUCN stated that it is highly probable that the subspecies is now extinct, thanks to poaching and demand for rhino horn.

2. Pyrenean Ibex (subspecies of Iberian wild goat)

Pyrenean Ibex

Photo from britannica.com

Once found throughout the Spanish, French, and Andorran Pyrenees, the Pyrenean Ibex became extinct in 2000. Their population was severly thinned by hunting.

3. Quagga (subspecies of the common plains zebra)

Quagga

Photo from Wikipedia.com

The quagga was a native of South Africa and are known for their unique stripes. The species was hunted for its hide and killed by ranchers who believed the quaggas competed with their livestock for grazing area.

The last documented quagga died at the Amsterdam Zoo in 1883.

4. Tasmanian Tiger

Tasmanian Tiger

Photo from NationalGeographic.com.au

The name of the species is Thylacine but they are more popular as Tasmanian tigers because of their stripes.

Though they once existed across the Australian continent, their habitat was reduced to the Island of Tasmania by the time the European settlers arrived.

The National Museum of Australia said the species were believed to kill livestock so they were often shot and trapped. They were declared a protected species in 1936 which is also the same year that the last known specimen died.

There are many unconfirmed sightings of the Tasmanian tiger these days.

5. Javan Tiger

javan tiger

Photo from ItsNature.org

The Javan tiger is another tiger subspecies. According to IUCN, the subspecies was likely to have become extinct in mid 1970’s.

The tiger was last seen in 1976 but the head of East Java’s Meru Betiri National Park said in 2011 that he was optimistic that the animals are still alive. Camera traps were even put in place, hoping to confirm any Javan tiger sightings.

Against Hunting for Population and Pest Control:

Many anti-hunting groups argue that it’s better to use non-lethal precautions to protect livestock from native wildlife and not rely upon killing.

One suggestion is creating physical barriers such as fence and wildlife crossings.

Next is immunocontraception which a birth control method that uses the body’s immune response in order to prevent pregnancy. Many groups support this method since it offers a more humane, non-lethal solution to animal overabundance.

The Humane Society of the United States is conducting research to develop a synthetic form of PZP (porcine zona pellucida).

PZP is a protein that naturally occurs in pig ovaries. When PZP is injected into a female animal, her body produces antibodies which attach to her own ZP proteins, preventing sperm from attaching and thus blocking fertilization.

However more work must be done to determine how fast and to what extent PZP can reduce wildlife populations.

Another concern is the cost of and effort to administer PZP:

At Fripp Island, SC, the cost of initial capture and treatment of deer with 2-year vaccine was approximately $500 per deer, while dart-delivered annual boosters cost $100 per deer.

Achieving rapid population stabilization and slow decline for about 300 deer would require approximately $40,000 for both the first and second years, and lower amounts after.

Other immunocontraception are also being developed by other researchers. A notable one is GonaConTM which shuts down the reproductive processes of the animal.

Once researchers figure a way to administer these wildlife contraceptives to the masses of wildlife, hunting for population control can be ruled out.

Against Trophy Hunting for Conservation Fees:

Trophy hunting is not necessary for conservation. If trophy hunters really wanted to contribute finances to conservation efforts, they could simply raise the money and donate it to the African countries, without having the need to kill any animal.

And inside the United States, only four percent of the population hunt which is very low compared to the 22 percent who enjoy watching wildlife alive. Wild animal watchers spend over $20 billion more than hunters, on activities that do not include killing animals.

Trophy hunting is also linked to poaching which contributes to extinction of certain species.

Is Hunting Good or Bad?

We’re talking about a very controversial topic, and many groups support hunting and think it’s acceptable while many groups oppose hunting and think it should be banned.

Both sides actually have very good reasons to support their beliefs.

The reason why the topic remains controversial is because hunting has a lot of pros, but it also has many cons.

If you read every word of this article, you’ll likely understand that whether hunting is good or bad depends on the motives and the type of hunting.

In his book, In Nature’s Interests, author Gary Varner says that some types of hunting may be defensible while others are not.

For example, hunting designed to secure the aggregate welfare of the target species, the integrity of its ecosystem, or both is morally justifiable, while sport hunting and other hunting that only benefit human beings is not.

And I agree… Do you?

Sources:

https://www.wasparchery.com/blog/benefits-of-eating-wild-game-meat

http://fwp.mt.gov/mtoutdoors/HTML/articles/2007/WhyWeHunt.htm

Original: https://cbs.umn.edu/sites/default/files/public/downloads/Effects%20of%20trophy%20hunting%20on%20populations%20of%20lions%20and%20leopards%20in%20TZ.pdf
Archived: https://web.archive.org/web/20140714160036/http://www.cbs.umn.edu/sites/default/files/public/downloads/Effects%20of%20trophy%20hunting%20on%20populations%20of%20lions%20and%20leopards%20in%20TZ.pdf

Original: http://www.ewca.gov.et/sites/default/files/Lindsey%20et%20al%20%202006%20Potential%20of%20trophy%20hunting%20to%20create%20incentives%20for%20wildlifeconservationin%20Africa.pdf
Archived: https://web.archive.org/web/20140714141728/http://www.ewca.gov.et/sites/default/files/Lindsey%20et%20al%20%202006%20Potential%20of%20trophy%20hunting%20to%20create%20incentives%20for%20wildlifeconservationin%20Africa.pdf

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09669589708667294#.U8G7cfkuigY

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/18/opinion/saving-lions-by-killing-them.html

http://conservationmagazine.org/2014/01/can-trophy-hunting-reconciled-conservation/

http://www.africanwildlifeconservationfund.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Economic-and-conservation-significance.pdf

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/13/world/a-hunting-ban-saps-a-villages-livelihood.html

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2010/08/hunting-conservation-backfires

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/11/151715-conservation-trophy-hunting-elephants-tusks-poaching-zimbabwe-namibia/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/11/17/the-trump-administration-says-we-have-to-kill-elephants-to-help-save-them-the-data-says-otherwise/?utm_term=.1583412a6458

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/11/elephant-trophy-hunting-psychology-emotions/546293/

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/14/us/politics/trophy-hunting-fees-do-little-to-help-threatened-species-report-says.html?_r=1

http://www.league.org.uk/search?searchTerm=ecotourism%20can%20earn%20local%20communities

http://www.nssf.org/news/PR_idx.cfm?PRloc=common/PR/&PR=061405.cfm

http://www.wildsheep.org/conservation/funding.htm

http://www.survivalinternational.org/about/poaching

http://www.survivalinternational.org/about/tigers

Original: https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/pbfiles/PB1643.pdf
Archived: https://web.archive.org/web/20060912032507/http://www.utextension.utk.edu/publications/pbfiles/PB1643.pdf

https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/104911.html

https://www.idausa.org/campaign/wild-animals-and-habitats/hunting/

http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/wildlife_overpopulation/qa/q_and_a_pzp.html

https://www.hastingsgov.org/sites/hastingsonhudsonny/files/uploads/deer_pzp_fact_sheet_7-12.pdf

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/22/11-extinct-animals_n_4078988.html

You may also like...

3 Responses

  1. Sarah says:

    Great points. The ranting of extremists like PETA and ALF mean nothing to reasonable humans. They con people and arouse hysteria, so that people can’t be reasonable and objective. PETA pulls in $30,000,000 a year the last I heard. It advocates terrorism in its cause and had paid for defense funds of terrorists in the animal rights cause.

  2. Jarrod says:

    The only strong argument for hunting you successfully presented is choosing a better way to “acquire meat for food”, when in fact I can make all of that excuse obsolete thanks to this thing called vegetarian. Yes, your argument makes hunting the lesser of two evils, but it’s still evil. It’s animal cruelty.

    • Julia says:

      I am someone who has lived as both a vegetarian (even dabbled in veganism) and as an omnivore. For years I have questioned what is the best human diet out there. I have had discussions (heated, opinionated, passionate and otherwise with many) and I’ve read a lot of books, articles, etc on the subject. After many years of this, I am now firmly omnivorous, with strong caveats…no factory/industrially raised animal products, no farmed fish, no battery raised chickens or eggs. Only organically-fed, free-range, grass-fed, humanely-raised domesticated animals, and also game meats. i.e animals that have led good lives and have been part of an ecosystem, not boxed off into feedlots, isolated from the cycle of life.

      It’s not always easy to figure out, but I now know my local farmer and how her farm is run (and how the animals area treated), and I know how and who hunts the animals I eat. I am taking the time to be conscious about the food energy I take in and where it comes from.

      This I recognize, is a luxury in today’s industrialized food system, but it is one that we as consumers need to keep asking for in purchasing power and our conversations.

      So why not vegetarian? Because it simply isn’t sustainable. For the vegans out there, precisely where do you think your produce gets the nutrients to grow from? From other vegetables? Well, yes, some (nitrogen fixers), but certainly not all! Nutrients come from one of two ways: animal manure, or petroleum products. I know which one I’d rather support. It’s called basic ecology – life makes life, and veganism simply ignores that cycle.

      Before you vegans go off seething with anger, try reading “Vegetarian Myth” (written by a vegan), “Nourishing Traditions” and “Omnivore’s Dilemma”. They will rock your world, and point out, if nothing else, that the most long-lived populations of the world, with the best dental and bone structures, lowest rates of heart disease, diabetes and cancer are NOT vegans… they consistently ate/eat milk products (usually yogurt and/or other cultured products). And where do milk products come from? Not carrots.

      And the health benefits of animal fats…
      corporate interests have led us to believe they are harmful. Far more harmful are vegetable fats. Just look at the Inuit – no heart disease from a steady diet of marine mammals and fish. Now, with the introduction of processed foods with vegetable fats…epidemic heart disease and diabetes. Just one of many examples of meat eating cultures that thrive on traditional meat diets and very little vegetable matter.

      Animals should certainly be treated respectfully. And I know that there is the question of whether killing is respectful. But if you want to remove yourself from that equation, you’ll need to build yourself a rocket and find a different planet, with an entirely different way of producing food. Because no matter how you slice it, animals are affected by our consumption of food on this planet. But they are also incredible providers to the cycle of life on earth. You can’t just put them into a big field on one side of the world, with humans on the other. Would that be ‘natural’?

      Ask yourself, really ask yourself? What is my disdain for meat-eating? I think you’ll find it is far more about culture than it is about nature.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *