Is Hunting Good or Bad? My personal opinion.

Feb 16, 2008

The Bottom Line It comes down to using the environment to better ourselves personally and as a society, not raping it and trying to profit from every grain we get a hold of.

There was a forest that one could easily walk through very easily and enjoy the beauty of beautiful and magnificent trees. A normal city dwelling person would walk through the forest and think that it was healthy and clean, just like a city park. The problem was that the only vegetation alive was old trees. There were no young trees, bushes, flowers, or any other form of vegetation on the forest floor. The forest floor was effectively dead. The reason why was because of the moratorium on hunting deer. The deer population had become so high that any plant that started to grow was immediately consumed by the deer. So the only life that existed was the old trees and any animal that can live on the old trees.

This is one of the real life examples used for the pro-hunting group and it shows what could happen when man incorrectly manages our wildlife. Notice that there were no predators in the scenario, they had been all killed off by man before this time. And man was now barred from being a predator themselves. Man could not hunt the deer to control the deer population.

Now does that mean we should institute hunting because of this one forest? Not necessarily. We could set up fences and artificially plant new growth. We can release predators. Or we can set up hunting lotteries through Fish and Game. Or turn it into a bombing range for the US air force. Whatever the decision it needs to be made with the interest of the surrounding community in mind.

I personally have no problem hunting deer, rabbits, game birds, etc because these types of animals can reproduce fairly quickly and in large numbers. So hunting (in most instances) will not affect the health of these populations. They rebound fairly quickly when the resources are there. So when things are normal, hunting herbivores does very little to no damage to the ecosystem.

The only time I would recommend not hunting these animals is when the environment cannot support large populations. This would be in certain deserts and dry climates, or during several years of drought. Limited water means less plants will be available and with less plants means less consumable vegetable matter, less consumable vegetable matter means less food for the herbivores. Less herbivores means less animals for hunting. So hunting in these environments needs to be very controlled or eliminated all together.

One fascinating thing about deer and some other animals is that you have about the same number of animals survive the winter each year. It does not matter how many were taken by hunters (within reason) that hunting season, or how many were taken by natural predators, or died from lack of food; you will still have the same number survive after the winter (once again in a normal scenario.) So either hunters will take the kills, the predators will, or the environment itself will. Either way the deer population goes back to it’s original winter carrying capacity with or without human interference.

But what about hunting predators? This is quite a bit trickier. I’ll start with my opinion on the cougar in the great state of California which I think has gotten out of control. The reason why is the attacks and deaths over the past 3 decades have gone up, the sightings have gone up, and police resources have been diverted more often because of wildlife issues. Compare that to the previous 100 years and you see virtually no loss of life due to mountain lion attacks in the state. The reason? In my opinion it is because the cougar population has been allowed to grow unrestricted and the human population has also been allowed to grow unrestricted. The second reason is that any fear cougars had for humans and their guns is gone, because humans do not hunt them. I personally would like to see a little fear put back into their minds.

Before you start blasting me, I think the cougar is the most beautiful, most adaptable animal in North America and should be allowed to make a come back across the entire U.S. But not at the expense of nature lovers which is what I believe has occurred. If you do not believe me just look at a sign post in the wilderness and you will see the cougar warnings on the sign that were not there when I was a child.

But hunting predators in general? Is this a good idea? In most circumstances I am against it as long as the predator has enough land and prey to keep it occupied. Reintroducing the wolf into Yellowstone? Absolutely. We have land set aside for it and there is plenty of food available.

Now what about the farmer outside of Yellowstone with his/her herds of cattle. Now I’m not against disarming the farmer, not at all. I think he/she has the right to protect their land. But what if the farmer is deliberately, or through laziness, not taking necessary steps to protect their herd? Then I don't feel any sympathy for them.

In the end it is a combination of public awareness, giving fish and game the tools needed, and giving politicians a good slap on the face is what I think needs to occur.

© Common Loon rustworks

Other outdoor related articles I’ve written.
What to look for when buying a family tent.
Guide on three season tents.
Hydration systems guide for the outdoors
Guide on Oakley glasses that I have owned

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