Growing up in a rural community, I had never met a single person who did not have at least one hunting family member. Once I arrived at college, that changed. There were some that were strongly against it, and some that, like my hometown, strongly advocated for it. Those from larger cities, those with different views, and those that may not have fully understood it obviously disagreed with it when the subject came up. Seeing that hunting seasons are in full swing, I found it appropriate to make this post about the practice.
As any other practice, there are some cons to hunting. I feel as though this is because of “trophy hunting.” What, however, is the controversy with such a practice? Is it the abandonment of a carcass? Is it the disruption of the ecosystem that the taking of an animal may cause? Regardless of the individual malfeasance with this practice, most ideas of what actually happens are often misconstrued.
Trophy hunters often gain a bad reputation. The common misconception behind a trophy hunt is the abandonment of the carcass. However, what most do not understand is that abandoning a carcass is exceedingly illegal. No hunter can abandon the carcass of a slain animal legally. If they do so, they are subject to fines, revocation of their license, and even jail time.
Most of the time, the carcass of a trophy hunt is either processed and consumed by the hunter or donated to places such as local soup kitchens, hunger-ending efforts, and the homeless in general. Hunters do not hunt simply for the recreation. If a hunter is doing so legally, they will never leave a carcass of an animal that they killed. That animal is going to benefit someone, somewhere.
Another common misconception is that hunters do not hunt for necessity, but for recreation and “the trophy.” Where there may be some truth to the necessity portion, hunters do not simply hunt for a mount on their wall. Being a hunter myself, I can personally attest to the fact that any hunter in the woods legally is doing so with the upmost respect for the animal that they seek.
Animals are superior in their habitat. Any hunter would attest to that fact. Animals that are hunted are extremely smart; they have superior senses. I know hunters that put an alarming amount of time in tracking an animal, studying its habits, making sure it has the proper nutrition, and improving the environment around said animal. Would they do so with an extreme disregard of that animal?
I, personally, believe that any hunter in the woods has the utmost respect for any animal residing there. They have respect for the land around them and the animals that they take from it. I understand that others may not agree with me, and that fact is nothing new. However, I want to ensure that people are not disagreeing for all of the wrong reasons.
There are some hunters that hunt for sport, leave the carcass, and do so illegally. Unfortunately, those few have gained all of the rest a bad image. If you are one that hangs on to the bad image brought on by those few, I ask you to think about the situation logically. I do so by drawing your attention to the following correlation:
Some hunters leave behind animal carcasses. To deny this fact would be naive. However, the amount of hunters that do this are so few, and are doing so illegally. When a scene like this is discovered, it is disheartening. It is disheartening to the hunter with the best of intentions, to the public, and even to the wildlife officers that respond. How is this so unlike murder? Some people take the lives of others, abandon the body, and do so illegally. The amount of murderers, compared to the entire population, are few. Does this make the rest of the population soul-less murderers? Does this warrant the pointing of fingers to every other person in the population? The two situations are not unalike.
Another common misconception of hunting is the reduction of the population of the animals being hunted. To counteract this, animals with a population in jeopardy are limited. The state and federal government puts restrictions on the amount of animals that may be taken when a certain animal’s population has visibly decreased. So, again, when hunters hunt legally, this is not an issue.
I found it necessary to first discuss the common misconceptions of hunting. Now, I feel it necessary to discuss some of the benefits of the practice.
Deer can cause an extreme amount of damage in a short period of time. They can eat over 700 plant species, and do so without regard to the livelihood of the farmer that they just decimated. They could cause several thousand dollars in damage to a single property in just one day.
In the United States alone, deer cause an estimated 200 deaths every year in collisions with automobiles. Likewise, the amount paid out by insurance companies totals nearly $4 billion annually. Hunting helps to keep the population controlled and can keep the overall amount of accidents under control.
Likewise, for those that cannot afford to put meat on the table, hunting provides them a means of doing so. Hunters oftentimes prefer putting meat on the table that they took. This gives them a sense of security in knowing what is in their food, where it came from, and how it got there.
Hunting fuels environmental conservation programs. The revenue collected in the licensing of hunters is used in environmental conservation programs to ensure that efforts are taken to further preserve the world around us.
Though I did not address all issues with hunting, nor all of the benefits, I believe that this is a way of informing the public as to the reasons why the practice is not full of malice, as some believe. The legal field, whether federal or state, takes measures to ensure that hunters are doing so with the most integrity possible. On the other hand, they ensure that populations are not being decimated beyond recovery.
Hunting… helps. This fact I truly believe.