The Pros and Cons of Hunting

The killing of wildlife for food used to be a part of everyday life for humans. In the past, before modern society came to be, hunting animals was an essential key to survival to the human race. However, it is no longer the main source of food for most people in modern America, and there are differing views on whether hunting is still necessary. Today, hunting is a debated issue because it is often regarded as a recreational activity, citizens are worried about safety issues, and society’s approaches towards animals have altered over time. Though there are both good and bad aspects of hunting, it is still legal in some fashion for most of the United States.

Those who are against hunting argue that the practice is dangerous, useless, ineffective, and morally wrong. Opponents of hunting agree that hunting is extremely more dangerous than other recreational activities because the use of guns and killing is involved. According to them, this means injuries suffered in a hunting accident are more likely to be fatal than in other sporting activities. They also think hunting is an ineffective tool at managing populations of animals. This is because of the fact that animal populations have some ability to self-regulate their population my natural means. Therefore, when there is not enough food, animals will tend to have less offspring and some may even starve if the population gets too large to be supported by the habitat. To them, this means hunters are essentially useless in the struggle to maintain appropriate population densities, but if the problem still existed without hunting, making the animals infertile is, to them, a more humane form of regulation than killing ones already living. Some Americans do not agree with hunting on the basis that some hunting lands are managed with the use of taxpayer money, even though only a small percent of Americans hunt. Hunting opponents also find hunting unethical for many reasons. From a pure animal rights standpoint, killing any animal for food is morally unacceptable. Many find hunting to be unethical because the killing is recreational. Some hunting opponents also believe that modern technology has erased any chance of fairness in hunting. Certain practices are also considered especially objectionable, such as trophy hunting, baiting, and hunting of stocked animals in a high fence.

Supporters of hunting believe that the practices are safe, effective, and important—both culturally and scientifically. Statistically, hunting has much fewer injuries than other recreational activities like football, biking, rugby, etc. Moreover, there are laws set in place that help protect legal, informed hunters from being shot. Hunters also know that they save taxpayers money by performing the service of keeping populations of game animals somewhat low. Alternative methods to do this such as making them infertile are very expensive. Hunters buy permits in order to hunt legally as well, which gives money to wildlife managing agencies and state governments instead of costing a lot of money. These agencies do not only manage government land for game animals, however. This money also helps manage for threatened or endangered species as well. It is also argued that killing animals with a gun in much more humane than letting them starve to death naturally in the wild. Additionally, hunting is a cultural bonding experience and tradition in many parts of the country. Regarding ethics, hunting proponents argue that killing wildlife for food cannot be worse than killing a cow or a chicken. Furthermore, unlike the cow or the chicken, the wild animal lived a free life before being killed and had an opportunity to escape. Hunters also argue that killing a number of overpopulated animals benefits the ecosystem as a whole. Some hunters also oppose certain practices they consider unethical, such as baiting, trophy hunting, and hunting of stocked animals.

“The hunting debate may never be decided. The two sides will continue to debate safety, effectiveness and cost, but will probably never agree on the ethics of killing wild animals for food, trophies or recreation”
(http://animalrights.about.com/od/wildlife/a/HuntingArgument.htm)

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Whitetail Deer & Wild Turkey

The Whitetail Deer and the Wild Turkey are some of the most frequently hunted game in our state. Many of my friends hunt both of these animals every year (oftentimes along side their entire families). Because of this, a lot of good is done to manage land for the successful growth and development of these species. Hunters spend a lot of time and effort chasing a big buck or a tom to cook up and enjoy. Most hunters will tell you, though, that watch the animals in their natural state is their favorite part of the hunt.

Alabama Whitetail (www.al.com)

Wild Turkeys (www.thesouthernlandbrokers.com)

The Green Field

(www.afieldandfarm.com)

This is an example of a well managed and planted green field. A field like this is often set up with a shooting house (the vibrant green box in the corner of the field). This provides a place for a hunter to observe nature in a comfortable, concealed way. The field was likely planted to help feed the whitetail deer in the region, but a variety of different species benefit from it as well.

How Hunters Help

A common misconception for people who do not hunt is that hunters are a danger to the environment and drive species into extinction by over-hunting. In the recent past, this was a negative part of the hunting culture that sustained our survival. However, modern regulations and management practices have changed the way people hunt–proving to be quite beneficial to animal populations. Among hunting communities, it is common knowledge that any animal which has a “season” issued by the state will have plenty of time during each year for reproducing without the threat of being hunted. Biologist will tell you that many animals given a season because without controlled hunting, they will overpopulate and starve. Not to mention that all hunting licenses have helped provide tons of funding for public land conservation that all Alabama taxpayers have access to use and enjoy (with some restrictions, of course). In fact, hunters have played a very large part in bringing bear, deer, turkey, and waterfowl populations to comfortably high numbers.