Hunting is a controversial activity that has been around for centuries. While it can be used as a tool to manage wildlife populations, it can also cause injury, pain, and suffering to animals that are not adapted to defend themselves against bullets, traps, and other cruel killing devices.
Huntingcan disrupt animal families and habitats, leaving behind vulnerable baby animals that may die of hunger. Regulated hunting is one of the most effective tools that state wildlife agencies can use to address overpopulation of a species, according to Peterson.
However, hunters' claims that hunting keeps wildlife populations in balance may be misguided. Hunter licensing rights are often used to manipulate some overpopulated game species at the expense of a much larger number of non-game species, resulting in a loss of biological diversity, genetic integrity, and ecological balance. In addition to the direct effects of hunting on wildlife, it can also disrupt natural circumstances such as hibernation and migration. This forces animals to adapt to abnormal situations, such as finding new environments to avoid hunting grounds.
Hunting accidents can also cause property damage and injure or kill horses, cows, dogs, cats, hikers, and other hunters. On the other hand, hunters do contribute positively to wildlife conservation. DePerno notes that hunters raise millions of dollars and contribute thousands of volunteer hours to organizations such as the National Wild Turkey Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Whitetails Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, and Ducks Unlimited. During the period of Antiquity before the Middle Ages, hunting was a privilege reserved for people of higher social classes.
Canned Cruelty is another problem associated with hunting. Most hunting occurs on private land where laws that protect wildlife are often unenforceable or difficult to enforce. Elephant poaching is thought to have increased the number of fangless animals in Africa, while in Canada hunting has caused the horn of the bighorn sheep to decrease by 25 percent over the past 40 years. Exotic “game animals” that escape and thrive can also pose a threat to native wildlife and established ecosystems.
Despite these issues, hunters are still among the greenest people in the nation today when it comes to protecting wildlife and natural environments. Private landowners often provide guides who are familiar with the location and habits of animals, allowing the use of dogs and providing “feeding stations” that lure unsuspecting animals while hunters stalk them. Hunting can also lead to extinction due to factors such as habitat loss or animals being lost during hunts or released at the end of the season only to starve or be hit by vehicles. In some cases, hunting is beneficial for the environment because it ensures that wild populations of game species are sustainable from one generation to the next.
Unless you're already an advocate for wildlife conservation, you may not realize that overhunting is a problem.