Hunting has been part of the human existence since our very first settlements. We have been hunters and gatherers as a way to have food to eat. In modern society, hunting may not be necessary to have food because of the prevalence of farming and croplands, but it is still part of many cultures and ethnicities.
One of the primary benefits of hunting is that it adds variety to a person’s diet. Many animals that are considered livestock are not necessarily a healthy protein to consume on a regular basis. Hunting provides game for the food chain that can promote healthy eating habits when consumed in moderation.
The primary disadvantage of hunting is that it can be a dangerous activity. The International Hunter Education Association estimates that around 1,000 people are accidentally shot in North America by hunters every year. About 10% of those shootings result in a fatality. It is an injury risk that affects hunters and non-hunters alike.
Here are some additional pros and cons of hunting to think about as well.
List of the Pros of Hunting
1. It controls wildlife populations.
Deer can cause a lot of damage in a short period. They are opportunist animals that can safely eat more than 700 different plant species. They are also adaptable, moving into communities and suburban areas to find cover, food, and security. The amount of damage they can cause in one day on a single property could total several thousand dollars. Hunting is a way to maintain control of the local wildlife population.
2. It is an activity that can be done safely.
Most communities require a hunter’s education class before allowing a hunting license or tag to be purchased. Many states in the US have hunting education laws that have been enacted for more than a generation. The first law in California, for example, was passed in 1954. When all procedures are followed as they should be, the number of accidents that occur while hunting are greatly reduced.
3. It is a way to improve personal exercise.
Hunting requires individuals to hike into wooded areas, setup a stand, camp, or blind, and endure sometimes difficult conditions. It is a unique way to get personal exercise, especially since dietary options are limited while hunting.
4. It increases a person’s knowledge about Mother Nature.
To be a successful hunter, it is necessary to learn about the outdoors. You must be able to recognize animal trails and habits. You should know how to track animals in case one gets away from you. It is a chance to discover the outdoors in a way that cannot be experienced by watching TV or walking along a well-developed nature trail.
5. It offers a method of survival.
For many people, hunting is the primary method of putting protein-rich foods onto the table. No part of the animal goes to waste in these cultures, turning the hide into clothing or blankets or antlers into useful tools. Hunting offers survival to those who may end up becoming lost, giving that individual a food resource they can use as they await rescue.
6. It provides a source of revenue.
Hunting provides a source of revenue for many environmental programs in the United States. States use hunting revenues for a variety of purposes as well. In Washington State, the residential cost of a deer license is $44.90 per person. A deer, elk, bear, and cougar license is $95.50 per person. Moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goat licenses, awarded by random drawing, are $332 per person.
7. It can reduce automotive accidents.
In the United States, automotive collisions with deer cause an estimated 200 deaths every year. The average cost paid out by vehicle owners and insurance companies to cover the cost of damage to vehicles in these accidents exceeds $4 billion annually. In total, more than 1.2 million accidents are believed to occur every year on US roads. Hunting helps to reduce population levels, which may also be a factor in reducing overall accident levels.
List of the Cons of Hunting
1. It is more of a sport than a necessity of life.
Hunting was rarely about finding a trophy to hang on a wall for our ancestors. They hunted what they needed so they could put food on their tables. Modern hunting has evolved into a sporting opportunity, where some hunters even pose with their kill without regard for what happens to the carcass. Hunting for the sake of doing so shows an overall lack of respect for nature.
2. It can result in animal population reductions.
Several animal species have been hunted to endangered levels because some part of the creature was deemed to be valuable. Some species have been driven to extinction because of hunting. Mother Nature News reports that there are 13 animals that have been hunted to extinction in the past 200 years alone, from the Tasmanian tiger to the Passenger pigeon to the Quagga.
3. It can lead to abusive practices.
Some hunters have resorted to lures and feeding stations, especially when hunting deer, as a way to make it “easier” to fill their tags. Feeding deer adds a level of domestication to the animals and removes many of the benefits that are spoken of when discussing the joys of hunting. It would be like going out to the barn and shooting a cow to have beef, then declaring oneself a great hunter.
4. It may cause animals to suffer.
A clean kill shot is essentially the same as what occurs at the slaughterhouse or butcher when preparing an animal for food. It is the injuries that hunters cause when they miss that can lead animals to suffer. Some injuries may even cause the animal to no longer be suitable for human consumption. Any injury can cause suffering. Should the animal continue living, that suffering could be prolonged for an unknown period.
5. It may be cost-prohibitive.
Hunter’s safety classes are designed to promote better skills, knowledge, and awareness. They are not always affordable. The average cost per person to complete a hunter’s education course is about $20. There may be additional fees for each type of animal being hunted or what type of weapon is being used. The cost of clothing, a firearm, or another hunting weapon, such as a bow, must also be considered. That can push the cost of hunting beyond the budget of some households.
The pros and cons of hunting show us that when this practice is managed wisely and the purpose is to guarantee survival, it is a task that can be highly beneficial. If hunting becomes about sport and profit, however, then more of the disadvantages of hunting tend to come out.
How do you feel about the pros and cons of hunting?