In a sense, the framework for this article will be answering some of the most common objections to hunting. Some in the strictly anti-hunting camp would argue there is no such thing as ethical hunting. This article will assume the reader understands we are discussing hunting per “fair chase” ethics, “as defined by the Boone and Crockett Club, is the ethical, sportsmanlike, and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild, native North American big game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such animals.” Having stated this as a premise, let’s begin.
Anthropomorphic Rationales Should be Set Aside
Many discussions of why hunting should be banned rely upon ascribing human like characteristics to wild animals. One need not discount the beauty and majesty of wildlife to understand that they absolutely are not capable of feeling emotions as understood by humans. Their instinctive nature causes them to be wary of other animals, humans included, that they sense as being potentially harmful. Many of the problems that wildlife experience are in fact due to their loss of this wariness because they are intentionally or unintentionally desensitized by humans.
Hunting is a Legitimate and Traditional Method of Food Gathering for Some People
There is a significant enough portion of the population that uses hunting (and fishing) as a method of gathering food, that it represents a solid reason as to why hunting should not be banned. Of course arguments can be made that these people might in fact be able to gain their food more cheaply through shopping at a grocery store. But this is not always the case, and even if in some cases it is true, in some parts of rural society the loss of this tradition would take away part of their culture.
Hunting Represents One of Many Forms of Wildlife Management
In another article, I made the case that hunting had a positive affect on the environment. One of the reasons stated was that it can be used to assist wildlife biologists in preventing overpopulation in deer herds, as well as other animal populations. Not controlling populations can result in disease as well as habitat degradation in their ecosystem.
Hunting Brings People Closer to the Environment
One reason that some people are all to willing to watch as urban sprawl, pollution, etc., take their toll on the environment, is because they have no connection to the land. I am not arguing here that the only fashion in which one can appreciate our environment is by hunting, but it is one way. Hunters, in general, care about open space, clean water, and other environmental and conservation matters.
Hunters have a Vested Interest In Healthy Wildlife Populations
For many years, wildlife populations in the United States were severely depleted. Much of the reason for this was market hunting, which is not an example of Fair Chase. Since the turn of the century, as professional management has become a part of every state’s wildlife management system, populations have rebounded at an astounding rate. Much of the funding for this has come from taxes paid by hunters. Also, much of the impetus has come from hunters and hunting organizations like Ducks Unlimited and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
While perhaps none of these reasons why hunting should never be banned would stand on its own, taken in whole, I believe they make an excellent case supporting hunting. There are certainly unethical hunters who bring shame upon the activity. However, one would likely not make the case that because one company (or more) in an industry polluted the environment, the industry should be banned, Similarly, the case should not be made that these unethical hunters should bring the demise of all hunting. A well-regulated hunting system should continue always to be a part of this great country’s future.