About Hunting

March 24, 2010

I decided to write this page because of confusion about this forum’s stand on hunting.

This is not a pro-hunting blog, nor an anti-hunting blog. There is a good reason. Bad feeling between hunters and those who don’t like hunting is probably the single biggest reason why there is not a widespread political movement to protect and enhance wildlife and wildlife habitat in the United States. There are organizations that are devoted in part to making sure there is no cooperation between the two.

Part of this split is philosophical. Part of it is cultural (“our tradition”).

I would rather not have discussions about the wrongness or rightfulness of hunting,  but they seem unavoidable.  However, we will step in when they get personal or otherwise out of hand.

Updated May 3, 2022

One conclusion I have slowly come to is that I cannot justify the hunting of carnivores, at least with modern weapons. Carnivore hunters rarely eat a significant portion of a kill. Many of them “hunt” out of a misplaced animosity toward their quarry, as though it was pest extermination. Those who hunt elk almost rarely hate the elk. Today in North America and over most of the world, carnivores are no longer a meaningful threat to life or limb. Even if they were, killing an animal in proactive or actual defense of a person’s life, is not hunting.

There is no scientific agreement that carnivores are a threat to herbivorous game animal populations. Of course, carnivores influence, affect game populations. That is not the same is threaten or deplete.

Trophy may be the only acceptable justification of hunting large carnivores today because they present almost no danger to a person with today’s weapons. To really be a trophy would require the carnivore is killed in a traditional way such as an arrow or spear, but shooting one with today’s firearms is pretty easy and safe. A possible good of hunting is the recapitulation of the struggle humanity had at a time when it lacked advanced technology. This, however, would also require handicapping the human hunter of today so to make a difference.

Finally, recent studies of wolf hunting in the United States shows that rather than hunting building tolerance for wolves as wildlife, the opposite is usually true. Wolf hunters seem to hate wolves. Haters are not really hunters.

Ralph Maughan, editor

The Wildlife News