There’s no two ways about it, hunting is a scrutinized and misunderstood sport. There are various opinions, and strong ones at that, on whether hunting is ethical. On the surface, those opposed to hunting typically reference that there’s no need to kill animals for any reason.
However, that’s not the case if you dig a little deeper. Many non-hunters – and even some avid hunters – do not realize the wide-ranging, numerous benefits to hunting. The positive environmental, ecological, and economic impact of hunting goes far beyond the sport itself. In fact, hunting is critical for the conservation and well-being of wildlife and the ecosystems they live in.
In an effort to better educate people on the benefits of hunting, here’s five reasons why hunting is a good thing.
Reason #1 – Conservation
One of the most important reasons, if not the most important reason, is that hunting provides funding for wildlife conservation. Millions of dollars per year are raised through hunting licenses and fees that go directly towards the conservation of wildlife.
Wildlife conservation helps protect wild animals and their natural habitats in order to maintain healthy wildlife populations. Additionally, conservation funds help with the restoration, protection and enhancement of natural ecosystems.
Furthermore, the 1937 Pittman-Robertson Act created an excess tax that is applicable to all firearm, ammo, and archery equipment purchases. The legislation garners more than $1.6 billion in annual funding for wildlife conservation across the United States.
Reason #2 – Population Control
Hunting is also extremely important for controlling healthy animal populations. The more we overpopulate urban areas, and as cities continue to grow, our human footprint has adverse side effects on wildlife.
Unfortunately, as we encroach on wildlife, the natural balance of predators and prey is disrupted. This results in a huge increase of certain animal populations with no natural predators to keep their numbers in check. For example, if there are too many deer, that means there are fewer resources for food. This can lead to malnourished and unhealthy deer.
The same goes for the overpopulation of predators. If there are too many predators, animals like deer that are herbivores will have a reduced population. Therefore, the natural balance of the ecosystem can fall into disarray. It’s all about maintaining balance for all species to coexist.
Reason #3 – Economic Value
Money is always a significant factor in any thriving industry, and the same goes for hunting and fishing. Consumers that spend their hard-earned money on outdoor recreations contribute $887 billion annually to the U.S. economy. This brings in more than $125 billion in tax revenues per year. In addition, the industry itself employs 7.6 million Americans.
If we separate the two industries specifically, the numbers are still staggering. Hunting and fishing consumers total more than $63.1 billion in retail spending annually, and the two industries employ close to 483,000 Americans.
Reason #4 – Hunting Combats Poaching
Poaching is when people illegally hunt or catch animals on unlawful land. It also involves species that are killed outside of their scheduled hunting season or species that are outlawed from hunting altogether.
Hunters are the first line of defense for turning in poachers and waste of wild game. Game wardens can’t keep track of every inch of land, so hunters play a vital role in the fight against poaching.
True hunters obey and uphold hunting and fishing laws, especially since there’s a reason those laws are in place. This decreases the unethical and unlawful killing of animals by poachers. Hunting laws and seasons are created to not only protect wildlife but hunters as well.
Reason #5 – Sourcing Your Own Food
Many who criticize hunting point to the fact that hunters can still get meat from local shops and grocery stores. Therefore, they think it isn’t necessary to hunt. However, many of these critics are not considering that industrially raised livestock is arguably much more unethical than killing your own dinner.
Many mass-produced meat products are obtained through inhumane practices. The animals themselves are often only alive to be a future meal. In contrast, wildlife that is hunted lives a much better, freer life in their natural habitat. Plus hunters know where their next meal comes from if they’re killing it themselves. There are also no additives, no artificial dyes, and no hormones in natural wildlife that is personally taken on a hunt.
For those that aren’t a fan of hunting, that’s alright. But hopefully, after reading these five reasons, they’ll understand that there are multiple benefits as well. Hunting can be beneficial to conservation, wildlife, and consumers. Yet, the positives of hunting and fishing don’t stop with just these five examples. It’s a good start though.