Friday, July 31, 2009

Philosophy of Hunting

I mentioned in an earlier post that I have encountered a number of people who have "issues" with my hunting and discussing hunting. To be fair, SOME of them have problems with my raising livestock as well, but not all of them. Those are the ones that really blow my mind. For example, they say it is fine that I raise livestock for food, but if I want to hunt for wild animals for food, that's bad. HUH?

Now, I mentioned that I have my own philisophical reasons for hunting. And I will be sharing those with you... right about now.

I have lived in suburban and rural areas. I have known those that live in truly urban environments. Those in the urban environs don't have as many problems as those of us who live outside of the city lights, for the most part. But where I am and have been, it is not an unusual occurance to see deer, raccoon, groundhog, possum, etc on the side of the road where they end up after being hit by a car. This is damaging to both the vehicles and the humans driving them, but also to the animals since there is a large chance of a not clean kill. Let me make this point very clear... Animal Suffering = BAD!

On top of the suffering and damage that occurs, there is also the major problem that those like my wife and I face. We plant a garden to feed us and our families. We don't plant it to feed the animals, but that doesn't mean that they don't look at our garden and our yard as a smorgasboard of delectable treats just for them. Rabbits and deer both love the yummy veggies that we plant. When I was a young child, my family had 5-6 evergreen bushes that lined one side of the driveway, and every winter, these bushes grew more and more bare. First along the middle, say 3-4 feet high, then higher and lower. When there was snow on the ground, you could see the deer tracks coming and going from the bushes. A neighbor up the hill had two chestnut trees, and when the chestnut balls fell, the deer would congregate to break them open and eat the treat inside. (as a side note, if you don't know about chestnut trees, when they drop their balls, they are spike balls between 4-6 inches in diameter. These hurt when you run around in bare feet as I do.) The deer don't remove the spike balls, they just break them open, so I was constantly finding pieces of them... by stepping on them.

These are just some of the problems that wild animals can cause. I am not going to go into detail about raccoons and garbage cans, bears and dumpsters, or the danger that these can pose to family, friends, pets, and livestock. However, we need to realize WHY we see these problems. Trust me, deer are not hanging out by the side of the road because their parents just don't understand.

The first reason that they are doing these things because humans are encroaching on their habitats. Now, before you go off on me and call me some sort of greenie weenie, I am not saying that their habitats are sacred, but you do have to realize that if you tear down 50-100 acres of woodlands, the animals that lived there have to go someplace. If a piece of forest can support 50 deer, and you cut that land in half without removing half of the herd, what do you think will happen? They look at the gardens and lawns to get food, since there isn't enough for everyone in that area anymore.

Secondly, we as humans want to protect ourselves and our familes, no? Well, that means we clear out and kill many of the predators near where we live. Makes sense, right? Well, now these animals that used to lose the sick and elderly to their predators, are living longer and are becoming overpopulated beacause Nature's balancing mechanism is broken. And we broke it. Therefore, it is up to us to take the place of the predators that we took out of the picture. Take my previous example and say you have a piece of land that supports 50 deer. Well, those deer give birth each year and the herd would grow, but they lose members of the herd each year to the mountain lion/coyote/wolf/etc. But we put up some houses outside of that area and we kill the predators to keep our children safe. Now, they deer herd is not thinned each year and quickly grows from 50 to 75 or 100. Now, we start seeing the same problems as removing their homelands.

In both of these instances, since the food supply is not enough to support the number of animals that live on the land, they have to look farther and farther afield to get their food. If there just isn't enough, the herds get sick, the heartiest animals get the illnesses of the weaker animals since they don't have enough food to keep themselves healthy. They get sick, they can't provide/protect the weaker members, and so on and so forth. It's a very vicious cycle.

For these reasons, I believe in animal hunting. But I want to make another point. I believe in hunting for the well-being of the herd of animals being hunted and for the food/leather/products that can be gained by taking the animal. They say we have a hunger problem in America. Well, I say that we should teach more people to go out hunting and they will have more food to eat. I believe in using as much of each animal as possible. Waste Not, Want Not.

To take that a step farther, I don't necessarily believe in trophy hunting. I say necessarily because there are some trophy hunters would donate the meat that they take to the hungry in the area where the animal was taken. There are not always enough hunters in an area to keep the animal population under control, and if Johnny Hunter wants to come and take out a XXXXXXX animal, and donate the food, then go for it. But just to hunt for a trophy for the wall? Nah, don't think so.

I don't know if I am going to convince anyone that hunting is good that doesn't already lean that way, and I don't know if I am going to turn anyone away from hunters. I just wanted to put my thoughts out there and see what some of you think.


Chris W said...

FG I stand firm in my beliefs about hunting. I have hunted since I was old enough to pretty much walk.Always have, always will. Sometimes it was for an extra something in the freezer, and other times it was out of pure necessity.
People who don't understand hunting, or have never HAD to hunt, have no clue what it's about. All they see are Bambi and Thumper frolicing through the forest, and not the animals that eat the garden we work so hard for, OR as a food source. For some reason which I can never understand, it's ok to kill and butcher a cow,a pig, or a chicken, but wild animals make these people cry like infants.

Perfect point to this? One time while arguing with my ex-wife about hunting, I made it a point to tell her that at one time, cows roamed the earth just as deer, so what was the difference? Her answer? Now this was from a college educated resperitory therapist........."nu-uh". Yep FG old pal, "nu-uh". Kinda shows the logic of these folks, doesn't it?

Would it be different and we went to the store and bought deer, boar, and pheasant while cows, pigs, and chickens filled the woods?

I have plenty more to say on this, and actually may be inspired to make a post about this myself....

Bethany said...

Excellent, excellent thoughts on hunting! I LOVE hunting and even though I'm only 15, I've gone hunting for 3 years (this fall with be my 4th). I don't just like hunting to kill but to bring home meat for the table. Like you said, if there was no hunting there would be more pain for animals.

HermitJim said...

This is a very well done post, my friend, and about says it all in a very concise way.


FarmerGeek said...

Thank you all for your comments.

Chris, didn't you know, "nuh-uh" is a highly technical term that you can't without that there fancy college edumacatiom.

Bethany, thanks for the comment. 15 and already been hunting 3x? I'm jealous, I had friends who started around 12, but I never got to. Glad to know that there are still people in the younger generation who are willing to do what needs to be done!

Jim, Thank you for the nice comment, as always!!

Anonymous said...

Hunting is in our DNA. Once conceived DNA is in the nucleus of each of our one hundred trillion cells, except for our mature red blood cells that have no nucleus. DNAs function is to form proteins from amino acids using RNA in the cytoplasm of each cell. There are 20 amino acids including 9 that are essential, that is, we cannot make them and must eat them. All 20 amino acids must be in sufficient quantity in each cell to allow each cell to make proteins, often times specific for that group of cells.

Some people are protein malnourished, not having eaten enough protein, particularly the essential amino acids. Kala Azar and Kwashiorkor, associated with a maize diet, low in lysine an essential amino acid. These are two severe examples of protein malnutrition.

Meat and animal products, eggs and milk contain all the amino acids in sufficient quantity such that 70 grams of protein daily is enough. Those 70 grams of protein is contained in about 1/2 pound of lean meat. Beans, legumes, and nuts also provide protein.

Jose Ortega y Gassett, Spanish philosopher said, "I am myself plus my circumstance." Self is our DNA and circumstance, as regards eating is our ingesting sufficient quantities of protein to allow our cells to repair themselves and make enzymes, proteins.

Gassett argued, and I agree, that, "I do not hunt in order to kill, but kill in order to have hunted."

Robert Burgess, M.D.

johny said...

"When you have shot one bird flying you have shot all birds flying. They are all different and they fly in different ways but the sensation is the same and the last one is as good as the first". So that's why it's don't matter whether you shot a single bird or a bunch or bird, I think murder is murder either it's animal or a bird. south carolina hunting lodge

wolfe said...

I see no problem with hunting, assuming that the game in question is in numbers to continue next year.

I do see a problem with with people forcing their beliefs on others. PETA and the like are a bunch of crazed sheep, they should be fleeced, at the very least. Pun intended.

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Russell Kofoed said...

Thanks for the great comments. We have a market garden and a severe rabbit problem. We raise chickens and will raise goats and pigs this spring. We also have a significant coyote population.

I eat the rabbits I shoot. I have never had the need to shoot a coyote, although I've had the oppotunity. I will shoot it if the need arises.

We hunt deer, elk, rabbits, turkey, grouse, pheasant, and waterfowl. Both for the table and for the spiritual fulfillment that it brings to our lives. I especially liked the comments by person who posted about
Jose Ortega y Gassett

We try to eat as little factory raised, shrink wrapped, store bought meat as possible. What we don't raise or hunt ourselves, we buy from local farmers in bulk. Great post.

Anonymous said...


Yuri said...

Hunting can also involve the elimination of vermin, as a means of pest control to prevent diseases caused by overpopulation. Hunting advocates state that hunting can be a necessary component[1] of modern wildlife management, for example to help maintain a population of healthy animals within an environment's ecological carrying capacity when natural checks such as predators are absent.[2] In the United States, wildlife managers are frequently part of hunting regulatory and licensing bodies, where they help to set rules on the number, manner and conditions in which game may be hunted.

yuri Mizyuk