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.