What is your opinion on hunting? I found an article named "hunting myths and facts" while searching for arguments for and against hunting.
I am in favor of hunting if it’s done right. That is, hunting that is respectful of the animal and its sacrifice, and that uses the animal in a respectful manner. I am in favor of the right for people to hunt in a sustainable manner to feed their families, and same with fishing. That means you take what you need, and you hunt sustainably so that you don’t depopulate an area or massively skew a population’s gender ratio. Note that while I myself have never hunted (other than fishing), my parents hunt and so have my siblings.
So what do I view as respectful, sustainable hunting?
- Hunting should be to provide for yourself and your family, or others - if you aren’t going to eat it, then you don’t need to hunt it. (Predator control will be discussed later). Same goes with fishing. If you have surplus, trade with someone or donate it. But no part goes to waste if you can help it.
- Hunting that uses as much of the animal as possible - wasting the carcass is disrespectful
- Hunting needs to not depopulate an area, either in numbers or in imbalancing the sex ratio of the animals remaining
- Killing young animals is unethical. Same with killing a mother with young, or a pregnant animal. Unless there is no other option, don’t.
- If at all possible, track down what you wound and finish it humanely.
- If there are overpopulation issues in a local area, and it’s to the point where supplemental feed may not be an option, hunting could be considered. That doesn’t absolve you of the obligation to use the meat responsibly.
The fact of the matter is that in many places, humans have driven off and/or killed the major predators, causing imbalances. Especially regarding deer. We need to take responsibility for what we did, and hunting is a part of it. But we need to hunt responsibly.
What about predator control?
- The fact of the matter is that a lot of areas have issues with predators that impact not only public safety but also livestock production.
- Wild boar populations are rising around the US, and they are not only dangerous, they can be disease vectors (like cryptosporidium) and wreck waterways/ponds/conservation areas.
- Coyotes are also a big problem in some areas, and the drought made it worse in some ways.
- I do feel that farmers should be allowed to protect their livestock.
- That doesn’t mean putting a target on every razorback and coyote and raven/crow, because they have their place in the food chain as well and should be respected, but there should be options for effective, science-verified control methods.
One of my colleagues, Dr. Tina Saitone, is studying costs and effectiveness of predator control methods in CA and I look forward to her results. But we need public support and study to see what does work best, and better science communication so people understand why these methods are needed.
TL;DR: Eat what you hunt, don’t overdo it, and encourage your congresscritters to fund more research into effective predator control methods and especially feral hog control.