The bright side of hunting

Hunting doesn’t initially seem like the ideal outdoor activity for those interested in keeping wild animals happy and alive. For environment-conscious Portlanders, hunting can appear a downright anathema at first glance.

A closer look, however, reveals that there are plenty of aspects of hunting that don’t conflict with a desire to maintain and protect nature, and hunting can even be helpful to many species.

The main objection some people have to hunting is that it unfairly kills animals in a cruel manner and is a disturbance that can lead to fluctuations and decreases in populations of animals. If the animals being hunted are an endangered species, then the fear is magnified.

Almost all hunting, however, is closely regulated by government wildlife agencies to ensure that hunters do not exceed the established number of animals that can be hunted each season. Zookeeper and animal expert Jack Hanna has stated that some of the world’s foremost conservationists and animal lovers are hunters, and that respect for nature and the health of animals is a quality shared by many hunters.

It is not enjoyable to watch animals die, but it is worth noting that animals are constantly being preyed upon by predators in the wild, and they may die due to natural disasters, lack of access to resources and countless other reasons.

The conditions of life faced by most animals are fundamentally dangerous, and human hunters are merely one of those dangers. Hunters, like animal predators, disease and natural catastrophes, act to reduce and cull populations of animals to prevent one species from growing uncontrollably and wiping out other species.

In essence, hunters function as a force for biodiversity, and as long as hunters keep the number of animals they hunt within sustainable limits, there are benefits for both animals and humans.

The appearance of hunting as a recent trend among hipsters, documented by Slate magazine in 2012, came as a tremendous shock to many, including myself. However hunting, after producing one’s own honey or eggs, is merely a natural progression in the road to self-sufficiency in food sustainability.

Almost all animals face the risk of predation, and most species rely on eating other animals to survive. Humans are not very different in this respect, and hunting allows us to understand the traditions and standards of food consumption that many of our ancestors were familiar with.

Hunting has suffered a decline in popularity in recent years due to the lengthy procedures required to obtain hunting permits, the vanishing space suitable for hunting and public disapproval of hunting. However, the past era of hunting allowed more people to understand how prevalent scarcity of food was and how important appreciation of one’s food sources were.

The promotion of hunting corresponds to the desire and necessity to preserve more land so that animals remain abundant and hunting can continue. There are many ways in which hunting can be taken to extremes but in moderation, hunting can be just as effective as any other method of helping us value and care for the world we live in, if not more.