Man has been hunting wild game since the dawn of time. An animal’s carcass provides meat, pelts, bone and other items that hunters used for survival. Modern man does not normally hunt for survival anymore, but some do. There are estimated to be over 15 million hunters in the United States alone. In this article, we offer 27 reasons hunting is good for the environment.
What Is Hunting?
Hunting has been defined as the ending of an animal’s life for food or sport. However, many activists include fishing as a form of hunting.
Men, women, and children of all ages across the world hunt each year. Currently, there are an estimated 50 million hunters across the planet, with 15 million in the United States alone.
Why Is Hunting Important?
For some, hunting provides food. For others, hunting is a sport. Both are economically important to many people, such as family members, retailers, and governmental agencies. Large amounts of monies are spent each year on camping gear, hunting weapons, survival food, and outdoor clothing to provide the hunter with what they need for their trek. Hunters also provide a great deal of money to state and government agencies in the form of taxes and fees, which puts in place an amazing amount of environmental protections.
Hunting also preserves forests and wild areas. High densities of any animal can destroy the ecosystem and can have a huge environmental impact for many years after. If forest trees are destroyed by deer, for example, runoff of soil could result in decades of damage to farm lands just below the forested areas. As the trees die off, the carbon dioxide would grow and expand, and the seed trees would be unable to grow in the barren soil because of the now hot and unfriendly environment. Hunters can control the deer densities and keep carbon dioxide out of the environment.
Furthermore, the more an individual hunts, the closer they become to the land. They become the first to see recovery, disease, or pollution. They are also the first to report these signs to specialized agencies that can take the necessary steps to bring the land back or protect the beginning of recovery.
Do Animals Become Extinct Because of Hunters?
While some people vilify hunters, most hunters follow a strict code of ethics and rules that allow them to continue to enjoy their desired recreation. Hunters are often blamed for the extinction of various animal species, but the truth is that most of the extinct creatures died off after environmental changes occurred. Hunters had nothing to do with their demise.
How Do Hunters Impact the Environment?
Modern hunters recognize that protections for land and animals are one of the few ways to help maintain a balance and keep nature preserved. They understand that the money they donate and provide in licensing fees is vital to the maintenance of wetlands, deserts, forests, and rainforests across the globe. Most hunters are staunch environmentalists because protecting their favorite playground will let them enjoy their favorite recreational activity as well.
As hunters become more aware of habitat destruction and urban sprawl, they are also growing closer to, and often joining with, the public environmental activists and ecosystem green leaders. Hunters love their wild environments and strive to protect and improve the land.
27 Reasons Why Hunting Is Good
When humans take care of themselves, they also take care of the environment around them. Hunting can offer individuals the chance to improve upon themselves, take care of their surroundings, and improve the economy. Each of these factors is intertwined with one another to provide humanity with a positive reason to promote hunting as environmentally necessary and sound. Hunting is good for the environment for the following 27 reasons.
1. Improve Mental Health
Waiting for a game animal to appear can sometimes take hours. There are no cell phones to answer, no document deadlines, and no meetings to prepare for. For that reason, individuals find it can be very therapeutic to sit among the sounds of nature and let the gentle rush wash over them as they develop a deep connection to the land. The more connected they are, the more they will try to save the environment.
Hunters often walk for miles off the beaten path to get to a blind or well-hidden spot in the shrub. In addition, they must carry a weapon (usually 10 or more pounds), food, water, and personal gear. Not only does the walk improve their stamina, but the trudging about on uneven ground also lets hunters become aware at the first sign of any problems with the flora or fauna within their area. Without this information, disease and overpopulation could run rampant.
3. Build Social Skills
For hundreds of years, parents have taken their sons and daughters out into the wilderness to teach them to hunt. While the activity can be physically exhausting, it can also create a bonding as few other experiences can. Walking along with family or friends gives individuals teaching moments that are far away from the hubbub of city life. When bonding occurs within the confines of outdoor spaces, that environment becomes important to all participants, and the ecosystem must be protected.
Many hunters treasure the time they spend in nature during their hunting expeditions. They may complain about the rain, snow, and cold, but when pressed to explain why they make the trip out into the wilds every year, hunters will almost unanimously explain that they love the peace and relaxation the hunt provides. With the intake of all that almost pure air, it would be difficult not to relax in the pristine areas hunters seek. Why wouldn’t they want to protect that environment and help develop more areas just like it?
5. Eat Healthy Food
Hunting game meat is typically the quest of the hunter, and that means bringing home food that is free of man-made chemicals and antibiotics. That is why wild game meat is considered healthier for consumption than commercially bred meat. For those seeking a lean-meat hunt, protecting the environment becomes an important part of their daily life in order to protect their future hunts and their food source.
6. Experience Survival
Although it can be difficult for some to understand, there are individuals who push themselves to survive off the land. Their desire is to take responsibility for their own food by hunting the animals they eat. Those individuals do not like the separation found between the grocery store and the table. Peace comes to them when they take down that buck or bear on the land they strive diligently to protect and improve.
7. Acknowledge Kinship
Hunters often believe they have a kinship with wildlife. Many even have rituals they perform to honor the life given up by the animal at their feet. This doesn’t make them silly; it reconnects them with our ancestors who performed those same rites long ago. Those hunters don’t leave debris after a hunt, because they respect the land and want to improve it. They also bury the carcass or take it with them instead of polluting the land.
8. Participate in Life
Hunters wander through trees, scrubs, waterways, and worn paths. They venture into rain, snow, and dangerous winds. They choose to take these adventures because they want to create the next chapter of their life instead of letting someone dictate how they can spend their next hours. Hunters are strong individuals who want to be their own persons and improve their environment while doing so. For them, knowing the pristine area will be there next year is as essential as their next breath.
9. Control Overpopulation
Maintaining animal population control is a key component in maintaining a well-balanced ecosystem. An example is the elk in North American that became overpopulated and upset the ecosystem by stripping the available vegetation. As the natural grasses disappeared, so did other populations of smaller animals. By removing the excess number of deer, the smaller creatures were able to return and bring nature back into balance.
10. Cull Invasive Species
Many times throughout history, humans have unknowingly added invasive species of animals into nature. The results are often devastating. Hogs, pythons, and rabbits are all examples of good intentions gone wrong. Without the culling of these dangerous, quickly multiplying predators, the balance of nature would be broken, and many at-risk species would disappear.
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11. Preserve Ecosystems
As man expands, the uninhabited spaces available for wild animals slowly disappears. But hunters must purchase licenses and pay special taxes that provide much needed monies to continually support and rebuild wild animal habitats. This helps maintain the balance of the ever-shrinking ecosystem.
12. Restrict Hunting
Because each hunter must purchase a license, the area being hunted is traced, as is the species being tracked within the hunt. Additionally, all hunters do not get animals during their allowed hunting period, but those who do must report which animal they shot, and where. This helps conservationists to track herds and limits hunting in areas seen as unbalanced.
13. Protect Vehicles and Lives
When a population of any animal gets out of control, the first sign is what some often call “road kill.” These are animals that have been killed by speeding vehicles. As populations grow, the need for food expands, and human roads get into the way of the herd’s food source. Millions of dollars are spent each year to repair vehicles damaged by large and small animals that are hit crossing busy roads. Sometimes those accidents can become fatal. Hunters can help reduce the population sizes and thus keep the animals in secluded habitats. By doing this, they can also protect human life.
14. Protect Property
Sometimes populations grow so rapidly that the animals can do excessive damage to homes, crops, and stored food supplies. This is true of elephants, rabbits, and mice. While hunters don’t search for mice, the money they spend each year does maintain habitats for the predators of both rabbits and mice. The healthy and abundant habitats for elephants are also important to protect both human life and food.
15. Protect the Land
As populations of animals grow, so do their appetites, and the grasses, flowers, and herbs that allow the increase of birds, insects, and small animals are quickly depleted. As the grasses disappear, the rains can cause severe soil erosion and even landslides. By keeping animals in check, the land’s grasses are allowed to take root and protect the soil.
16. Protect Flora
Hungry animals can deplete a field of wildflowers within hours. As the wildflowers disappear, so do the bees and butterflies, and with their disappearance comes implications about human survival. In a viscous circle, the smallest of creatures pollinate our food to keep us alive, so hunters work to keep them alive.
17. Increase Tourism
Hunters often travel far from home to find that special animal. That means they often need somewhere to sleep, food to eat, and entertainment. Small towns near popular rural hunting sites can benefit greatly by the influx of hunting money.
18. Increase Employment for Services
Hunters receive information and permission to hunt from state and government agencies that employ park rangers, guides, game wardens, and numerous other specialists who help keep the ecosystem in balance. The agencies also employ analysts, forecasters, and specialists to account for the numbers of animals in various habitats.
19. Increase Employment for Goods
Hunters need equipment such as bows, guns, tents, blinds, tree stands, fishing poles, and camping gear. Of course, each of these items must be manufactured, which means employment. As each of these employees becomes curious and aware of the natural world, they will understand how it is affected by humans and that it must be protected.
20. Increase Funds Received
As previously mentioned, hunters pay taxes. These excise taxes are used for animal surveys, wildlife studies, animal management, habitat rebuilding, and sanctuary development.
21. Support Conservation Groups
Hunters donated millions to conservation groups last year in an effort to develop strategies to protect endangered species. Whitetail deer, grouse, pheasants, and ducks are among the many species that have had their numbers depleted. This donation money helps to focus on the health and populations of those depleted animals.
22. Restore Wetlands and Forests
Hunters have donated enough money in the last decade to restore 45,000 acres of wetlands. They have also helped replant forests, restore grasslands, redevelop watersheds, and purchase property to establish protected environments for wildlife development.
23. Improve Education
In 2017 officials, paid by hunter’s donations, were able to oversee 200,000 volunteers who focused their time and energy in helping with efforts to protect endangered wildlife. These same officials were able to go to schools, non-profits groups, and religious meetings to educate non-hunters about wildlife conservation and the need for hunting programs.
24. Create Habitats
Hunters provided the government with enough money to purchase and maintain 4 million acres in the United States. Also, 40 million acres have been set aside by private individuals as wildlife habitats. This is about the size of the state of Washington and has allowed for ducks, deer, wild turkeys, and buffalo to come back from the brink of extinction to herds of millions.
25. Renew Wildlife
State wildlife agencies get approximately 60 percent of their funding from hunter-paid taxes, fees, and licenses. With this money, trees are planted, waters are protected, and dwindling animal populations are renewed.
26. Control Predators
Bears, wolves, coyotes, and cougars often keep to themselves and exist in their ecosystem. As their populations explode, they can harm humans. Hunters keep predators under control by regulating their food source; therefore, their numbers rarely surge out of control any more.
27. Expand Senses
Hunters are not spectators; they are participants in nature. While out there in the wild, they learn how to track, what scat means, how to read the land, and which animals are active when. They learn to observe, listen, and feel. They can tell the difference between the rustling wind and a scurrying rabbit. All this comes by expanding a sense of acuity. As their acuity grows, so does their need to protect the precious area and animals they have grown to love.
In today’s electronic lifestyle, there is often a disdain for hunters and the sport of hunting. A few people even vilify the hunter and want to force their own personal beliefs and feelings about hunting on others. It is important to be dispassionate when discussing hunting and its benefits. Without the money gleaned from hunters, many delicate ecosystems would be at the mercy of encroachment by man, poachers, or other environmental disturbances.
Hunters provide the means to create wildlife sanctuaries, to conduct research, and to bring endangered species back to life. The next time a trophy photo comes across your phone, tablet, or laptop, try to remember that without legal hunters putting money into your ecosystem, some wildlife you know and love might become extinct.
Hunters are good for the environment. They protect the lands they love by providing the money necessary to shelter, rebuild, and improve the precious acres. If anyone ever asks you why hunting is good for the environment, you now have 27 answers to give them.