Hunting Survey

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Hunting and Gun Rights Forum

On the Anti Hunting point of view:

If someone is uncomfortable with the idea of hunting, they shouldn’t hunt and they shouldn’t be pressured to hunt.

But to condemn hunting and hunters as being immoral or unethical and to insist it be stopped is highly problematic.

This really is a social issue about hatred, intolerance, prejudice and discrimination.

Hunting is no more or less moral and ethical than buying meat from a supermarket or raising ones own livestock for food.

In this day and age, we are detached from the realities of where our food comes from. It is acceptable to pay someone to kill the cows, pigs and chickens we purchase at the supermarket. It is also acceptable for a person to raise their own livestock for food. However, if I choose to hunt non-endangered animals during a legal hunting season, observing local laws, some will claim that I am no different from a violent criminal.

Hunters are not evil or maniacal. I have never met a hunter who “killed for the thrill” and left the carcass behind. I have never met a hunter who hunted endangered species or didn’t observe local seasons and laws. This does happen from time to time and it is called poaching. Poaching is illegal and is very much frowned upon in the hunting community. To compare hunters to poachers is like comparing shoppers to shoplifters. To compare hunters to poachers is like saying that all men are rapists.

As far as whether or not hunting is humane, I can only say that a hunter is highly motivated to make an accurate, humane kill shot to the vital organs. This is both for the sake of the animal and for the sake of the hunter. No hunter wants to make an animal suffer needlessly, and it is not in the hunters best interest to wound an animal that runs off, is panicked and difficult to locate for a second shot. When compared to cougars, wolves, alligators and other predators, the human hunter is perhaps the most humane hunter in the wild. Isn’t it more humane to be shot from a distance unexpectedly than to be chased down and eaten alive?

Some people claim that game animals are defenseless and non-threatening. Cows, pigs and chickens are defenseless and non-threatening, but it is acceptable to pay someone to kill them so that we can eat them. Game animals on the other hand, can sometimes be very threatening. More importantly, game animals have very strong defenses. Their senses of smell and hearing are exponentially more sensitive than our own and these senses are used to aid in their survival.

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Here is an example to illustrate this point: As humans, we are able to pick up a scent in the air from about 3 feet away. Dogs, about 30 feet. Whitetail Deer, 300 feet. A whitetail deer in the wild is an expert at using the wind strategically to survive and will run away the instant it smells or hears anything that is foreign. It is extremely difficult to sneak up on a game animal in the wild.

Some raise the point that hunters have killed off all of the natural predators and this is our self serving way of making hunting neccessary. This is a twisting of the facts. The facts are that as more and more wildlife habitat was developed for humans to live on, instances of predators attacking people, pets and livestock increased. This led to calls for liberal hunting seasons and bag limits on predators. That is why their numbers have been depleted. Did the hunters kill these predators? Yes. But the hunters were not the problem. In this instance, encroachment and development was and still is the problem. We are all to blame for this.

It is inaccurate to imply that hunters are unconcerned about depleting the resource. To the contrary. If we want our grandchildren’s grandchildren to be able to hunt (and we do), we must be proactive about preserving and maintaining habitat for wildlife. Hunters are conservationists.

Every year millions of hunters dollars pay for wildlife management. The Pittman- Robertson Act collects an 11% excise tax on firearms and ammunition and a 10% excise tax on handguns. These dollars are used to help government agencies purchase and maintain millions of forested acres known as Wildlife Management Areas (WMA’s) which are enjoyed free of charge by hunters and non hunters alike.

This important work is also done by volunteer organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation , Pheasants Forever , and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Hunters spend a great deal of time and money to preserve, maintain and protect wildlife habitat. Hunters aren’t the enemy of wildlife. Development is the enemy of wildlife.

Some people are convinced that hunters are motivated to hunt because it gives them pleasure to watch an animal suffer and die. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, I would like to make a request of those who feel this way: Please do not make assumptions about the motives of hunters.

Many people who have never been exposed to hunting or who do not understand or agree with hunting make this assumption and this simply is not the way it is. If you are unsure about this, please ask questions of the hunters you know. Ask what hunting is to them. Ask what they get out of hunting and whether or not they hunt because it gives them pleasure to watch an animal suffer and die.

I have hunted all of my life and I grew up in a rural area where most of the people we knew hunted. I also work in the hunting industry as a booking agent for hunting trips. I speak with hundreds of hunters every year and I have spoken with and known thousands of hunters over the course of my life. Do I know everything there is to know about hunting? Absolutely not. But, in the course of interacting with all of these people, I have never once come across a person who hunts because it gives them pleasure to watch an animal suffer and die.

What do we get out of hunting? What motivates otherwise sane and humane people to go out and kill other living things? Well, for me and for most of the hunters I have known it is for the challenge, the satisfaction and yes even the fun of doing something yourself.

It is the same challenge, satisfaction and fun that people get from gardening, from raising livestock for food, from doing their own home repairs, etc. For someone who has never been exposed to hunting or who does not understand or agree with hunting, this may be a difficult explanation to relate to, but it is true nonetheless.

Here is an example: When i was growing up, we raised chickens. Every fall, we would kill, pluck and prepare chickens for the freezer. Killing, plucking and preparing chickens wasn't the most pleasant work, but in the end, it was extremely satisfying (and delicious) to eat the chickens we had raised.

As children, this experience helped my brother and I to learn a great deal about the mysteries of life and death. It helped to make us that much more mindful and appreciative of where our food comes from and that a living being had to die in order for us to live.

For me, whether my food is bought from a store, raised by me or taken by me in the wild, it is all the same from an ethical perspective. I don't make an ethical distinction between killing a chicken that I have raised for food and going into the woods to hunt a game bird during a legal hunting season, observing local laws.

I must add, that food I have either raised myself or taken in the wild is better tasting and more meaningful and satisfying than anything I could buy in a store. This is the challenge, the satisfaction and the fun that i am talking about.

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One area of this debate that deeply troubles me is that this is a very serious diversity issue. How is comparing hunters to murderers and criminals different from racial/demographic profiling or stereo typing? This sort of thing is a prime example of hatred, intolerance, prejudice and discrimination.

It is unnacceptable to speak or act hatefully toward demographic groups based upon their race, religion, gender or sexual preference. But somehow it is ok to categorize responsible, law abiding citizens who hunt and own firearms as violent criminals. 

I'll give you an example: In many urban/suburban areas, fewer people have been exposed to guns and hunting than in rural areas. Consequently, it is much more difficult for some people to relate to gun owners and hunters. This makes gun owners and hunters easier for some people to condemn.

For instance, we have all heard about homosexuals in the workplace who are ostracized when their lifestyle is discovered. Some people have never known anyone who is a homosexual, so it is difficult for them to understand and relate to. Conseqently, they make certain judgements and assumptions about that persons character and morals, and with a whisper campaign they go about destroying that persons reputation and do everything they can to make them look and feel like a freak.

Many gun owners and hunters experience this very same phenomenon. Thankfully for homosexuals, this is improving, but for hunters and gun owners it is getting worse by the minute.

All of this is wrong of course. But sadly, it is human nature. For some reason, it is human instinct to condemn what we fear. We fear what we don't understand. We don't understand what we can't relate to.

How can we work to change this? How can we work to heal this? How can we work toward being more compassionate, understanding and tolerant of each other?

Condemning hunting and hunters, however well meaning is a very serious social problem. It is exactly the same as condemning people of a different race, religion, gender or sexual preference.

When it comes to hunting, there are three categories of people:

Hunters (people who hunt)

Non-Hunters (people who do not hunt, but accept that other people hunt)

and Anti Hunters (people who feel that hunting is immoral and unethical and condemn hunting and hunters)

What is hunting to you?

I value all feedback and may be reached by email at:

Mike Lapierre

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Hunting and Gun Rights Forum

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