Imagine a beautiful morning sunrise over your favorite piece of wetlands being interrupted when an overzealous anti-hunter (or animal activists for any of you politically correct people, such as my high school freshman year English teacher) comes flying in low over your goose and duck decoy spread in a helicopter, essentially messing up your opening day hunt. While just the thought of this might get your blood pressure rising and you say to yourself “No way that would ever happen to me”, there are plenty of hunters across this great nation that have to put up with occurrences like this every hunting season whether it be during bear, deer or waterfowl season. It is the same “geniuses” that willingly go out of their way to interrupt someone’s hunt that want to put our hunting traditions on a ballot and up for a vote. Now even though you might always vote in favor of hunting, my main audience this time around is that segment of the public who is neither for nor against hunting: Our non-hunting, non-PETA member friends. So with that being said, it’s time to dive into some of the reasons why they should always vote in favor of hunting if a political initiative ever comes to life.
Let’s get right to the point with, in my opinion, two of the best reasons the hunting community always comes back to when any discussion along these lines occurs: Hunting is a great conservation tool as well as our heritage. When a beloved President like Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt encourages everyone to pick-up a gun and start hunting in a responsible manner, then you have to take notice what the hunting culture means to the fabric of the American way of life. Then there is always finding hunting on a list of ideas that come into people’s minds about stopping population growth of deer throughout major cities and towns across the country; however it is often the least exercised option. Listen, it’s very simple, biologically speaking (take politics and feelings out of the equation for a second will ya?): Deer herds are growing fast, especially in the Midwest, South and East, due to hardly any natural predators. Hunters ARE the predator that keeps most herds in check and therefore are necessary to prevent overpopulation. Lower numbers equate to a healthier herd, lowering the chance of disease and allowing for more food to be available. There are also multiple benefits for the citizens of this country as well when it comes to this, but one I want to particularly point out is a lower number of deer-vehicle collisions. Millions of dollars are spent each year due to deer-related collisions, so if we can keep these to a minimum, premiums will be lower and we can lower the number of people who are injured or even killed when a deer meets their Ford Escort at 60 mph or causes them to swerve into a tree. Note that deer are not the only species that needs to be kept under control. Waterfowl, small game and predator populations also need to be kept in check for all the above reasons as well.
Now we dive into a few reasons that are often less emphasized by pro-hunters, such as hunting being a great sport for the whole family. Everyone from 7 years old to 90 can enjoy it. It gets us outdoors and moving around, plus it’s fun! You also have the aspect that the whole family can learn about nature and how to respect it. Taking the family on a weekend hunting trip can bring everyone together, leaving them with knowledge about the world around them and a new understanding of ethics and morals. But maybe you think this is whole hunting things is just too dangerous to get involved in. Actually you would be wrong as hunting is one of the safest sports in the world. In a study conducted in 1997, researchers came to the conclusion that hunting is safer than even Ping-Pong with only a couple of hundred accidents happening annually. The accidents that do happen though could have been prevented and are mostly human failure. A gun safety on here, an orange vest worn there, and the occasional gun inspection could have – no – would have prevented some accidents, if not all. For that reason, safety courses are a must now and every year the amount of hunting-related accidents has been trending downwards.
To put in bluntly, I think all anti-hunters are insane, especially when they make outlandish claims that legal hunting is making species go extinct, it is an immoral bloodsport or that it is no longer needed. Well we do need it and so do the animals we do and do not pursue. Sure, before game managers realized that rules and regulations regarding hunting each specific game animal, we lost a few species such as the Passenger Pigeon and Carolina Parakeet to hunting. In this day and age however, we have to worry more about the loss of habitat as a threat to the animal kingdom. That’s where hunters in the USA come in. Thanks to a federal excise tax act, a portion of our hard-earned money that is spent on guns, ammo and licenses goes directly to conservation efforts, which in turn addresses the problems our American game and non-game animals face today. So yes, we are needed, our sport brings people together, we will do far more when it comes to conversation efforts than anti-hunters ever will and should the right to hunt ever come up for vote, you should check that little box that says “I support hunting”.