Wildlife Sports Hunting
Over 100,000 years ago, hunting was a crucial survival skill for people as they relied upon their ability to kill wild animals for food, clothes, or defense. During those days, hunting was a justified activity that was not only a natural part of the cycle but also mandatory for survival. Men depended on these animals for survival, and they also needed to be able to defend themselves against them since they lived in the same environment without boundaries. In this sense, hunting was a source of nourishment, a means of survival. Sport hunting, however, is a different affair altogether. Here, individuals or groups engage in hunting for the sole purpose of getting the ‘trophy’ and claiming prowess as game hunters. With so many changes in the living habits of mankind, hunting is no longer necessary to most people. With the domestication of such animals as goats, cows, sheep, and pigs among others, men no longer have an excuse to go out in the wild for food. This means that in this day and age, hunting is purely unnatural and unjustifiable. Sport hunting can, thus, be labeled as unnecessary and unacceptable despite the claims concerning its benefits to the environment.
This paper examines the whole sport hunting affair in a bid to establish why it is unnecessary despite the claims regarding its positive effects. The working hypothesis here is that sport hunting as an activity is bad for the ecosystem.
Unlike in the Stone Age years, mankind no longer stays out in the wild or needs to hunt for food. In fact, hunting is no longer a befitting word for the act of killing animals in the today’s world. Hunting is or rather was a means of survival and one of the fundamental skills together with gathering and scavenging. Today, however, people continue to perceive the act of killing wild animals as a recreational activity that is meant for the amusement of individuals. This not only is a misappropriation of the natural resources but also an exploitation of the wildlife.
Hunting as a Commercialized Sport
For many years, commercialization of hunting has been a recreational activity for the upper class in society. Land owners have, over the years, allowed individuals and hunting groups to carry out game hunting on their land for a sizeable amount of money. It can be said that hunting as a sport is the act of killing wild animals for fun. During the prehistoric time, the killing was a means of obtaining nourishment and survival in the wild. Today, however, it is simply a form of killing for prestige and money. The landowners charge for the game on their land, the government charges for the licenses and tax duties, and the hunters collect trophies for their own prestige. In this sense, the animals are exterminated, and the future generations are effectively robbed of the joy of seeing these animals in the future.
Commercialized hunting is, therefore, an unjustified killing of wildlife, simply for the fun and the purpose of making money at the expense of the wildlife populations. On the other hand, using the term ‘sport’ is simply a bid to make the killings socially acceptable, by pretending that there is no harm done and that hunters can have a clear conscience. This cannot be further from the truth.
Endangered Species & the Effect It Has on the Wildlife Environment (Biosphere)
Nature has a way of taking care of itself, and this is something that man ought to have learnt by now. Sport hunting may be perceived in a positive light when it is strictly controlled and when the hunters are only allowed to hunt where the animals are overpopulated. However, this requires very stringent measures that are sometimes hard to implement. In the game ranches and special hunting facilities, the native species that are hunted may be endangered species that require protection but are not protected due to their presence on private land. This puts them at the risk of extinction, and eventually, an entire species may disappear forever.
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Citing that nature takes care of itself, it is important to note that each individual species is very important to the ecosystem (Lovelock 57). These ecosystems have food chains for maintaining populations and providing food and sustenance. This implies that if one link in the chain is removed, the entire ecosystem is negatively affected. With regards to the wildlife environment, hunting creates fear of movement, thus causing these animals to hibernate or change their migration cycles. This ends up disrupting the lives of other animals that follow a similar cycle, and at one time, there may be overcrowding of a habitat, and thus, excessive conflicts and competition for such resources as food and water may occur. Animals, thus, need to be looked at as a part of a bigger picture, which is the biosphere. Eliminating a species, thus, affects the entire biosphere by disrupting the natural processes and creating a vacuum that has to be filled if everything is to work well.
Laws and Ethics of Sport Hunting
Hunters claim to operate by a moral code of practice that acts as a supplement to the passed laws and regulations. The laws are somewhat general and usually cover the use and transportation of firearms, as well as cruelty to animals and nature. It is, however, the unwritten moral code of conduct that carries more weight as it is monitored by the entire hunting community. The code stipulates that such things as shooting at road sides, handling of firearms irresponsibly, hunting while on the road, and chasing animals using vehicles are all unacceptable and unethical for a hunter (Lovelock 36). Also, the code requires a hunter to have and maintain a good relationship with the landowner, always obtain permission before entering the property, and always respect the property, as well as the landowners’ privacy. The code is also strongly against damaging or littering in public and private property.
Positive Effects of Hunting
Hunting has been legal in most countries across the world based on the scientific claims of their positive impacts on nature. Just as the environment could sustain hunting as a means of obtaining food, there are arguments that it needs the hunting exercise to continue even though the game is no longer a survival requirement. Positive effects of hunting, thus, include controlling animal populations and raising funds for the conservation programs.
In Some Cases It Helps Control the Animal Population
Nature has been in existence for a very long time, and it is, thus, the same now as it was in the prehistoric times. This means that if hunting was a part of the ecosystem management strategy in the past, it still plays the same role at the present. Just like within the animal fraternity, predators are important in controlling the populations of their prey and limiting competition for food, hunting is also a way of controlling the populations of the hunted species with a special example of the deer, which is termed as overpopulated in America (Grosz 95).
Money Paid by Hunters for Licenses and Equipment
Conservation programs often rely on government funding that may not be sufficient, given the tight budgets focusing on development affairs. Licenses and taxes on the hunting equipment allow the governments to raise more revenue in order to finance various conservation programs for the environment and wildlife specifically. Hunting, thus, plays the role of an enabler for these programs, hence benefitting both the environment as a whole and the species that are hunted (Grosz 107).
Wildlife sport hunting has both positive and negative impacts on the environment as a whole. First of all, commercialized hunting is an unjustified killing of wildlife, simply for fun of or for the purpose of making money at the expense of the wildlife populations. Sport hunting may be perceived in a positive light if it is strictly controlled. However, this requires very strict measures that are sometimes difficult to apply. In the game ranches and hunting facilities, the native species being hunted may be endangered species that require protection but are not protected because they live on private land. This puts them at the risk of extinction. As a result, an entire species may disappear in future. Hunters claim to operate by a moral code of practice that acts as a supplement to the passed laws and regulations. The laws are somewhat general and usually cover the use and transportation of firearms, as well as cruelty to the game. It is, however, the unwritten moral code of conduct that carries more weight as it is monitored by the entire hunting community. Positive effects of hunting include controlling animal populations and providing funds for the conservation programs. Therefore, the negative characteristics outweigh the positive ones. This implies that even though hunting was a means of nourishment, it has become a commercialized sport that is endangering wildlife animals.