Hunting is a very controversial subject in most circles. Some consider it outright murder, while others are more lenient and condone the sport.
The question we will try to answer today is much simpler than whether hunting is good or bad. We’ll look at it from an environmental standpoint and try to discover how it affects the planet.
The Negative Aspects of Hunting
The biggest negative impact hunting can have on the environment happens when we take it to extremes. Overhunting has already caused the extinction of numerous species, and it is likely to do so again.
Hunters who only hunt for sport and who care nothing of the kinds of animals they kill and how their death will impact the ecosystem are the biggest culprits and pose the biggest environmental threat.
For example, the gray wolf used to be hunted to near extinction. Its demise caused an ecological collapse in Yellowstone in the 1920s, as this major predator was eliminated from the wild.
Overhunting can disrupt prey and predator numbers, which, in turn, can be devastating to the environment. Young animals can perish without their parents, preventing the repopulation of a certain species. Trees and plant life can either start to overgrow, when there aren’t enough prey animals to consume them, or diminish, when there are too many animals fighting for the same limited amount of resources. Hunting prey animals can also harm the predators, who will eventually starve, unable to kill their meals.
There is nothing even remotely beneficial about overhunting. It is dangerous, selfish, and irrational. It can significantly harm the environment.
The Benefits of Conscientious Hunting
However, there is another side to this coin. There are plenty of instances when hunting is actually necessary and can significantly help an ecosystem recover and thrive.
For instance, large populations of deer can be harmful to the ecosystem, as they consume too much plant life. And when a predator population gets too numerous, its prey doesn’t have enough time to repopulate, so thinning the herd, so to speak, can give smaller animals a chance to procreate.
If you want to start hunting, here is what you need to know about its benefits:
Hunting Can Support Conservation Efforts
A lot of hunters don’t realize that the costs of their licenses are used to fund organizations and projects which are dedicated to the conservation of our environment and local ecosystem.
Millions of dollars are taken from the hunting industry towards habitat management, wildlife rehabilitation programs, and scientific research. So, the taxes you pay on a hunting rifle will actually be spent on trying to keep our ecosystem safe.
Hunting Can Be a Great Source of Food
Game is a great source of high-quality nutrients. It is organically fed, locally grown, and this kind of meat is much healthier for your body than anything you can buy at the grocery store.
Hunting can thus both help your health and support local communities if you donate the meat you’ve killed to a local program, like a homeless shelter or a food assistance program.
This is why it’s important to only hunt animals you can eat and whose fur or other body parts can be used in some way. The meat can also be used to feed other wildlife and ensure the food chain remains intact.
Hunting Can Help Manage Wildlife Population
Legal hunting can and does benefit the environment and individual habitats. As long as it is well planned and thought out, relying on real-time information, it is the best way to keep certain species in check.
As you already know, the overpopulation of a certain animal species, whether they are predators or prey, can lead to food shortages and disrupt the food chain, causing havoc in an ecosystem. The control of these populations can not only ensure that both predators and prey survive but also protect local agriculture and forest areas.
Hunting Can Prevent the Spread of Disease
When an ecosystem is damaged and food shortages occur, animals in the wild can become more susceptible to disease, as their immune systems are weakened by malnutrition. This can lead to the spread of disease, especially in the winter, which can seriously impact wildlife populations.
Some diseases can even be spread to humans, so it’s important to keep animal populations in check to prevent these food shortages that could potentially lead to infection.
In Closing: Can Hunting Be Environmentally Friendly?
The answer is simply: yes and no. When hunting is done in moderation and with a specific goal in mind, taking into account prey and predator numbers in a specific area, it can be beneficial to all participants in the food chain.
However, overhunting can destroy our planet incredibly quickly, as the balance between predators and prey is eliminated and animals starve to death in consequence.
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