Josh Montgomery (see bio at the bottom this article) wrote this thought-provoking article for aussiehunter.
Hunting means a lot to many people throughout the world. It’s often used as a way to bond with friends and family as well as a way to get fresh, clean meat untouched by harsh manufacturing processes.
One thing that isn’t discussed as often, though, is that hunting can help save the environment as well. This overlooked detail isn’t a small one either – there are a lot of benefits that hunters offer to the world around them.
Hunters’ Economic and Conservation Funds
It’s common knowledge that hunting isn’t free. This doesn’t just come from the gear they buy either. There is also the purchase of hunting licenses, fishing licenses, and more. In the United States, these records are kept by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who estimated a $70 billion contribution to the economy in 2001.
Records were also kept by the Game Licensing Unit for the Economic Impact of Recreational Hunting in NSW. These records show that holders of game hunting licenses contribute $119 million dollars of the Gross State Product. In addition, they create 860 jobs in the NSW.
On top of the 19,000 game hunting license holders, there are approximately 207,000 non-game license holders in the NSW. These individuals collectively contribute somewhere between $446 million and $1,366 million to the Gross State Product. These create an estimated 3,932 to 11,572 jobs as well.
Maintaining the Balance Between Predator and Prey
In the modern world, the food chain is different than it once was. For one, the hunting that used to be the main crux of survival for humans has largely moved to animals that are farmed, filled with antibiotics and made simple and almost mechanical.
While the benefits and drawbacks of this are a hot button issue in and of themselves, there are also considerations to keep in mind as to the predator-prey balance.
Take deer, for example. These animals no longer have a lot of natural predators to keep the population in check. This is where hunters come in. They provide a buffer to curb a population that would otherwise be out of control. This helps to keep nature in balance.
This is safe for the people around deer populations as well. When deer populations are too high, problems such as deers running into the road and causing accidents are more frequent. On the side of the deer, overpopulation can lead to starvation and other problems.
Many equate hunting with population control only in limiting it. After all, if you are hunting game, you are eliminating an animal. This misconception comes from a rather narrow perspective that the action of killing a single animal is the only impact a hunter has. In truth, hunting hasn’t resulted in threatened or endangered animal populations. What surprises many with this initial evaluation is that hunters have not only kept populations low but that they help grow populations as well – there are even statistics to back this up!
In 1907, elk were in trouble in North America with only about 41,000 left. Now, they number in more than a million. Moving back to deer, whitetail deer were down to a 500,000 in 1900 but now more than 32 million are alive today.
Prevention of Poaching
As we’ve gone over, hunting creates jobs. These jobs are typically for those who protect ecosystems. With these jobs, there are more people to work to prevent what actually does hurt wildlife: poaching.
Hunters Reduce Factory Farming
It was mentioned earlier that hunting is a natural way to get meat. By gathering venison for themselves, family, friends, and more, hunters cut down on factory farming. This means fewer animals stuck in cages and fed antibiotics. Not only is this better for the animals, but this also provides better tasting and healthier meat than these factory-sourced meats.
Hunters Promote Firearm Safety
Firearm safety is important to all parts of the environment. To the human population, the reasoning is obvious. A firearm in an unwieldy hand can turn into an accident resulting in injury or worse very quickly. When hunting, a misused firearm can lead to a less clean shot and no hunter wants to see the buck they’ve caught suffer because they slipped up.
Any hunter worth their salt knows that they need more than just a decent tool when they are out hunting. Yet, they know that isn’t all they need. They are careful to learn and teach how to use that firearm safely and accurately. Like any responsible gun owner, they want the firearms being used to sit in competent hands, so they share their knowledge and, in reference to the environment, they used these skills to ensure an efficient balance.
Hunters Are a Wealth of Knowledge
No hunter can be successful while simultaneously knowing nothing about their environment and the ecosystem they’re working in. They don’t hoard this knowledge for themselves either. Most hunters aren’t big on keeping this helpful information to themselves because they care deeply about the world around them. Hunting intrinsically comes with a love and respect for the environment.
Much of the data collected from hunters is done through questionnaires, surveys, and from hunters stopping at check stations. Some even provide samples from the animals they’ve hunted.
This is a great help to conservation efforts. When an organization needs information on the local ecosystem, it’s common to tap into the information and data that hunters have on hand. These aren’t from small efforts either. In fact, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has touted more than once about the contribution that hunters have made to their data.
Hunting can become a hotly debated issue at times. When considering the benefits of hunting, the environmental benefits can’t be left out of the discussion. From providing funding to promoting firearm safety to maintaining balance within ecosystems, the reasons hunters save the environment aren’t minimal. This is a pastime that is incredibly valuable in ways that can’t be overstated.
Josh Montgomery, MMR’s founder, runs Minute Man Review in his spare time and actively documents the Texas secessionists movements from his home in Austin, Texas. Minute Man Review is one of the fastest growing 2nd amendment and gun blogs online. Since its inception in 2013, it has been covering gear reviews, citizen’s rights, and reporting on the disturbing crackdown on free speech and activity both in the US and worldwide.