What is Hunting?
Hunting is the act of capturing or killing wild animals. A long time ago, people needed to hunt for their food. But now we get most of our food from farms in developed countries. Most people hunt now for sport.
There are different kinds of hunting and methods used to catch the prey. Upland hunters hunt birds that live near farms such as grouse, quail, and pheasants. Waterfowl hunters hunt birds like ducks and geese from boats or blinds, which are hiding places made out of twigs and tall grasses. Big game hunters hunt animals like white-tailed deer, black bears, and elk. And finally, small game hunters hunt foxes, rabbits, and squirrels. Most hunters use guns to hunt. Others use bows, arrows, spears, and traps to make the kill. Some hunters use specially trained dogs to help them track the prey’s scent. Some dogs that are used can swim to a dead bird and retrieve it for the hunter.
Causes and Effects of Hunting
Animals are hunted for many reasons. Here is a list of reasons of why animals are hunted:
- For food
- For sport
- For fur, tusks, etc.
- Because humans think the animal is a threat or nuisance to them
- For population control
A problem is that some hunters are irresponsible and don’t worry about keeping a balance in nature. For instance, elephants and rhinoceroses are hunted for their ivory tusks/horns and their bodies are left to decompose while butterflies are hunted and sent to collectors.
Here is a list of the effects of hunting:
- Changes to the balance of nature
- Shown by the extinction of some species.
- Changes in migration patterns of some animals.
- The overpopulation of species that have no other natural predators. (e.g. the timber wolves in the western United States)
- The need for conservation
- Laws to regulate how many animals can be hunted
- Laws to regulate where and how animals can be hunted
- Determination of what animals can be hunted
Humans have been hunting for a very long time. There is a theory that in prehistoric times, mega mammals like wooly mammoths were hunted to extinction by humans. Mauritius dodos, Stephen Island wrens, and passenger pigeons were all extinguished due to hunting. In the late 1800’s the bison in North America were almost wiped out because of overhunting, but in 1907, the Bronx Zoo saved a bunch and bred them successfully. Then, they released them into the wild and let their population increase in their natural habitat. Also, around this time the President Theodore Roosevelt began creating national wildlife reserves and started to focus on managing the wildlife populations in the United States. His interest in preserving wildlife sparked international awareness of wildlife conservation and preservation.
Where is it Happening?
Hunting is something that happens all around the world. Many people are still hunting to provide food and clothing for survival. In more rural areas, hunting that takes place is mainly done for food and clothing. The rural and primitive areas are at risk of overhunting certain species, which in turn would make those species endangered or even worse, extinct.
Hunting for sport and recreation is primarily done by more urban and wealthier countries because they are able to sustain themselves on products from large farms. These hunters are at risk for overhunting because of demand for products that are produced from the animals that they hunt.
How Can You Help?
Here are a few things you can do as a citizen of the world to stop making hunting a threat.
- You can support organizations that work with nations to help create wildlife preserves.
- Donate time and money to help keep wildlife conservations and national parks running.
- If you choose to hunt for recreational reasons, know that what you are doing affects the balance of nature.