Hunting is undoubtedly mankind’s oldest sport. Because man was dependent upon this skill for food, we have long treasured it. As civilization grew and animals became domesticated, the physical need for hunting has decreased. In twenty-first century America, we are no longer dependent upon hunting for food, but nonetheless, hunting is still avidly practiced.
There is, undoubtedly, a sense of brotherhood that follows hunting. Family and friends band together for days to venture into the woods. Devoted hunters spend such an immense amount of time preparing for the kill, that it almost becomes religious. Week’s worth of planning, practice, packing and tracking all lead up to that single moment they squeeze the trigger.
Once it’s all over, hunters should hope that their game is quickly killed and has suffered as little pain as possible. Because wounded animals are not always pursued or recovered, the environmental community is in an uproar.
What bothers conservationalists most is that the entire animal is not going to use. Animals can be harvested just as a mere trophy, and the lifeless mess can be left to rot in the woods. Although there are some hunters that genuinely enjoy watching their prey die, most don’t kill for the thrill.
Unregulated hunting easily gets out of hand and has pushed animals to extension and endangerment. Because passenger pigeons flew in flocks that stretched more than a mile long, they soon became easy prey for hunters seeking a quick kill.
Likewise, wolves in Yellowstone were pushed to ex-tinction by 1926. The removal of the apex predator sent the entire ecosystem into chaos. Elk populations skyrocketed while natural landscapes were destroyed.
Finally, in 1995, wolves were reintroduced; slowly returning the national park to its former state. Hunters may argue that their sport keeps animal populations in check, but this is not so. Ecosystems kept themselves in balance until humans destroyed key factors in the habitat.
Because of these mistakes, activist groups would like nothing more than to see major hunting groups fall and collapse. Ignorantly, many fail to do some simple research before their protests. These groups provide millions to wildlife conservation every year.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “In a civilized and cultured country wild animals only continue to exist at all when preserved by sportsmen. The excellent people who protest against all hunting, and consider sportsmen as enemies of wildlife, are ignorant in the fact that in reality the genuine sportsman is by all odds the most important factor in keeping the larger and more valuable wild creatures from total extermination.”
Despite the fact that both pro-hunters and anti-hunters enjoy nature to its fullest extent, the environmental war is still waging. Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and PETA are generally not good friends, but at their core, they are both wildlife lovers.