How Hunting Helps The Environment

Hunting is nothing new to the human race. They have hunted since the beginning of times because primitive people started as hunters and gatherers. Centuries ago, they did it for food, but things changed down the line as they learned to cultivate food for self-sustenance.

At this point, hunting became more of an activity for leisure and enjoyment for people. Thousands of Americans indulge in it today, and it is the reason why parks and ranges are crowded during the hunting season every year. The best thing is that hunting is a regulated activity, which means that people who do it are on the right side of the law.

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But the validity of hunting is often seen as a hot button issue as two different groups represent diagonally opposite opinions and mindsets. While it is an activity that enthusiasts love, others raise a concern about hunting not being eco-friendly.

These activists are against hunting and have their own reasons to raise objections. They believe that killing animals is sheer cruelty and disrupts nature’s balance. But the bigger picture isn’t only black or white, as some people believe.

Reasons for How Hunting Helps The Environment

There are valid reasons why the activity is both legal and eco-friendly. Let us explain them in detail.

How hunting helps the environment

Maintains control over the population of animal species

There are thousands of animal species on the earth, and their population needs to be controlled to maintain ecological balance. Uncontrolled growth of different animal species will only disrupt the environment at some point.

As stronger species thrive, the weaker ones will end up suffering due to a shortage of food or because stronger animals will feed on them. It can ultimately disrupt the food chain, and wild animals may come after humans when there isn’t enough food in the forests. At the same time, the weaker species may become extinct eventually.

Moreover, a growing animal population can result in environmental degradation and affect human well-being in the long run. Too many animals in the forests can be a barrier to activities such as agriculture, forestry, and fishing in the surrounding areas. Hunting balances the number of animals in the forest. It promotes the sustainability and well-being of both humans and wildlife. So there is no reason to discourage it as long as it is done judiciously and lawfully.

Keeps check on predators

When it comes to controlling the population of animal species in the ecosystem, it is vital to pay attention to the number of predators on the earth. Even as humans retain their position at the top of the food chain, predators can be a threat to the race sooner or later. Further, they also pose a danger to the animals of the game in the forests. It is crucial to ensure that predators never grow in numbers to an extent that they are a threat to the urban population at some point.

Some hunters do their bit by targeting dangerous animals such as wolves, bears, coyotes, and cougars when they are in the wild. Even as they clear these animals from the ecosystem, hunters still make a conscious effort to follow the regulations to leave the endangered species alone. The sole purpose of killing predators is to ensure that the human race is safe and can defend its place on the food chain.

Protects plant species

Apart from maintaining ecological balance by curbing the growth of animal species, hunting also protects the plant species in the environment. For example, the unprecedented growth of the deer population is a threat to the small herbaceous plants in the forests as these animals feed on them. Such plants have both ecological and economic significance, and their extinction can have a far-reaching impact on the environment as a whole.

With deer hunting being a popular sport in the US, the country gets the benefit of protection of plant species that would otherwise go extinct just because a growing population of these animals would feed on them without any curbs. Once again, a balance in plant species is equally essential to maintain the environment, and it is only possible when the number of herbivores is in control.

Promotes conservation

People who advocate hunting often come up with a valid argument that the activity supports conservation in more than one way. Hunting is a booming industry in the US as avid hunters buy a range of equipment such as guns and rifles, Ammunition for Rifles and other firearms, and accessories such as binoculars, scopes, and optics. The industry churns out massive amounts of taxes every year, and the government uses it for environmental efforts such as managing and maintaining parks.

Further, park fees and membership fees also yield revenues that can be used for some more good work for environmental conservation. The money is also applied for research and surveys on diverse species of plants and animals to understand their role and importance for the natural environment. With hunting driving such massive revenue volumes for the country, it deserves to be a part of the economy as much as any other industry.

Curbs the spread of disease

Hunting helps the environment by retaining the biomass and preventing the spread of disease on the earth. When food is scarce, animals do not get enough to eat. It can end up compromising their immunity sooner rather than later. There is a possibility of diseases that may spread from sick species to other animals and species and eventually engulf the entire ecosystem. It can become a problem for humans too because diseases can spread from animals to humans and take dangerous proportions at some stage.

Hunting leads to the harvesting of weaker and disease-prone animals that will otherwise end up infecting each other and causing epidemics in the world. But killing them curbs the risk of outbreaks in animals and humans in the long run. So it definitely favors the environment and human well-being.

Generates employment

Although employment generation isn’t directly associated with the environment, it is valuable for the economy as a whole. The hunting industry generates excellent employment opportunities for thousands of Americans. For example, gun and ammunition manufacturers and dealers make money by manufacturing and trading firearms, ammunition, and accessories. Tour guides and hunting trainers also get employment opportunities during the season.

Wildlife sanctuaries and national parks hire hundreds and thousands of people every year for implementing maintenance and conservation measures throughout their lifespan. The industry makes a massive contribution to the economic growth of the country and people by bringing in taxes and generating employment.

Provides useful information about the environment

Protecting the environment is all about knowing it better, with information such as the challenges, needs, and solutions to the problems in specific parts of the earth. It is the only way you can make things better and come up with regulations that can make a difference. Hunters often help by providing valuable information about the areas they explore during their hunting sprees.

The best thing is that most information they provide is most likely to be accurate and detailed because they rarely go in blind. Professionals know the wild well enough, and their experience gives them good insights. Moreover, they have the right equipment such as gun scopes and optics that let them shoot safely and get crucial information.

While they can volunteer information for agencies and organizations, it can work the other way around too. Agencies and organizations can ask them to fill questionnaires and be a part of surveys to gather facts about the areas they cover.

Drives other industries

Besides generating revenues and employment in the country, hunting also contributes to the growth of other industries. The fur and leather industry is one such instance of sectors driven by this activity. Although some parts of the world still have bans on such animal products, they are still major contributors to the global garment industry in many countries that have given them legal status.

Hunting contributes to the food industry and hospitality sector as well. Exotic meats are sold around the world and churn out big money for these sectors because high-end consumers are willing to shell out any amount to relish them. Other industries that benefit from the activity include firearms and equipment, medicines, animal oils, soaps, buttons, and more.

Even as environmental enthusiasts have their own reasons to discourage hunting, developed countries like the US have come up with a middle path. Hunters need to get licenses here so that there is complete control over their activities. While licenses curb the activity, they generate revenue for wildlife conservation organizations. When it comes to the arguments for and against hunting being good for the environment, everything boils down to finding a balance.

Controlled activity wins on both fronts, as it enables hunting enthusiasts to indulge in the activity they love without disrupting the ecological balance or killing endangered species. Further, governments can implement clear regulations to define endangered animals and prevent hunters from going after them.  The key lies in finding a balance where people can do what they love and co-exist with diverse animal species in the wild.

Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at Ballachy.com .

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