Is hunting moral?

Posted Thursday, September 25, 2003 - 12:00am

As the weather gets cooler and the leaves start to turn colors there exists a certain sensation that penetrates the skin and goes straight to the soul. It is not, however, a sensation felt by everyone and is something almost intangible and indescribable. It is a feeling that stirs the spirit with the memory of stories told around campfires and the association of only the closest friends and family. Those who find themselves constantly turning their eyes towards the mountains and sniffing the breeze for the fresh scent of pine trees have been smitten. The deer and elk hunts in Utah are about to begin.

For those who oppose hunting and do everything in their power to harass those who do enjoy the sport, the feelings described above are attributed to some horrible disease. To anti-hunters, it is a sickness that drives men, women and children into the hills every year to mutilate and kill as many defenseless animals as possible. Only a monster could gain pleasure from the death of another living thing.

Anyone who has this image of hunting is either hopelessly ignorant or incredibly stupid. A person who is ignorant can be taught and gain a better understanding even if they choose not to participate, but the stupid individual has no hope and will miss out on a life that could otherwise have been filled with priceless memories. This article is intended to educate those who would like to understand why so many people get such a thrill from hunting.

It may come as a surprise that the real draw for hunters is not killing something. If that were the case, the number of hunters would decrease every year since not everyone who goes hunting finds what they are going after. Many people go hunting for years and never kill an animal. So why do they keep going? The fact is that it is being outside in the mountains or the desert that brings some of the greatest satisfaction to hunters. The memories that are made and the bonds that are forged between father and son or daughter during the annual hunts is enormous. Some of the greatest moments of the hunt occur around the evening campfire when everyone gets together and tells stories about "the big one" that got away and the day's events.

Not only does hunting draw families and friends together but helps to encourage healthy attitudes and environmental practices. Tree huggers aren't the only ones in this world who care for the trees and wild animals. Whenever someone buys a hunting license, a percentage of the total cost goes towards conservation of the species. Hunters provide money to ensure that the animals always have a place to live and adequate food and shelter. What do anti-hunters provide besides criticism?

Groups and individuals who oppose hunting argue that for thousands of years the animals took care of themselves and should be allowed to live without human interference. Times have changed and cities and towns have sprung up across the nation forcing animals to relocate. Some of these animals are incompatible with humans. What tree hugger would watch happily as a bear, mountain lion, or some other large carnivore dragged their kid into the bushes for lunch? Any anti-hunter who eats meat, lives in a house, wears clothes, or even drives a car is a hypocrite. The inhumanity that exists in slaughter houses is astounding. A true hunter will never allow an animal who has been shot to suffer. Whenever land is cleared for the production of crops that will eventually be used to make clothing a certain number of animals will die and many others will be driven from their natural habitat. Whenever a home is built, trees are cut down and other materials are mined from the earth and roads are constructed that also destroy many animals. In short, unless you live like an Indian you have absolutely no moral or logical grounds to stand on. Get a life!

If animals were allowed to overpopulate, entire populations would be wiped out by disease and famine. They would die slowly and miserably. As long as responsible conservation is always practiced, a healthy number of animals will always exist. Hunting is just one way that we ensure the duration of many species.

All of us are going to have lives after graduation and it is important to make plans about how we will spend our time after we don't have college to worry about. Hunting is obviously not for everyone and you do not just grab a gun or bow and head for the hills like a moron, there is preparation involved. In life it is important to develop hobbies that will stimulate our minds and bodies. Hunting is unique in that it can fill our physical, emotional and spiritual needs all at the same time.

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