“Hunting is the practice of killing or trapping animals, or pursuing or tracking them with the intent of doing so”, as per Wikipedia definition (here). Evidence is showing that hunting was essential in survival and development of human species, our closest relatives the chimpanzees are displaying today troop hunting behavior and tools to hunt smaller species of monkeys and feed (Dr Jane Goodall dedicated her life studying chimps in Tanzania in early 1960’s, documenting for first time such behavior, essential in understanding our own human evolution). Also in some of the greatest civilizations, in Greek and Roman mythology there are assigned Gods to Hunting (Artemis in Greek mythology, or its Roman counterpart Diana as Goddess of the Hunt, or Greek God Pan, God of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature of mountain), highlighting how ever-present and valued this practice has been during our society evolution, and how wildlife, nature and hunting have been interconnected in human evolution.
Today hunting is claimed to give resource managers an important tool in managing wildlife populations that might exceed the carrying capacity of their habitat. However, in most circumstances carrying capacity is determined by a combination habitat and food availability. Hunting advocates assert that hunting reduces intraspecific competition for food and shelter, reducing mortality among the remaining animals. Environmentalists assert that (re)introducing predators would achieve the same end with greater efficiency and less negative effect, such as introducing significant amounts of free land into the environment. In fact, the nature has been re-balancing itself for millions of years, without any 3rd party involvement. Moreover, through our interference in nature through hunting, we are disrupting the laws of nature, negatively impacting the process of natural selection (trophy hunting is notorious for killing the fittest males for reproduction and passing on the winning genes to the next generations).
The fact that we are destroying anyway our planet through our current economic system and our actions, doesn’t give an excuse to hunters to continue killing other species with which we share this planet (morally unacceptable), even if giving in the process the incentive to hunters to assure the long term survival of some species preferred for hunting, or governments the incentive to assure wildlife survival for assuring a constant flow of income through hunting taxes, sales of hunting equipment etc. We like to think that we “progressed” since we were no more than chimps hunting for food, today society no longer justifies any need whatsoever for killing other species, for any other reason than someone sick pleasure or some commercially not viable and corrupt and immoral income.
Anyone today having a pet at home can confirm that animals have feelings same as humans do, and they can equally feel pain and stress (if in doubt, I recommend reading “The Inner Life of Animals“, by Peter Wohlleben, a comprehensive life-time observation study and practical science into the hidden world of animals, both wild and domestic). Wild animals are also having complex social behaviors, killing an alpha pair of wolves can lead to dismantling or starving the whole pack of wolves, or hunting of a male lion leads to killing of all its cubs by the newly taking over male etc…Even national parks are a kind of joke today, as invisible boundaries allow hunters to lure animals just few meters outside park and legally shoot the animals, or even if not lured, animals migrating to seasonal feeding grounds are also target to legal hunting, as it is the case of bison from Yellowstone National Park in United States.
Today technology also doesn’t give any fair chance to hunted animals, as it did in the time of our ancestors. Luring wildlife and killing it from distance and safety of a tree, or from safety of helicopter, the only limit to how many animals you can kill being the size of your bank account, this is not even “sport” or “game”. In a game, all parties should know the rules and give them a fair chance of winning.
Wildlife is not a commodity to satisfy today consumerism, to be priced and sold on the market! Its survival should not depend on human’s greed, consumerism preferences and obsolete and immoral preference for spending free time, in activities like hunting. As dominant species of this planet, humans have a responsibility of protecting other species and assure their survival, in a balanced ecosystem as they did for millions of years. We lost already too many valuable species and we harm too much this planet in the name of “progress”, and we should stop continuing doing so until it is too late!