Rule Five Hunting FAQ Friday

2016_05_27_Rule Five Friday (1)I’ve been working on this for a year or so now; I think I will make it a permanent page here on the site.

Q: Is hunting dangerous?

A:  No, in fact hunting is one of the safest of all outdoor activities.  The National Shooting Sports Foundation gathers and reports data on causes of accidental death and injury in hunting.  Their 2010 data shows a 0.05% rate of injury among participants hunting with firearms.  You have a greater chance of being injured on a golf course or tennis court than in the hunting fields.

Q: Was hunting responsible for the loss of the Passenger Pigeon, and the near-extinction of bison, along with many other endangered and threatened species?

A:  No species has ever been endangered by modern, scientifically regulated hunting.  It’s sadly true that in the last two centuries, over-consumptive practices including unregulated market gunning resulted in the extinction or endangerment of several species.  Habitat loss added to the poor management practices of the 19th and early 20th centuries.  However, modern scientific management has resulted in the dramatic recovery of white-tailed and mule deer, elk, bison, pronghorn antelope, wood ducks, prairie grouse, and many other birds and animals.

Q: Will game populations stabilize eventually without human hunting?

A:  Yes, they certainly will.  They will stabilize through the mechanisms of starvation, disease, vehicle accident, parasite infestation, and a host of other unpleasant means.  Wild ani2016_05_27_Rule Five Friday (2)mals rarely if ever die peacefully of old age.

Q: Can we use chemical contraception?

A:  Chemical contraception has proven practical, in deer, in controlled areas, with limited populations, where most of the animals were individually known to the control officers.  On a large scale, it’s impossible.

Q: Does hunting desensitize people, especially young people, to the sanctity of life?

A:  Just the opposite has been shown to be the case.  A Texas Department of Justice study examined several demographic groups of ‘at-risk’ youths.  They surveyed three groups; youths who did not own or have access to guns, youths who owned illegal guns, and youths who owned and used guns legally.  The latter group, which included many hunters as well as recreational shooters, had the lowest delinquency rates of any; lower in fact than teens who did not own or have access to any guns at all.  The study concluded that this group, who received most of their socialization in home and family, was more law-abiding than the other two groups.  If hunting ‘cheapened’ the value of life, these youths would have been at a high risk for delinquency – the opposite of what was observed.

Q: Do modern weapons give hunters an un2016_05_27_Rule Five Friday (3)fair advantage over game animals?

A:  Success rates tell the tale.  Success rates on big game average anywhere from 10-40% in most areas.  That rate is calculated on the basis of animals taken / licenses issued; if you figure, roughly, three attempted stalks/shots for each animals, that is a per-attempt success rate of 3.3-12%.  Odds are stacked against the human hunter, indeed; game animals have far more acute senses, they’re stronger, they can run faster, they have natural cunning and an intimate knowledge of their environment.  One needs look no farther than popular hunting literature to see many stories of a hunter outfoxed by a wily deer, elk or bear.

Q: Do h2016_05_27_Rule Five Friday (4)unters frequently kill endangered animals?

A:  No, very few.  The main reason is obvious; not many endangered animal are available to be accidental targets.  That’s why they’re endangered.  It’s important to note that the largest cause of extinction or endangerment is habitat loss – and hunters are the uncontested champions of habitat preservation.

Q: What’s the difference between a hunter and a poacher?

A:  A poacher is one who hunts illegally, with callous disregard for the law and for the scientific process of wildlife management.  The ethical hunter scrupulously obeys the game laws of his/her area, and hunts with mindfulness of the surroundings, the game, and the importance of a clean, human kill.  The poacher does none of these things.  In short, the ethical hunter is a sportsman; the poacher is a criminal.

2016_05_27_Rule Five Friday (5)Q: Isn’t hunting a bastion of male chauvinists?

A:  Not even close. Women are the fastest growing demographic group in hunter’s ranks, according to recent license sales figures; this reflect a trend towards the view of hunting as a family activity, rather than a guy’s getaway.

Q: Are hunters vicious and cruel people?

A:  Not even close.  Noted German psychiatrist Erich Fromm, in his book The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, notes that the impulses for destructive aggression are very different from those involved in predation (hunting) and notes that hunters tend to be very peaceful people.[1]

[1] Erich Fromm. 1973. The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness. Holt,Rinehart and Winston, New York. ISBN 0-03-007596-3

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