The "Why" Of Hunting

Alexandro Faria

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This week's article- an introduction to hunting, just to open up the discussion for further topics.

The ethics of hunting- looking past the obvious


If you’ve been a hunter for any reasonable length of time, you’ve likely gotten the “If you like animals so much, why do you kill them?” question. At face value it’s a reasonable question, especially when one considers what the media has made of hunting and hunters in the recent past. However, when one starts to delve a little deeper, the question starts to appear slightly absurd. In all seriousness, you don’t have to defend your decisions, but having the conversation is important.


First, I have no desire to belittle those non-hunters willing to ask this question and have this conversation- neither should you. It’s only through honest and open discussion that we can educate people about our way of life and the complexities associated with it. Therefore, we should all approach this question (and others like it) with both patience and understanding- after all, we all want the same thing (generally), though our means may vary.

45638642_2201808786499069_4521570870048587776_o.jpg

(A pig for the pot)

Second, the answer to these questions will vary widely based on the individual you ask and possibly when you ask them. However, there are commonalities or central themes which are mostly universal and I will try to touch on these as best I can, keeping in mind that there is a lot of subjectivity associated with the subject.
To understand these points, one needs to be comfortable with a fair bit of abstract thought: pulling the trigger is akin to the final whistle of a rugby game- the passion is for everything from the kick off to the final desperate play, not the whistle itself.



The quality of a hunt isn’t only dependent on the size of the animal you go home with (if any) and if it is, you’re missing the point. It’s about the early morning sunrises in bush exploding with life. It’s about standing around the campfire, coffee in hand, talking to your mates about the plans for the day to come. It’s about turning down a shot on that kudu bull because the moment wasn’t right. It’s about quality time with friends, family or yourself and the lessons we learn along the way. In short, it’s about the small things that make the world of difference.



(A Lady’s First)


Moving on from the emotive to something a little more objective, we must consider the benefits (both direct and indirect) associated with Utilization Conservation: There’s an old saying amongst farmers that goes “if it pays, it stays”- this, in short, is what Utilization Conservation is about. In a shrinking world of limited resources and ample demand, there’s very little space for something that only has sentimental value- it (the universal “it”) needs to earn its keep, or it will be replaced.


Utilization Conservation gives ecosystems teeth in the fight against development and urban encroachment by increasing quantifiable value. It’s all good and well claiming that we should leave an area alone owing to the high biodiversity or beauty of the area, but that seldom stops development of such an area if there is money to be made by building a feedlot, estate or mall. What Utilization Conservation does is create monetary value for an area without needing to change it too drastically, thereby conserving the animals and ecosystems found within. This is not to say that ecotourism doesn’t have its place, but that’s not the discussion here.



(protein)

Then one must consider the associated economic values such as contribution to GDP, contributions to tourism and the jobs created. While the numbers and values may vary based on who does the study (as with most things), what can’t be denied is that these benefits exist and all of these are simple enough to understand. When you start factoring in the food it provides, the health benefits of time spent outdoors and the potential to strengthen the family unit, the benefits start to become overwhelmingly obvious.




(Kalahari 9 years back- haven’t hunted with my father since)



So in closing, I’d argue that the “why” behind the reasons that we hunt are vast and highly personal- subjectivity abounds- but the benefits hunting provides are there to be seen by all and no amount of denial can change that. Our existence as an individual and a species means that another organism or species (theoretically) loses out. Our houses, roads, laptops and fridges are all culprits in the loss of habitat and destruction of life. So with that in mind, would it not be fair to say that Utilization Conservation is the only “activity” resulting in death of wildlife that actively works to ensure their continued (and bettered) existence as a species?






(Friends and our furry helpers)



**END**
 

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BeeMaa

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The reason I do it...I LOVE it...all of it.
The cold days, early mornings, out of breath, pack too heavy...all the (seemingly) bad things.
I LOVE it all.
If it wasn't for the adversity I had to overcome, the hunt would be mundane.

Think about all your great hunting stories, they all have some type of opponent you have to tackle.
Bad weather, short on time, sun in your eyes...etc
That just makes it all the better...even when you don't come home with the prize you have a story.
 

Major Khan

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Beautifully written . When ever any body asks me why I hunt , my answer is always this :
Plants and animals are both living things . Plants and animals both feel pain . It has been scientifically proven ... Time and again . There fore , eating 1 and abstaining from the other ... Is crass foolishness . In order to live , life must be taken . It is as simple as that . Any body who does not have the ability to stomach this simple part of life , is probably better off ... Shooting themselves , right now . Hunting is basically a means of acquiring your own food , by yourself ... While having a bit of a thrill . Ethical hunters partake in this thrill , ensuring that the game animal is dispatched quickly and cleanly . That is the entire objective of hunting . It is no different from fishing . In 1 , you use a fishing pole . In the other , you use fire arms ( Or bows & arrows , spears , etc ) . The only reason why some people may oppose hunting , is because fire arms are being used . But that is a completely baseless and superficial reason .

I further point out how a royal Bengal tiger literally tears a Chital deer to pieces , while it is still alive . I then , compare this to how a human hunter cleanly and swiftly dispatches their game animal . I talk about how a royal Bengal tiger indiscriminately targets stag , doe or fawn Chital deer . And then , I contrast this with how an ethical human hunter carefully chooses his quarry and only chooses mature animals to hunt .

And then , I add the standard points about how hunting aids and contributes to conservation ( Using Pakistan and Namibia , as examples ) . And about how a ban on hunting , leads to wild life decimation ( Using India and Kenya , as examples ) .

With most neutral minded people ( And even a few anti hunters ) , this logic works perfectly well . Others ... Well , they need to be dealt with ... By hostile means .
 

Newboomer

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Hunting is much more humane than being eaten alive by predators. The whole hunting experience, not just the killing, is why I hunt. If I score, fine. If not, I have had a great day, week, etc. commingling with nature and other people of like mind. I have learned much about the wildlife, environment, and how they coexist. If I can stock my freezer that relieves a monetary burden, although hunts are not cheap.
The main reason for me is to get the hell away from all the idiots, traffic and crowds of daily life. Ah, peace and quiet.
 

crs

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Interesting!
When I saw this topic, it made me think back on how many times someone had asked me "why do you hunt?"
After several decades of hunting, NO ONE has asked me that. NEVER!
The couple of folks on this forum that I know personally are hunters and/or guides and they never asked such a silly and nosey question.
So, I have no canned answer, but my retort MIGHT be, "Why do you ask?"
 

TXhunter65

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You are correct...there are so many ways to answer the question of, "Why?". For myself it wasn't something I asked of myself for many many years because as I'm sure most of you feel, I never felt the need to justify or explain something to myself that I knew in the fiber of my being was correct for me to be doing in the first place. But I think that speaks to the answer for most of us when something is embedded in your DNA its not something you really question.

To me the more honest question and the oddity lies not within hunting but within those who chose not to hunt. "Why don't you hunt?". In the perspective of human existence not hunting is much more at odds with the species itself than those that still choose to hunt. We have canine teeth and forward facing eyes for a reason. Today in our civilized world were our every desire is wrapped in cellophane minutes from our home we experience a false sense of separation from the actual act of procuring the food ourselves.

I heard someone once explain man walking in the woods as a pebble being cast into a calm pond, and while I think that is true of all predators, for modern man it think its even more so the case. One of the things I enjoy the most about being afield is that feeling you get when the ripples disappear from the pond and you've become a being in nature and nature moves around you unaware of your existence.
 

JLF

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Qué tema tan fantástico. Las veces que me hicieron esa pregunta, la respuesta también fue siempre la misma ... Busco la caza en sí, estoy enamorado del hecho de buscar, rastrear, usar tantos de mis sentidos, tratando de acercarme lo más posible a mi presa... entonces el hecho de ser capaz de matarlo o no es el resultado de si tuve éxito como cazador o si mi presa me superó ... Es por eso que digo que soy un aprendiz de cazador, cada cacería es un examen y cada campo de caza es mi escuela. Y si me las arreglo para aprobar el examen, lo que cazo, si o si me lo como. En algún momento, en un foro de caza español mencioné que me duele matar a un animal y le pregunté en ese foro si eso no era una señal para dejar de cazar, y me dieron una respuesta fantástica, que esto era normal, que era lo que diferenciaba a un cazador de un simple asesino de animales... Nunca olvidaré esas palabras... Como me dijeron un viejo cazador, mi abuelo, respeta a todos los animales, el día que pierdas el respeto, perderás tu espíritu Caza, será hora de que bajes tu rifle. Entonces el tiempo me enseñó que cazar con los sentidos, que mi rifle es un amigo fiel de mis viajes de caza y es la herramienta que uso para matar a mi presa. Otra gran razón por la que cazo es para comer carne, de lo contrario no como carne de una granja.
En mi pueblo, muchos entienden por qué cazo y los que no respetan como si lo entendieran.
The men were all born equal, only the best are hunters ...
 
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TXhunter65

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Qué tema tan fantástico. Las veces que me hicieron esa pregunta, la respuesta también fue siempre la misma ... Busco la caza en sí, estoy enamorado del hecho de buscar, rastrear, usar tantos de mis sentidos, tratando de acercarme lo más posible a mi presa... entonces el hecho de ser capaz de matarlo o no es el resultado de si tuve éxito como cazador o si mi presa me superó ... Es por eso que digo que soy un aprendiz de cazador, cada cacería es un examen y cada campo de caza es mi escuela. Y si me las arreglo para aprobar el examen, lo que cazo, si o si me lo como. En algún momento, en un foro de caza español mencioné que me duele matar a un animal y le pregunté en ese foro si eso no era una señal para dejar de cazar, y me dieron una respuesta fantástica, que esto era normal, que era lo que diferenciaba a un cazador de un simple asesino de animales... Nunca olvidaré esas palabras... Como me dijeron un viejo cazador, mi abuelo, respeta a todos los animales, el día que pierdas el respeto, perderás tu espíritu Caza, será hora de que bajes tu rifle. Entonces el tiempo me enseñó que cazar con los sentidos, que mi rifle es un amigo fiel de mis viajes de caza y es la herramienta que uso para matar a mi presa. Otra gran razón por la que cazo es para comer carne, de lo contrario no como carne de una granja.
En mi pueblo, muchos entienden por qué cazo y los que no respetan como si lo entendieran.
The men were all born equal, only the best are hunters ...
Rough translation:
What a fantastic theme. The times they asked me that question, the answer was also always the same ... I search for the hunt itself, I am in love with the fact of searching, tracking, using so many of my senses, trying to get as close as possible to my prey. Then the fact of being able to kill him or not is the result of whether I was successful as a hunter or if my prey surpassed me ... That is why I say that I am a hunter's apprentice, each hunt is an exam and each field of Hunting is my school. And if I manage to pass the exam, what I hunt, if or if I eat it. At some point, in a Spanish hunting forum I mentioned that it hurts to kill an animal and I asked in that forum if that was not a sign to stop hunting, and they gave me a fantastic answer, that this was normal, what was that differentiated a hunter from a simple animal killer ... I will never forget those words ... As an old hunter told me, my grandfather, respect all animals, the day you lose respect, you will lose your spirit Hunting, it will be time for you to lower your rifle. Then time taught me that hunting with the senses, that my rifle is a faithful friend of my hunting trips and is the tool I use to kill my prey. Another great reason I hunt is to eat meat, otherwise I don't eat meat from a farm.
In my town, many understand why I hunt and those who do not respect as if they understood.
 

JLF

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Thanks friend...
 

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