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Hunting is good for the environment?
Most people tend to associate hunting with the killing of animals and this is why environmental groups and activists are fighting to abolish it. However, the truth is very different and besides being an enjoyable sport, it is also good for the environment in many ways. It helps to preserve the balance in the environment and keeps the ecosystem from crumbling.
Despite all its criticisms, hunting brings a lot of good for the environment in the form of stabilizing the numbers of certain species, tax revenue for the Government to protect the environment and safeguard the different wildlife and increased employment opportunities for those who are involved in hunting, fishing and their ancillary industries.
Hunting maintains the population of game species and makes it more sustainable from one generation to another. A good case in point was the population of white-tailed deer in New Jersey in 1998. During this year, the populations numbered anywhere between 150,000 to 170,000 and the deers were wildly rampaging through the woods and even ventured into many of the suburban areas of Cape May, Cumberland, Hunterdon and Sussex county. The irony was that the human population in these regions was way less than the deer populations (Kannapell, 1998). These large amounts of deer caused extensive damage to houses and house-owners were encouraged to call their local wildlife control unit in case of any severe issues. Farmers also reported widespread damage to their crops and their resultant livelihood.
Most deer experts in this region agreed that the best way to naturally control deer population is through hunting. So, controlled hunting took place in different counties and at the end of the hunting season, the deer population came within the normal levels. This case goes to show the importance of hunting to the environment and how it helps to keep the game species in check throughout the breeding season.
Some opponents to hunting think otherwise. They believe hunting increases the fertility of animals because it forces them to reproduce more to sustain their population. So, they believe that allowing these animals to self-regulate in a natural manner is a better option. However, there is a lot of debate on the merits of this argument. Wildlife biologists opine that the deer population in New Jersey is already multiplying at a fast rate and most of the does have reached their maximum output of two fawns during every breeding season (Kannapell, 1998). They believe that this has nothing to do with hunting and is a natural process. Moreover, if hunting is banned, it will lead to negative consequences for the environment. The species will grow exponentially and it will ultimately lead to starving due to over-population.
Yet another advantage from hunting is the land ownership of forested areas. When these areas are owned, they are better maintained than wilderness to make it accessible and comfortable for hunters. Such land ownerships help to protect areas from destruction and neglect and this also helps the environment to thrive. Moreover, this activity is renewable and this makes it a better activity for the land, environment and other natural resources in the area. This is way better than using the land for something unproductive and non-renewable.
Taxes and revenue to Government
Wildlife hunting brings a lot of revenue to the Government and this in turn, makes it possible for the Government to preserve the wildlife areas, animal and bird species and other natural resources. It is estimated that in 2001, people who hunted and fished contributed to about $70 billion to the Government. All this money came in the way of licenses, equipment, guns, lodging, hunting and fishing fees, travel and other goods and services related to hunting and fishing. Besides the people involved in these sports, wildlife hunting watchers accounted for another $38 billion (Gibbons, 2003). Most state Governments use this money to maintain wildlife refuges, protect the game and non-game species and keep the environment clean and unpolluted. This helps not only the hunters and the ecology of the area, but also other groups of people such as hikers, bird watchers and all other people associated with the environment. In short, this huge money helped to fund numerous environmental projects that indirectly led to a better environment for people and wildlife.
Another advantage from hunting and fishing is the high levels of employment that it generates. Starting from park rangers to those in the hospitality industry that cater to the travel and lodging needs of the hunters, it provides livelihood for millions of people. These people, in turn, contribute to the Government in the way of taxes and this means more money to the state and federal coffers and it translates to more programs that benefit the environment.
Hunting is widely regarded as an integral part of our culture. The popular "Deer Hunting" season starts with a lot of fanfare and events, especially in the rural areas. In fact, the significance of hunting can be divided into two components. Firstly, rural people hunt more than urban people and secondly, the culture and environment make it a vital aspect of rural living. According to the data collected by United States Fish and Wildlife Service every five years over the telephone, people from rural areas are far more likely than metropolitan cities to hunt and this has remained stable over the last forty years (Stedman & Heberlein, 2001).
Hunting is woven into our social and cultural lives and this is something that has been practiced for many generations. All through these hundreds of years, the populations of different animals have fluctuated due to natural and man-made reasons. In the past, extensive hunting had led to the endangerment of some species. However, thanks to awareness from public and government, hunting is now regulated and is enjoyed as a sport. In many communities, it continues to be a tradition and cultural practice that is passed on to the future generations and the negative impact of hunting to the environment is non-existent today. The U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife is constantly monitoring the populations of different populations to ensure that they are at the right levels.
To make hunting an enjoyable and beneficial sport, its important that the Government intervenes and regulates the hunting periods and areas. Such a regulation is beneficial for the hunters as well as the for the environment because it will help to keep the populations in check. However, excessive and unregulated hunting is dangerous and can lead to serious problems. An example of the unregulated hunting is the Atlantic blue fin tuna. They have been hunted extensively for their meat which fetches a huge price in Japan and this has put them in the endangered list. Excessive commercial hunting in the waters off Spain and Italy have brought these numbers down (The Economist, 2008).
To avoid such future problems, the Government has to intervene and regulate hunting and fishing. In 2008, the Dubai Minister of Environment and Water restricted the hunt for "JurJur" sharks by limiting license to only one motorboat per fishing company (Arabia 2000, 2008). Such a move is believed to help the sharks to remain at a healthy level and at the same time, there is no disruption to the environment. This move to regulate is better than a ban because fishing is necessary to keep the shark numbers in check on the Arabian waters.
Similarly, the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife restricts the number of species hunted depending on the species. In the case of smaller animals and birds, both the make and female can be hunted, but the number of animals each hunter takes is restricted. In larger species such as antlers, there is a restriction on the female species that are hunted in each state. This is because of the reproductive abilities of the females. Males can produce numerous offspring in the same season as against the females that can produce only a certain number of offspring and so there is a restriction placed on the females. In some species such as bears, the sexual cycle is limited and so, the hunter can take only one animal per season irrespective of the gender.
Another way that the government restricts the hunting of animals is by allowing hunters to hunt certain species only at certain times of the year. For example, the deer hunting season is usually in November in most states mainly because this is the breeding season and this ensures that the deer population remains in check. Also, the period is limited to a month or so for most species though for some animals like the bear, the season is slightly longer at about a month and a half because of the highest degree of difficulty. Other species such as deer and elk are hunted for only two weeks in a year and hunting pregnant females attracts hefty fines. As against popular thoughts, hunting is limited to only certain…[continue]
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