It seems that for every person who approves of hunting, there is someone else that vehemently disapproves of the practice. Organizations concerned with animal rights, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, condemn the practice, as evident by their online article, "Why Sport Hunting is Cruel and Unnecessary." However, these sentiments are not shared by all. According to hunting advocates, there are several significant benefits to hunting.
Each year, hunters pour money into their local economies as they purchase new weapons, blinds, attractants, recreational vehicles, gasoline, lodging and other hunting equipment. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, hunters in the state of Virginia spent more than $480 million in trip-related and equipment expenditures. This level of spending stimulates local economies every year, making for a more viable and secure financial climate.
Enacted more than 50 years ago, the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act allows the federal government to tax all firearm and ammunition purchases. This money is then used for wildlife conservation across the United States. Hundreds of thousands of acres have been purchased and protected by the U.S. government as a result of this taxing, which is used for hiking, camping, fishing and other forms of recreation. While hunting admittedly removes some animals from the environment, it also protects many others through these conservation efforts paid for by the hunter. As reported in "Hunter, Angler, Conservationist" by Ken Redding of The Nature Conservancy, Bart Semcer of the Sierra Club says, "Sportsmen are the original conservationists. You cannot do it without them."
Unlike oil or natural gas, deer are a renewable resource. Due to strict hunting laws preventing hunters from legally bagging young deer or an excessive number of does, the deer population renews itself each spring with the arrival of hundreds of thousands of new fawns. Hunting deer also prevents them from destroying crops, decreases the number of roadway accidents and decreases overgrazing in sensitive habitats that support a variety of animal species. Deer hunting is a positive way to cull the continually expanding deer population, thereby benefiting humans as well as other types of wildlife.
Each tagged deer will provide approximately 50 pounds of fresh venison, making hunting a much cheaper way to obtain meat for families. In some states, more charitably minded hunters have created programs that provide deer meat to those in need. The principles and techniques of proper hunting are passed down from generation to generation, providing a way for families to spend time together in the relaxing and rejuvenating outdoors.
- deer image by Henryk Olszewski from Fotolia.com